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When to Outsource or Why Outsource at All?

As a financial leader of your organization, it’s important that you understand how your time works and what you are spending your time on. In today’s blog, we’re taking a look at when to outsource accounting or specific tasks and services and why outsource at all. Before we go into when, first, let’s understand, what is outsourcing? Many of you have heard the term, but don’t really know what it means.

Outsourcing is simply delegating and paying someone outside of your organization to do a service for you that you cannot do or do not have time to do.

Examining Your Daily Routines

For example, think about your daily routines. Think about what you currently do. The list may add up quickly if you’re like me and wear many hats.

Put a star next to the things that you struggle to find time to do in the first place.

In your personal lives, it could be mowing the lawn or changing your car’s oil or cooking yourself.

For example, I find myself as a business owner operating a franchise struggling to find time to really prep and cook dinner each night. So what we do often is go out and pick up food – essentially paying someone to cook our food for us. We could either dine there or take it home.

Time Value

It’s all about time value. Are you spending your time on what you or your company values most?

When examining your daily routines, do you catch yourself saying “I don’t have time…”?

“I don’t have time to mow the lawn.”

“There’s no time to clean my house.”

“I don’t have time to close the books because I’m out there running my business.”

Whatever those time consuming tasks are, it may be worth outsourcing to another person or agency. 

By freeing up your time as a CFO, you can reallocate that time to more important tasks – such as being your CEO’s trusted advisor. Learn how to become the trusted advisor your CEO needs.

When to Outsource Accounting

For example, you might have to hire a bookkeeper in your organization for them to come out and enter the transactions on a daily basis. For me, that’s important to outsource because I need to be thinking at a higher level as a Controller/CFO – not entering transactions. There will always be someone less expensive to do that. 

So really when we say we don’t have time, it is because of one of several reasons. We don’t want to spend our time on something else if someone else can do it for cheaper (and if it energizes them more). Plus, it may be time to start outsourcing accounting when you want to:

  • Make more money for you
  • Bring you more value
  • Do what you enjoy doing more

For example, entering transactions for month close is dry work and it wears on me. But I love coaching leaders how to be more effective in their roles and make their decisions more impactful. If I’m bombarded with transactions, I cannot coach leaders – which is more valuable to me and the bottom line.

On a personal note, when I do not have to cook dinner, I have an opportunity to spend more time with my kids. It also frees up my time to help my kids with homework and build memories with them. I can also read a book for personal growth or enjoyment. There’s so many opportunities out there for you to actually do things that you actually enjoy. 

Outsourcing accounting is just one area where you may add value to your company. Continue to do things that add value or free up your time so that you may add value. Click here to download our guide on how to be a trusted advisor to your CEO to help them improve your company’s value.

When to Outsource, When to Outsource Accounting, Why Outsource

Why Outsource At All

One of the top reasons why companies outsource at all is that they may be more efficient. When I outsource, I am hiring someone that might be more knowledgeable. If I am a business owner who does not know how to record certain transactions, then consider the time it will take to learn that skill (and the time you are not spending on improving profits and cash flow). Even if you wanted to implement Quickbooks so that you can start recording transactions (a one-time set up), it may be worth handing that off to someone more knowledgeable in Quickbooks so that you can focus on other things you are more knowledgeable in. 

Those are things you consider when to start outsourcing.

The goal is to create more time, more energy, and free you up to do something that can potentially make you more money.

Examples When Considering Outsourcing

To further explain the need to outsource, it’s important to consider roles outside of the accounting and finance departments.

If you are a good sales person for your organization, then you don’t want to spend your time behind a desk all day trying to enter your transactions. If you don’t have a lot of transactions, then that’s a perfect sign that you need to get out there and start making those sales for increased transactions for your business to actually record.

Outsourcing is a Key to Growing

I think that outsourcing is a key to growing. It is no different from a leader wanting to delegate the tasks that…

  • You just don’t have any time to do
  • You need others to do so that you can focus on what you are great at doing from a very high level

Now, at The Strategic CFO, we have several ways for you to tap into or start outsourcing individuals so that you can actually build on your business.

Consulting

We have accounting managers, controllers, and CFOs that are ready to deploy and add real value where it’s not currently being optimized. In our consulting practice, we work in several capacities, whether it be an Interim CFO role, financial and operational reporting, mergers and acquisitions, pre-audit preparation, etc. Click here to learn more about our consulting practice.

For example, your accounting manager, controller, or CFO may

  • Not exist yet (brand new hire)
  • Be on maternity leave
  • Take 3 months off to travel through Europe (I wish!)
  • Need extra help because your company is going through an audit for the very first time

Life happens regardless of what you plan for. That’s why we’re here to step in when you need it. We will come in and help you with getting the helping hand you need to be more efficient with your current team. Need hiring and training? We do that too. These are all different reasons why you may need to outsource. We are here as a boutique firm to help you.

