“In today’s disruptive market, it’s critical you have a plan in place,” said Alisha Jernack, senior manager at Mazars USA LLP. “It helps you to make critical business decisions by analyzing and optimizing your business. The intent is to safeguard your business for the future, even if you aren’t sure what the future looks like.”
During a recent SFA Ask the Experts webinar, Jernack shared the six phases of Mazars Business and Financial Sustainability Program, a three-year action plan that helps businesses make decisions through a combination of financial forecasting, planning, and business operation analysis. The phases are as follows:
Phase 1: Pre-Crisis Track Record
This phase is when a business assesses what it looked like before the crisis. A company should understand the last three years of its performance and define a pre-crisis baseline, which will be an essential starting point.
Phase 2: COVID-19 Impact Assessment
This is when a company should evaluate the likely duration and intensity of each pandemic stage, and assess the impact if nothing were to change. This is also the time to understand what national funding supports are available for small businesses.
Phase 3: Crisis Management Priorities and Strategies
Shareholders should agree on the core priorities and objectives, which will guide the development of a revised operations and business plan for the crisis.
Phase 4: Crisis Action Plan
This is when the business can develop a new suite of plans that continue to meet the ongoing needs of the customer base and the crisis priorities mentioned above. The plan should be viable and realistic and include the external funding or supports required to deliver on the priorities. Build the plan around the most likely scenario while also identifying additional contingency actions.
Phase 5: Revised Forecast and Financial Plan
Incorporate the crisis action plan into the current baseline financial model and figure out the financial impact of these actions during the crisis period; including both best and worse case scenarios. Be sure to ask: is this plan meeting all of the fundamental objectives and priorities of the shareholders? Is it realistic and practical?
Phase 6: Execution and Monitoring
Continue to asses the operational performance compared to the plan on a monthly basis. Keep an eye on the changing environment and analyze the relevance of the planned tactics. Amend or develop new plans or actions when needed.