“I have been around long enough to be sure that you don’t know what you think you know regarding product or client profitability until you see the financial data”
– Scott Bonnallie, CEO – Dannemiller Inc.
For many executives of small and mid-market companies, trying to run the business with little to no accurate and timely financial data or performance metrics is just a way of life. Decisions are made with outdated accounting data from prior periods and through “back of the napkin” calculations for upcoming periods. For those executives who recognize the value of financial metrics and forecast data, this process provides insufficient visibility and handicaps their decision making ability which can lead to:
- Misuse of short term cash
- Squandering of essential resources on non-profitable clients
- Investment in the wrong projects or products
- Inability to see & respond to operational problems in the business
Basic financial modeling and forecasting can allow growing companies to avoid these pitfalls. A proper finance support function is able to provide the critical periodic performance metrics & forecast data needed by executives to see what is happening in the business and make more informed decisions. These metrics and data include.
- Weekly cash forecast – based on historical trends and revenue and expense forecasts
- Weekly or monthly financial performance dashboard – critical financial and operational metrics and trends
- Monthly “actual to plan” reporting and analysis – how did the company do against plan (budget or forecast) and what were the causes of any significant variances
- Fine grained P&Ls – customer, product and/or project level profit and loss statements
Executives without this data operate on assumptions, best guesses and manually created estimates which may or may not be leading them to take the right steps in moving the business forward.
Executives with this “financial toolkit” have a clear picture of the financial health of their business, where they need to focus on operational improvement and which customers or products are driving money to the bottom line. These executives can confidently decide where they should be making future investment.