Tag Archives | productivity

Demystifying the 80/20 Rule

Whether you are working with a client, putting together a reporting package, networking with potential investors, or closing the books, there’s a rule you can apply to make your life easier. This rule is probably one that you’re very familiar with – regardless of whether you practice it. When you are completing a job, there always seems to be a few things that push the needle further than anything else. This is the 80/20 rule.

Using the 80/20 rule is a great way to be a more effective financial leader. Click here to read more about how you can be a highly effective CFO.

What is the 80/20 Rule?

Simply put, the 80/20 rule is where 20% of the work results in 80% of the outcome. Likewise, 80% of the work only results in 20% of the outcome. While the numbers may not be spot on, the theory holds true in pretty much everything you do.

In the early 20th century, Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, introduced this concept to explain the distribution of wealth in his home country – Italy. It first came about when roughly 20% of his pea pods made 80% of the total number of peas grown. As he continued to test this theory, he expanded it into other areas of macroeconomics (wealth distribution). Then roughly 30 years later, Joseph Juran applied the 80/20 rule to business production methods. He explained this rule “the vital few and the trivial many.”

Demystifying the 80/20 Rule

Many may argue that it’s not exactly 80/20, and you would be correct. It may even be 99/1 if you look at a particular situation. But as we demystify the 80/20 rule, we need to be thinking from a macro viewpoint. What is the minimal amount of work you can do to result in the most work.

How It Applies to Financial Leadership

As the financial leader of your company, it’s so important to know what pushes the proverbial needle forward the most. Look at your team, your fulfillment, your customers, your vendors. Then look at your role in the company. What work can you do that will result in bigger and better outcomes? Identify the work that takes up the most time without providing much. You may consider having a lower level employee work on those tasks. If that 80% work is too sensitive, then restructure your day to allow for the most time sensitive issues to be front and center.

80/20 Rule

Customer vs Revenue Relationship

Because there is no business without its customers, let’s look at the relationship between customers and revenue.

Who are your best customers? They are the ones who pay their invoices on time, don’t require extra time from your team, and never complain. They are also your most profitable customers. These customers are your 20%ers, and they make up 80% of your revenue!

But then, there are those customers who you dread receiving a call from because you know it’s going to be yet another complaint. These unprofitable customers suck your time, resources, and money. They make up 80% of your customer support/implementation/sales. Yet, because they take advantage of you, they only result in 20% of the company’s revenue (and less in profit). If you are overrun by profitable customers, you may want to think about firing that customer.

An effective financial leader is able to guide their CEO through the numbers and demystifying what may be unclear to them. If you want to more effective, click here to download the 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs to become a more valuable leader.

Improve Your Productivity by Applying the 80/20 Rule

If you desire for your team to be more productive, then you need to start with yourself. A fish rots from the head down. Start by analyzing your to do list. Are there a few things that will make a big difference? If so, prioritize those over everything else. Remember, not everything on your to do list will have the same impact or risk. A great way to assess the weight of each task is to use “tags” labeled: non-essential, essential, and critical. Are you chasing administrative tasks or completing the same tasks over and over? Ask yourself whether those can be automated or if a less expensive employee can complete them.

Why You Need to Be More Productive

There are so many squirrels that you could chase! There’s a million ideas that are all million-dollar ideas. But what do you need to do to meet your goals? If you continue to get bogged down by things in the 80% pile, then you risk never reaching your or your company’s goals. You need to be more productive, more streamlined. Although many see automation as a risk, we see it as an opportunity to force ourselves to be more productive.

How It Impacts How Effective You Are

When you apply the 80/20 rule to your leadership and workspace, you become more productive. You are then able to see clearly what is going to push the needle further. In our experience, our client’s experience, and our vendor’s experience, there are just a few indicators that hold much more weight. Think about it this way… If you listed everything you need to improve, you would never get it all done. You simply don’t have enough time to do everything! But you do have enough time to focus on the 20% and reap the 80%.

