Whilst Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) faces a serious financial situation (BBC 6th February 2018), it should have come as no surprise given their recent financial statements. Not only were there deficits arising from operations but also the balance sheet shows liquidity issues. When current assets are less than current liabilities all officers should be concerned about how the bills will be paid. In many organisations, sometimes there is a woeful lack of financial awareness and understanding amongst senior managers, resulting in a “head in the sand” approach to budget management and control.
Budget holders are often not aware of the “big picture” in respect of the financial position of their organisation, and training is often an easy target for budget cuts. The cost benefit of an investment in financial training for all staff that spend an organisation’s money is immeasurable. Council’s such as NCC should, and must ensure that managers are not only competent in the area of their business but also have financial competency as a core skill. These managers are the ones who make the difference in achieving savings and managing finances.
There are many Councils and other publicly funded bodies (the NHS springs to mind) who are on the cusp of a serious financial situation – and some do not even know that they are!! Action must be taken if savings are to be made; service quality improved; and financial viability maintained. We at HB Consulting have been beating the drum for over 25 years identifying that finance is one of the “Essential skills for the public sector”. We hope that many more local authorities, and others, begin to listen.
The training services we offer can really make a difference. Attend one of our finance courses, read our books, or let us tailor the ideal finance training programme for your organisation. Contact: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, no obligation discussion about your requirements.