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Culture Drives Financial Results

culture drives financial results

As social media and search engines become more intelligent and prevalent, companies are battling the image that others outside the organization see as well as what employees feel. Entrepreneur Magazine even said that, “Company culture is more important than ever. It’s not that company culture was ever unimportant, but it’s quickly proving to be a “must-have” rather than a “nice-to-have.”” Have you ever worked in a company that had a bad culture? I have. I counted down the minutes until I could leave the office. Work for me was not enjoyable. As the financial leader of the company, I was not focused on driving financial results. Simply put, culture drives financial results.

Culture starts with your team. Before you add anyone else into your organization, click here to access your free 5 Guiding Principles for Recruiting a Star-Quality Team.

How Company Culture Drives Financial Results

Before we get into how company culture drives financial results, what is culture? Investopedia defines culture as “the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions.” In other words, you cannot say and it be with culture. Culture is organically developed over months or years. It depends on how is in the organization and how the organization acts as a whole through trials and successes.

Culture is also often created by the corporate governance and leadership of the organization. The tone starts at the top. Cultural changes happen also, especially when there is a change in ownership. A change in ownership can bring a change in governance, personalities, processes, and even language. Depending on the complexity of business, it may take from one year to three years to really complete an integration of an acquisition. The leadership of the organization must know what is going on in the culture of the organization as this has a direct effect on the bottom line.

Increased Performance

If employees are happy in an organization, then they will have increased performance. Some of the causes of increased performance stems from increased flexibility, professional development, and knowing that they are making their mark on the world.

Millennials are the largest generational cohort in the workforce in today’s world. As a result, they are spreading their desires in the workplace to other generations. For example, they value flexibility – the ability to work remotely, to have a standing desk, to work in a co-working space, to have odd-hours instead of the 9-5.

Additionally, they want to be further trained and develop. I once had an employee who told me that they didn’t care about the money if they were able to get professional development. At first, I was hesitant to provide that extra training because they were just going to leave me for more money after I had invested. But that employee didn’t leave. In fact, that employee was the most loyal in my organization.

Millennials are a funny generation! They definitely think outside the box and often bring ideas that the “traditional” worker would have not thought about. A good leader needs to know what drives his employees. What I have learned is that they want to know they are making a difference in people’s lives. They want to know that they are doing more good than harm. This could be supporting the homeless community or sponsoring an orphan. Or it could be storytelling how the organization’s efforts changed a customer’s life. It’s a simply thought, but when you expand work outside of the four walls of your office, those employees have more purpose and passion about their work. Thus, increasing their performance.

culture drives financial results

Increased Productivity

Additionally, you can also expect increased productivity from good company cultures. Think about Google and their office environment. With ping pong tables, napping pods, and playful environments, employees are told that they can have fun. Many times, entrepreneurs and executives think that working hard 8-12 hours a day will result in incredible results. But the employees feel like they can’t relax. There’s increased stress, decreased productivity, and eventually high turnover.

Increased Retention

Staffing, recruiting, hiring, and talent acquisition is both costly and time consuming. When you factor in the time to review resumes, interview, hire, train, onboard, then pay and provide benefits, that individual is an expensive asset on your financial statements. A good company culture will keep and retain those talented assets.

Looking to add more people to your team? Before you start recruiting, download our free 5 Guiding Principles for Recruiting a Star-Quality Team.

Examples of Company Culture Driving Financial Results

One of our team members once helped transition a company through a merger. All hands were on deck. There was no room for mistakes. And every client of theirs seemed angry. The product was great. Clients had great success from implementing the products. But it was clear there was something severely wrong! Employees were either fired or they quit. Within several months after the merger was official, the company was in financial distress. What we found that it wasn’t pricing or the product… Instead, it was the company culture! A good culture has gone bad.

Another example comes from a study that focused on the financial results of companies with and without performance-enhancing cultures. Needless to say, there is a strong correlation between company culture and growth. In the book Corporate Culture and Performance, John Kotter argues “that strong corporate cultures that facilitate adaptation to a changing world are associated with strong financial results.” When we talk about company culture driving financial results, it’s impacts more than just profit – but the shareholders, employees, and economy.

