What Are Financial Meeting Minutes?

In order to get acquainted with what the minutes of a financial meeting are, it is important for us to understand what is a financial meeting first. A financial meeting is held by the finance department along with employees with the purpose of discussing problems or concerns that relate to the financial side of the company and developing the necessary action plans to combat any potential problems that have been discussed during the said meeting. A finance meeting also serves as a good starting point to ensure that a business is still on track. A financial meeting also allows the department to assess in a rational way where they currently stand in terms of their finances to determine if any financial goals have changed and to decide on what things to do to achieve the goals that are set.

A financial meeting minutes document is a legal paper or note that highlights the key issues that were discussed during the meeting, the motions that were proposed or voted on, and the activities to be undertaken to address any issues. This document is usually taken by the secretary or a designated participant of the meeting.

What Topics Are Covered in a Financial Meeting?

It is a good idea to gather around, sit down, and discuss with your finance department in a regular period (preferably at the end of every month) your financial statements and perform a financial review. Here are the common topics that are covered whenever a financial meeting takes place:

Financial Statements. Even at a minimum, a review of this topic should be done whenever a financial meeting takes place. Conduct a review of the income statement and balance sheet of the company. To do this, add percentages of income to the profit and loss statement to determine what percentage of income each expense makes up. Also, include the data from the prior review period and months in the same quarter to spot any changes in trends.Budget. Not only is the budget variance a useful topic to analyze, but it should also be used to determine whether any budget revisions are required. Notes that are created can be submitted for next year’s consideration, or adjustments can be made immediately for next month. For example, if supplier costs have drastically risen, a lower positive variance or a negative variance on the budget may be noticed. A good way to tackle this may be to look for new vendors, raise prices, cut expenses that are not needed, or just simply being aware of a smaller profit margin.Analysis. Examine and debate the differences between what was predicted at the start of the year and what actually happened during the year. Present the explanations given to you by the department heads, allowing them to respond to the group’s more specific inquiries. If sales are down, for example, you can inform the group that a new competitor has joined the market with much lower prices. If anyone in the group has questions, they can then refer them to the sales director. If no questions are raised, proceed as normal. Allowing each department head to give the macro analysis first may result in too much information being presented, extending the duration of the meeting unnecessarily.Forecasting. A month-end meeting can serve as a fantastic time to look ahead in terms of financial forecasting, whether it’s one month, 13 weeks, or six months. Also, make sure that everyone is aware of any significant upcoming expenses, such as prepaid insurance, worker’s compensation, or any loan payments that have just started or that are going to end.Accounts Receivable Aging. For cash flow, it is critical to monitor accounts receivable payments. When an invoice is not paid promptly, the value of service is reduced, as does the possibility of payment. Clients of a business should also be involved in order to discuss accounts receivable collections.Categorization of Expenses. It is usually a good idea to evaluate expense categorization whenever a business owner is hiring a third party to handle the day-to-day accounting. This ensures that everything is where the business owner expected it to be. Discussing this with the accountant will also provide him/her the opportunity to make any kind of accounting recommendations such as capitalizing a purchase or breaking down payroll expenses further.A Review of Expectations. Review expectations at the end of each meeting. This face-to-face or virtual meeting is a good moment to tell your bookkeeper of any changes in your priorities or expectations. Also, review when you’ll be required to provide information so that all deadlines are reached, as well as the best ways to express demands and proposals for enhanced processes or efficiencies.

Elements of an Effective Finance Meeting

Here are some of the common steps or elements that make an effective finance meeting. This may also apply to other meetings.

Being on time. When a finance meeting starts at 10:00 AM, every member that is invited should already be in their seats by 9:55 AM. When the meeting schedule states that it should end at 11:30, the meeting should end at exactly 11:30. The reason for having time discipline is to establish a simple form of respect. It cannot be present and the chance of effective collaboration lessens if simple things like this can’t be achieved.Having a meeting segue. This is simply just a three or five-minute segment of the meeting where each participant gives the team a piece of personal good news and good news relating to the work that happened during the past week. Doing a meeting segue, even if it only takes a small amount of time, helps clear every participant’s mind from the many things that they were thinking before the meeting has started.Goals review. Finance departments should have a specific number of critical goals set per quarter, and each member of the department should also have personal goals. Reviewing them is as simple as going through each goal one at a time. The department goals should be given priority first, then the personal goals then follow. In the review of the personal goals, ask each owner if they are on-track or off-track. Should they be on track, proceed with the discussion as normal. If they’re not, add it to the issue list to be discussed in the latter part of the meeting.To-do List. Each participant in the financial meeting should be bringing a to-do list from the previous week’s meeting to each weekly meeting. A to-do item refers to a task that someone on the team should complete in order to resolve a problem. Every week, aim for at least 90% of to-do items to be completed. A review of the to-do lists should only take a short amount of time.Reviewing the issues. Add items to this list that come up during the meeting when everything is off-track. In dealing with the issues, first, you must identify its root cause, then discuss the issue with each person stating their viewpoint. It is important that this should not turn into a debate. Then, solve the issue. Develop a solution where the outcome is one or more tasks that are assigned to people who are present at the meeting.

