One of my most popular courses is finance for non-finance managers and it’s really no surprise.
After all, now more than ever managers are expected to be able to understand the finances behind their activities and in many cases manage their budget.
But often companies expect this without giving people the training they need which means that people find themselves feeling cut adrift.
Finance for non-finance manager training gives people the skills they need to understand what the company accountants are telling them.
How does finance training help?
A good training course can help both the company and the individuals as it helps to align the work of the managers with the aims of the company.
A good course will give managers more confidence when looking at their numbers and will give them the ability to ask searching questions of their finance team.
It allows people to understand what is driving performance and how to compare it to budgets and of course how those budgets were made.
For the company any good training course helps with staff retention as people can see that they are valued and the company is willing to invest in them.
When the budget setting process is going on, managers are able to provide more insight which leads to more accurate and realistic budgeting.
And as soon as people understand the finances and their area’s performance they start to look at ways to improve. They can even get quite competitive!
So how do you set up finance for non-finance managers training?
Well naturally I am going to say call me, aren’t i?
But seriously I reckon there are 7 steps to organising your training.
#1 – Decide what you want out of it
The absolute number one thing you need to do before anything else is to understand what you want to achieve as a result of the training.
What issues are you trying to solve?
Do you have to provide a certain number of hours of CPD for your staff?
Is this part of a wider training scheme?
Once you know what you want the outcome to be it makes life much more simple when you think about the other steps.
#2 Decide who you need to train
Once you know what you want to achieve then you’ll probably have a good idea who needs to go on the training course.
But you do need to be careful because mixing people at different levels or with different abilities can cause issues.
If you have people with no knowledge of finance on a course then the level of teaching is set lower than if you have people who already understand some of the concepts.
People who work at a lower level in the organisation will have different responsibilities to directors.
But putting all these people into the same session means that the course will have to be so general as to be of very little help.
Focusing your training on tight groups makes it much more useful and ultimately effective.
#3 Speak with your training provider
It may seem a bit early but often your training provider can help talk you through the options.
For most good trainers their courses are never really set in stone.
For instance, I’ll often swap and change parts of a course to address a specific issue that the client wants to solve.
And if you speak with your favourite training provider (or your in house training lead if you have one) early on then you can often get a course that is specially designed to help you.
#4 Think about timing
Deciding when to do your training is really important because you want to maximise attendance.
Nothing is more depressing than going to loads of trouble setting up a great course and finding out that half of your managers can’t come along.
Don’t set up a course for half-terms, summer holiday time or near to Christmas.
And think also about your business cycles.
Courses at the end of the month is a bad time for finance staff but there may be other points that are equally difficult for operational staff such as stocktaking or when there is a big trade show on.
#5 Book your training venue
It’s natural to simply decide to use an in house room if you have one that is suitable but this is often a big mistake.
I find that using a company office means that people tend to accept interruptions more readily whereas renting a meeting room at a hotel or co-working space means that attendees understand that they are there to learn.
Funnily enough, I also find that when companies book space away from the office people tend to be much more open, more honest and are able to concentrate more.
#6 Book your trainer
Who should you use?
Well obviously me.
But if not me then who?
I am a big believer in trusting your gut.
Go with someone who you like, who seems engaging and who understands your company.
Go for someone who is professional but not boring, engaging but focused.
Often, especially if you are booking a finance trainer ( which you’ll need for your finance for non-finance managers course) you find that they can be technically competent but a bit dry.
I personally detest boring, technical courses that are full of facts but feature no interaction. They’re a bit 1950s.
And book your trainer early. After all we tend to be busy people so get in early to make sure you can have the dates you want.
#7 Make sure you follow up
So your training course is done and people have gone their separate ways.
But your work isn’t finished.
Spend some time gathering feedback.
What did people like about the course?
What didn’t they like?
What have they changed as a result?
This will allow you to understand whether your trainer was any good (and whether you would want to book them again) and it will give you ammunition to show that training is a good thing.
Also assess your own performance.
What went well and what went badly when you were setting the course up?
What would you do differently?
Training doesn’t have to be a drag.
In fact, I’d say your best bet is to lean heavily on your trainer and make use of their experience. Often they’ll do a lot of the leg work for you or be able to tell you what pitfall to avoid.
If you want to set up a Finance for Non-Finance managers course then it’s a fairly simple process that shouldn’t be a cause for stress.
If you would like to have a chat about setting up any form of finance or management training then why not give me a call now?