3 years ago, a financial profile was added to the VO team to support the strategic development of the group and help management and the different agencies manage our finances in the short, middle and long term.
Accounting and finance - two different areas that come together at the heart of SMEs
Accounting is all about recording a company’s figures in the right place and at the right time, taking into account the accounting and tax rules. This ensures the accounts reflect the company’s exact situation at that moment in time. Finance, on the other hand, mainly starts from the current financial accounting image, compares it to the budget and uses it to derive future forecasts.
“It is a chain of two different areas that form one whole, allowing a business to visualise the past, present and future of the company in figures”, Carole Maton, our Management Accountant, who helps the directors steer the finances of our agencies, explains.
Cliquets help monitor the financial evolution of our agencies
At the end of each year, following a series of meetings with the directors, the overhead budget and operating margins are established for the year to come. This will serve as a reference for the entire following year.
The initial budget is periodically compared to the accounting figures and other information to verify whether it is still consistent. If this is not the case, the budget will be re-estimated in collaboration with the directors and the annual forecasts updated. The aim of a so-called ‘cliquet’ (an internal name given to our dashboards) is therefore to estimate as accurately as possible where the agency is up to at the start of the month and end of the year, compared to what was initially determined.
This dashboard includes the budget, actual figures and forecasts, allowing the management team to act on each possible scenario. This could lead them to boost their teams, free up an extra budget or change course at any point during the year. Because 2018 had been a good year, for example, the VO Group decided to distribute a share of the profits among its employees.
A very useful financial tool
The cliquets also provide an overview of the evolution of customer invoicing, so we can ensure there is always sufficient access to liquid assets. The tool was set up for each individual agency and then consolidated for the board of directors of the group. It thus provides the directors with solid support to help manage the agencies and steer the group.
“Because of Voice’s continuous growth as a digital agency, cliquets are one of our most important tools. This allows us to anticipate, evaluate and accelerate certain organisational and commercial processes or procedures within the agency. An overview of past, present and future is essential these days to keep businesses on the right track”, explains Delphine Beaumont, Director of Voice Agency.
Transparency towards employees
The VO Group and its agencies transparently communicate their analysis results regarding performance, figures, investments and expenditure with their employees during a series of seminars. This practice should always be part of good governance.