Lead From the 40,000 Foot Level

An effective financial leader leads from the 40,000 foot level. If you only look at an issue 2 inches away, then you are going to miss what’s causing it, what it’s impacting, etc. A good leader needs the entire picture before they make a decision for the company. This also helps you guide your CEO. Click here to download the 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs to find out how you can become a valuable financial leader.

80/20 Rule

Strategic CFO Lab Member Extra

Access your Flash Report Execution Plan in SCFO Lab. The step-by-step plan to manage your company before your financial statements are prepared.

Click here to access your Execution Plan. Not a Lab Member?

Click here to learn more about SCFO Labs

80/20 Rule

1

Turnover in Collections is Destroying Your DSO

One of our clients called us up because his DSO went from 34 days to over 72 days within a couple months. He couldn’t figure out what was causing his daily sales outstanding (DSO) to increase so dramatically in such a short time. When we came in the office to investigate, we found that there was significant turnover in the A/R and A/P staff. As a result, collections were not being consistently collected on. Turnover in collections is destroying your DSO. But how does turnover impact your DSO?

Turnover in Collections is Destroying Your DSO

What happens when there is high turnover in a company? Decreased productivity, bad communication, reduced training, lost processes, and so much more. When we started working with our client mentioned above, they were turning over A/R personnel very quickly. At first, the management didn’t think about their DSO. Sales were going great! But no cash was being collected. What they originally thought was a cash flow problem became more of a management issue.

How are you managing your cash? After 25+ years of working with clients in cash crunches, we designed the A/R Checklist AND you can access for free here. Enjoy!

maintaining accurate records

What Happens When Turnover Is High The Collections Departments

Think about what happens when turnover is high in the collections department. Communication is not clear on who has been contacted, what to charge, if an invoice has been sent out, etc. It can easily get out of hand if communication is not seamless during the transition. There simply is no continuation and follow up.

You also need to address why turnover is high. Are you firing your employees? Are many employees retiring? Is morale down due to an upcoming transition? Are you not compensating them enough to stay? There is typically a reason for high turnover. But it may take some investigating. Do you have a good idea for what is an acceptable turnover rate?

Consider calculating the transaction turnover per A/R employee. If your number is low, you need to start improving the collections process.

      Number of Transactions Processed      
Number of Accounts Receivable Employees

Collections Cannot Be Automated

There’s a lot of things you can automate, but collections are not one of them. You cannot automate human behavior and nothing can replace a live call or meeting between two parties. While we may see some sort of automation built into this process, we don’t foresee it taking the humans out of this role. For example, if a client needs to explain that they need to extend their payment another week, they need a speak to a person, someone authorized to extend payment terms. Furthermore, if their contact person in A/R keeps changing, then those receivables will not be collected timely.  Management often underestimates the importance of having someone in receivables developing a relationship with the customer.

[HINT: Turnover may be high for a myriad of reasons, but your company still needs cash. Consider offering a discount to the client for paying in a certain number of days. Read more about discounting receivables here.]

 

How to Save Your DSO When Turnover is High

Your DSO is a key indicator for management to look at. But like other indicators, you need to know what impacts those variables and why. Employee turnover in A/R can directly impact DSO as those employees are the people responsible for collecting. When turnover is high, communications and processes don’t always get passed down properly or effectively. Let’s learn how to save your DSO when turnover is high.

Know the Cycle

First, you need to know the cycle. Companies (and economies) going through cycles where cash is tight, turnover is high, and credit becomes tight. .  Look at the recent oil & gas crisis. Oil price hit record highs, companies began to spend more, they took on more debt. Then the price of oil drops, companies find themselves paying for debt service based on a bigger size and larger revenue, cash gets tight.  The bank and other creditors tighten up until things get better down the road.

But if you’re experiencing high turnover that doesn’t reflect what the macro economy is doing, then you need to look internally.

Start by tracking your DSO at regular intervals. Make this part of your normal monthly reporting process.  This will give you a basis to predict cash flow and indicates when things are going south. When you create a DSO trend, it is easier to spot irregularity.

