Have you or your clients been talking about Open Book Management? Does everyone in your firm, or your client’s business, know the fundamentals of accounting or what the financial information will mean to them?
These questions are what formulated our internal project of Financial Literacy. How could we move to Open Book Management without first laying the foundation for the inner workings of our financials?
What You Don’t Know
Since we all come from diverse backgrounds and have different levels of education and experience, there was a wide gap on what some of our team knew about accounting and financials. We couldn’t expect that our solutions advisors would know as much about accounting as our marketing team or our Project Managers, so we needed to know what exactly people wanted to know.
We polled our team to find out, in a perfect world, what they would want to learn more about on the financials. The result, while not surprising, told us that while some of the team had a firm grasp on the financials, there were still a handful of people who needed the basics. Gathering this information told us where to start laying the foundation and that if one person has a question, chances are there are more.
While sorting through the results of our poll, we gathered all the common themes to see what direction we should be going while building out our financial literacy program. Once we had the key themes, we took a step back and asked ourselves, “what information do we need to get here?”
We wouldn’t start talking about the impact of opportunity costs or the time value of money without talking about the core principals of finance. We kept tracing back through the levels of information until we got to the fundamental accounting equation. This gave us the foundation to build our financial literacy program.
Financial Literacy Can Be Fun!
Many members of our team were thinking back to our first accounting course by now and thinking about how terrible it would be to have to go back through the fundamentals. We decided, while the information itself wasn’t necessarily the most fun or exciting topic to talk about, we should turn it into a fun activity.
We went with a mockup of Jeopardy, but there could be any number of games or ways to present this information in a way to keep everyone engaged. The common themes from the poll gave us our topics for the game. Then, for each subject, we were able to create the questions and answers that would provide fundamental information on the common theme.
While making the transition was a huge decision for our firm and we may still be a few years away from fully embracing Open Book Management, we wanted to build the foundation to gradually educate each team member on what our financials mean and what they can do to impact the performance of the organization.
We plan to continue our Financial Literacy over the coming months and years as we work towards becoming an open book company.
The original post appeared on the Boomer Bulletin blog site.