When to Outsource, When to Outsource Accounting, Why Outsource

Coaching Workshops

There are also opportunities for you to come in and take workshops at our office, in an online setting, or at your office. For example, you can learn about what your leadership style is. Are you a Type A person that can’t just let go of doing the little tasks? By learning about yourself, you start to outsource or delegate what you are not strong at and focus on what you are great at. As a result, you can continue to grow the business.

We offer a variety of workshops to…

Your CEO needs an advisor they can trust. Learn what they expect from their CFO and how to become the trusted advisor your CEO needs in this whitepaper.

When to Outsource, When to Outsource Accounting, Why Outsource

When to Outsource, When to Outsource Accounting, Why Outsource

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Pitfalls to Avoid When Growing Your Business

A strong economy drives business growth. I think most of us can agree on that. Growth is usually good…

But if it is not controlled growth, it simply will not be sustainable.

In this blog, I outline several pitfalls to avoid when growing your business (especially in a high growth scenario). It’s all about managing the growth properly.

We have two current clients that are experiencing high growth, and they can barely make payroll.

With a pipeline of huge sales, how can this be possible…?

Their lack of planning on systems and procedures has also caused the management to not sleep well at night.

SCFO Lab Members: The reason most income statement projections fail is because of a lack of ability to accurately project sales! Start the Sales Genie EP now.

What Happens in a High Growth Scenario?

So, what happens in a high growth scenario? It should be all good news… The problem is that many times the decision maker(s) of a high growth company have never experienced high growth. Sometimes, these can be startups or a business that developed a new product.

If you have not experienced it, then it really is hard to imagine all the things that can take place.

Example of a High Growth Scenario

Let’s look at an example of a high growth scenario in a made-up company…

You are a manufacturer of widgets and you own a manufacturing facility. You have 50 employees before the company is about to explode in growth.

Your VP of Business Development or VP of Sales brings you new contracts that will significantly change the size of your company.  These contracts will double, triple, or even quadruple your business in the next 18-24 months.

So no worry about generating sales….

But there are several questions that need to be asked and pitfalls to avoid in this company.

Pitfalls to Avoid When Growing Your Business

Inventory: How are you going to fill all those orders?

You need to purchase a lot of inventory of raw material. In addition, your purchasing transactions just tripled in dollars and quantity. Finally, you have enough machines to manufacture items for the next 12 months… But next year, you will need to acquire more machines to keep up with demand.

Labor: What about labor?

The purchasing person is working already 50 hour weeks, and you know you will need to hire another purchasing person. Your plant labor needs to increase to compensate with the increased workload.

Right now, your 3 person accounting team includes 2 bookkeepers and a controller. You realize you need a cost accountant.

Systems, Process and Procedures

You have used a basic accounting system for 10 years, but you realize that you have outgrown the accounting system. It is not the right system because it does not handle cost accounting or standard costs. You want to integrate purchasing and inventory modules.

For years, you kept inventory and work-in-process on spreadsheets. Now, the dozens of spreadsheets are not reconciling. It’s time to automate inventory.

The once per year physical count of inventory is no longer enough. You need to have cycle counts and maybe at least a full physical count quarterly.

For years, you have operated informally, but you now you realize you need to have written policies and procedures.

Accounting

You have run your business on a hybrid cash/accrual system, never really got to full accrual accounting, and never really worried about GAAP financial statements. Maybe you should…

You never considered having your financial statements audited; however, with all this growth, you might sell one day. Having your financial statements audited would add value to your business.

Your company is growing so much, you need more than financial statements that tell you what happened in the past. Now, you need projections, budgets, and dashboards.

It’s time for a strategic financial partner. It’s time for a CFO.

Click here to access our Goldilocks Sales Method, and learn how to build your sales pipeline and project accurately.

Human Resources

Your admin person that did a great job all these years is now dealing with 3 or 4 times as many employees. It’s time to hire someone that has a good understanding of labor laws.

Payroll was done in house. Now with so many hourly people and manual time sheets, it’s time to upgrade and integrate payroll to the accounting system or have it outsourced.

Consider automated time keeping and get away from the multiple spreadsheets.

Legal and Tax

Your new sales take you out of State. Now, you are selling in 5 different States.

Have you created nexus in these other States? They have State taxes… Oops!

You had to hire a few people on the ground in the other States; your labor laws just got really complicated.

Sales and Use tax… Are you paying the correct taxes, not paying them, or over paying them?