It’s Start With Who You Hire

Zappos has been known for its culture and prides itself in attributing its success to its corporate culture. What they have realized is that it starts with who you hire. Instead of looking at a resume for credentials, the recruiters essentially court them in a relationship. Similarly, we frequently say to our clients that if you can’t have lunch with a potential hire, do not hire them. When you take an employee out of an office and into the real world, you see how they really perform. Are they rude to the waiter? Or are they patient and kind? Do they hold the door open for people or let it fall in their faces?

For example, the CFO position should have discretion, responsibility, and confidence. If they show up to the wrong coffee shop for a meeting due to assumptions or carelessness or if they are indecisive in choosing a meal, then you need to assess whether they are capable for the position of CFO.

Personality Over Credentials

We once had a client that emphasized that trust was by far the most important quality for their CFO to have. It didn’t matter if they had X, Y, and Z qualifications. In fact, the CEO would rather hire someone who maybe wasn’t as qualified but he could trust over someone who was both qualified and untrustworthy. Especially when considering those high level positions, chose personality over credentials. Obviously, we are not saying to hire someone that cannot do their job. But if you had to decide between two candidates with similar credentials, chose the one that will fit your culture the best.

Be Slow to Hire & Quick to Fire

Bad employees can be a huge drain on resources and can potentially cause more damage than anticipated. That’s why the best corporate cultures are slow to hire and quick to fire. Those entities are protecting their most valuable intangible assets. In order to determine which candidates are the right fit for your company, download and access your free 5 Guiding Principles For Recruiting a Star-Quality Team whitepaper.

culture drives financial results

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culture drives financial results

 

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KPI Overload

It’s that time of year…  There’s so much going on and it’s becoming difficult for you to stop and breathe.
too many KPIs, KPI Overload

Kids are finishing up school, which entails end-of-year parties, standardized testing, and projects. Businesses are pushing to boost sales as the end of the second quarter quickly approaches. Summer vacations are booked. You may feel a little bit overwhelmed!

Information & KPI Overload

How are you measuring your performance and productivity?

It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that monitoring as many indicators as humanly possible is the best way to boost your performance. Multitasking, exhausting yourself, and spreading yourself too thin are not helpful when analyzing your performance.

The same goes with business… We often see that our clients have 8-10 KPIs (key performance indicators) per department to measure productivity.  Assuming the average company has 6-10 departments, that means you’re tracking up to 100 KPIs!

How can 100 KEY Performance Indicators be useful?

Performance Indicatorstoo many KPIs, KPI Overload

When organizations have so many “KPIs,” we find that they become PIs (or performance indicators). These PIs are useful for when you’re in the nitty gritty of a specific department as it measures the success (or failure) to meet goals in that department.

As a financial leader, it’s important to categorize which indicators are key and which are just to measure specific performance.

For example, a person who doesn’t differentiate KPIs and PIs might pitch that the company is doing well because it’s decreased the amount of time packing the inventory for shipping to customers by 15%. How does that correlate to sales and your net profit?

(NOTE: Need help finding your company’s KPIs? Check out our KPI Discovery Cheatsheet!)

Too Many KPIs

Having too many KPIs can result in what I call KPI overload. So many organizations think that by having 8-10 KPIs per department, they will be better able to assess the performance of the company. WRONG.

(K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, stupid!)

Truth is: when you have 100 KPIs, no one has the time or energy to look at every one of them. All of the sudden, those KPIs become redundant to the company. There’s a lot of reading in between the lines to understand what the KPIs are measuring.  Not to mention the wasted time preparing the measures that are most likely being ignored…

Difference Between KPI & PI

By performing an analysis of the most important business activities that drive profits and cash flow, you can then develop a set of true key performance indicators. Look for the 6-8 numbers that really drive the bottom line.

If you need more numbers than the 6-8 KPIs to analyze productivity, they aren’t necessarily KPIs. These PIs can be used for quality control, etc. A department might need to use a PI to manage their procedures; the key difference is that it doesn’t “move the needle”.

What is Key?

First, figure out what your CEO wants to know. As a financial leader, it’s imperative for you to act as a wingman to the CEO. You may have 100 indicators that you could give to your CEO… BUT do they have the time and knowledge to assess the general performance?

Give them the 40,000 foot view of the companies performance by providing 6-10 KPIs for your organization, regardless of the size of the company. Without this 40,000 foot view, it becomes difficult to discern what is key.

