Running a company is not easy. While most are focused on growth, there are times where checks and balances are neglected. Most don’t realize the importance of these checks and balances until there is a downturn and at that point it might be too late to correct course. Net income is not just about increasing Revenue, its about controlling your expenses as well.
The primary concern of most private companies relates to ensuring sufficient cash flow exists. Cash, due to its liquid nature, is the riskiest item a business deals with.
We can help create policies, procedures and other templates to ensure that you have strong controls over cash and to ensure that you are tracking it effectively.
Some examples of these services include:
- Bank Reconciliations– Does the information in your bank account match what is showing in your receipts and accounting system? If these differ for any reasons other than timing, there is the potential for fraud/theft.
- Aged Accounts Receivable– Are you tracking if your customers are paying on time? Do you continue to provide services/products to customers who don’t? Do you want to reward those customers who do pay on time? We can help create templates that will show your outstanding receivables and help you keep on top of those customers who are not paying on time.
- Budget/Cash Flow Projections– Do you know if you are going to have enough cash to cover your bills? Do you want to estimate how your company is going to perform in the future based on foreseeable events? We can help you forecast what your cash needs will be in the future. In addition, we can create templates such that we can make changes to the document as new information becomes available and circumstances change. We can track actual results to what you budgeted and help determine the root cause of why results did not match budget. This information can be parlayed to help future results.
- Reduce Expenses– Are you paying too much for products/services? Or paying for things that your business doesn’t require? We can help perform analysis to help you identify those costs that don’t provide any value to your business. Alternatively, we can provide cheaper solutions to help maximize overall cash flow and business success.
- Cash vs. Debt Balance– Are you holding too much in cash? Are you aware there is an optimal amount of debt you should carry to help the business thrive? We can help you find the balance between the two to help your business. In addition, we can help you in your relationship with your Banker to help negotiate favorable terms.
We will use your financial results to help drive performance. We can determine certain trends to determine how you are performing in comparison with previous results and how your results match with competitors/industry best standards (where information is available). We will create templates to compare year-over year results and month to month comparisons. We will determine the causes of fluctuations in accounts to help you better manage your business.
We will identify key ratios that you should track and explain the importance of why these are determined as key. In addition, if you have a bank loan, the bank will likely have ratio covenants you must meet in order to qualify for the loan.
Most importantly, we will teach you to perform this analysis yourself, although we are always happy to help.
Are you paying too much for products/services or incurring costs your organization doesn’t require? We can help perform analysis to help you identify such costs. A qualified 3rd party observer can identify expense items which might not be so obvious to individuals entrenched within the organization.
In larger organizations, a particularly effective method of controlling expenses is to perform periodic Expense Report reviews. The purpose of this is to have an independent 3rdparty review submitted and approved expense reports to ensure they are in compliance with documented policies and procedures. The review also has a positive psychological impact as it will make employees less inclined to test limits as they know their expense reports will be reviewed on a periodic basis.
Non-financial Performance Measures
We can help establish metrics that may not be financial in nature, but are good measures of future success.
Some examples include:
- New Customers– Are you tracking how many new customers you add per month? Are you setting goals of what this number should be and methods to make it happen?
- Quality of Product/Services– Are customers happy with your products/services? Do you have methods to track this? Are you getting negative reviews on social media (a significant concern of modern businesses)?
- Web Site Traffic Results– Where applicable, are people visiting your web site and making online purchases? What is the rate of success (e.g. the ratio of a person visiting the web site that leads to a sale)?
- Competitors– When available, how do you compare to your competitors? Are there practises you could learn from them and incorporate in your own business to help drive results.
- Public Relations– Are you getting involved in the community or with local business chambers? Are you volunteering? Getting involved can help increase the presence of your business and build goodwill.
- Others– We can identify and apply other metrics specific to your company.
Policies and Procedures
Accurate, easy to read policies and procedures are essential for an effective organization. Whether it is to help train new employees, retain corporate knowledge in the event employees depart, or just providing a better understanding of processes for all employees within the organization, having these documents will enhance your company. We can help design, document and implement key policies and procedures based on your company’s needs. Having documented numerous business processes, and evaluated policies and procedures, we can perform the assignment in an efficient manner and minimize disruption to your current staff.
We can help implement key internal controls to ensure the achievement of the organization’s objectives in operational effectiveness and efficiency, reliable financial reporting, and compliance with laws, regulations and policies.
Key processes to implement controls over include:
- Human Resources
- Capital Projects
We have access to an exhaustive list of controls and will implement those that apply specifically to the Company.
Growing organizations must remain cautious of their staffing levels. Employees only have so much time and brain power in a day to process information. Based on the growth of your business and your personal time commitments, it might be time to bring on additional employee(s). We will analyze your current business structure and make recommendations on whether an employee should be hired and whether that should be a part-time or full time employee(s). There are several government programs available (assuming you qualify) that can subsidize this hire. A simple example is provided below and may apply to your current situation:
An employee that was processing 200 invoices in a week, is now processing 400 invoices. The quality of the employee’s work will decrease as a result of the increase in volume, and the Company will suffer financially. Invoices may no longer be paid on time which may result in a financial penalty to the Company and affect your relationship with a vendor, or potentially fraudulent vendors being paid as the employee did not have time to vet the vendor. Alternatively, the employee may no longer to follow up on delinquent customers who have not paid you on time.
In addition, we can help you with the hiring process. Please refer to the Recruitment Tab.
Accounting Software/ERP Implementations
We can help with simple ERP implementations or accounting software purchases to optimize the accounting for your business. We can walk you through the various steps from performing a needs analysis (where necessary) to post implementation evaluation. We can help you create a chart of accounts to simplify bookkeeping/accounting.
Help with your Accountant/Auditor
We are happy to help provide you with a second opinion on your current accountant/auditor. We can provide you with market analysis to help negotiate lower fees, identify certain tasks that can be performed in house and find ways to reduce the amount of time they spend on your premises.
We can help you prepare your year-end work papers to minimize interruptions to your staff and save time.
Are you planning a capital project? We can provide guidance on best practises to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. We can implement rules that will make the best use of management’s time. For example, management need not be involved in every decision. Less significant decisions can be farmed out as appropriate, leaving management to focus on their current jobs. However, for significant decisions whether they are “financial” or “milestone” based we will ensure that management approval is obtained. We will establish policies to ensure management is informed on a timely basis to ensure the project is running smoothly and keep a log of issues noted along the way with respect to cost/time, which can be used when performing subsequent projects.