You developed a new process or Intellectual Property (“I.P.”). Did you register this? Did your attorney suggest maybe creating a new legal entity that has the I.P.?

By creating the new legal entity or new legal entities, did you realize you just created a lot of complex accounting work by having all those legal entities?

Note: We recently had a client that created 19 legal entities because their attorney wanted to “protect” them from everything. Now, they had to consolidate all those entities with hundreds of intercompany transactions.

What is your Exit Strategy?

You will be quadrupling the size of your business in the next 2-3 years. You thought to yourself one day… I might want to sell this business.

What does it take to sell your larger company?

It takes time to set a strategy for an exit. It takes time to “professionalize” management and your back office.

Do you have a succession plan so that the business does not look like a one man show?

Do you have a 3-year budget with projections?

SCFO Lab Members: If you want to build your exit strategy and/or access your readiness for market, check out the Exit Strategy EP

How to Have Sustainable High Growth

I have hit on some of the basic topics that come up in a high growth scenario. There are many more things to consider.

The first thing that comes to mind is how are you going to pay for all this?

Do you have sufficient working capital?

Sometimes, you can manage working capital and have sustainable growth.

Many times, you need some sort of financing because of the timing differences in working capital. You cannot afford to sustain this high growth with out the financing.

Cash and working capital are key to the sustainable growth.

But just as important is having the right people. Not just having the right people on the bus… But having them in the right seat on the bus is critical. Not everyone is meant to sit in the same seat in a larger company. This applies to the management team as well as employees.

I have actually seen situations in high growth companies where the person that really needed to be fired was the owner or CEO.  Because the CEO of a $5 million dollar company is not necessarily the same CEO of a $50 million dollar company.

Don’t get me wrong… The ownership does not have to change. You can still own the business. But that does not mean you need to be an employee running the business.

Summary

In order to have sustainable high growth that will allow you to sleep well at night consider the above items but you must have the following…

  • Enough working capital
  • The right people in the right seats “on the bus”
  • More and different systems, process, and procedures
  • A strategic plan that will allow you to have a sustainable bigger company

Projections are a helpful way to grow sustainably and avoid an uncontrollable high growth scenario. Download our free Goldilocks Sales Method to start building your pipeline and projecting accurately.

Pitfalls to Avoid When Growing Your Business

Pitfalls to Avoid When Growing Your Business

2

Selling Your Business to a Private Equity Group

Private Equity companies are companies that have raised capital from investors and they have created funds. Each fund may have its own legal mandate. These are common examples of mandates:

  • Invests only in oil and gas companies
  • Is agnostic to what industry it invests in
  • Invests only in companies it controls

Private Equity companies come in many different colors and flavors.

They can be a very good resource for capital when an owner is looking to exit, or partially exit (“take some money off of the table”).

Oftentimes, entrepreneurs or founders (the seller) never thought of or did not know that Private Equity was an alternative; thus, I wanted to cover how selling your business to a private equity group may be a good option for you in this Blog.

Private Equity as a Buyer

Private Equity firms (“PE”) can be a very good alternative and buyer for your business.

They have liquidity…

They have talented financial and operational professionals on staff…

And they can usually get a deal/transaction completed in a very reasonable period of time.

Most PE will not waste your time.

They will tell you up front after one or two meetings if they are a “real” buyer.

In the past year, I saw some statistics that quoted that there is nearly one trillion dollars in PE dollars on the sidelines ready to invest. That is an incredible amount of money ready to invest.

But this is what you need to know if you are thinking about selling your business to a private equity group. This is critical and can make your life pleasant or miserable.

Once you find the PE firm that is purchasing your company, most likely they are purchasing the majority of the equity in the business and they are purchasing a controlling interest.

As an entrepreneur, founder, and business owner, you have lived in your company for many years.

You have enjoyed a comfortable life style…

You have the management reports that you need and you felt were enough…

And you have set your own agenda.

Most importantly, you do not answer to anyone!

LIFE IS GOOD.

If you are selling your business to a private equity group, then consider getting rid of any destroyers in your business that may be destroying value. Download the Top 10 Destroyers of Value to learn what those destroyers are and how to get rid of them.

Stages of a Private Equity Relationship

In my 30 plus years of experience, these are the stages of a private equity relationship that I have observed for some entrepreneurs. It’s a lot like marriage!

Dating Stage

The private equity firm approaches you and your business. There are some really nice dinners, great friendly meetings. There are multiple tours of your business. People understand each other. Everything looks like this is a great fit!

Engagement Stage

After many visits, conference calls, and review of some basic company and financial information, you sign the Letter of Intent “LOI”. You find your self engaged to the PE firm.

