In small businesses, there is often a gap between the day to day bookkeeping tasks (done by the business owner or an outsourced bookkeeper) and those tasks performed by an accountant at year end to comply with statutory obligations.
In larger businesses, this gap is filled by the Financial Director or Controller, whose job it is to analyse performance, produce month end reports and answer the many commercial questions businesses face daily. Questions like:
- What causes cash flow constraints and how can the cash cycle be maximised?
- What are the business profit drivers and how is it best to measure them?
- Are the business resources (staff, materials etc) being utilised effectively?
My extensive experience in operational finance – controlling and planning – can provide you with this type finance resource (sometimes called a “Virtual Finance Director“) on an ad-hoc basis, producing operational insights in order to improve your business performance and push it to the next level.
Successful business owners know how their business is performing. They are engaged with their numbers, knowing key ratios, growth projections and profit drivers to make smarter business decisions.
Management reporting will give you this information.
Both Sage One and Xero have a fantastic reporting suite built into the software which I can run for you or train you to do it in-house. It includes:
- Actual v Budget Performance
- Profit and Loss Account
- Balance Sheet
- Cashflow Statement
Alternatively, I can design and develop a management reporting pack tailored to your business, either monthly or quarterly, should you continue with your current software.
I can also dig deeper. For example, by analysing product mix, pricing strategy, customer conversion, resource utilisation etc.
Support like this can seem like a luxury when funds are tight, but a one-off study of your business can give a new perspective on activities, helping to identify and correct negative trends, profit drains or structural issues in the business.
Process and Internal Controls Review
Well designed, documented and communicated processes give clarity to a business. Everyone knows the steps and sign-offs involved minimising errors and strengthening control.
I can review your business cycles for effectiveness – customer enquiry to order, procure to pay etc – helping to ease the admin burden.
It is critical that every business has clear objectives and a clear strategy of how to achieve those objectives, particularly if it is on a mission to grow.
Defining these objectives and strategy is done as part of the budgeting process, normally conducted annually just before or just after the start of a new financial year.
Budgeting is not just an administrative exercise, it acts to focus the business and business owner on the year ahead by:
- Reviewing and setting targets for key pillars of the business: Products / Services, Customers, Resources, Operating Costs etc.
- Providing targets which actual performance can be measured against.
- Creating accountability for the business owner and team.
I can guide you through this process and collaborate with you to define a rigorous budget for the year ahead. I recommend you don’t start the year without one.
Managing cash flow to meet the short term needs of a business is of primary concern to business owners. Confidence about when cash will come in is critical.
This confidence comes from a detailed and closely monitored short-term sales forecast. I can help you to put systems in place to monitor business development activity, track leads, and give accountability to sales generation.