(How do you use flash reports to improve productivity? Check it out here now!)

Once you have identified some KPIs, it’s time to track them. Track KPIs and analyze variances. Then you may use trend tools, what-if scenarios, and breakeven analyses. Evaluate what is important.

For example, as you build a dynamic cash flow projection (one of the many trend tools you can create after identifying your KPIs), you’ll be able to key in assumptions that drive revenue and manage the cost of goods sold. By adjusting those numbers, you’ll be able to see what is sensitive.

Download our free KPI Discovery Cheatsheet and start tracking your KPIs today!

too many KPIs, KPI Overload

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too many KPIs, KPI Overload

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SWOT Analysis

See Also:
Porter’s 5 Forces of Competition
Core Competencies
How to Write an Action Plan
How to Turnaround a Company

SWOT Analysis

The SWOT Analysis – an acronym standing for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats – assesses a company’s competition in the desired field or market. This analysis serves as an excellent tool for decision-making, either for personal use or from a business standpoint.

Business SWOT Analysis: Planning, Performance, and Evaluation

The purpose of a SWOT analysis, from a business point-of-view, is to organize a proper business strategy around the internal and external factors that affect one’s business. Existing or older businesses may use a SWOT analysis to predict or proactively adapt to the environmental changes pertaining to their business. New or starting businesses may use this analysis to plan ahead before their actual business plans to assess potential road bumps or advantages they can use.

How to Complete a SWOT Analysis

When mapping out a business strategy with a SWOT analysis, you first look at the four elements in your company: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and ThreatsStrength and Weaknesses are considered internal factors that might affect a company. These are characteristics, rather than physical elements surrounding the business, such as profitability or shortages. The Opportunities and Threats are considered external factors. These are the physical elements such as network or competition.

SWOT Analysis

Benefits of a SWOT Analysis

With the SWOT Analysis you can:

  1. Analyze the current situation of a company.

    SWOT shows the leaders of a company how realistic their situation is. With the simple grid system, people can visualize and organize their thoughts. This list may be pages long, but with the SWOT Analysis, you can easily distribute and interpret the information easily.

  2. Provide different perspectives when executing a decision.

    When completing a SWOT analysis, a leader of a company is forced to consider all different types of potential aspects that affect the company, not only what they see on a regular basis.

  3. Simplify; SWOT does not require extensive technology or payment during completion.

    You can do this method on a computer, piece of paper, or dry-erase board. And it’s free – straight from your mind.

Limitations of a SWOT Analysis

In comparison to many other types of business analysis, SWOT may not be as ideal because:

  1. The method is not as detailed.

    The SWOT analysis only has four factors, compared to other types of analysis which have seven or eight different factors. The method is useful with analyzing an idea or small maintenance in business planning. But you may need other methods to be paired with this analysis in order to get a full, detailed plan.

  2. You have to make a new SWOT every time you make a change.

    When updating a plan or making  a new decision, you have to consider all four factors in the SWOT analysis that might alter your previous factors. We recommend updating your SWOT analysis at the end of every financial year to project future losses, or when you don’t meet your goals.

  3. Subjectivity.

    In any decision-making process, the data collected must be reliable and un-biased. It is easy to misinterpret or over-represent your own strengths and opportunities versus weaknesses and threats when not done in a group setting.

Download your free External Analysis whitepaper that guides you through overcoming obstacles and preparing how your company is going to react to external factors.

swot analysis

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Standard Costing System

See Also:
Standard Costing Example
Process Costing
Activity Based Costing vs Traditional Costing
Absorption vs Variable Costing
Implementing Activity Based Costing
Cost Driver
Budgeting 101: Creating Successful Budgets
Analyzing Your Return on Investment (ROI)
Product Pricing Strategies

Standard Costing System

In accounting, a standard costing system is a tool for planning budgets, managing and controlling costs, and evaluating cost management performance.

A standard costing system involves estimating the required costs of a production process. But before the start of the accounting period, determine the standards and set regarding the amount and cost of direct materials required for the production process and the amount and pay rate of direct labor required for the production process. In addition, these standards are used to plan a budget for the production process.

At the end of the accounting period, use the actual amounts and costs of direct material. Then utilize the actual amounts and pay rates of direct labor to compare it to the previously set standards. When you compare the actual costs to the standard costs and examine the variances between them, it allows managers to look for ways to improve cost control, cost management, and operational efficiency.

(NOTE: Want to take your financial leadership to the next level? Download the 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFO’s. It walks you through steps to accelerate your career in becoming a leader in your company. Get it here!)

Advantages and Disadvantages of Standard Costing

There are both advantages and disadvantages to using a standard costing system. The primary advantages to using a standard costing system are that it can be used for product costing, for controlling costs, and for decision-making purposes.

Whereas the disadvantages include that implementing a standard costing system can be time consuming, labor intensive, and expensive. If the cost structure of the production process changes, then update the standards.

Download the free 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs to find out how you can become a more valuable financial leader.

standard costing system

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standard costing system

Source:

Hilton, Ronald W., Michael W. Maher, Frank H. Selto. “Cost Management Strategies for Business Decision”, Mcgraw-Hill Irwin, New York, NY, 2008.

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Proforma Earnings

See Also:
Pro-Forma Financial Statements
Retained Earnings
EBITDA
Operating Income (EBIT)
Financial Ratios

Proforma Earnings Definition

Pro forma earnings are a company’s earnings that exclude rare, extraordinary, or nonrecurring items. Companies may incur expenses that do not reflect typical operating expenses. These expenses, which must be disclosed in financial statements in accordance with GAAP standards, can impact a company’s financial performance in a given accounting period. Proforma earnings exclude these extraordinary expenses in order to provide a clearer picture of the company’s financial performance. You can also call proforma earnings core earnings, operating earnings, or ongoing earnings.

A company’s earnings are a key measure of its financial performance. Creditors and investors examine a company’s earnings to evaluate its financial performance when deciding whether or not to lend to or invest in the company. Compare current period earnings to prior period earnings of the same company to gauge progress over time. Or compare current period earnings to industry peers and competitors to assess the company’s competitive position in the marketplace.

Earnings According to the SEC and GAAP

The SEC requires publicly traded companies to report net income and operating income in financial statements prepared according to GAAP regulations and procedural standards. The investing public scrutinizes these measures of financial performance. However, some businesspeople often consider these income measures to be inaccurate to some degree.

GAAP standards require businesses to include rare, extraordinary, or nonrecurring items in their financial statements. But company executives believe that including these rare, extraordinary, and nonrecurring items in the financial statements obscures the true picture of the company’s financial performance. Therefore, some companies prefer to publish pro forma earnings in their financial statements along with their SEC-required GAAP-standardized earnings.

Proforma Earnings – Explanation

These pro forma earnings, or hypothetical earnings that exclude items deemed rare, extraordinary, or nonrecurring by the individuals preparing the pro forma financial statements, are considered to provide a clearer and more accurate picture of the company’s financial performance for the relevant accounting period. For example, when prepared in accordance with GAAP regulations, a company may show a loss for a given accounting period. However, during that same period, a company can show a profit in its pro forma earnings.

If you want to increase the value of your organization, then click here to download the Know Your Economics Worksheet.

Proforma Earnings

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Proforma Earnings

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Responsibility Center

Responsibility Center Definition

In accounting, a responsibility center refers to an organizational subunit in a corporation. For instance, a large corporation may consist of numerous smaller business groups or divisions, some or all of these organizational subunits could be set up as responsibility centers.

The manager of a responsibility center is responsible for the activities of the organizational subunit. In addition, they are responsible for the results of specified financial and non-financial performance measurements. The concept of the responsibility center as an organizational subunit in a larger corporation is a part of the larger concept of a responsibility accounting system.

Furthermore, there are four different types of responsibility centers. These different types include the following:

Responsibility Accounting

Responsibility accounting is a system of organizational architecture designed to promote goal congruence among managers and employees in a company or organization. It is also intended to appropriately measure and evaluate the performance of people and organizational subunits within the corporation. Many also employ responsibility accounting systems to ensure both responsibility and accountability among the hierarchy of the ranks within the organization.

Types of Responsibility Centers

The following include the types of responsibility centers:

1. Cost Center / Discretionary Cost Center
2. Revenue Center
3. Profit Center
4. Investment Center

Cost center managers are responsible for the incurring as well as controlling costs in their organizational subunit.

Discretionary cost center managers are typically responsible for adhering to a budget.

