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The Ultimate Guide To Business Financial Planning

The ultimate guide to business financial planning.

Every business wants to accomplish its own set of long and short-term goals. Yes, some goals are more relevant than others, and the hierarchy is unique to the organization. Still, one of the biggest things companies aim for is financial stability for the long term.

Having a comprehensive financial plan is crucial if you want your business to go from where it is now to where you want it to be. Many factors affect a business’s finances, from decisions in management to profits to accounts receivable turnover. As owner or finance leader of the firm, you’d want to make sure that your organization always stays on top of its finances.

This article will discuss the significance of financial planning and how you can create one for your business. 

What is Financial Planning? 

Simply put, financial planning involves a comprehensive evaluation of your company’s current financial health so you can lay out financial objectives and the strategies your company will use to achieve those objectives. You can use these evaluations to create favorable projections that your company can aim for. Typically, a financial plan is a component of your overall business plan, which you tweak over time to align with your current goals. 

In your financial plan, company management and investors can view critical information regarding your company’s growth strategy. It includes essential details such as sales projections, cash flow projections, your expenses budget, and other information that can guide those involved to make informed decisions. As more and more companies embrace digitization, the use of financial management software in budgeting and planning slowly becomes the norm. By pairing it with robust accounts receivable management software, your business increases its efficiency in cash flow management.

Why is Financial Planning Essential For Your Business?

Every business experiences ups and downs as it goes along its journey. With the pandemic still going on, organizations must work harder and innovate to remain standing. A recent survey shows that six in 10 Singapore businesses are barely making ends meet amid the pandemic-induced volatility. When things go downhill, you must find a way to pull through. Your financial plan can come in handy as you navigate the rollercoaster of running a business. It can serve as a road map to your business’s monetary success, nudging you about your short-term and long-term financial objectives from time to time.

A financial plan sets your short and long-term financial goals in a timeline that you can follow. By organizing it into small chunks of steps, you can focus on single actions that accumulate into significant gains.

What Does Your Financial Plan Tell You?

Whether you’re a new business or an established corporation, keeping track of your financial growth and success is vital. Your financial plan reveals two principal details: your current financial data and your expected financial outcome in the future.

Your company’s financial plan lays out the following:

  • Where your business is right now in terms of finances and where you want it to be. 
  • The strategies you will use to generate your ideal income 
  • Your expected profits and future revenue stream
  • How your business will keep ahead of the competition
  • Your projected business growth on an annual basis
  • How your business will make the most out of existing capital and assets
  • The current and expected state of your cash flow
  • How you will handle common problems such as dormant financial receivables  

How Do Financial Plans Guide Your Company?

All this information is vital for you, your team, and various entities and individuals who can provide value for your company. Complementing your business plan with a comprehensive financial strategy can help justify why your business is good. 

All of the information found on your business’s financial plan allows you to:

  • Attract potential investors and funding to your company
  • Secure business loans from lenders
  • Have benchmark forecasts that you can strive to meet and exceed.
  • Better allocate resources and manage liabilities such as debt
  • Determine if your business is still viable or not
  • Protect your business by planning for the unexpected.

If you’re just starting out on your entrepreneurial journey, your financial plan can inform you whether your business is feasible or if you’re just taking an uncalculated risk. 

How to Create a Solid Business Financial Plan?

Your financial business plan should properly supplement your company’s overall business plan. Just like every other section of your business plan, your financial plan is not set in stone. You can modify it anytime for the right reasons. Remember that while the details written on your financial plan are crucial, at the end of the day, what you do with those details is what counts the most.

Here are the steps you can create or recreate your company’s financial business plan:

1. Conduct Research and Develop a Strategy

Everything starts with doing your homework, especially if you’re a startup since you won’t have any past data to gather information. This process goes hand in hand with the development of your overall plan. Before calculating any information to make predictions on the financial plan, you must put every other integral business component in place. This includes your business’s:

  • Operating procedures for activities
  • Products or services
  • Target audience
  • Market research
  • Market strategy
  • Predefined budget and expenses 

After outlining the core components of your business, you can now develop a plan to carry it towards financial growth using a predefined budget. By laying out what your company wants to achieve, you can determine the most productive steps towards it. You can answer questions such as how you’ll acquire financing, what level of talent you would need to source, and how to improve accounts receivable turnover. 

