VFD Mastery: Options for Every Stage of the Financial Advisory Journey

Until recently the VFD Mastery Training was an all-or-nothing 12-week programme that gave you and your team everything you needed to take clients from start-up to exit and everything in between. 

You can now just put a ‘toe in the water’ with 1) Compliance+, before deciding if, how or when to expand your Financial Advisory services, to offer 2) Management Reporting and Review meetings, and then upselling to 3) Part-Time FD and the ultimate package for clients; 4) Exit Planning and support.

First Things First

Even for the most ambitious firms, the first step in the process of deploying Instant Financial Advisory is critical and it calls for a change to your client discussions, to ‘re-positioning’ your client’s expectations so they see your team and your firm in a different light.

For most firms, this requires the typical Year-End meeting to be transformed.  From a backward-facing history lesson that is not highly valued by clients to becoming more Future Focused to exceed client expectations, adding more value and making clients hungry for more.

The Journey from Compliance to Financial Advisory from Three Points of View

Everyone is starting out from a different place, where are you, your team, and your clients right now?

Your client:         Do clients see your firm purely as a supplier who processes their Annual Accounts?  If they don’t believe you can help them in other ways, they are unlikely to ask.  Changing their perception is challenge number one.

Your team:          Your team is comfortable discussing Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet statements that make up the Statutory Accounts.  Changing client perceptions calls for the ‘Client Discussion’ to be different.

You:       If you are to grow and scale your firm and build a ‘high-value exit strategy’ for the equity-owning partners, you must free yourself up to work on and not in your business.  Your goal should be for growth is to become Client Manager led.

The Financial Advisory Journey in Four Stages:

The VFD Mastery Training to date has delivered a demonstrable track record, enabling Client Managers and Partners alike to step up and help clients at every stage from start-up to exit, but this has typically been something that only applied to a small percentage of clients and typically only a select few of the senior Client Managers.

The New VFD Mastery Training with its four distinct modules combined with the new Client Discussion Model is a total game-changer. 

Whilst the full suite of Financial Advisory services is inevitably not appropriate for all clients from day one, all clients have one thing in common.  They want to enjoy the fruits of running a more successful business and they are prepared to pay for more support but only if they believe it will help them be more successful.

The New VFD Mastery Training now starts with a foundation module that is appropriate for every single ‘client facing’ team member and with rare exceptions, the Future Focussed Client Discussion is appropriate for every business client, from the most embryonic start-up to the most established, and everything in between.

Stage 1:  Compliance+ The Future Focussed Client Meeting.

The Compliance+ will give your entire team everything they need to transform every meeting with a client into a future focussed, a high-value revelation that will deliver a wow client experience, leaving clients clear on exactly how you and your team can help them achieve success.  That’s why it’s a total game-changer.

An integral part of the Compliance+ strategy is the training and education of business owners.  Delivered to help them understand how important financial management and related information is for success in business.  This is the optimum way to sell without selling, in other words, to create demand for more Financial Advisory support and related services.  

Stage 2:  Management Reporting and Review Meetings.

As business owners’ ambitions develop, and their businesses grow in complexity, management becomes impossible without effective Management Information. A robust set of Management Reports go way beyond just a P&L and a Balance Sheet to identify and track performance across a range of Business Growth Drivers and Key Performance Indicators.

The second of the VFD Mastery Training modules goes into Management Reporting and how to conduct an effective Financial Review meeting.  Clients may start out with minimal reporting needs, but as they become more aware, they will ask for more information and greater levels of support, which translates to more frequent financial review meetings.

In most cases this extends to the provision of information and providing clarity on how to interpret and use the various analysis and reports, however without a forecast the limitation is that whilst it might be bang up to date, the management information is still looking backward.  This provides a natural progression to the next level of Financial Advisory services that are covered in stage Three.

Stage 3:  Business Growth Planning, Forecasting, and the Role of the Part-Time Finance Director / CFO

The title really sums it up.  Every serious business should have a plan for the future that is understood by the entire management team and is typically articulated in the form of a robust Three-Way Forecast encompassing Profit and Loss, a Balance Sheet, and a Cash Flow Forecast.  This is managed by the FD and forms the basis of regular management control and is at the core of monthly management review meetings.

Your client may well meet more frequently than monthly, but for most, the key Financial Review meetings take place monthly, i.e. as soon as ‘accounts’ have processed all payments and receipts, allowing meaningful Management Information to be produced along with the Performance versus Forecast Report that is key to financial management and control.

The work that goes into planning and helping the management team understand the financial ramifications of their decisions is the domain of the Finance Director or CFO.  Most SMEs neither need nor can they justify a full-time FD / CFO making their Accountant the logical source of this support. The part-time FD represents ‘Finance’ at management and board meetings and helps the rest of the management team understand the relationship between activities and expenditure and the future impact on the financial performance of the company.

Ideally, every business will strive to be ‘Exit Ready’ regardless of when they actually want to exit because it simply makes good business, (and it maximises the value and saleability of the business whilst reducing its vulnerability to the unforeseen), which is where VFD Mastery Training Stage Four comes in.

Stage 4:  Exit Planning and Support with Valuations and Financial Due Diligence.

Unless they fail prematurely, which without your help is a statistical probability for most SMEs, every Business Owner will inevitably have to exit their business at some stage.  Without your help, this inevitable part of your clients ‘journey’ is highly likely to be unsuccessful, or at best leave loads of money on the table, (sale proceeds for them, fee income for you).

Executed well, Exit Planning and support are incredibly underserved, and highly lucrative services to provide, it is needed by every client at some point and incredibly, there is very little competition because very few practices, (other than the larger firms with a Corporate Finance team), actively help clients prepare for and then exit their business.

To find out more about the VFD Master Training, click on the ‘Live Chat’ or ‘Contact Us’ to book a time to discuss.

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