Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Risk in the Sales Line

One thing the CFO needs to assess regarding sales are whether the company is pushing to sell the most profitable products. Metrics can be developed to analyze this area. It is important that salesman know what products benefit the company most.

Another risk area on the sales line that a CFO should look for is whether salesmen can bring their sales with them if they were to leave the company. This in my view is a major risk as salesmen always have to be coddled if they can taker their business elsewhere. Non compete agreements with salesmen can help reduce this risk.

Another CFO Service is to analyze whether selling prices are high enough and to determine if sales rise or fall with reduction of prices. In a bad economy there is always a propensity to reduce prices. Many times I have seen where reducing prices was the wrong thing to do as money is left on the table. Your best customers who usually represent 80% of your sales will usually buy from you even if they can get a better price elsewhere because they trust you and appreciate the value in your products and services.

The CFO should review whether the company has adequate sales representation in all of the companys key market areas. If major market areas are left without proper sales representation this poses a major risk to the company.

The CFO should review if the companys selling prices are meeting gross margin requirements. A low margin could be a function of product mix sold, but it also could be a function of low selling prices.

Finally it is a CFO duty to review how pricing looks as compared with the companys biggest competitors. An analysis can be done in this area to determine how the company compares price wise against its top3 or 4 competitors in the companys highest margin products.