Identify Areas With Low Turnover

What areas in your company have low turnover? Is it sales, operations, upper level management, etc.? Identify the areas with low turnover. Regardless of their role in the company, someone needs to collect the cash or the company will be in trouble. For example, you have 5 sales people that have been there for an average of 15 years. Your A/R department has turned over 5 employees in the last 2 years. Choose one of your sales persons to manage the transition between A/R employees. Your sales people often have the relationship with the customer.

Write Down Your DSO Improvement Strategies

This is probably the most important step to saving your DSO when turnover is high. Write it down! A strategy isn’t a good strategy if you don’t write it down. Have written processes for collections as well as notes of what has been done for the entire accounting department will help everyone know where you are at.

Write the collections process down with all your DSO improvement strategies.

Then, write down notes from client conversations, steps in the collections processes. Have frequent internal meetings about collections.  Assign tasks to individuals and write down the progress or lack of progress.  The CFO should be made aware of collections, DSO and trouble accounts.

Improve Your DSO

Whether you are experiencing high turnover in your A/R staff or not, it’s important to continually improve your DSO. For more ways to add value to your company, download your free A/R Checklist to see how simple changes in your A/R process can free up a significant amount of cash.

Turnover in Collections is Destroying Your DSO

Strategic CFO Lab Member Extra

Access your Projections Execution Plan in SCFO Lab. The step-by-step plan to get ahead of your cash flow.

Click here to access your Execution Plan. Not a Lab Member?

Click here to learn more about SCFO Labs

Turnover in Collections is Destroying Your DSO

0

Corporate Zombies: Combat the Rise of Unengaged Employees

Recently, we have seen a new term emerging regarding the type of employees some companies have: corporate zombies. Why should you as a financial leader care about the type of employees your company has? It all lies in your income statement. One of the largest (if not the largest) expense item is your human capital. If some of your employees are corporate zombies, that cannot be good for the financial future of your company and we’ll explain below.

What are Corporate Zombies?

So what are corporate zombies? Let’s break it down by starting with the word zombie. Zombies are depicted by popular culture to be reanimated corpses with a focused hunger for flesh (namely brains). But you put these zombies in a corporate setting, you find that they are hyper-focused on reaching a title or level within the company. They are speedy and efficient. But like general zombies, corporate zombies neglect to look left or right for any other solution to a problem. They lack creativity and instead, corporate zombies have an unquenchable hunger for power and influence. These employees neglect to innovate, go out of their way to serve customers, or solve problems. And they are rising up…

corporate zombiesWhy are Corporate Zombies rising up?

Corporate zombies are rising up for three potential reasons. They are:

  1. Unengaged in their current work
  2. Laser-focused on reaching management level
  3. No interests outside of work because they spend all their time in the office

In addition, we are seeing that corporate zombies in recruiting are hiring the same type of person. This person is on the fast track to management, are unengaged with doing the job that they currently have, and are spending all their time at work. While it may seem good to have those that want to be promoted and will work for that promotion, you must address whether they are putting in the work for the job they were hired to do. The army of corporate zombies are rising up as those in charge of hiring are adding more and more of the same type of person into their company.

Is your company overwhelmed by corporate zombies? If so, it’s time to start revamping how your company hires. Click here to download our free 5 Guiding Principles for Recruiting a Star-Quality Team whitepaper.

Why are Corporate Zombies destroying companies?

The 2AM emails, rolling into the office late, staying late, accommodating everyone, and living for the gold stars. When you add all these factors up, you will see an unproductive, uncreative, and exhausted employee that are wasting your time and money. Not good. These employees are destroying your company before your eyes, and they need to be stopped.

Unengaged Employees

According to the most recent Gallup poll on employee engagement, 67% of employees in companies located in the United States are unengaged. Most of the time, you will not be able to walk into a company and see this. But after spending a little with employees in different departments, there will be a couple things that stick out to you. People are watching the clock, trying to prove how much work they are doing (and completely disregard the quality of the work completed), and are sucking up to their superiors. While they may be engaged with their position, they are not engaged with the work needing to be done.

In addition, these unengaged employees are looking to step up into a more superior management position. But another interesting thing to note is that not everyone should be a manager. Gallup also reports that “only 10% of human beings are naturally wired to be great managers — and some others, while not naturally gifted, are teachable. But companies choose candidates with the right talent for the job only 18% of the time.” By putting employees that may “work hard” but do not produce quality work into management roles, leaders will continue this cycle of building a zombie-like company.

Reduced Productivity

If you told an eight-year-old to clear the dinner table and put things in the dishwasher, you may find that although the task will get done but it may be done not correctly. Employees in your company do each task and move onto the next so quickly that there is no check of the work done. Down the line, those or other employees will have to redo those tasks – wasting the company’s money. Their hyper-focused attention on reaching the end goal skips over the full scope of a project.

Although millennials are most often blamed for this, all employees that leave late, stay up late, and are on the clock essentially 24/7 are destroying their own productivity. 24/7 work creates exhaustion, tension between the employer and employee, decreased productivity, and reduced loyalty. An employee starts out exhausted. They think that to get to the next level, they need to be on the clock always. Then if they don’t see progress on getting that promotion, they begin to resent the company. That resentment quickly morphs into decreased productivity. If more work doesn’t move the needle, then they start producing less work. Eventually, they leave the firm. Everyone knows this: employee turnover is a killer for companies.

Response Not Initiative

Have you noticed that your company is more responsive than proactive? After a customer, vendor, or employee brings up a complaint, your company then begins to find a solution. But there is no initiative to find a solution beforehand. It can be frustrating when you hear the same complaints repeatedly. You start to question whether there is something that can be done to prevent these situations from arising. Sound like your company? Corporate zombies may have overrun your company.

The best companies in the world attempt to predict potential issues in advance and work to find a solution to those issues before they become a problem. They think about how they could improve the current product or service. They don’t just move onto the next project because they finished the previous. This lack of initiative in companies is destroying any chances of gaining real value.

How to Combat Corporate Zombies

A general does not go into battle without a game plan, so why would you? To take down the army of corporate zombies that have been building up for years, you need a firm strategy to combat them. Some of the strategy needs to include changing the culture of your company and taking control over the hiring process. You cannot allow that army of zombies to continue to build.

Build a team that defies the norm. Click here to download our free 5 Guiding Principles for Recruiting a Star-Quality Team whitepaper and start combatting those corporate zombies.

corporate zombiesThink Critically

The best way to combat those cash-sucking employees is to encourage critical thinking. Try not to just settle for the easiest and quickest solution. Instead, create teams to provide the best solution for your company and for your customers. If you do not encourage and demand that your employees think beyond what they have been taught to do, the cycle of producing the same type of person will continue. Hire each person for a very specific purpose. As one of your largest expense items, it is your role as a financial leader to cultivate the best employees.

Challenge your management to do better instead of letting them do their jobs like they have been for years. Corporate zombies do not like to be attacked. Defy the norm and think critically about how you can go against the grain.

corporate zombiesTransform Your Culture – Reengagement

If you are a company full of the same type of employees, step up and reengage the management with the reality of what is going on. The culture of the company needs to shift before it inevitably falls. Create a culture of accountability by implementing teams, improving leadership philosophies, and building on the strengths of individual employees. Harvard Business School Professor of Leadership, Leslie Perlow, describes transformation of company culture this way: “If you try to do things differently, you will find it incredibly valuable. It’s rallying together to recognize that if we continue to work in this way, it’s undermining our productivity, our sustainability, our creativity.” (Entrepreneur)

Address quality in your company. Create quality controls in your company to push your employees to do better than they did yesterday. Your company, customers, and shareholders will be thankful that you did that (and your competitors will be cursing you).

Take Control of Recruiting

As the financial leader of your company (CFO, CEO, controller, entrepreneur, etc.), take control of your recruiting. If you are looking to be successful and grow substantially, you must have the right employees. They must challenge you like you challenge them. Although it may feel nice to have a yes-man, a yes-man is only looking to get your job or to get on your level. A star-quality team requires different people to contribute to the overall success. Start assessing your current team and transform your hiring process by learning what it takes to have a star-quality team. Download our free 5 Guiding Principles for Recruiting a Star-Quality Team to stop the rise up of corporate zombies in your company.

corporate zombies

Strategic CFO Lab Member Extra

Access your Recruiting Manual in SCFO Lab. The step-by-step plan shows you how you can recruit and hire the right team.