2. Create Financial Projections

Your business must have something good to look forward to in the future to attract investors. Financial projections show an estimate of your future revenues, expenses, profits, and net worth. It provides three essential points, a forward-looking income statement, a balance sheet, and a cash flow statement.  

  • Income Statement

A projection of this financial statement shows your anticipated revenue, expenses, and profit after the end of a specific period. By calculating your expected sales and the cost of those sales, you can reveal if your business can be sustainable.

  • Balance Sheet

A balance sheet forecast reveals your anticipated assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity during a particular point in the future. Ultimately, it shows what you expect your business to be worth during that future period.

  • Cash Flow Statement

This forecast shows the outlook of cash movement in and out of your business. By projecting a smooth cash flow (more money moving in than coming out), you can impress investors and lenders to stand by your company. 

Cash is what will eventually drive your company forward. At any point in your business’s life, having excellent cash flow gives you more flexibility to do the things that allow you to expand and grow. 

By examining past and present results to forecast growth, you can set realistic goals, formulate sound decisions, and tackle unexpected challenges. When gathering data and organizing your projections, financial forecasting software can help ease the process. 

Here at Peakflo, we have integrated our advanced accounts receivable management software with an intuitive forecasting tool, making it easier for you to anticipate your business’s most valued KPI – liquidity. 

3. Keep Track of Progress

Having a benchmark to aim for allows you to create straight pathways towards the results you want. After expressing your goals in clear and definite numbers, you can now monitor your progress and determine if it’s spinning in the right direction. 

You can always generate financial statements at any time and start comparing past results to your current. Yes, compiling detailed reports on paper can be intimidating, especially if you have to do it on the spot. However, you can simplify the process by utilizing financial management software to generate reports and forecasts quickly.  

4. Plan for the Unexpected

It’s not uncommon to run into uncertainty when running a business. But, now that you have developed your financial game plan and its supplementing forecasts, you can now review every detail to identify vulnerabilities and weak spots. For example, suppose you know that your business will eventually have to deal with b2b accounts receivables. In that case, you can brainstorm ways to maintain cash in the bank early on so that when cash flow takes an unexpected twist, you’ll have enough reserves to keep everything going.

Enhance Financial Planning with Business Financial Planning Software

Conventional tools such as spreadsheets might work if you’re just starting out in getting your finances together. However, as your business grows and expands, so will the demands for more streamlined financial management and team collaboration approaches.

By complementing your financial planning and management with software, you can begin to automate tasks that would otherwise take more time and effort. You’ll also be able to seamlessly retrieve gathered data to create your essential reports and projections.

How Can Peakflo Help?

Integrating cash management and AR platform with your existing financial tool puts you in a better position to maintain your ideal cash flow. With Peakflo, you can increase the efficiency of your AR operation, ultimately allowing you to get paid sooner rather than later. We also offer valuable tools that improve team collaboration and productivity so you can be sure that your finances stay in the right direction.

Connect your accounting software and start automating your accounts receivables with Peakflo today!  

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Run » finance, 5 financial planning tools for small businesses.

These financial planning tools improve data analysis, help mitigate risk, and make it easier to budget for the future.

 A businessman sits at a table. He is holding a notebook in his left hand. He has papers spread out on the table in front of him and a laptop. He is reviewing financial data.

Financial planning software encompasses a range of tools that assist with budgeting, forecasting, cash flow analysis, and tax strategy. These software programs empower small business owners to make better decisions around resource allocation and growth, extracting deeper insights from the data found on your profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash-flow financial statements.

The right financial planning tool can make it much easier to manage your finances and glean information on your business’s performance. The tools on this list are good options for small business owners seeking affordable, user-friendly financial planning options.

Prophix ’s Financial Performance Platform offers financial insights as well as streamlined workflows and data security controls. Prophix’s budgeting and planning, reporting, analytics, and financial consolidation features give you more control over your financial performance. Built-in automation and artificial intelligence (AI) also eliminate manual, error-prone tasks.

“Prophix puts a lot of focus on small and medium businesses, and their large customer base reflects that,” wrote The Finance Weekly . Prophix also has high ratings from users on Gartner’s Peer Insights .

Datarails is considered one of the best-priced options for small businesses: Its pricing is tailored according to your needs and based on what you wish to achieve. Mix and match features like financial reporting, planning, and analysis with plans based on the number of users and integrations you require.

Datarails also includes automation and AI to speed up financial planning tasks, with one notable difference. Users can keep their existing Excel financial models and spreadsheets and use AI to automate repetitive processes. “The result is an extremely short implementation time of only 6-10 weeks and a high level of ROI off the bat,” wrote The Finance Weekly . If you’re looking for a quick, user-friendly solution, Datarails could be a good fit.

[Read more: Do You Need Financial Projection Software? ]

If you’re looking for a single source of insight for your business, Anaplan could be a good fit.

Anaplan was ranked one of the top financial planning software options by Gartner in 2023. This tool offers access to a wide range of data sources, including transactional and operational data. It also includes features to monitor performance and scale while mitigating risk across the financial planning process.

Anaplan also includes capabilities for functions outside of finance, such as sales, marketing, supply chain management, and HR. If you’re looking for a single source of insight for your business, Anaplan could be a good fit. Alternatively, you can choose to only sign up for the financial planning tools while forgoing the other options. Bear in mind that because this tool is so advanced, pricing is likely to be higher than others on this list.

Workday Adaptive Planning

Workday Adaptive Planning is also a top choice from Gartner and is highly reviewed by existing users: Ninety-four percent of reviewers would recommend this financial planning tool.

You may already be familiar with Workday’s HR solutions; Adaptive Planning is part of Workday’s overall enterprise management cloud, a suite of tools that help run your business. Users can access Adaptive Planning as a stand-alone tool or add it to their Workday account. Regardless, Workday Adaptive Planning integrates with any data source from over 300 unique systems.

“Workday Adaptive Planning includes features for flexible budgeting, modeling, forecasting coupled with workforce, sales, and operational planning for total oversight of business performance,” wrote Wise .

Board offers what the brand calls “intelligent planning” software — predictive analytics and financial planning tools that unify metrics, analytics, and reports in one place. It’s highly customizable with prebuilt dashboards and reports that can be configured and added with no coding experience.

Board is also industry agnostic, with clients in retail, supply chain management, sales, finance, and more. Reviewers also say that Board has great customer support and releases new features according to user feedback. Try Board if you know what features you need and want something specific to solve your financial planning challenges.

[Read more: Writing Business Plan Financials? Include These 3 Statements ]

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Strategic Role of Financial Management

Home » EasyHSC | Australia’s Best HSC Preparation Resources » EasyBiz | HSC Business Studies » Finance » Role of Financial Management » Strategic Role of Financial Management

  • Financial management must provide the financial resources to allow the implementation of a business’ strategic plan.
  • A strategic plan outlines goals, objectives and future direction of a business.
  • Financial resources ensure the business continues to grow and is able to achieve its goals and objectives.
  • Financial management deals with the analysis, interpretation and evaluation of all financial records of the business
  • The range of activities involved in the strategic management of financial resources include:
  • Setting policies and procedures regarding cash and credit controls
  • Determining the mix of equity and debt finance raising
  • Budgeting, including monitoring actual and planned performance
  • Record keeping and analysis through the use of financial statements and ratios
  • Implementing financial controls
  • Taxation management

Extract from Business Studies Stage 6 Syllabus. © 2010 Board of Studies NSW.

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Based in South Wimbledon , London, we help individuals and business owners at all stages of their financial planning cycle. We can help, wherever you are in the UK. We understand that you time is precious, so we offer telephone, email, office-based and home visits at a time to suit you.

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Sound financial planning requires attention to every area of your lifestyle, from retirement and education planning to insurance analysis and charitable giving. HSC Wealth Advisors provides our clients with objective advice using extensive industry knowledge, depth and breadth of expertise. We put your best interests behind every decision, and that’s why we only accept compensation from our clients — never from product sponsors.

