When Finance is a Foreign Language
Human resources, technology, marketing and other professionals may never have taken formal accounting or finance courses. For them, the language of finance can be quite foreign. Yet their jobs often presume they can interpret your companyâ€™s financial performance. Many individuals wish they knew more about reading and interpreting company financials. Lack of knowledge in this area translates to feeling uncomfortable asking questions or speaking up when the conversation turns to financial topics.
You can ensure employees from all levels and lines of your banking business speak the same language. The Annual Report Workshop translates the language of finance through a customized self-study and workshop program designed especially for those without financial backgrounds.
Read on to learn how this program is customized to feature your own financial statements, why it matters, and what managers and participants say about the workshop. Then, take a peek at excerpts from the course.
Itâ€™s All About You
What distinguishes the program from the many â€˜finance for non-financial managersâ€™ programs available off the shelf? The Annual Report Workshop is not a generic program that explains broad financial principles. It explains YOUR financial principles, using both a 4-hour pre-class self-study assignment and a one-day in-class workshop.
In the self-study, participants:
- Learn about financial statements from the ground up by studying a fictional start-up company, from initial capital investment through purchasing operating assets, generating revenues and incurring expenses. This portion of the program is designed to explain how accounting works, in the simplest of terms for those with no prior exposure to the topic.
- Learn to decipher your companyâ€™s income statement and balance sheet, line by line. Using two prior yearâ€™s financial statements as illustration, the readings, explanations and â€˜think about itâ€™ mini-assignments explain in the plainest of English the meaning and interpretation of these key performance indicators. Plus, each financial statement includes terminology definitions appended directly to the statement itselfâ€”no need to hunt through subsequent pages for information needed to read the financial statement.
In the Workshop, participants:
- Refine their understanding of how your company makes money and how managers and analysts measure financial success.
- Work directly in your most recent annual report, bringing a third year of financial results into the discussion.
- Compare your companyâ€™s financial performance with that of publicly held competitors and/or industry averages.
Why It Matters
When employees from all areas of your organization learn to interpret financial data they:
- Better understand your business and how their function fits into the big picture.
- More competently participate in operating performance meetings and other financial discussions.
- Take fuller command of financial lingo and communicate more clearly with internal clients.
- Help internal clients develop strategyâ€”instead of simply executing a support role in the strategy.
- Look forward to reading (instead of avoiding) earnings releases and financial reports, viewing them as vital information that motivates a competitive approach to business.
- Compare your financial performance to that of competitors, then use the information to help sell your company to prospective clients, business partners and employees.
What People Say About The Annual Report Workshop
- “Line units call on our HR staff because they think they have HR problems when, in fact, they have business problems. We need to understand these business issues before we can talk about an HR response. Thanks to this class, our HR consultants now can talk about a lineâ€™s business issues so they can more effectively apply their HR expertise.”
- “This course has really helped our recruiters learn how to â€œsellâ€ our company. Weâ€™re being more proactive in our recruiting, calling prospective employees to interest them in coming onboard. The Annual Report Workshop has brought our recruiters up to speed on analyzing and interpreting our financials. Now they can more easily attract potential employees by analyzing our competitors and knowing how to respond to questions about our own financial performance.”
- “I get it! I now understand how the business actions we took last year showed up on the annual report.”
- “I thought the class was EXCELLENT and would definitely recommend it to other colleaguesâ€¦it was extremely helpful and probably one of the best training sessions Iâ€™ve attended. Thanks again.”
A Peek at the Workshop Materials
See how clear, simple and friendly the materials really are. Follow the link to see excerpts from a version of The Annual Report Workshop that was customized for a banking company. For more information, call us at (616) 399-8036 or send an E-mail.