Saturday, August 22, 2009

CFO Services – Identify Metrics

Helping the business owner identify key metrics to measure business performance is an important CFO Service. I think there is a need for the Part Time CFO to identify metrics that are easy for the business owner to understand and to identify what is critical to the business in the following areas:

  • Sales

  • Gross Profit Margins

  • Employee productivity

  • Advertising effectiveness/Lead generation

  • Overhead

  • Fixed Asset Productivity

  • Interest Coverage

  • Every business/industry needs to take a unique look at the type of metrics that best evaluate performance. What may be an important metric for one business may be totally unimportant for another. Working together with the business owner to identify the critical metrics is the best way to go.

    I also believe that you do not want to have too many metrics. With too many metrics things start to get complicated for the business owner to utilize and understand. Getting the business owner focused on the key metrics to measure his business performance will prove most productive in the long run. As the CFO sees the business owner utilize and understand the metrics presented, the CFO can introduce more metrics.

    Sunday, August 2, 2009

    Do you know if you need cash?

    How Much Money do I need to run my Business???

    This is the question many business owners ask. Sure, start up entrepreneurs ask this question too, but I also want to address everyday business owners whether they have been in business for one year or thirty years they need to know how much money they are going to need to run their business. Their time horizon can be a month a year or five years, but they need to know if they have to put money in their business, get money from other sources or if they do not need money at all. If business owners knew in advance how much cash they needed or how much cash on hand that they had at different levels of sales volumes and expenses they would have time to react. As a business owner, I say tell me when it is cloudy not when it is raining. Next Step CFO has a sophisticated forecasting modeling tool called CashTell that can tell business owners what their cash position will be at any point in the future giving the business owner a great advantage in preparing for what is to come. CashTell was developed by Next Step CFO and is exclusively available to Next Step CFO clients.

    CFO Services - Business Plan Preparation

    Do you have a Business Plan?

    Whether you are a start up or have been in business for 25 years, every business should have a business plan.

    One great thing about business planning is it really gets you thinking about the direction you want to take your business. As a business owner as well as a Part Time CFO, I can tell you that business owners need to spend more time really thinking about the direction they want their business to go. Preparing a business plan provides the impetus to get you thinking about that direction.

    Changes to the plan are encouraged as a business plan is not one of those things you write up once and stick in a drawer never to be seen again. A business plan is a working document that is subject to perpetual changes. It is the working document aspect of a business plan that makes the business plan effective.

    Business plan preparation should be a part of every CFO’s arsenal of CFO Services.