A Learning and Training Tool for Understanding Worker Cooperative Finances

Lynn Pitman, Tyler Quist, and Anne Reynolds
Affiliated Organization: 
University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives

This learning and training tool has been developed for member education and board training about basic worker cooperative finance. It consists of a document and a set of linked spreadsheets that allow users to explore the relationship between the primary financial statements that are used for business reporting and decision-making.

The document describes a simplified, fictional worker-owned cafe and coffee shop, and the business assumptions that drive the financial reports in the spreadsheets.  Users can easily change spreadsheet assumptions about business conditions, or financial decisions by the board or management, and see the effects of these changes flow through to the financial statements.

The document also presents several scenarios in which the worker cooperative must decide whether to proceed with an expansion, how to finance it, and whether to change its salary structure.   The spreadsheets allow the user to test out different assumptions and approaches, and see the financial effects of these decisions.

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