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Things are going badly for Ukraine — really badly

  • Ukraine is experiencing serious problems in fighting Russia's invasion.
  • It's running low on troops and ammo, and top commanders are squabbling.
  • However, Ukraine is hoping to boost its domestic weapons production.

Insider Today

As the second anniversary of Russia's unprovoked invasion approaches, the situation is beginning to look bleak for Ukraine.

Last year's counteroffensive brought hopes that Ukraine could capitalize on its successes in 2022 and drive back Russian forces from occupied territories in southern and eastern Ukraine.

But the offensive failed to achieve a breakthrough , and Ukraine is now seeing crucial support from its allies bleed away. Meanwhile, its troops are experiencing shortages of personnel and ammunition.

There are problems at the top, too. Its senior command has been engulfed in chaos, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy replacing Valery Zaluzhny , a senior commander, amid reported disagreements over strategy.

'It's just relentless pressure'

At the heart of Ukraine's problems is diminishing international aid. Ukraine has previously said it may not be able to successfully defend itself against Russia without US help.

The Senate on Tuesday passed a $95 billion emergency defense-aid bill that could help Ukraine . But the bill must go to the House of Representatives, where Republicans are expected to seek to block it.

In the meantime, Ukrainian troops are having to restrict their ammunition use, and in some parts of the front line, they're being outgunned three to one, Bloomberg reported recently .

US-supplied guns such as the howitzer are falling silent near Bakhmut — a city that has been the site of months of brutal combat — because of shell shortages, CNN reported .

Personnel problems are also growing. Among the core disagreements between Zelenskyy and Zaluzhny was recruitment, with the former military chief saying Ukraine needed to massively boost the number of people being drafted into the military, while the president was concerned about the impact on already fragile national morale.

But the replacement of Zaluzhny "will be deeply unpopular across the Ukrainian military," Ryan Evans, the publisher of War on the Rocks , said on the site's eponymous podcast.

"I'm not sure how appointing someone new fixes any of these big questions on mobilization and what the Ukrainian strategy should be," he added.

A battalion commander in eastern Ukraine recently told The Washington Post that his unit, which was deployed in the trenches to hold off Russian attacks, was 40 strong when it should be 200 strong. The report said new recruits were often inexperienced and undertrained.

These challenges are creating serious consequences on the front line. According to reports, Ukraine is struggling to fight off Russian attacks, particularly around the city of Avdiivka in Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. The city's mayor last week highlighted Russia's intensifying attacks , saying they were "pressing from all directions."

"It's just relentless pressure," Patrick Bury, a military analyst at the UK's University of Bath, told Business Insider.

Michael Kofman, an analyst at the nonprofit CNA, recently told the "War on the Rocks" podcast there's a "good chance" that Ukraine would lose the city.

The long-term plan

Russia is also suffering huge casualties and, Bury said, still hasn't mastered effective combined arms maneuvers. Ubiquitous drone surveillance is hampering any ability to amass enough tanks to break through, he added.

The difference is that Russia, with its larger economy and population, is positioning itself to bear the losses for the long haul. It has placed its economy on a war footing, massively increasing its production of weapons and ammunition and receiving Shahed attack drones from Iran and ballistic missiles and ammunition from North Korea.

It has replenished its troop numbers partly by offering recruits relatively large pay packets and partly through military drafts.

Ukraine, meanwhile, is struggling to produce enough ammunition and equipment to meet the needs of its military to make up for the shortfall from the US, and its European allies missed their target of producing 1 million shells for its military by January.

One response has been to ramp up domestic defense production, particularly with drones. "This is the way out," Zelenskyy told The Associated Press in December .

Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov told Reuters that in 2024, Ukraine would produce thousands of long-range drones capable of striking deep within Russia.

So far, Ukraine's use of drone strikes in Russia has been "more of a harassment than a real cost to the Russians," Bury told BI, adding: "But it does show you what they can do if they've developed their own drones, which have longer flight times and a higher payload."

Military research and development is booming, and several European companies have announced joint ventures in Ukraine, Al Jazeera reported .

But this all may be cold comfort for a front line that's inevitably outnumbered, making — in the face of stalled US support — what one unnamed defense official called "a very grim scenario," the Financial Times reported .

A senior NATO diplomat told the paper: "It is a desperate situation on the front lines for the Ukrainians, far worse than they are letting on."

A bright spot in the Black Sea

While it struggles on land, Ukraine's ability to subdue Russia in the Black Sea is an area of ongoing success. About 20% of Russia's Black Sea Fleet has been destroyed , the UK's defense minister, Grant Shapps, said in December.

That's no mean achievement for a country without a functioning navy of its own.

Not every vessel struck by Ukraine would have had a meaningful impact on the ground war, but the actions still come with benefits. Firstly, Ukrainian ports have been able to continue shipping grain — not back up to prewar levels but enough to provide a vital economic boost.

Secondly — and particularly after strikes on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters at Sevastopol last year — Crimea itself is becoming "increasingly vulnerable," Basil Germond, a maritime-security expert at the UK's Lancaster University, told BI.

"It's a political blow to Putin because this contradicts its narrative of Crimea being a 'normal' part of the Russian state," he said.

This matters: Control over the peninsula is a cornerstone of Putin's conception of Russia.

Is this a solution to Ukraine's ground offensive? "No, it isn't," Kofman told the "War on the Rocks" podcast. "But it's a very big bright spot in the story for last year, which otherwise has sort of been a year of missed opportunities."

Putin is 'sitting pretty'

There remains hope that US aid will begin to flow again, despite the opposition from former President Donald Trump and some Republicans.

But Putin has gotten a morale boost from the former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who in a recent interview gave the Russian leader free rein to spread propaganda about Russia's invasion at a moment seemingly perfectly timed to exact huge damage on US support for Ukraine .

With the prospect of another Trump presidency next year, Putin is "sitting pretty," Bury told BI. The chance of the US shutting off Ukraine aid altogether offers "a path to victory for Putin now where there wasn't for a good while," he said.

"But it always comes back to this: What do we want to do?" he added. "Do we want to see a democracy crushed by an autocracy? Where does the West draw the line here?"

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Watch: What's next for the war in Ukraine?

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Barclays reveals revival plan to woo investors as profits fall

Investors give a positive reaction to the chief executive's strategy update that aims to tackle many barriers identified by top shareholders.

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Business reporter @SkyNewsBiz

Tuesday 20 February 2024 13:31, UK

FILE PHOTO: A view shows signage on a branch of Barclays Bank in London, Britain, March 17, 2023. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

Barclays has revealed a revival plan to shore up support among investors that includes cutting costs and risk while bolstering returns.

The UK-based lender's shake-up, that Sky News reported last month had already resulted in 5,000 job losses , will also see an overhaul of management, some business disposals and £10bn returned to shareholders over three years.

A total of £3bn was planned for 2023 - up 37% on the previous year.

The plan was announced as Barclays reported a 6% decline in annual pre-tax profits to £6.6bn.

Shares, down by more than 3% in the year to date ahead of the updates, rose by 6% at the open.

Chief executive CS Venkatakrishnan, known as Venkat, told investors: "Our new three-year plan... is designed to further improve Barclays' operational and financial performance, driving higher returns, and predictable, attractive shareholder distributions."

He had previously pledged to listen to a growing number of investors seeking a streamlined business model and improved returns as the bank's share price lagged those of rivals.

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Venkat was head of global markets at Barclays ahead of his appointment in November 2021. Pic: Barclays

A top complaint has been Barclays' reliance on its high cost and high risk investment banking arm for profitability.

That business has attracted greater regulatory scrutiny industry wide since the financial crash of 2008, becoming even more vulnerable in times of economic uncertainty.

Its corporate and investment bank income fell by 4% to £12bn in 2023 as client activity dipped.

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Barclays said it would simplify its business through the creation of five divisions, boosting accountability in the process, with more investment money being directed at its UK consumer arm.

The company moved to strengthen its domestic retail bank earlier this month when it agreed to buy the bulk of Tesco Bank's operations in a deal worth up to £1bn.

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John Moore, senior investment manager at RBC Brewin Dolphin, said of the bank's update: "Barclays has a habit of delivering mixed news - and today's results are no different.

"While the bank's results for last year are more or less in line with expectations, they are still behind 2022.

"Plans to make cost reductions and revise its corporate structure should help drive improved profitability in the next few years, underpinning shareholder returns of £10bn.

"The acquisition of Tesco Bank also looks like a good, low-risk deal in terms of overlap, cost savings, and gaining some market share.

"Barclays is in a reasonable position and appears to be cautiously optimistic about the future, but execution of the plan set out today will be key to its performance."


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The Judge Who Dealt a Huge Financial Blow to Trump

For more than three years, Justice Arthur F. Engoron has been ruling against the former president. On Friday, he handed Donald J. Trump a loss in his civil fraud trial.

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Arthur Engoron sits at his bench, looking over a laptop computer.

By Kate Christobek and Jonah E. Bromwich

During closing arguments at Donald J. Trump’s civil fraud trial, Arthur F. Engoron, the judge who has overseen the case for more than three years, made what might have been an unusual comment for any other jurist.

Justice Engoron, a lean 74-year-old with an unruly mop of white hair, acknowledged that his control of the courtroom had not been perfect.

He had allowed repetitive objections from Mr. Trump’s lawyers, despite protests by the New York attorney general’s office, which brought the case. He had often ignored Mr. Trump’s violations of courtroom decorum. At one point, the judge recalled, he had even let a witness answer his mobile phone while on the stand.

Despite all that, he warned the lawyers, “I don’t want you to think I’m a pushover.”

No one is likely to think so now. Justice Engoron on Friday ruled against the former president , finding that he had orchestrated a conspiracy to inflate his net worth , penalizing him $355 million and instituting a three-year ban from running his family business. Despite his absurdist humor and good cheer, the judge showed himself in the end to be a very serious man.

It was the culmination of what was surely one of the more intense periods of Justice Engoron’s professional life. During the trial, he contended with repeated anonymous antisemitic attacks on his family and on his law clerk, Allison Greenfield, and with threats to his own life. Last month, he was roused early one morning to find that a bomb squad had been dispatched to his Long Island home to respond to a report that turned out to be a hoax .

But despite the attacks, and his own clear desire for harmonious proceedings, Justice Engoron consistently came down hard on the former president. On Friday, he continued his streak of lacerating rulings.

financial planning hsc business

The Civil Fraud Ruling on Donald Trump, Annotated

Former President Donald J. Trump was penalized $355 million plus interest and banned for three years from serving in any top roles at a New York company, including his own, in a ruling on Friday by Justice Arthur F. Engoron.

Justice Engoron was an unlikely antagonist for the former president, who has repeatedly denounced him as a Democratic stooge. He is a former cabdriver and music instructor who served in the New York judiciary for more than 15 years before presiding over Mr. Trump’s bench trial. He served as both judge and jury, which the statute under which the lawsuit was brought requires.

He first began overseeing the case in 2020, and over the months, a dualistic approach emerged: He was solicitous in the courtroom, and scathing in written decisions.

In February 2022, for example, he supervised an explosive hearing at which he and Ms. Greenfield focused on keeping the peace. They listened with equanimity as lawyers for Mr. Trump protested that their client should not be subject to questioning under oath.

Then, in his written ruling, Justice Engoron did not hold back, asserting that the attorney general, Letitia James, had found “copious evidence of possible financial fraud” — evidence that he wrote justified the questioning. A couple of months later, he held Mr. Trump in contempt of court for failing to fully respond to a subpoena, eventually penalizing him $110,000 .

Justice Engoron moved directly into the spotlight last September, the week before the civil fraud trial started. In a pretrial ruling, he delivered a devastating blow to Mr. Trump, finding that his annual financial statements — which contained representations of his net worth — were filled with fraud .

On the morning of opening arguments, Mr. Trump entered the courtroom ready for a fight, telling the reporters in the hallway that he’d soon be on trial in front of a “rogue” judge. Minutes later, Justice Engoron took the bench and, with Mr. Trump seated before him, seemed wholly unfazed: One of his first comments was a joke about the pronunciation of his own name.

“I’m Judge Arthur Engoron, and that is the correct pronunciation of my surname,” he said. “En-GOR-on, not EN-go-ron or, even worse, En-GU-ron.”

He looked amused as photographers captured Mr. Trump scowling at the defense table, and he posed when they turned their lenses on him. Hours later, videos of Justice Engoron smiling at the cameras set to the theme song of the sitcom “Full House” would be played thousands of times on TikTok .

His lighthearted demeanor persisted. He joked as the photographers snapped similar pictures of Mr. Trump each day, commenting, “You look the same.” He said that he wanted history books to mention his vigor as he bounded up the stairs to the bench. He bantered with his court staff and offered lawyers well wishes on their birthdays.

The judge’s tone lent itself to a permissive atmosphere, and Mr. Trump and his legal team quickly capitalized. They routinely delivered long speeches lamenting the unfairness of the proceedings. They persuaded Justice Engoron to allow hours of testimony from expert witnesses, over the protestations of the attorney general’s office. Justice Engoron even permitted Donald Trump Jr. to deliver a glowing slide presentation about his family’s real estate holdings.

“Let him go ahead and talk about how great the Trump Organization is,” Justice Engoron said.

More than two hours later, the eldest Trump son had discussed his family’s history in real estate dating to the Yukon gold rush, along with the interiors of Trump Tower and his father’s love of golf. As the attorney general’s lawyers bristled, Justice Engoron occasionally smiled at the witness.

Justice Engoron’s tendency to give a green light was not simply the whim of an unconventional legal mind. He explained early in the trial that he wished to avoid a retrial of the case, or any second-guessing of his decisions from an appeals court.

“To me, that basically speaks in favor of allowing, rather than disallowing, the questions, answers, expert testimony, et cetera,” he said.

The judge had only a few red lines. He was infuriated by attacks on Ms. Greenfield, his principal law clerk. Her unusually visible role in the case — she sits next to Justice Engoron on the bench and confers with him on legal matters — drew harsh criticism from the defense.

During the first week of the trial, Justice Engoron issued a limited gag order prohibiting Mr. Trump from commenting on his staff after the former president shared a picture of Ms. Greenfield with Senator Chuck Schumer on Truth Social, calling her “Schumer’s Girlfriend.” Weeks later, the judge fined Mr. Trump $5,000 after learning that a copy of the post was still visible on Mr. Trump’s campaign website. At the time, he threatened steeper fines and possible imprisonment.

But the comments about Ms. Greenfield kept coming. In one of the trial’s most striking moments, Justice Engoron called Mr. Trump to the witness stand and questioned him about his statement to reporters referring to “a person who’s very partisan sitting alongside” the judge, “perhaps more partisan than he is.”

Mr. Trump argued that he had been talking about someone else. But Justice Engoron found that Mr. Trump’s answers were not credible and fined him an additional $10,000 for again attacking the law clerk.

“I am very protective of my staff,” Justice Engoron said that day. “I don’t want anybody killed.”

Behind the scenes, the judge was inundated with hundreds of threats from Mr. Trump’s supporters. They escalated whenever Mr. Trump personally targeted Justice Engoron and Ms. Greenfield, court officials said, requiring constant re-evaluation of the court’s security protocols. Mr. Trump falsely accused the judge’s wife of sharing anti-Trump rhetoric on social media and his son of receiving preferential access to the courtroom.

The disorder in the courtroom and the clamor outside of it seemed to have little impact on Justice Engoron’s view of the case and the fundamental issue at trial: Mr. Trump’s liability.

At one point, the judge denied the defense’s motion to end the case on the spot after bankers testified that they had been satisfied with Mr. Trump as a client. “The mere fact that the lenders were happy doesn’t mean that the statute wasn’t violated,” Justice Engoron said.

On an another occasion that Mr. Trump’s lawyers asked him to throw out the case, Justice Engoron was unyielding.

“No way, no how is this case being dismissed,” he said. “There is enough evidence in this case to fill this courtroom.”

William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.

Jonah E. Bromwich covers criminal justice in New York, with a focus on the Manhattan district attorney's office, state criminal courts in Manhattan and New York City's jails. More about Jonah E. Bromwich

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These borrowers are likely to be eligible for Biden's new student loan forgiveness plan


  • The Biden administration has been working on a new student loan aid package that could come as soon as this year.

While Biden first attempted to cancel student debt through an executive order, he has now turned to the rulemaking process.

  • Here's who may qualify.

Since the Biden administration's first student loan forgiveness plan was rejected at the Supreme Court , it has been working on creating a new, legally viable relief package.

That debt cancellation could come as soon as this year . The alternative plan, which has become known as  Biden's "Plan B ," could forgive the student debt for as many as 10 million people, according to  one estimate .

The U.S. Department of Education and the negotiators tasked with determining who will be eligible for the president's revised aid have identified five groups of borrowers.

1. Those who owe more than they borrowed

Borrowers with outstanding federal student loan balances that exceed what they originally borrowed may be among those who qualify for the cancellation.

A person's student debt can balloon for a number of reasons, said Nadine Chabrier , a senior policy and litigation counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending.

"Unfortunately, it is very common," Chabrier said.

More from Personal Finance: The best money advice I heard this year as a CNBC reporter Op-ed: Money dates are great — but not on Valentine's Day Black Americans face 'disproportionately steep hurdles' to homeownership

Student loan servicers, the companies the Education Department contract with to service its debt, have a record of steering consumers into forbearances and deferments, she said. These options for  struggling borrowers  can keep loans on hold for many years, but interest often continues to accrue. 

Scott Buchanan, executive director of the Student Loan Servicing Alliance, a trade group for federal student loan servicers, denied that the companies benefit by veering from the government's orders.

"We are incentivized to meet the requirements that the government sets, which includes giving borrowers the benefits that the law provides," Buchanan said. "We are audited, and get business or lose it based on meeting those standards."

Advocates have also said the interest rates on federal student loans are too high, especially for borrowers from the 1980s , who have rates exceeding 8%. Current fixed rates today can be nearly as high .

2. Borrowers in repayment for 20 years or more

Those who have been carrying their student debt for decades may also benefit.

With many of the Education Department's repayment plans requiring 20 years or more of payments, such stories are common. Millions of Americans older than 60 are still paying off their student loans , research finds.

"There is both financial harm and psychological harm of being in debt for decades, especially when it feels like there is no hope that it will ever be repaid," said Persis Yu , deputy executive director at the Student Borrower Protection Center.

3. Attendees of schools of questionable quality

In its revised relief package, the Biden administration notes it is looking to include student loan borrowers who attended career-training programs "that created unreasonable debt loads or provided insufficient earnings for graduates," as well as borrowers who attended institutions with high student loan default rates.

4. People eligible for forgiveness who haven't applied

The Education Department already has several programs that lead to student loan forgiveness, and as part of its new aid package, it is looking to identify those who may be eligible but just haven't applied.

For example, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, signed into law by then-President George W. Bush in 2007, allows certain not-for-profit and government employees to have their federal student loans canceled after 10 years of on-time payments. In 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimated that one-quarter of American workers  may be eligible .

However, the technical and often confusing requirements of the plan have acted as a barrier, experts say.

How Wall Street trades student loans

Student loan servicers also earn a fee per borrower per month, which advocates say discourages transparency around loan forgiveness opportunities.

"Instead of providing borrowers with access to the affordable pathway out of debt, decades of mismanagement and abuse have left these borrowers trapped in debt like hamsters on a hamster wheel with no way out," Yu said.

5. Borrowers experiencing financial hardship

The Biden administration has also said it wants to forgive the debt of those experiencing financial hardship.

So far, it has proposed a set of factors that could identify struggling borrowers, such as those with student loan balances and required payments that are unreasonable relative to their household income, and people with high child care and health-care expenses.

It also said that financial hardship could be based on other debt obligations, disability or age, among other factors. Don't miss these stories from CNBC PRO:

  • Warren Buffett's Berkshire keeps new stock pick secret — again. Here's what it means
  • Michael Burry of 'The Big Short' fame buys Amazon, Alphabet and a dozen other new stocks
  • Move over, Nvidia. There's a new hot AI play that has soared 960% in the past year
  • Morgan Stanley's Slimmon names 3 stocks to buy right now: 'It's going to be a good year for equities'
  • This little-known bank is offering one of the highest CD rates



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