Click here to access your Execution Plan. Not a Lab Member?

Click here to learn more about SCFO Labs

corporate zombies

0

Productivity of an Accounting Department

Most people (especially those outside the finance side of the business) see the financial function as a cost center. Although an accounting department does not generate any revenue, it has the potential to dramatically improve profitability. Think about this: you should be able to convert 1-2% of sales into profits if the department was more productive. The productivity of an accounting department is directly linked to the improvement of profits and cash flow – the bread and butter of financial leaders.

How Productive Is Your Accounting Department?

Before you attempt to improve the productivity of an accounting department, assess how productive or unproductive it is currently. First, log what is working and what is not working. By going through this process, you will allow yourself or the financial leader of your company to fully evaluate what is going on. There are a couple areas that you can start considering when asking the question: how productive is your accounting department?

If you find that your accounting department is productive, brainstorm ways to make it more productive. The great thing is that there is always room for improvement.

Track your accounting department’s productivity by using KPIs. For help, download the KPI Discovery Cheatsheet!

productivity of an accounting departmentTips to Improve Productivity of Accounting Department

While there may be a million little things that you can do to push the needle a little, we have found that there are a few focus areas that allow you to take the biggest strides ahead. When improving the productivity of an accounting department, start by using best practices, training and developing your team, automating as much as possible, communicating effectively, tracking progress, and outsourcing. Finally, walk through your accounting department to ensure maximum profitability.

Use Best Practices

The best way to accomplish this first tip is to continually read up on, research, discuss, learn from thought leaders, and attend events to catalog the best practices used by others to attain a productive accounting department. In addition, if you keep ahead on implementing the best practices, you should be able to accomplish company goals quicker. According to GAAP, some best practices include regularity, consistency, continuity, and recording sales when they are certain.

Training & Development

Unfortunately, some employees are simply not going to do the dirty work of reading up on the best practices. They are leaving that up to you ­– the financial leader. Those employees are going to continue to do exactly what they have done in the past; and therefore, reduce the chances of being more productive. So, it is up to the financial leader to provide training and development for the team. If the team hears and learns the same training and development sessions, then there is a huge opportunity to create a more synergized accounting process.

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey says that synergy “is the habit of creative cooperation. It is teamwork, open-mindedness, and the adventure of finding new solutions to old problems. But it doesn’t just happen on its own. It’s a process, and through that process, people bring all their personal experience and expertise to the table. Together, they can produce far better results than they could individually. Synergy lets us discover jointly things we are much less likely to discover by ourselves.” The more your team is on the same page, the more productive your accounting department.

Automate

One of the great things about technology is that you can automate almost everything. While that could be bad news for those of you whose jobs could be automated, it is great for the productivity of an accounting department. Rather than laying off those employees, strategize how you can transition those people into more value-adding roles.

Communicate with Team

There’s a joke that you can tell extroverted accountants from introverted accountants by whose shoes they look at – their own or the other person’s. All jokes aside, it is critical that the financial leader get themselves and their team out of their office to communicate. During the hour or so when you take lunch or get coffee, ask one of your team members to join you. In addition to getting to know them better, see if they have any ideas about how to make the department more productive.

Identify Skills of Team

Part of communicating with your team includes identifying the skills of your team. Understand what talents they may have that was not on their resume. Assign projects to them in areas that they excel. Ask questions like: What’s the first thing that you like to do at the beginning of the day? Or if there is something that you could do all day, every day, what would that task be? When you identify the skills, talents, likes, and dislikes, you will be able to further develop your team.

Have KPIs

Identify those key performance indicators (KPIs) that indicate the productivity of an accounting department. Once you have identified them, use and track them. If you find your department sliding backwards, reassess and start the process over again.

If you are struggling to identify and track the KPIs that indicate the productivity of your accounting department, click here to access your free KPI Discovery Cheatsheet!

