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Empowering Your Start-up Team Through Financial Literacy: The Power of Lunch & Learn Sessions

finance leadership hr relationships start-ups & fast growth businesses Dec 01, 2023

With both start-ups and scale-ups, the value of financial literacy extends far beyond the finance department.

Imagine a team where every member, from the most junior role to non-finance managers and directors, understands the financial underpinnings of your business.

This blog post explores the potential of introducing 'Lunch & Learn' sessions, aimed at enhancing financial literacy across your start-up team that not only benefits the company, but also your visibility and aligns well with training for becoming a CFO.

The Concept of Lunch & Learn:

Lunch & Learn sessions are informal training events, typically lasting about 30 minutes + Q&A, where team members from various departments gather to learn about a topic while enjoying lunch.

This relaxed setting is perfect for breaking down complex subjects like finance into digestible, engaging lessons.

For start-ups, this can be a game-changer in fostering a financially aware culture.

Why Financial Literacy Matters for Everyone:

Financial literacy is not just for finance professionals.

When team members understand financial concepts, they can see the bigger picture of how their work impacts the business.

This understanding is crucial for non-finance managers and directors who make decisions affecting the company's financial health. It promotes a sense of ownership and responsibility, which is vital in a startup environment.

Content ideas of Finance for non-finance Sessions:
A session can cover topics ranging from basic financial terms to more advanced concepts. Sessions can include:

  • Understanding Financial Statements: Teaching how to read and interpret balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements.  As you can use the businesses financial statements, its easier to explain and more engaging.
  • Budgeting and Forecasting: Explaining the process and its impact on the business.  How this impacts the entire business, not just each individual department
  • Financial Ratios and KPIs: Discussing key metrics that non-finance teams can track and influence.  It's also a good idea to introduce the financial KPIs that assess the business as a whole.

Be mindful to keep any confidential information outside of these sessions and that any "real" data is perhaps 6-24 months old and isn't all bad news.  You want to encourage the team, not have them walk away thinking it's all doom and gloom!

Benefits of Financial Training:

  1. Enhanced Decision-Making: Employees gain the knowledge to make informed decisions, understanding their ripple effect on the company’s financial health.  They also may have a better idea of what the leadership team are trying to achieve.
  2. Increased Engagement: Understanding how one’s role fits into the broader business context can significantly boost motivation and job satisfaction.  Hopefully they can see how their department and role affects the bigger picture.
  3. Better Communication: It bridges the gap between finance and non-finance teams, fostering clearer and more effective communication across departments.  This is incredibly important for business partnering and developing relationships.

To ensure the effectiveness of your finance for non-finance sessions, here are some additional strategies:

  1. Tailor the Content: Understand the background of your audience. For example, finance for non-finance managers sessions should be structured differently from those aimed at potential CFOs. Begin with the basics and gradually build up to more complex concepts.

    If you have larger teams - you could invite, for example on department at a time.  Then you can demonstrate how their roles feed into the overall picture.
  2. Use Real Examples: As mentioned, utilise real-life scenarios or case studies relevant to your start-up. This makes the learning process relatable and practical, helping team members connect the dots between theory and the real-world.

  3. Engage Finance Team Members: Involve your finance team in conducting these sessions. This not only ensures the information is accurate but also helps build rapport between different departments.  

    It's also a good way of developing your more junior members of the team communication & presentational skills.
  4. Measure Impact: Gather feedback and assess the effectiveness of these sessions. This will help you refine future sessions and ensure they remain relevant and engaging.


Leadership buy-in is crucial for the success of these initiatives. As a leader, actively participating in and promoting these sessions demonstrates a commitment to fostering a financially literate culture.

Encouraging open discussions about financial matters and recognising team members who apply their learning effectively can further reinforce the value of these sessions.

These sessions also boost your visibility around the business.  


 Investing in financial literacy training can yield long-term benefits for your start-up:

  • Cultivates a Proactive Workforce: Employees who understand financial implications are more likely to proactively contribute to the company’s financial health.
  • Facilitates Scalability: As your business grows, having a team well-versed in financial management can ease the scaling process.
  • Attracts Talent: A culture that values continuous learning and development can attract high-calibre professionals.

By implementing 'Lunch & Learn' sessions focused on finance for non-finance people, you are not just educating your team; you are equipping them to play a more significant role in your start-up’s success story. 


  1. Try our Quiz!  Financial Leadership Foundations Scorecard.  
  2. Register for the mini-course, Upgrade your Management Accounts and get noticed by the business 
  3. Work with me in the Financial Leadership Foundations course  that includes monthly Q&A sessions where we can discuss all of your questions and how to apply your learnings to your current role. 
  4. Work with me as a Founder needing guidance and support from experienced Finance leaders. Take a look at our guide on Outsourced bookkeeping.



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