It’s all good.

There is a big prize on the horizon, and you can’t wait for the deal to close.

This stage might last between 60 days to 6 months.

Married Stage

The deal has closed! Yeah, it’s all good…

The cash has hit your bank account for your 70% of the business, and you still maintain 30% of the business. The PE group has promised a great relationship and lots of capital if you ever need it for growth.

Wow!

From now on, you can only double your money. Life is still good!

But now… You get the first request to deliver a monthly reporting package on a timely basis.

That means that you – the CEO of a company you own 30% of – must deliver on the 10th day of the following month a report to the PE group. You better have good numbers, and you better explain any variances to the penny.

Remember, you are dealing with very smart, analytical professionals that can smell BS a mile away.

So, BS will not cut it.

Month 3, 4, and 5 have now passed…

You have had many Board meetings where you are now the subject of interrogation. You have to come up with answers to variance from budget, but you sometimes cannot explain them because for the last 20 years, you have run the business based on a gut feeling and it has worked.

Now, you have a room of MBAs in their 30s asking you questions.

Stress starts to build.

Month 6, 7, and 8…

Yikes! You hate the thought of the next Board meeting.

You are starting to question the relationship you have with the PE firm. Those great expensive dinners during the dating stage are meaningless.

What have you done?

You are not enjoying going to work every day.

As a matter of fact, you now have to take calls on weekends and get permission to take a vacation!

Divorce

Finally, we reach the last stage…

One or two years have passed since the close of the transaction. You have had countless Board meetings, and you have suffered though all the interrogation. They have treated you like a kid and someone thirty years younger than you who is new to the business is telling you how to run “your business”.

The company you built.

You now only own 30%.

And you want out…

Reality

Selling to a PE firm is still a great option. In the U.S., PE firms have a lot of liquidity and can get a deal done. They can afford to pay you a reasonable price for your business, or part of your business.

There is nothing wrong with any of that.

What is wrong is that the business owner, founder, and/or seller does not understand what the requirements are after the sale process.

Requirements After Selling Your Business to a Private Equity Group

So, what is required after selling your business to a private equity group?

  • Professional environment
  • Detailed, reliable, timely financial statements
  • Board meetings where you (the seller) provide answers to questions and any variances
  • You as the CEO with now only 30% will be held accountable to respond to the PE group that as the majority owner
  • The CEO will be questioned and interrogated by the controlling owners of the business
  • You can not take off and head to the ranch on Thursday… You need to behave as a responsible EMPLOYEE of the business
  • Be humble
  • Your _ _ _ is on the line to respond to the owners that now control your business.
  • You sold your business. You are an employee.  Most likely, you have never been an employee.
  • If you can honestly accept this new role, you will be fine. If you think you still call the shots after the closing of the transaction, you will be hating life.

Selling to PE Firms can be a wonderful experience if you know what is on the other side and if you are willing to take on a new role, one as an employee.

If you are not open to being the employee that answers questions and will be held accountable, then pause and consider what it takes to sell to a PE Group.

If you are considering selling your business to a private equity group, then first see if there are any “destroyers” in your business that may be taking value away. Read through our free Top 10 Destroyers of Value whitepaper to learn more.

Selling Your Business to a Private Equity Group

Selling Your Business to a Private Equity Group

 

3

How to Lead an ERP/Accounting System Implementation

In my 28+ year career, I have seen countless ERP system implementations and accounting system implementations.

While some have been very successful and made a huge difference in the company, I have seen disasters.

Millions of dollars spent over budget.

Complete failure for the system implementation.

This is one of my “hot boxes” when I hear consulting clients, coaching participants, colleagues, and companies in my network considering new systems.

If you follow my steps on how to lead an ERP system selection process (included in this blog), then you will save thousands to millions of dollars depending on the size of your company.

The biggest disaster was with a company that did not follow any of the steps listed below. Their original budget of $8 million went to over $30 million, and if that wasn’t bad enough, they lost nearly half their revenue because of that bad system implementation.

Reasons For Selecting a New ERP System

Before I go into how to lead an ERP system selection process, let’s look at some reasons for selecting a new ERP system.  I will use the term ERP to include accounting systems as well (although they can be two different things). But they do have common challenges and I refer to them as one in this blog.

There are many reasons why you may be shopping for a new system.

Some reasons include:

  • Buying your first system
  • Outgrowing your current your system
  • Entering a different industry through growth or acquisition
  • Wanting better technology

The system selection process and system implementation process can be very expensive – thus tying up you cash flow. Learn about other ways to improve your cash flow. 