Outsource

If a specific job or task is not a core function of the business, explore whether it can be outsourced. For example in our retained search business, we have discovered that many companies are outsourcing their accounting departments to countries like the Philippines and Germany because it is more cost-effective for their organization. While that decision may be outside the norm, it is an opportunity to step up and be a financial leader. Outsource tasks and roles that can be accomplished at the same quality for a lower cost.

productivity of an accounting departmentWalk-Through Process

Finally, generate a list of topics to run through when evaluating the productivity of an accounting department. The Journal of Accountancy developed a questionnaire as part of a walk-through process checklist that can be accessed online (we have also included it below). When you ask yourself these questions, you’ll be able to better gauge the productivity of your accounting department and exactly where you need to focus.

Time

  • How much time are you spending on any given task?
  • Is it labor intensive?
  • How many people participate in the process?
  • Does it take excessive time to complete?
  • Is there a duplication of effort?
  • Are too many handoffs occurring?
  • Are roles and responsibilities clearly defined?
  • Is anyone performing similar tasks?
  • Are roles and responsibilities appropriate?
  • What is slowing down the process?
  • Do you require needless reviews or approvals?
  • What are the busiest times of the day, week, month and/or quarter?

If there is a task or job that is time intensive, judge if that job could be automated, outsourced, or done quicker. The goal is to reduce the cost associated with that task or job. Unfortunately, you are going to find that there are jobs that simply cannot be trimmed as they are essential to the business itself. That’s okay! But try to find and reduce the costs associated for as many tasks as possible.

Necessity

  • Is the step or process necessary to the company’s success?
  • Can you eliminate it without causing any damage?
  • Do you have more tasks to do because of a single task?
  • Is duplication of information necessary?

Automation

  • Can you automate a task?
  • Are you keying in the same data into multiple places? (For example, the accounting system, an Access database, spreadsheets, etc.)
  • Does a backlog exist?
  • How often are your deadlines missed?
  • Where is there a breakdown of a streamlined process?
  • Is there a person or a job that stops the production of financials?

Value Adding

  • Does a task add value?
  • How accurate is the data?
  • How much value can come from automating/outsourcing/etc.?

Conclusion

Streamline your accounting department by asking questions, automating, outsourcing, and find more profits and cash flow. Don’t continue to just be a cost center… Transform your department into a value-adding entity within the company! For help and tips to track your transformation, you need something to measure your performance. For help, download our KPI Discovery Cheatsheet and start measuring your accounting department’s KPIs today.

Productivity of an Accounting Department

Strategic CFO Lab Member Extra

Access your Flash Report Execution Plan in SCFO Lab. The step-by-step plan to create a dashboard to measure productivity, profitability, and liquidity of your company.

Click here to access your Execution Plan. Not a Lab Member?

Click here to learn more about SCFO Labs

Productivity of an Accounting Department

0

Taking Credit Cards for Business: Good or Bad?

taking credit cards for businessPeople, myself included, are generally more hesitant with taking credit cards for business on anything major… and I don’t blame them! There’s typically a 2% charge on sales. However, if you use your credit cards the correct way, it may be worth considering. To save you time and risk, here’s a few things that we learned from using a credit card in a business, and maybe you can, too.

Benefits of Taking Credit Cards

Why are credit cards useful in your company? Credit cards serve several purposes. At The Strategic CFO, we only cut a few checks per month due to the power of credit cards. Our accounting is automated, we experience a boost in productivity, and depending on your business, you might even free up enough liquidity to take advantage of discounts on payables.

Experience a Boost in Productivity

Daily sales outstanding (DSO) is a calculation used by a company to estimate their average collection period. The higher the DSO, the more problematic for a company because your liquidity is tied up in receivables. For example, let’s say you’re a plumber and your average DSO is 45 days. By accepting credit cards as payment, you could potentially reduce your average DSO from 45 days to 15 days… maybe less than that! An extra 30 days’ worth of liquidity can drastically improve a company. If a company averages sales of $2,000 a day, that’s almost $60,000 in your pocket earlier than it would have been! So what will you do with that extra cash? Now, you can pay off bills, invest the money, or take advantage of discounts on payables.

