Financial Literacy Using Cash
His first step? Toss out the traditional teaching methods of teaching finance for non-financial managers. He needed to explain basic business and financial principles in plain, relatable language. He cashed $1,000 in small bills and crumpled them into a plastic garbage bag. He gathered the staff and poured the crumpled bills onto a table in front of them.
“This is called revenue,” he said. He then put a handful of cash in a bucket labelled “wages.” He repeated the exercise with buckets labelled “materials”, “rent”, “maintenance” and “insurance.”.
And then, in front of his shocked employees, he tore up many of the remaining bills and threw them into a “waste” bucket. “Why are you so surprised?” he asked. ”You do this every day but just don’t see it.”
At the end of the demonstration, some cash remained on the table. Neville said, “what’s left on the table is profit.” He shifted some of the remaining cash towards the crowd and said, “This is for all of you for your hard work this year. The remainder is for the owners in return for all the financial risk they take to support the business.”
The group was stunned, but they finally understood the message of why and how to improve business processes – and increase their cash incentives.
Your Business Decisions Affect Profitability & Sustainability
After the meeting, Neville realized that knowing the “pieces” of how to make a business profitable (things like “reduce costs” and “increase sales”) was not enough. His employees needed to understand the principle of “cause & effect’ and how each decision could be financially successful in one part the business while having a negative impact on another. This newfound level of business acumen knowledge helped all stakeholders make more sound strategic decisions resulting in a dramatic improvement in profitability and sustainable free cash flow.
In 1997, after 8 years, he sold his interests back to the original owner and armed with that knowledge, Neville set out on a two year adventure of research and development to design a patented and award winning teaching tool that connects principles with practice via contextual, interactive learning.
After testing the concept with many different groups, he founded AME Learning (and subsequently Bizwisdom) that eventually became a global leader in providing financial literacy resources to universities and colleges throughout the world. He has since customized and trained more than 50,000 corporate people all over the globe. Some of his clients include: