My workshop for students at the University of Oxford on the essentials of business finance was a great opportunity to meet more aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs.
One of a series of innovation themed events, the evening was part of a wider and joined-up support programme branded The Shed. By blending the existing strong support from the Careers Office with an opportunity to meet people who have been there and done it, the students hear first hand about the world of work and business: the good, bad and ugly!
My objective for the evening was to demystify finance and provide everyone with the essential knowledge to plan and manage finances, as well a good foundation upon which to build their knowledge further in the future.
We covered things like the financial reports, budgeting, cash flow planning, cost control and pricing. The students asked questions about VAT and depreciation amongst other things. These are business terms people are aware of but of course until we work with them, they are not always understood.
An exercise to break up the content worked well. Their hands-on challenge was to assess a financial report for a shop and it was a neat way of moving the focus from information to insight….a great business skill to learn for the future.
The dummy financial spreadsheet I used to demonstrate the key reports is now with a number of the student entrepreneurs who are using it as the basis for their budgeting. Sometimes the right knowledge and tools, at the right time, can make a big difference!
I really enjoyed the evening and it was rewarding to hear that we had the best turnout of students to date…who said finance has to be boring!