Financial Acumen Simulations
How business simulations can develop financial knowledge and acumen.
While working for GE in my mid-twenties I realised that I needed to know enough about finance so that I could make informed decisions and believe that a core competency of any business person is understanding finance. Thus, central to all my business simulations is finance and, specifically, revealing how business actions lead to financial outcomes. Below are several examples of how companies have done this:
....... to explore finance and the link between it and management in a fun way.
....... to explore the business budgetary control process.
....... to create basic financial understanding.
....... to reinforce and challenge financial understanding.
....... to link marketing strategy to the financial consequences.
........to explore the impact of sales management on financial results
........to link customers to financial results
........to explore how managerial actions impact operating efficiency
A client wanted a session on finance on a general management course that did not consist of boring lectures. The solution was to run two simulations (Product Launch and Financial Analysis) with a short introduction between the two and some pre-reading. Effectively, the day was a mini-finance for non-financial management course.
A client wanted a break in the middle of a financial appreciation course where the course members could explore, practically, forecasting, creating a budgetary plan and then implementing it. All was done in half a day using our Operations Simulation.
Many trainers use our simulations as a theme on business acumen courses and our Challenge Series of simulations provide the ideal solution. Besides conventionally presenting Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow, there are optional reports that look at the business on a cost, profit and investment center basis. Additionally, there are work sheets that parallel the computer generated results that can be used for the participants to manually create basic financial reports. The worksheets help embed financial understanding and only add an hour to the simulation's duration.
Because of their nature and our design philosophy1, all our simulations have a financial thread and so can be used to reinforce and challenge financial understanding. (When we design a simulation we attempt to include basic finance - that is to say financial ideas that a knowledge of which will benefit the average business learner.)
A client needed a half-day session on a marketing strategy course that covered finance and the impact of marketing strategy on it. We provided a simulation (Market Strategy) that involved creating a marketing plan involving all elements of the marketing mix and how these impacted long and short-term profitability, growth and financial risk.
Our SMITE (Sales Management Interactive Training Experience) involves sales managers managing a territory with a mix of sales areas each with different potentials. They manage a dozen or so sales people each of whom differ in terms of personality, selling skills, product and industry knowledge. These they hire, train, coach and deploy. When managing they need to consider workloads and profitability on an area, sales person, region and territory basis - a truly immersive and challenging experience with a significant focus on financial results..
All too often, sales focus on sales volume rather than financial results. Our three hour Sales Calls simulation addresses this allowing learners to explore which customers to focus on, develop a calling strategy and segmenting customers based on financial metrics.
Central to our Tactical Series of business simulations. In particular, Management Experience explores in depth variances between standard (budgeted) costs and actual cost results. UMIX explores flows of profit, cash, information and cash between functional areas.
Most recent update: 16/04/12
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