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Financial Management for Design Professionals: The Path to Profitability




Podcast: 2007/6/26 - 17:35

Presenters: Steve L. Wintner, AIA & Michael Tardif, Assoc. AIA.

Moderator: Donnie Kenneth



Steve L. Wintner, AIA, is an architect and founding principal of Management Consulting Services, a consultancy specializing in design firm management. A registered architect since 1968, he is also a contributing author to several books on financial management. He is the founding principal of Management Consulting Services, with a nationwide clientele of design professionals. His design career spans six decades, including positions as vice president and director of operations for two internationally prominent architecture firms and as managing principal of his own architectural firm.

Michael Tardif, Assoc. AIA, Hon. SDA, is a freelance writer and editor with extensive experience as a project architect and manager, design technology consultant to architecture/engineering firms, and director of educational programs and publications for design professionals. He is a contributing editor of The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice, 13th Edition (American Institute of Architects) and is a lifetime honorary member of the Society of Design Administration. As editorial director of Design Byline in Bethesda, Maryland, he has more than 25 years of experience as a project architect, project manager, design technology consultant to A/E firms, and director of educational programs for design professionals.

Steve Wintner, AIA, and Michael Tardif, Assoc. AIA, discuss their book Financial Management for Design Professionals (Kaplan, 2007). How can modern firms measure “true profitability” and create fast and easy financial indicators to ensure their success? This podcast reviews practical strategies for creating effective financial management systems that allow architects to achieve their dreams.

The book is written for design firm principals who are responsible for their firm’s finances but have little or no financial management education or experience. For mid-career design professionals looking to advance their careers, the book is an indispensable reference and training guide. Using a simple, step-by-step format, this book shows design professionals how to

    Develop an annual budget and profit plan

    Manage overhead expenses to enhance profitability

    Determine the break-even rate and hourly billing rate for each employee

    Determine how to balance between project workload and staff size

    Establish project fees

    Use readily available financial information in successful negotiation

    Design and interpret financial reports

    Clear explanations of the fundamentals of financial management

    Calculate the six financial performance indicators

Most design firms cannot sustain serious downward fluctuations in their business. If a firm's profitability continues to erode, it could be a serious threat to the firm's sustainability. Being able to respond to new opportunities, challenges, and trends enhances a firm's prospects for long-term success. This presentation will teach participants to recognize developing trends through the calculation of key financial performance indicators that might affect the firm’s profitability target and provides a review of methodologies to help avoid such threats.



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