Warning Signs of a Company in Trouble

Warning Signs of a Company in Trouble

When considering an acquisition of, investment in, or employment with a company it is best for your peace of mind, as well as, financially to be aware of indications that the company’s true picture may not be what management would lead you to believe.

Warning Signs of a Company in Trouble

The surest sign that something is amiss is a frustrated stakeholder – be it the owner, investors, or lenders. What are their concerns? Have there been repetitive problems with the company? Does management not seem to have the right skill set to handle the most pressing issues? Does management spend too much time assessing blame and not a lot of time accurately identifying the company’s problems and devising solutions?

Where to Start

It is best to first take a look at the company’s financials. Start with the balance sheet. Are they building inventory and not able to sell it? Do they have a negative cash position? Have they maxed out their borrowing base? Also be sure that the balance sheet reflects the true state of affairs. For example, has the company written a check which it has yet to mail despite debiting its accounts payable account?
Take a look at the income statement, preferably one with monthly performance over the last 12 months. Group the items into three categories: sales, variable costs including direct sales costs, and fixed costs. What trends do you see in those categories? Perform a breakeven analysis. What is their contribution margin? Is it declining? What about EBIT? Is the company able to service its debt?
It can be helpful to simplify a company’s financial statements, combining similar items in order to move out of the detail and focus on the company’s overall performance and financial position.
The greatest mistake is not necessarily investing in a troubled company, but rather misdiagnosing the company’s problem(s).

Checklist

Here are some items to consider when performing diligence on a company:
Cash shortfall – does the company seem to be constantly in a cash crunch?
Physical deterioration of facilities – signs of inability to maintain facilities due to lack of proper planning and ability to re-invest.
Poor Accounting Systems – accounting records and reporting are delinquent. Often the company does not know if they are making money or losing money.
High concentration of leased assets – inability to secure traditional financing
If you want more tips on how to improve cash flow, then click here to access our 25 Ways to Improve Cash Flow whitepaper.
 

Warning Signs of a Company in Trouble
[box]Strategic CFO Lab Member Extra
Access your Strategic Pricing Model Execution Plan in SCFO Lab. The step-by-step plan to set your prices to maximize profits.

Click here to access your Execution Plan. Not a Lab Member?
Click here to learn more about SCFO Labs[/box]

Warning Signs of a Company in Trouble

ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

The Struggles of Private Company Accounting

Hiring the right accountant  When I meet a business owner operating at a successful $10 million in revenue, they often mention, “My CPA”… I immediately know that CEO/Entrepreneur is referring to their Tax CPA.  That is because one thing that all Entrepreneurs have in common is that they must file a tax return.  So, from

Read More »

IN CRISIS? GET A STRATEGIC CFO! – CEO Blindspots Podcast

Friend of the firm, Birgit Kamps, recently had Strategic CFO President, Dan Corredor, as a guest on her podcast, CEO Blindspots. CEO BLINDSPOTS HOST: Birgit Kamps. She was speaking five languages by the age of 10, and lived in five countries with her Dutch parents prior to becoming an American citizen. Birgit’s professional experience includes starting

Read More »

SHRM calls ICHRA the 401K for Group Health Benefits

Fed-up with group health insurance? ICHRA is the new way to offer great health benefits and avoid ACA penalties, SHRM calls it the 401K for group health benefits.  In 2020 the Department of Labor, HHS and IRS changed the rules for employer health benefits. They changed the Affordable Care Act mandates and penalties for every

Read More »

JOIN OUR NEXT SERIES

Financial Leadership Workshop

MARCH 28TH-31ST 2022

SHARE THIS ARTICLE

JOIN THE NEXT STRATEGIC CFO™ SERIES

Strategic CFO™ Financial Leadership Workshop
The Art of the CFO®

Days
Hours
Min
Sec

September 12-15th 2022