Financial planning and management

Financial planning and management is one of the most important activities of managing any successful childcare business.

If you don’t plan your finances, you may not be aware of whether you are making enough money to keep your setting going long term.  All organisations, even charities, need to make a surplus in order to;

  • Provide a buffer against late payers or unexpected bills
  • Provide a buffer against seasonal ups and downs in income
  • Build up cash for refurbishments or updating toys and equipment
  • Reinvest in the business including training and development for staff and volunteers.

All elements of your finances need to be planned and managed on a regular basis - especially your bank balance and what cash you have coming in and going out.  You need to think about three key areas of financial management;

  • Forecasting – setting your budget and planning your cash flow
  • Management information – what you need to keep an eye on regularly to ensure that the business is healthy, is on track and has enough cash
  • Your financial records – what records you need to keep in order to help you plan for the future and to make sure that you are compliant with any regulations from HMRC, Companies House or the Charity Commission

There are lots of resources available to help you plan and manage your finances, and more information is available through the links in the menu.

If you’re not confident about financial planning and would like some one to one support, you may find that someone at your Local Authority can help to advise you on how to start planning your finances – contact your local early years and childcare team to find out.

Alternatively, a good book-keeper or accounting technician will be able to help you - ask around in your local areas for recommendations.  You will have to pay for this service, though it may be worthwhile if it helps you to get on top of your financial situation and make plans for your future sustainability!

There are many sources of help and advice for small businesses, some are specifically targeted at the early years and childcare field, such as through your Local Authority, others are available to all types of business.  Do make the most of the support that is freely available to you as it’s very important to develop your skills and confidence in this area.  See our section on other sources of support (link) for more information.