What is Financial Health? Learn Everything You Need to Know from a CFO

June 11, 2024

Financial health is the cornerstone of any successful business. It captures the ability to effectively manage finances, maintain liquidity, and make strategic decisions that lead to long-term stability and growth.

In this comprehensive guide, I, Shalini Dharna, a financial advisor, CPA & CFO, will explore everything you need to know about maintaining healthy finances.

What is Financial Health?

Financial health refers to the overall state of a business’s financial well-being. It goes beyond simply looking at revenue and profit margins; it involves assessing various financial metrics and indicators to measure the company’s stability and sustainability.

Here are some pillars of a good financial status that everyone should maintain.

What are the Pillars of Financial Health?

There are four pillars of financial health that are considered to manage the good wealth status of a business or individual.

Spend: This involves creating and sticking to a budget that tracks your income and expenses.

Save: This means building an emergency fund and saving for future goals.

Borrow: This involves managing debt wisely and using it strategically when necessary.

Plan: This refers to setting financial goals and creating a roadmap to achieve them, including retirement planning.

What are Key Metrics for Financial Health?

The financial health of a business or individual can be accessed through several key metrics. These metrics can be broadly categorized into 4 areas:

Cash Flow

Imagine cash flow as the blood of your business. It’s the continuous movement of money in and out. Positive cash flow means you have enough coming in to cover your expenses, invest in growth, and pay off debt. It’s crucial to monitor cash flow regularly.

Techniques like creating a cash flow forecast can help you anticipate any shortfalls and ensure you have enough liquid assets to meet your obligations.


Revenue is great, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Profitability measures how efficiently your business turns sales into actual profits.  Think of it as the money left over after all your expenses are paid.

Key metrics like gross profit margin (the percentage of profit from the cost of goods sold) and net profit margin (the percentage of profit from total revenue) give you a clear picture of your profitability. This helps you identify areas for improvement, like optimizing expenses or increasing sales prices.

Debt Management

Debt can be a tool for growth, but it needs careful management. This involves keeping an eye on your debt levels, interest rates, and repayment schedules. The goal is to avoid becoming overutilized, where your debt burden becomes too heavy to manage. 

A healthy debt-to-equity ratio (total debt compared to shareholder equity) indicates a good balance between debt financing and your own capital.

Working Capital

Working capital is like having a readily available financial buffer for your short-term needs. It’s calculated by subtracting current liabilities (debts due within a year) from current assets (cash and assets that can be easily converted to cash). 

Having adequate working capital ensures you can cover your day-to-day operational expenses and meet short-term obligations without stressing. This helps maintain a smooth flow of business operations.

Useful Insights from a Chief Financial Officer

As a seasoned chief financial officer (CFO), I, Shalini Dharna, provide valuable insights into achieving and maintaining financial health. Here are a few of them to keep in mind…

Focus on Cash Flow: I emphasize the importance of prioritizing cash flow management. Always remember, “Positive cash flow is the lifeblood of any business; without it, even profitable companies can run into trouble.”

Strategic Budgeting: I stress the significance of strategic budgeting to allocate resources effectively. There are many guides but we need to find what works for you!. Keep in mind that “budgeting shouldn’t just be about cutting costs; it should align with the company’s goals and support growth initiatives.”

Risk Management: Identifying and mitigating risks is another key aspect of financial health. “From market volatility to operational challenges, every business faces risks,” and a proactive risk management strategy can help minimize the impact.”

Continuous Monitoring: I always advise regular monitoring of financial performance to identify trends and opportunities for improvement. “Don’t wait until the end of the quarter or year to review financials; frequent monitoring allows for timely course corrections.”

4 Effective Strategies for Improving your Financial Health

Feeling the squeeze financially? You’re not alone. As taking control of your finances is within reach! Let’s dive into 4 powerful strategies to improve your financial health and build a secure future.

Increase Revenue Streams

Expanding revenue streams can reduce dependence on a single source of income and improve financial health. I understand this is easier said than done!

Reduce Expenses

Identify areas where expenses can be trimmed without sacrificing quality or efficiency. This could involve renegotiating contracts, optimizing processes, or eliminating non-essential spending.

Debt Reduction

Develop a plan to pay down debt systematically, starting with high-interest obligations. Refinancing or consolidating debt may also be options to consider.

Build Reserves

Establishing a financial cushion through savings or a line of credit can provide security during economic downturns or unexpected expenses.

End Note!

Financial health is essential for the long-term success of any business. By understanding key metrics, following expert advice, and implementing strategic initiatives, business owners like you can ensure your company remains financially resilient.

Checkout my self-curated financial programs for business owners and individuals, which help navigate challenges and thrive amazingly, even if you think, “Seriously, it was that easy.”

Wish you best of luck!

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