Download the 25 Ways to Improve Cash Flow


Mistakes Made During ERP System Selection Process

Over the years, I have seen or been involved with so many different systems being implemented. While I am not an implementation expert by any means, I have been involved with enough of them that I feel very strong about the right way to implement a system. When I have seen failed system implementations, they all have many common variables.

So, I came up with my list of “must haves” for a system implementation.

As a financial leader, you need to be spearheading the ERP selection process.  You want to make sure it is done right because it is well documented that a system implementation gone wrong can cost millions of dollars of over run and precious time.

11 Tips on Avoiding a Failed Implementation

Critical items that will spare you from a failed implementation:

  1. Do not set arbitrary dates for “Go Live”; be flexible
  2. A new system is NOT an I.T. project. This is a very common mistake made. Do not allow your I.T. Manager to serve as the project manager. They will have some involvement, but it must be measured.
  3. Go through a System Selection Process
  4. After you select a system, make sure the implementer blue prints your process and system, and you sign off on it
  5. Be open to changing how you operate/process; if you do not, then you will want the system to fit your process and this will cost you dearly in customization fees
  6. Have a designated Project Manager that represents your interest, not the software company’s
  7. Avoid customization; remember, you will pay up front for customization, and you will pay again when ever there is a update in version or technology because now you are stuck with a customized system
  8. Test the system, and process thoroughly in a sandbox environment; do not proceed until the system does what you want
  9. Consider running parallel old system and new systems for at least 1 or two closes
  10. Provide substantial training to your employees
  11. Be prepared to change your go live date

Go Through System Selection Process

There are many firms that do the system selection process for you.

They come in and evaluate your requirements for this system.

Then they narrow down the choices from dozens to a handful.

This not only helps the company not get overwhelmed by the number of choices, but it also helps the company find solutions they may not have known to look for. These system selection firms are experts in this field. If you want to do it right, then hire an outside firm.

It is worth every penny and will likely save you a lot of money in the future.

Assign a Project Manager for ERP Implementation

Because this is a huge undertaking, it cannot be managed by someone who…

a) does not represent your interest

b) is in your I.T. department

c) does not understand your operation and processes.

This can be someone for your organization, but you might have to hire someone from the outside.

Run a Blue Print / Test Before ERP Implementation

The Blue Print designed represents your operations and process, so you must fully understand it and sign off on it.

This is part of your contract for the new system.

Once you sign off on it, the burden is on you.

Test your new system in a sandbox environment. This testing can also be incorporated with training your staff. Making errors in the sandbox environment will not affect your business.

Errors post Go Live will affect your business.

Be Open to Change

While you are working with the system selection firm, you may not check everything off your list. While it’s tempting to just say customize it, it may be better (and less expensive) to change the way you do things to fit the system. When you customize these systems, you increase the chances of it breaking when there are updates, requiring more support, and being harder to adjust when you need it to.

By customizing your system, you are significantly increasing the cost of the implementation and future maintenance of the system.

Be open to change how you do things today and try to adapt to the system.

Provide Expensive Training

Now that you have invested in the system and started the actual implementation, you need to provide extensive (and expensive) training for your team BEFORE YOU GO LIVE.

The training should be on site, not remote.

They will always offer remote training because it is cheaper, but it is not the same as on site training.

The last thing that you want to run into is not investing in training and no one using the system.

This training will not be given in a couple hours; it will probably take weeks. Invest in it to get the greatest return on investment. Or you risk them using the system and making mistakes because they were not properly trained. I have seen way too many examples of systems implemented and little to know remote training.

Run 1 or 2 Closes Parallel

What I recommend to every client and company implementing a new system is to run 1 or 2 month end closes parallel. This will help avoid disasters by getting rid of the existing system prematurely and smooth out any kinks or breaks in the new system.

I always get the same response… “this is a lot of work and will cost me more man hours”.

Yes, it will.

But you will avoid a blow up in the future.


Running 2 systems for 2 months can be costly – restricting your cash flow. To find other ways to improve cash flow when leading an ERP implementation, click the button below to download our 25 Ways to Improve Cash Flow whitepaper.

Download the 25 Ways to Improve Cash Flow


Be Flexible with the “Go Live” Date

Many times, the CEO or another executive driving the investment sets an arbitrary “go live” date.

I have seen many cases where a CEO wants to launch the new system January 1 and has 50 people working around the clock…

That’s a sure way to create a disaster.

Have a goal… But do not have a hard deadline because there will always be something you did not plan for. 

I recently spoke to a CFO of a successful company, and she was telling me about their recent new system implementation. I was ready to hear another horror story… But she surprised me!

She told me it was a great experience. They had no real big issues and stayed with in the budget and timeline.

