This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Social interaction and communication across the


business are key to financial transparency and control


has worked in the fitness and leisure industry with énergie for just over three years. His accountant’s perspective and experience outside the health and fitness market allow him to bring a highly professional approach to énergie and a fresh perspective to its business.


Setting the budget Budgeting is the backbone of financial control: if you get that right, all other aspects of the financial jigsaw can fit together. Budgets are drawn up in different ways for different facilities. Jefford favours using historical financial data as a platform on which to plan and build the next year: although zero- based budgets – which start with a blank sheet for the coming year – can give you a sense of a clean sweep and new broom, the reality is whatever has happened in the previous year will follow you into the next year. But when it comes to the clean


sheet that comes with building a brand new facility or winning a new contract, Jefford always starts with a three-year budget, recognising that it takes this length of time for a new facility to mature and go into profit. He explains: “We have to take a longer-term view than many private


November/December 2014 © Cybertrek 2014


The problem is people


see budgets as a paper exercise to put in the


drawer and not look at again. Our managers check their budget


weekly and analyse performance daily


sector operators, as a typical new contract will be managed over a 10- to 25-year term. However, in reality as the facility beds in and the membership matures, things are often very different from what you initially imagined, so we keep checking the budget remains suitable and alter it if necessary.” Harding agrees that budgets must


be flexible year to year, but likes to invest the time in setting a realistic annual budget that’s both stretching


and achievable. “My finance team spends up to three months in advance of the budget year working with the operations team and franchisees. That means they’re fully involved and take responsibility for the budget,” he explains. “That three-month period can be quite intense as we go back and forth on what we think is realistic and achievable, but once the budget is agreed, the year ahead is then very clear, with specific KPIs in place to monitor performance against that budget. “The biggest problem with budgets is


that people see them as a paper exercise to put in the drawer and not look at again. Our managers and franchisees are all required to check their budget weekly and analyse performance daily.”


From the ground up To enable the network to manage their budgets, Harding runs interactive training days specific to the health and fitness industry to ensure they understand the financial aspects.


“Making accountancy understandable to your workforce is of huge importance, and helps control the finances from the ground up,” he explains. While he believes every leisure facility or group should have a commercially-


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 77


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