Financial Forecasting

How financial forecasting and projections work improved my business …

Our client was looking to raise a government assisted loan to develop a site to house vulnerable young people in a secure, state of the art 24 Hour Residential unit in London.

This case study looks at how the many challenges were overcome to achieve a successful outcome for all concerned – including the vulnerable children of London.

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Introduction

This south London charity works with young people in local authority social care. It provides accommodation, key-worker support and art-therapies to these young people with the ultimate aim to develop the life self-care and social skills in order to live independently. The charity helps them with their transition into adulthood.

The Charity helps them with their emotional resilience, helps them stay in employment/training, and encourages hobbies. It also supports them in expressing themselves and contributing to the community, and rewards their achievements.

The big issue for the charity’s external accountant was lack of timely access to the finance systems and ledgers. Their financial data was unreliable, there was a delay in preparation of management accounts, and their systems and financial procedures did not operate properly.  As a result there was some dissatisfaction from the board and changes were needed.

The Business Challenge

The charity needed to secure funding from the Department of Health in order to purchase a property for development to do up and as a specialist accommodation centre providing round the clock support for up to 9 vulnerable females and their young children.. In order to secure this loan, the Department of Health would qualify them to see if they met the relevant criteria. There was however a question of could they afford the loan, and meeting all the drawdown conditions.

The charity approached and assessed three different accountancy firms recommended by their Chair. They decided on Elan & Co as the company best positioned to improve their financial governance and financial management information, in an accurate and timely manner.

The Business Solution

With Elan & Co’s assistance, the charity moved their accounting software from a SAGE desktop to QuickBooks online, in the Cloud.  Elan & Co handled the change from start to finish for the client, which included migrating several years’ worth of transactional data to the new system, re-configuring the chart of accounts, designing new reports and accounting procedures. Elan & Co also provided a book-keeper to the charity that was trained in QuickBooks.

As a result the speed and quality of the output generated increased immediately, providing much needed, current information to management. This meant Elan & Co could prepare the management accounts by the 5th of every month. These management accounts could be accessed on the internet and therefore the CEO could access from any-where as long as he had access to the internet.

Elan & Co then moved the systems from a cash accounting basis to full invoice or accruals accounting basis. We were then able to get to grips with accounts receivables and accounts payables. This then enabled Elan & Co to use the sophisticated projections and forecasts software, PlanGuru.

Results

Subsequently the charity was able to show how it could meet all conditions brought by the vendor, and how it could afford the loan.  By providing one- year to ten- year financial projections, this allowed clarity for the financials and the charity was able to move forward with the loan. The drawdown criteria were met in a timely manner.

The CEO of the company stated:  “For the first time in 7 years of trading we can now say with confidence that our financial management systems and governance are now fit for purpose. We have a significantly improved management accounting system that we, and the key stakeholders, can draw meaningful conclusions from a 5 year strategic Plan with financials, workings and assumptions. At board level directors have a much improved understanding of our financial performance, challenges and priorities. In particular, the presentations you delivered to DH’s Investment committee, SIB and other stakeholders have been outstanding- meeting the audiences’ needs and helping us build confidence and trust in what we do. You’ve also signposted us to the very best broker for our needs and at much improved rates which enabled us to finance a major project.”

The client secured their funding for the building and now they have a much more transparent and secure financial footing with which to move forward with their project.

Summary

The charity needed a building development loan to help the work but there were inadequate procedures to convince the bank they would qualify for one.  Elan & Co introduced better financial systems and procedures. With Elan & Co’s assistance the charity are in a better position to deliver the ultimate goal was of making these young people’s lives better, and helping them stand on their own two feet and securing their futures.

Elan & Co has over 10 years of experience working with Sage and QuickBooks accounting software, and their experience with not-for-profit organisations allowed them to quickly recommend a trusted and suitable solution to the company. Financial planning and forecasting software was used as part of the solution.

To find out more contact Sema Ziler on 0207 403 1500 or e-mail info@elanand.co.uk