I asked her to please tell me what they did to be successful.

She basically listed the items 1-11 above.  It is a coincidence that I have listed those items for years now.

But it proved my point.

Implementing a new ERP system is expensive, so if you’re company isn’t cash rich, then you may need to improve cash flow in other areas of your business to keep you afloat. Download our 25 Ways to Improve Cash Flow whitepaper and start making a big impact on cash flow.

ERP Selection Process, ERP System Selection Process 

ERP Selection Process, ERP System Selection Process 

2

Quotes Every Financial Leader Needs to Read

A few weeks ago, I started another series of our Financial Leadership Workshop, and in Day 1, we discuss that paradigm shift that needs to take place to go from accounting to financial leadershipSo, I compiled all the quotes from all of my curriculum that make me think… How can I lead my company differently? What can I do to better serve my clients? Take a look at following quotes every financial leader needs to read. Leave a comment below to suggest any other quotes and/or your take on the quotes I listed.

Quotes Every Financial Leader Needs to Read

While each of the following quotes is focused on a specific need or issue, I believe that every CFO, CEO, and financial leader needs to explore what each of these quotes mean.

Having a Plan

So often, entrepreneurs do not have a plan. We hear horror stories of executives telling their teams that there is no plan. Having no plan is a plan and it usually ends in disaster. Or maybe you have a plan but it is in your head and not documented.  You must get your plan down in writing.  Do you remember Captain Sullenberger landing the plane in the Hudson River on that chilly winter day? Here’s his take on having a plan.

“During every minute of the flight, I was confident I can solve the next problem. My first officer, Jeff Skiles, and I did what airline pilots do: we followed our training, and our philosophy of life. We never gave up.  Having a plan enabled us to keep our hope alive. There’s always a way out of even the toughest spot. You can survive.” – Capt. Chesley B. Sullenberger III

Role of a Leader

Do you know the role of a leader? Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State, said the following about a leader’s role.

“The role of a leader is to inspire people to a common goal and enable them to get there.”– Condoleezza Rice


Are you financially leading your company (or trying to)? We are starting a new series of our Financial Leadership Workshop this March 2019. Click the button below to learn more about what this coaching workshop is all about.

Learn More About the Financial Leadership Workshop


Leadership Habits

“The 8th Habit is to find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.” – Stephen R. Covey

Attraction

“The iron rule of nature is: you get what you reward for. If you want ants to come, you put sugar on the floor”– Charles Mundger

The Rest is Just Details

Our very own founder, Jim Wilkinson, had this saying that business is pretty simple… It’s all about sales! When a financial leader is able to shift their mindset from accounting to supporting sales and enabling sales to grow, then you become a whole lot more effective. Read more about this phrase here.

“It’s all about sales; the rest is just details!” – Jim Wilkinson, founder of The Strategic CFO

Budgeting

There are several budgeting quotes every financial leader needs to read.

“A well-constructed numerical estimate is worth a thousand words.”  – Charles Schultze, former Director of the US Bureau of Budget

Budgeting is the bane of corporate America.”  – Jack Welch, former CEO of GE

“Without a yardstick, there is no measurement And without measurement, there is no control.”  – Pravin Shah

The Hedgehog concept – created by Jim Collins – is when companies identify what they do best and focus on that. For example, a hedgehog knows how to defend itself. That’s what it does best! It does not try to expend time or energy hiding or fighting.

“The purpose of budgeting in a good-to-great company is not to decide how much each activity gets, but to decide which areas fit the hedgehog concept and should be full funded and which should not be funded at all.” – Jim Collins

“The only things that saves us from the bureaucracy is its inefficiency.” – Eugene McCarthy, US Senator

Problem Solving

Equip yourself with multiple tools, and more specifically, the right tool.

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail!” – Abraham Maslow

My Own Quotes

Here are two of my own quotes I use with entrepreneurs and coaching participants over the years:

“I do not believe in sacred cows.”

Working capital is like your diet; if you do not manage it, then it can kill you.”

What other quotes have changed the way you lead your company? Leave them in the comments below. Also, click to access our 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs – this is everything CEOs have told us what they want from their CFO.

quotes every financial leader needs to read

Quotes Every Financial Leader Needs to Read

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The Importance of Using GAAP Financial Statements

Use GAAP Financials, Using GAAP Financial Statements, GAAP Financial StatementsI have written about this in the past, yet it is an ongoing subject that we deal with business owners day after day… A client recently asked me why we (The Strategic CFO) were insisting on generating the clients financial statements on an accrual basis and per GAAP.

He insisted that cash basis was fine and that we were just creating a lot of busy work.

He also stated that he did not care or need the balance sheet, just the income statement.

