A new financial year brings new challenges and, while none of us can predict exactly what might happen in the next 12 months, a proactive approach to your business goals is a surefire way of setting yourself up for success.

Perfect your plan

We all know that planning is key to success, but we often overlook the main principles of what makes a plan successful. At its core, your plan for the new financial year should be an ambitious, yet realistic, representation of what you hope to achieve in the next 12 months. However, this balance between ambition and reality can be difficult to assess so far ahead of time, especially with the added pressure of having to set measurable KPIs months ahead of time.

One way of combating this issue is to set both short-term and long-term goals. Having several interlinking, short-term objectives – which can feed into overarching targets – will give your financial plan greater flexibility. For example, if one of your year-end objectives is to lower fleet expenses, consider setting bi-monthly targets that will allow you to reassess figures on a regular basis.

Staying agile during your planning phase will help later in the year when it comes to reassessing goals or reacting to changes in the industry.

Get the CFO onboard

There’s no hiding from it; planning for the financial year involves budgets, or more importantly, budget allocation. Each year, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is under pressure from the board or leadership to drive efficiency and maximize the working capital. After all, this is what makes your business profitable and therefore, supporting the CFO’s goals will help to push your department forward.

Getting alignment from the CFO is crucial for those managers who are looking for ways of improving their fleet, whether that’s through implementing proactive initiatives or investing in new technologies. Therefore, knowing your own numbers is vital. Take advantage of financial instruments, such as the transaction data and reporting available within Shell’s online card management program.

Update your toolkit

It’s easy to fall into bad habits with the tools we use on a daily basis, whether that’s aging equipment or an outdated budget tracker. Fortunately, with the industry constantly evolving, there is a new range of technologies that easily allow you to proactively manage your fleet year-round. And when it comes to shaping and achieving your financial goals, it’s in your best interest to keep up with these changes.

Take Shell’s online card management program, for example; which captures a wide variety of data each time a driver swipes their Shell Fleet CardTM. The data is then collected in the online portal, offering invaluable insights into the performance of your fleet.

Remember those KPIs you set during your planning phase? It’s tools like these that will help you to keep on top of those figures. Build these tools into your financial plan and let them do the heavy lifting for you.

Start the conversation

Technological advancements can help a business become more efficient, but it’s important not to forget the reason for any business being truly effective: its people. No team is at its best when each member is working in isolation; cooperation and transparency are a necessity when it comes to setting and achieving objectives. So, it’s no surprise that the most effective managers are those who value their team and take their opinions on board when making decisions about the business.

This should be no different when planning your fleet’s financial goals for the year, as their outcome will be largely dependent on your fleet drivers. An open and collaborative relationship amongst your team is the best way to achieve success in any business and can often prevent potential issues from arising in the future. Equally, with an industry that is evolving so quickly, being open to and encouraging change can be extremely beneficial. Consider employing regular review meetings or employee initiatives to create a culture of collaboration, safety and innovation.

We hope these tips have helped set you on the road to strategically shape and set your fleet’s financial goals for the new year.  For more information on industry tools and trends to plan for, download our free ‘Future of Fleet’ report.

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