Financial Management Basics for Small Firms: How to Improve Profitability


Design firms operate in an unpredictable environment. An unexpected issue on a project or a particularly difficult client can sometimes have a disastrous impact on firm profitability. These situations are often beyond the control of a practitioner. Bad things do happen to good architects, even when they follow all best practices.

Nevertheless, it is still possible to improve profitability through taking action in arenas where firm leaders do have some control. This live session describes four essential actions necessary to becoming more profitable: controlling scope creep, improving work processes, balancing staff skill with work types, and charging higher fees. With input from a small firm owner, practical methods for addressing each of these issues will be outlined, including an introduction to important financial management concepts. Time will be set aside for participant questions in a live, real-time forum.

Hosted by the Small Firm Exchange (SFx).

Learning objectives

  • Learn to use key financial indicators to help determine appropriate fees and billing rates.
  • Understand how to minimize scope creep and over-delivery.
  • Gain insight on how to improve work processes to make them more effective.
  • Understand the impact of staffing balance on profitability, relative to the type of work performed.

This session was recorded live on June 10, 2021.

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 $45  non-member
 $30  member
1.00 LU
  • RIBA


  • Colin Arnold headshot

    Colin Arnold


    Principal | Arnold Design Studio

    Colin Arnold believes in design for all. For more than 16 years, he managed CHP Design Studio—a...
  • Rena M. Klein Headshot

    Rena M. Klein


    Vice President of Investment Partnerships | Charrette Venture Group

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  • Chris Schmitt Headshot

    Chris Schmitt


    Founding Partner | RoehrSchmitt Architecture

    Chris Schmitt has been practicing architecture for 35 years and is one of the founding partners at...