Today, we’re talking about the importance of using GAAP financial statements.

GAAP Financial Statements

Our firm did not invent GAAP financial statements.

GAAP means Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

These principles have evolved over time as we get smarter and more advanced.

The main principle behind GAAP financials is to generate a set of financial statements that represent the most accurate picture about your company. They should be comparable, not misleading and clear so a third party can understand.

So the uniform application of GAAP to business transactions would most clearly represent a true picture of your business.

The Importance of Using GAAP Financial Statements

There are several reasons companies should be using GAAP financial statements.

First, public companies and certain loan documents require GAAP financial statements. We recommend that all private businesses also use GAAP financials as a best practice so you can have the best information to run your business.

Second, by not having your financial statements per GAAP (which uses accrual based accounting), you are basically 60-90 days behind your business.

Use GAAP Financials, Using GAAP Financial Statements, GAAP Financial Statements

Running Behind Your Business without GAAP

Let’s look at an example of a manufacturing facility.

Someone in the manufacturing facility orders $50,000 worth of raw material, but you have not yet received an invoice from the vendor.

The vendor takes 30 days to generate an invoice because they have an inefficient accounting department.

The invoice gets mailed, taking 1 week to get to you.

Your staff person got the mail and did not enter the invoice in the system for a week.

Then because you did not review your aged payables until the end of the month, you are likely to be 60 days behind your business. You will not have the liability section reflecting the payable for this example until much later.

That means your balance sheet is not accurate.

Plus, you may not have that payable in your cash forecast for payment.

This example is one transaction, but it adds up when you consider all the transactions in your business.

You will be 60 to 90 days behind your business by not keeping your books on accrual basis.


Don’t let something as simple as not having your financial statements per GAAP take value from you! Learn about 10 other destroyers that could be taking value away from your company.

Download the Top 10 Destroyers of Value


Accurate Reports on Your Business

As a business leader, you want the most accurate reports on your business on a timely basis so you can make business decisions.

Your income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flow paints the picture of the recent historical performance of your business.

You need to monitor the trends so that you can make business decisions timely.

Critical for Growth

We see it over and over again… A good business is mismanaged because the CEO or entrepreneur does not want to spend the money or take the time to understand his financials or keep them per GAAP. Eventually, they are upside down on working capital and run out of cash. This is especially true in a high growth environment.

Reasons for Using GAAP Financial Statements

If you have a small business of 3 employees with one legal entity and have sales of $800,000 per year with no plans for growth, no debt, no outside investors, then you can certainly keep your books on cash basis and ignore GAAP.

But if you grew beyond that and have a substantial business that you want to grow, or you have debt, our outside investors, then you seriously need to consider keeping your books and records on an accrual basis and per GAAP.

In short, why should you keep your books and records on an accrual basis and per GAAP?

  • Working Capital – Not having them per GAAP can lead to operational disaster
  • Outside Investors and Lenders will require them
  • Growth – If you are beyond a mom and pop shop, then these financials will be your key tool for growth
  • Value – From a valuation standpoint, GAAP financials add value

Why Use GAAP Financials

So to answer the question we started this blog with why use GAAP financials?

First, using these principles allow your business to be presented correctly to third parties.

Then, you need accrual based financials to properly run your business. Otherwise, you are 60-90 days behind running your business. It may be required by your lender.

Having your books kept per GAAP actually adds value to your business from a valuation perspective. While you are working on adding value, make sure there aren’t “destroyers” taking value from you. Download our Top 10 Destroyers of Value whitepaper and protect your company’s value.

Use GAAP Financials, Using GAAP Financial Statements, GAAP Financial Statements

Use GAAP Financials, Using GAAP Financial Statements, GAAP Financial Statements

4

Transform Your Accounting Department By Outsourcing

Many businesses owners and CEOs come to us because they are experiencing frustration with their business’s bookkeeping and accounting. Whether they have severe inefficiencies in their systems and processes, have continuous cash flow issues, or that they’ve been a victim of fraud… Each one negatively impacts the success of their business. They find themselves being tethered to closely managing their bookkeeping and accounting back office. As a result, this prevents them from dedicating their time and energy to leading and growing their business. If this sounds like you, then it’s time to transform your accounting department by outsourcing your bookkeeping and accounting to an outsourced full-service accounting department.

Past Bookkeeping and Accounting Options

In the past, the only bookkeeping and accounting options for business owners were one of the following:

  • To handle the back office themselves or with a part-time in-house hire.
  • Ask their CPA that files their taxes to help with daily bookkeeping functions.
  • Try building an in-house accounting department, hiring one or more full-time employees to manage the back office

But thanks to recent technologies, like cloud-based software and platforms, small businesses now have a better option when it comes to managing the back office.

