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Good financial management is imperative. Your Board expects and demands it. You can be successful on the pitch but if your finances are in a perilous state, you’ll be heading down a troublesome road that many teams struggle to come back from. Furthermore, with ‘fair play’ rules and restrictions coming into effect in more and more competitions, it is imperative to have a firm grasp on the club’s fiscal responsibilities.

Basic Finances

These options largely deal with the day-to-day financial status of your club. The Summary screen gives you a quick and informative overview of how the club is doing, with particular attention on any rules and regulations you are obliged to adhere to. The Income and Expenditure screens display a detailed breakdown of the money coming in and going out on a monthly and seasonal basis. The Wages screen gives an indication of where your money is being spent throughout the squad – not an individual list but an analysis by squad status, while the FFP tab provides a full breakdown of all relevant Financial Fair Play rules and numbers.

The Debt and Loans tab contains information on all outstanding payments the club is required to make; the Sponsors and Other tab shows where and what is coming in from sponsorship streams, and finally the Projection tab offers a three-season forecast of the club’s financial situation.

It is very much worth taking some time throughout the season to check this section thoroughly to make sure you’re fiscally responsible. Some football league authorities punish teams who enter administration with a points deduction, and if things get seriously bad, creditors may take control of your team and accept any bids made on your players to alleviate the financial problems you are in.

Financial Fair Play

An increasing number of competitions across the footballing spectrum are implementing ‘financial fair play’ rules in a bid to retain/bring back some degree of parity to their competition – in theory, at least. If you’re involved in one, you will find regulations detailed in news items, on rule pages and on your finances screen so you can be fully abreast of the situation as it pertains to your club.

It’s important to be on top of your club’s financial position, as failure to adhere to rules in some leagues can lead to rather heavy punishments. There are regular Inbox updates from the Board projecting whether or not the club is likely to pass any checks, and the FFP screen itself is constantly up-to-date with the same information.

Successfully managing your finances

You also have the option of managing your wage and transfer budgets so that you may, for example, move some funds from one area to another to maximize the benefits you are able to make from your balance. To do this, navigate to the Club Vision screen and the ‘Budget Adjustment’ panel. Your Board indicate their thoughts on the matter, as well as any changes they are willing to allow you to make. Depending on the financial situation at the club, these changes may be restricted somewhat.

Otherwise, sensible financial management relies on you taking an active role in checking your Finances screen often and making sure you know where money is being spent. One common area some managers struggle with is how much money leaves the club in transfer deals; just because the fee is being spread over a certain number of months doesn’t mean that the money doesn’t have to be budgeted for immediately, and then there’s the loyalty bonus or the agent fee to factor in too. A few quick transfer deals in a short space of time – or a host of contract renewals all done together – can have a major impact on your finances.

If you’re on a tight budget and struggling to keep things balanced, pay attention to player wages, money being spent on scouting, and additional payments either due to players (bonuses, clauses) or other clubs (additional transfer payments). You can often negotiate a fee with the other club to buy out that clause and stop that money from going out, and you can attempt to renegotiate more favourable terms with your own players or, if needs be, sell them.

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