If you’re not familiar with “what-if” scenario analysis, it’s time you familiarize yourself and jump on board. This type of planning can reveal unanticipated difficulties that can destabilize a project, making it a valuable analytical tool.
By helping you prepare for such adversities, financial scenario planning gives you a proactive edge on the situation. What-if analysis might seem like a daunting process, but it will help you make decisions to help your company thrive – or become more prepared especially during more undesirable times.
Why You Need To Plan For What Ifs
What-if scenario planning can give you a distinct edge over the competition because your company will be prepared for a quick response and viable solution for problematic situations.
Once you incorporate scenario planning into your operations, you will have strategies on-hand for virtually any situation.
For example, let’s say you want to see how a supply delivery at a later date will affect your project costs. You create a scenario around this idea and add in the appropriate circumstances that could impact your business, whether positive or negative. Running through the scenario will show you the potential outcome, and help you determine the best course of action.
Financial scenario planning is also a vital part of the business decision-making process. It helps you figure out the best and worst-case scenarios so you can anticipate possible profits or losses.
What are the Three Stages of Scenario Planning?
When you’re planning for various financial scenarios, you will generate several probable future contexts for your company, the industry you are in, and also the economy. These possibilities will include individual scenarios, like variables such as operating costs, product pricing, inflation, customer metrics, and interest rates.
Typically, you will begin with three separate scenarios:
- Base case scenario: You can use your data from the previous year in this situation, as this is a good predictor for the next twelve months. If you saw growth within your company during the last year, say 10%, you can assume the same growth rate will follow in the next year.
- Best-case scenario: The best-case is to think outside the box and try to imagine a situation in which your sales projections turn out as you hope over the next year. For example, holding onto your current customers, adding new ones, or making an acquisition. Although you are creating a best-case scenario, the data you use should still be realistic. For example, if your company is experiencing an 85% monthly retention rate, you could increase it to 90% for the sake of this scenario.
- Worst-case scenario: The worst-case will prepare you for potential problems. It can help you avoid issues or at least prepare for them by creating an action plan.
How to do Financial Scenario Planning
It’s crucial that you build scenarios into your company’s financial model so you have a full understanding of how different variables can impact your company. Here are some steps you can follow to get started with financial scenario planning:
- Make a list of all the potential occurrences you want to develop scenarios for
- Flesh out the details for each scenario
- Make sure to include the three stages for each scenario: average case, best case, and worst case
- Make sure you are consistent throughout the planning of each scenario
What are the Benefits of Scenario Planning?
Analyzing your company and predicting its future is a risky business. Financial scenario planning can give you the edge on different possibilities and you and your company can benefit in many ways, including:
- Planning for the future: Scenario planning allows you to give investors a preview of the potential returns and risks involved in future investments. Your goal is to increase your company’s revenue, and the best way to do so is by using up-to-date calculations.
- Avoiding risks and failures: Financial scenario planning can help you avoid making poor investment decisions. As you are taking the best and worst possible case scenarios into account, you can make more informed decisions.
- Keeping you proactive: By being proactive and staying on your toes, you can minimize potential losses from factors beyond your control. Creating worst-case scenarios allows you to assess possible damage and avoid these circumstances, or at least prepare for them.
- Enabling you to project investment returns or losses: Financial scenario planning gives you the tools to calculate potential investment gains and losses and provides you with measurable data. You can use this data to maximize the outcome.
Who Can Help With Financial Scenario Planning
A CFO is an ideal person to help with financial scenario planning. They can play an important part in this process because they are a successful executive who is an expert in strategic financial management. As an expert, they are not only responsible for managing short-term assets and available resources, but also for developing strategies to leverage these resources.
Furthermore, a CFO should be able to maintain the company’s long-term financial health and profitability. A good CFO will analyze the cash flow, income statements, and balance sheet to monitor the company’s well-being while simultaneously making the most of the assets.
To do this, they need to have certain information at hand. Financial scenario planning can help them acquire this information by answering the following questions:
- How can the company combine short and long-term assets to maximize profitability?
- How can the company best finance upcoming projects?
- How can the company maintain a healthy balance between debt and equity?
- How can older assets generate future revenue?
What are the Benefits of a Fractional CFO
If you’re running a small- to medium-sized company, you may believe hiring a CFO is out of the realm of your budget. However, this is not the case. If you hire a fractional CFO, you can reap all the benefits of their financial expertise without it costing a small fortune. Here are a few of the benefits:
- You’ll save money because you won’t have to pay a salary or benefits
- You’ll save time because you won’t have to advertise, interview, or train
- You can ensure that you have a CFO who is qualified and experienced
No matter how effective your company is, it won’t be able to maintain steady growth phases if future projections and developed strategies are not made for when issues arise. Your business potential relies on your ability to evaluate your company honestly daily. This ability includes the evaluation for ways to improve efficiency, minimize waste, boost performance, and develop solutions for how your company can succeed through positive and negative economic conditions.
Hiring an outsourced CFO can make a big difference to your company when it comes to these endeavors and securing a financial plan to ensure you’re making the right business decisions.
Having an experienced financial business advisor to run through scenario planning and caution you of the possible outcomes can make the difference between a successful organization and a failing business.
If you are considering hiring a fractional CFO, contact Signature Analytics today. We can provide you with qualified and experienced CFOs, regardless of your industry.