So, how does outsourced bookkeeping and accounting compare to having in-house staff? What are the challenges and benefits, and how do you choose the right partner?


Click here to download: The Guide to Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping & Accounting for SMBs


Compare In-House vs Outsourced Bookkeeping and Accounting

Building an in-house accounting department brings many challenges. Likely, it will not yield the results expected or desired in order for the business to grow.

The costs of having in-house staff is a major concern, not just with salaries, but also the costs of overhead, IT, and employee turnover. Other hidden costs that inevitably begin to surface, such as:

  • Bookkeeping mistakes
  • Continued education
  • Unfortunate costs and risks of fraud

Businesses with internal back offices also do not typically have back up plans to cover/replace employees in the event of illness, vacation, or employee loss.

Outsourcing your back office with a fractional share of a full-service accounting department provides many of the same benefits and functions of having in-house staff. But it’s a fraction of the cost.

By outsourcing your bookkeeping and accounting functions, you will see a return on investment in the form of streamlined operations and risk mitigation. Relying on a purely compliance oriented back office will not help your business grow.

Outsourcing to the right partner will help your business gain a competitive edge with optimized systems, improvements in your cash flow, increased profits, and the ability to have management reporting delivering actionable financial intelligence for making data-driven business decisions.

How to Recognize When Your Business is Ready to Outsource

Outsourcing will bolster your business’s back office at an affordable price. Many business owners and CEOs do not know when the time is right. The following are common signs that it is time for you to consider outsourcing:

  • Vision and goals are delayed because you spend more time functioning as a bookkeeper than you do as CEO
  • Back office has no separation of duties, exposing your business to risk
  • No contingency plan for the loss of your in-house bookkeeper
  • Financial reports are geared toward compliance and tax compliance, but not managing your business
  • Base business decisions on gut feelings, rather than data
  • Business is growing
  • Cash flow concerns

Your business can begin outsourcing some or all of its back office functions at any time or size. A strong outsourced accounting partner will work with you to provide the services you need at the right time. In addition, it will set your back office processes up in the beginning to accommodate growth in the future.

Best Time to Outsource Your Back Office Function

You can transfer your bookkeeping and accounting functions from in-house to outsourced whenever you are ready.

Many businesses think that it would be better to begin outsourcing at quarter-end or after this year’s taxes have been filed. Waiting for these timelines, however, just delays receiving priceless data, saved money, and extra time that comes from having a smart back office that combines the tools, technology, and expertise necessary for a solid financial foundation.

Common Outsourcing Pitfalls to Avoid

If you decide outsourcing some or all of your back office functions is right for your business, then careful discern who you want to partner with.

Outsourcing your bookkeeping and accounting can do wonders for your business and its future. Choosing the wrong provider can be costly. Be on the look-out for the following when selecting services.

Hidden Costs

Be very clear about your expectations of service. Ask questions about what your scope of service includes up-front to avoid unexpected costs appearing on your invoice.

Availability

Consider how much involvement you want to have with your bookkeeping and accounting. Be sure you choose a provider and service level that will include enough availability to meet your needs. While some will only communicate on a weekly basis, on a different plan, other providers will be available whenever you call.

Small Firms

Although a small firm might be full of amazing individuals, they might not have a plan if someone quits or goes on vacation. Ask your potential Client Accounting Services (CAS) providers how many team members will be dedicated to your account and what will happen in the event someone leaves their firm.

Offshore Firms

These CAS providers often come at a much lower price, but they also have many drawbacks. They often operate in different time zones than your business, making their availability difficult. Communication, skill sets, expertise and processes can be a challenge when being serviced by firms in other countries.

Transform Your Accounting Department By Outsourcing

There are scalable solutions that grow with your business. With a highly personalized touch, GrowthForce dedicates an entire 3-person team to each of its clients. We offer a range of outsourced bookkeeping and accounting service options designed to grow with your business, as its back office needs expand and change with growth.

With the right outsourced bookkeeping and accounting partner, you can transform your standard back office (performing housekeeping duties) into a solid financial foundation for your business (providing actionable data and management accounting to grow your business).

If you would like to learn more about the process and reasons to outsource your back office’s bookkeeping and accounting functions, we encourage you to speak with a GrowthForce specialist today or take a look at our latest resource, The Guide to Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping and Accounting.

Transform Your Accounting Department By Outsourcing


Stephen King is a guest blogger at The Strategic CFO. He is the President and CEO of GrowthForce – an outsourced bookkeeping firm based in Houston, TX.


Transform Your Accounting Department By Outsourcing

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