Take discounts on your payables

Certain vendors provide a discount on payables if you pay early. 2/10 net 30 is a popular discount given on payables. Specifically, you can get a 2 percent discount for a payment to a vendor in 10 days, or pay the full amount in 30 days with no discount. This reflects well on your supplier-consumer relationship, because the sooner you have your cash, the sooner they have their cash.

They’re a Good Source of Funding

It is recommended that you use a credit card when you need less than $50,000 and you cannot get a bank loan. One of the biggest benefits of having a credit card is that it is a flexible source of funding. You can buy as little or as much as you need, but only have to pay back a small amount monthly. Used responsibly, it can help establish your business’s credit as well making that next loan a little easier to get.

Dell

One of the best examples of how accepting credit cards can be a game-changer is Dell Computers. Back in 1984, when computer sales were gradually taking credit cards in businesspicking up pace, Michael Dell operated a computer-building business in his dorm room. He was funded $1,000, but how was he supposed to fund the rest? He strategically used the credit card cash to cover the expenses. Dell would take orders over the phone, gather the credit card information from the clients, and then make the computers. As a result, his cash conversion cycle was negative! This is one of many success stories for businesses who use credit cards as a source of funding.

This is one of many ways you can increase and optimize your cash flow. Read the rest in our free guide: 25 Ways to Improve Cash Flow!

Consequences of Credit Card Usage

So we’ve highlighted the benefits of taking credit cards, but be wary. Credit cards are still not universally accepted due to a few reasons. Not all businesses can take credit cards; in fact, some might have to pay more fees than others to even accept them. Here are just a few more reasons why people should be careful when taking credit cards for business…

Businesses Need to Have Reasonable Gross Profit

Let’s say the bulk of your sales are via credit card. If you want to stay in business, your gross profit must be substantial enough to cover the credit card fees. In this case, certain industries should not accept credit cards.

General Contract Work

Contract work such as painters, plumbers, and music teachers make only 3-5% of gross profit. Taking 2% of sales with credit would be too much. That would mean waiting on the customer to receive majority of gross profit. This can affect every other aspect of your business… especially overhead.

Real Estate

Another example of an industry where credit cards don’t make sense is real estate. There tends to be a 10% net operating income within the industry. If you’re generating 10% net operating income, it will hurt your business to have 2% credit sales. Taking a 2% hit would cut the investment down by 20%, which is why you sometimes can’t pay large sums (like rent) with credit cards.

Credit card tactics aren’t the only way to improve cash flow. Check out 24 other ways with this whitepaper!

Some properties do accept credit cards, but those tend to be the higher-end properties. Like suppliers, the landlords usually pair the early payments with benefits like points or discount on rent.

Where’s My Money?

taking credit cards for businessAnd of course… waiting for customers to pay, and depending on the customers’ credit terms, is an issue with accepting credit cards. Credit cards come with all sorts of issues technologically that are out of your control. If credit cards are canceled or stolen, that ultimately affects your automation system. Make sure you have a system in place when accepting a customer’s card, whether it be a contract or a secondary source of funding from the customer. Always be prepared for something to go sideways.

Conclusion

In conclusion, accepting credit cards in a business (no matter how big or small it is) is a risk. Then again, what new business decision doesn’t come with a risk? Like most decisions, it’s just a matter of preparation, research, and credibility. There are many contingencies associated with credit cards such as customer responsibility, and making sure your company generates enough gross profit. Conversely, there are benefits of taking credit cards such as discounts on your payables and a boost in productivity. Make sure to do your research, and be prepared for change.

Prepare yourself for change. Read our 25 Ways to Improve Cash Flow whitepaper and watch the company gradually grow with each step!

taking credit cards for business

Strategic CFO Lab Member Extra

Access your Projections Execution Plan in SCFO Lab. The step-by-step plan to get ahead of your cash flow.

Click here to access your Execution Plan. Not a Lab Member?

