For this week’s edition of FinanciElle “$tatements”, I had the opportunity to interview Meaghan Daly, Founder and President of Forward Vision Games.
Forward Vision Games creates cloud based financial simulation games that develop foundational financial skills like financial decision making and financial risk analysis. They are a flight simulator for Finance!
They provide solutions for High Schools, Higher Education, Entrepreneurship Programs, and Executive Education. They have a focus on Indigenous student success and engaging with community capacity building across Canada.
Paolina: Forward Vision Games is about changing the way financial literacy is taught, in your opinion what are the current issues with how financial literacy is taught and how can those issues be handled, both with the type of games you provide, and other resources?
A constant driving force behind Forward Vision Games (FVGames) is the fact that the financial world has changed and that we need to change how we teach it.
Financial literacy and more acutely, financial capacity skills, are now a key component of 21-century skills needed for a successful career and for accelerating a person’s trajectory towards their dreams.
Financial Literacy as a sector has had a lack of innovation for a long time that has lead to a significant data problem and a content problem. Those two key points have created competitive advantages for FVGames. Advancements in FinTech are changing the banking world quickly and I still come across programs discussing “balancing a cheque book”!
Many current financial literacy programs do little in measurement of outcomes and under utilize research available as to how people learn and develop skills. It is not uncommon to see a financial literacy program focus only on inputs like the number of people who “attended” and the number of topics mentioned. FVGames stands out by focusing on measuring the skills development by participants (what can they do now that they couldn’t before) and experiential learning based on research throughout our cloud based games. The best way to learn how to make financial decisions is to practice making them in a controlled and positive way. Our high outcomes prove that consistently.
Paolina: What are three things that every emerging entrepreneur should know/understand about finance?
The first thing is that a business owner can successfully outsource the financial organization and the development of financial statements for their company but they always need to be able to absorb the information and to integrate it into their overall decision making and planning. I am always amazed by the high number of people who can make financial statements and the small number of people who can read one. Great marketing or product development plan outcomes will never see the light of day if your company runs out of cash half way through.
The second thing is that the impacts of financial decisions directly affect all areas of a company and owners need to understand how the parts are connected. Finance should not be viewed as a section of the company in isolation. Successful companies are ones that have a laser focus on the next milestones and when properly aligned with finance, the goals can become well within reach.
The third item is that all decisions come down to a risk assessment. How financially risky is each option? What are the risks and what can you do about the risks? If you don’t understand the risks, you can’t mitigate them or even monitor them. Once you acknowledge the risk, you are closer to a successful outcome. Risk is actually where opportunity also usually is. Having your head in the sand about the financial risks of a pathway is basically just relying on luck.
Paolina: What has been your hardest experience dealing with your business and finance and what did you learn?
As a company, to date, we have struggled with raising capital and financing faster growth. That has forced us to focus very early on sales and creating the most direct line to revenue and cash flow possible. It has been a challenge at many junctures but what I have learned is that chasing shiny things, although encouraged by many trendsetters and funding groups, is a fast way to end up with a company that can’t continue. We have not had the luxury of distractions or veering off our long game. In the short term, I think we are often viewed as simple or even “missing out”; but, I now see that it has been the key to our survival as well as a building block to our long-term success.