How to Write an Effective Finance Meeting Minutes

Meeting minutes are a clean and concise way of taking notes and it helps keep track of essential information. When written effectively, a finance meeting minutes document can serve as a critical communications tool for your business. With that being said, here are the steps in creating an effective finance meeting minutes:

1. Identify what things should be written.

It is important for the secretary or the meeting’s designated notetaker to identify what to write. In this step, note the company name, date, and time at the top of the document. Also, include any other kinds of relevant information, such as a specific department, or a team name, or any other reason on why the finance meeting was called.

2. Record the attendees.

The board chairman, board members, and staff who are directly involved with the company’s financials such as the accountant or finance manager, are the ones who are normally present at a finance meeting. If it is a government finance meeting, the mayor may even be present. If there is to be a discussion regarding a specific project, the outside companies may even be represented at the meeting. Make a mental note of everyone’s respective titles. If necessary, distribute an attendance sheet to ensure that the exact names of the attendees are recorded. You can also make a list of attendees who are unable to attend the finance meeting but could require a copy of the minutes.

3. Be a good listener.

It is also crucial to understand when the secretary or the designated notetaker should simply listen to the person who is presenting an agenda in front. Once he/she is certain what to write down in the minutes, the best option is to simply listen and focus on the topic being discussed by the speaker. The finest minute takes are also frequently excellent listeners. It also ensures that the meeting goes off without a hitch and with few or no interruptions. As a result, there is a possibility that all the agendas of the financial meeting will be properly covered.

4. Record the topics.

Keep track of your notes as each agenda is being discussed. Budgets, specific project financials, income or financial statements, future allocations, and adjustments made or updates to the budget calendar are among the topics that are frequently discussed at a finance meeting. Depending on the company protocols, provide primary topics of discussion and subpoints in prose or bullet style. Take note of who is speaking, any numbers or names stated, as well as anyone to whom a task has been assigned and that particular task’s due date.

5. Record the other businesses that were discussed during the meeting.

Create a new section and label it “Other Businesses” once the items on the agenda have been discussed. Here, you should keep track of any new topics that come up for discussion in this section. As with recording the main topics, note down the speaker’s name, any dates or numbers mentioned, as well as any assigned topics and their due dates.

6. Proofread and address any missing information.

In this step, make sure that your meeting notes are readable and grammatically correct, that there are no mistakes, and that the names of the attendees with their titles (if necessary) are written correctly before submitting them. If there is any missing information that you believe was mentioned, try to locate it. It is also important to try to write the minutes as quickly as possible after the meeting has adjourned since what was discussed during the meeting is still fresh and can be easily remembered.


How long should a Finance Meeting last?

The length of a finance meeting depends on the agenda of the said meeting. Since a finance meeting is typically held at the end of every month, expect it to be lengthy, around 60 to 90 minutes. Should you find that the finance meeting lasts more than 100 minutes already, you should communicate about a possible revision of the meeting agenda to remove some topics that warrant an entirely different discussion. More long-term issues affecting the company or entirely different concerns may be forwarded to an entirely different discussion.

Do meeting minutes need to be approved or signed?

In order to be an official record of the meeting, certain meeting minutes need to be validated in some way. Before the minutes may be circulated, the chairman usually has to review and approve them. Alternatively, minutes are reviewed and approved by the group at the start of the next meeting in many organizations. Apart from these circumstances, whether or not your minutes are approved is up to the executives of the organization and how they choose to operate their respective procedures.

What is the difference between Formal and Informal Meetings?

Formal meetings are to be attended by people who hold defined roles, who are likely to be a part of a company or organization hierarchy, such as the company secretary, chief executive officer, or the company chairman. The procedures that usually take place at a formal meeting are governed by pre-defined policies. There will always be an agenda and supporting documents for distribution among the attendees. Additionally, minutes must also be always taken at formal meetings, which are presented in a recognized and structured style using formal language.

When it comes to informal meetings, the majority of day-to-day meetings that are organized by businesses usually fall into this classification. These can include staff catch-ups, brainstorming sessions, and any form of progress updates. Although minutes are not legally required at an informal meeting, it is always a good idea to take notes even if it’s just a case of writing down action points for distribution among the attendees.

The finance department of a company should be able to make the right decisions at each stage of the company’s growth to ensure its profitability, longevity, and success. Holding regular financial meetings enables a company or a business to have these discussions. Finance meeting minutes have to be especially detailed and specific as they deal with important numbers and statistics. Effective finance meeting minutes can state the approaches that were proposed in order to solve a particular problem and why members have opted for one option over the other. The person-in-charge with writing down the finance meeting minutes should know that the minutes to be written down should be following the respective company protocol and adhere to the company’s basic guidelines of taking down effective and efficient meeting minutes. In this article, examples of an efficient and effective finance meeting minutes are posted for use as a reference in case you need to make one.