Here’s a simple spreadsheet you can use to understand the financial health of your own agency
So far in this blog series I’ve written about:
- How healthy agency finances work: the principles we’ve researched and developed to help us manage the money in a professional services business in a healthy and balanced way.
- A simple agency finance dashboard: The way we display our key metrics to monitor the health, balance and progress of our business.
- Healthy financial forecasting: A lightweight way to understand what most likely lies ahead for your company finances.
In this post, I’m pleased to announce that we are making our Convivio Pulse spreadsheet tool available under a Creative Commons license, and publishing it for other agency leaders to use.
It’s just a spreadsheet
This is just a tool that we have developed, and found useful for ourselves. I’ve also used it with some agencies I’ve coached, as well as shared it with other agency leaders in a peer-mentoring group I’m in. Having found that others found it useful, I realised we should share it more widely. But that means it gets shared without the context of me explaining it, so here are a few cautionary notes…
It’s important to realise this is only a spreadsheet. It does not automate anything. It doesn’t integrate with anything. And that’s fine. It’s meant to be simple.
Because it’s just a spreadsheet, it’s only as useful as the data you put in, and the work you do to update it. Make it part of a regular rhythm of running your business (which is why we call it the Pulse).
It doesn’t provide you with answers. What it aims to do is to provide you with some good questions to start conversations in your management team and the wider business.
Ok, it’s a bit more than just a spreadsheet
The key to finding this tool useful is understanding the concepts behind it, and adopting those concepts in your business. When people struggle with it, it’s because they just jump in and put some numbers in and expect some answers. Read the blog posts in this series, and the instructions in the sheet, and do some thinking about how the concepts apply to you.
You can customise the number ranges for the key metrics (that define which areas are green, amber, red on the dials) to suit what is right for your business, but I’d suggest starting out with the defaults until you get a feel for what the numbers are when your company is running healthily.
How to get started
- You can view the Convivio Pulse spreadsheet template here.
- You can clone a copy for your own use using ‘File > Make a copy’ in the Google Sheets menu.
- Read the ‘[Instructions]’ tab. It explains some key concepts, and then walks you through the steps to get started, along with some tips.
- Make sure you’ve read the other blog posts in this series to understand the concepts behind the tool.
We’re providing this as open source, for free — so unfortunately we can’t offer support.
However, I’ve already had a lot of requests for help this week as I’ve published this blog series — people want to understand more about the concepts, metrics and spreadsheet, and how they might apply specifically to their business.
So we are thinking of putting on a workshop in which we can step through all this in a small group. If you’re interested in this for your agency, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, follow @convivio on Twitter or Convivio on LinkedIn, where we’ll announce any further updates.
Good luck, have fun
Leading professional services businesses is hard, and sometimes scary. I really hope this tool is useful to you in understanding your finances, and how they support the rest of the business — and then getting to grips with managing them well.
If you use the tool do let us know how you get on with it, any improvements you make to it, and how it helps you to lead your business. Good luck!
Upcoming Agency Finances Workshop:
Intrigued and want to find out more? Join us for a workshop where you can learn a balanced way to think about agency finances, and develop a dashboard giving your leadership team a clear view of your business.
This post was originally published on our Medium blog at https://blog.weareconvivio.com/sharing-our-finance-toolkit-2e85c05e0ee5