Revenue center managers are responsible for revenues generated by their organizational subunit.

Profit center managers are responsible for revenues and expenses generated as well as incurred by their organizational subunit.

Investment center managers are profit as well as the capital investments required to generate the profit.


If you want to learn how you can be the best wingman, then access our free How to be a Wingman guide!

Responsibility Center

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Responsibility Center

 

Sources:

Hilton, Ronald W., Michael W. Maher, Frank H. Selto. “Cost Management Strategies for Business Decision”, Mcgraw-Hill Irwin, New York, NY, 2008.

Barfield, Jesse T., Michael R. Kinney, Cecily A. Raiborn. “Cost Accounting Traditions and Innovations,” West Publishing Company, St. Paul, MN, 1994.

 

See Also:
Service Department Costs
Transfer Pricing
Value Drivers: Building Reliable Systems to Sustain Growth
Value Chain
Cost Driver

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Professional Employer Organization (PEO) FAQs

See Also;
What is a PEO?
Advantages of Professional Employer Organizations
How to Select a PEO
PEO Compared to Outsourcing Payroll
National Association of Professional Employer Organizations

Professional Employer Organization FAQs | PEO FAQs

Refer to the following Professional Employer Organization FAQs for more information about PEOs.

What Kind of a Business Uses a Professional Employer Organization (PEO)?

The PEO business arrangement will literally work for any type of business including both For-Profit and Not-for-Profit entities. Co-employment relationships range from professional offices to high technology to retailing to manufacturing. In terms of size, PEO customers include the two person professional office, as well as, the one to three hundred person manufacturing firm.

How will a PEO arrangement affect My Employees?

Your Employees maintain their eligibility for benefits, pay rate and job seniority that they have accumulated and in many cases find that they have access to better benefits through the PEO business arrangement.

How will a PEO arrangement affect control of My Employees?

Your Employees are under Your Direct Control and Supervision. The Business Owner determines wage rates, working hours, job responsibilities, job performance, compliance with rules and regulations, etc.

How will the change from my current system to a PEO arrangement take place?

The PEO will conduct an orientation for all of your Employees. This is the time to answer questions and explain the benefits of the Business Owner/PEO Management Model. Furthermore, employees always feel more comfortable when they know the who, what, when, where and why of the change.

Are PEOs recognized as employers at the state and federal levels?

Yes, PEOs operate in all 50 states. The State of Texas has legislated specific licensing, registration, and regulation for PEOs. Texas statutorily recognizes PEOs as the employer or “co-employer” of employees for many purposes, including workers’ compensation and state unemployment insurance taxes. In addition, the IRS has accepted the right of a PEO to withhold and remit federal income and unemployment taxes for employees. The IRS has also promulgated specific guidance confirming the authority of PEOs to provide retirement plans to workers.

How will a PEO arrangement help the Business Owner to control costs?

The PEO provides significant technology, service infrastructure and platforms to assure compliant delivery of contracted services. In addition, the PEO provides time-savings by handling routine and redundant tasks associated with the following:

Who is responsible for the payment of wages and employment taxes?

By contract, the PEO assumes responsibility and liability for payment of wages and compliance with the rules and regulations governing the reporting and payment of federal and state taxes on wages paid to its “co-employees”. PEOs have long established their role as reporting income and handling withholding, FICA, FUTA and SUTA. In 2002, the IRS issued guidance confirming the ability of PEOs to offer qualified retirement benefits.

Who is responsible for employment law and regulatory compliance?

As co-employers, both the Business Owner and the PEO have compliance obligations. The Customer Service Agreement (CSA) addresses specific co-employer responsibilities regarding employment laws and regulations, including the following:

  • Federal, state, and local discrimination laws
  • Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • ADA
  • FMLA
  • HIPAA
  • Equal Pay Act
  • COBRA

Is a PEO required to have in-force Current Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

The “Staff Leasing Services Act” does not require a Professional Employer Organization to maintain current Workers’ Compensation Insurance for its’ “co-employees”; however, private employers that contract with governmental entities are required to provide Workers’ Compensation coverage for each employee working on a public project.

If you want to determine which candidates are the right fit for your company, then use our 5 Guiding Principles For Recruiting a Star-Quality Team.

Professional Employer Organization FAQs, PEO FAQs

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Professional Employer Organization FAQs, PEO FAQs

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