Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Financial Forecasts

Yesterday I presented the MHRI 5 year financial forecast to the system CFO and thought I would share some of that experience with you. 

The first time I was asked to create a 5 year financial budget, the 'investigator' in me immediately came out.  As an investigator, I like to work off of data and draw my conclusions based on facts and figures. For those of us in research, we know that it is impossible to know what grants, contracts and research studies we will be working on in 5 years - by definition, research is exploring new and unknown areas so how can I know today what we will be investigating in 5 years from now?!?

Fast forward to present day - we live in a rapidly changing world. A world that challenges us everyday.  A world that makes us recognize that in order to be the creator of our own destiny we need to understand our strengths, our opportunities, have a vision for our future and have a plan to realize that vision.  Once you acknowledge this, you feel a lot more comfortable developing a 5 year financial forecast.  You recognize that the forecast is not based on hard data about individual studies but based on the vision, experience and direction you have laid out for the organization.  Budgeting is a planning and prioritization  process and if you plan to undertake multi-year initiatives (strategic initiatives), a one year budget does not make sense.  
Yes, I have become a believer in 5 year financial plans - not because I am any more comfortable reaching beyond my 'data' but because I am a believer in the power of vision and strategic growth!

Thank you all who contributed to the process and, most importantly, to all of you who will take the journey with me to recognize our potential over the next few years to become a national leader in advancing health and creating knowledge through research!


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