Click here to learn more about SCFO Labs

taking credit cards for business

Connect with us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Become a Strategic CFO insider

0

Using Flash Reports to Improve Productivity

In today’s fast-paced business world, most companies use some sort of dashboard or flash report to monitor and improve productivity and other key performance indicators.  Despite their wide use, many are still confused on what exactly should be measured and what constitutes a key performance indicator.

Using Flash Reports to Improve Productivity

What often happens is the CFO/Controller throws in any indicator that might be important just to cover their bases.  Unfortunately, the report may become too detailed to prepare quickly. And it will loose its usefulness. Eventually, either you stop producing the report or the CFO or Controller only looks at it.  In order to drive productivity, all key team members must review the report and take action on the results.

Here’s a helpful video of three things you should know about preparing a flash report.

To learn more financial leadership skills, download the free 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs.

productivity

Strategic CFO Lab Member Extra

Access your Flash Report Execution Plan in SCFO Lab.

Click here to access your Execution Plan. Not a Lab Member?

Click here to learn more about SCFO Labs

productivity

2

Days Inventory Outstanding

See Also:
Inventory Turnover Ratio
Inventory to Working Capital Ratio
How to Manage Inventory
Days Sales Outstanding (DSO)
Days Payables Outstanding (DPO)
How to Develop Daily Cash Report
13 Week Cash Flow Report
Supply Chain and Logistics

Days Inventory Outstanding

Days inventory outstanding (DIO), defined also as days sales of inventory, indicates how many days on average a company turns its inventory into sales. Value of DIO varies from industry and company. In general, a lower DIO is better. A useful tool in managing and improving inventory turns is a Flash Report!

Days Inventory Outstanding Explanation

Days inventory outstanding ratio, explained as an indicator of inventory turns, is an important financial ratio for any company with inventory. It shows how quickly management can turn inventories into cash. In general, a decrease in DIO is an improvement to working capital, and an increase is deterioration.

Days Inventory Outstanding Formula

Calculate he days inventory outstanding formula using the following equation:

DIO = (average inventory / cost of goods sold) * 365 days

(NOTE: Want the 25 Ways To Improve Cash Flow? It gives you tips that you can take to manage and improve your company’s cash flow in 24 hours!. Get it here!)

Days Inventory Outstanding Calculation

Days inventory outstanding calculations cross a myriad of needs and purposes.

For example, a business has $2,500 in inventory on average, $25,000 in cost of goods sold.

DIO = (2,500 / 25,000) * 365 = 37 days

Days Inventory Outstanding Example

James is the owner of a grocery store. His store, a private seller of groceries to a large suburb, has grown to be a household name in his local area. James now wants to find his DIO for his store, as well as, select product lines.

James begins by talking to his accountant. The accountant, skilled in his profession, performs this days inventory outstanding analysis:

James’ store has $2,500 in inventory on average, $25,000 in cost of goods sold.

Days Inventory outstanding = (2,500 / 25,000) * 365 = 37 days

James’ store is keeping pace with the national market of grocery stores. In his state, however, James’ store could use a little improvement. James considers options such as clearance item discounts or running coupons on items which he wants to sell faster. These promotions, including lower prices, could produce the inventory turnover which James is looking for.

James now looks to his bookkeeper for up-to-date information on his days inventory outstanding for certain product lines. James allows time to find these measurements and is confident that with the right team, perspective, and motivations he can grow his store further.

Reducing days inventory outstanding is just one of the many ways to improve the cash flow of a company. If you’re looking for 24 ways to improve cash flow, download the free 25 Ways to Improve Cash Flow whitepaper.

days inventory outstanding

Strategic CFO Lab Member Extra

Access your Cash Flow Tuneup Execution Plan in SCFO Lab. This tool enables you to quantify the cash unlocked in your company.

Click here to access your Execution Plan. Not a Lab Member?

Click here to learn more about SCFO Labs

days inventory outstanding

Resources

For statistical information about industry financial ratios, please go to the following websites: www.bizstats.com and www.valueline.com.

2

 Download Free Whitepaper Today!

ACCESS NOW!