Large firms have the finance staff and business intelligence tools to inform their decision making and provide a competitive edge. Here are 5 simple, cost-effective steps to level the playing field for your small business, for 2018 and beyond.
1. State Your Goals
Establish clear, quantifiable short and long-term goals so you know where you’re headed. Maintain and communicate clear priorities to your team. Live by the adage: “Without a plan, all activity looks like progress.”
2. Align Your Reporting
Identify the financial insights required to inform your decisions en route to achieving your goals, including regular comparisons to industry benchmarks so you know how you’re doing relative to your peers. And remember presentation matters. No business owner has time to read cryptic financial statements built for a CPA. Useful insights should leap from the page.
3. Enable Your Team
Even a finance team with a single bookkeeper should have the skills, time and mindset required to consistently generate helpful monthly financial metrics. Here are some questions to ask your bookkeeper or controller to ensure they're up to the task. If they fall short, consider outsourcing.
4. Deploy the Right Tools
There are many cost-effective software tools available to manage your general ledger and each aspect of your finance function – from QuickBooks for accounting to Bill.com for accounts payable automation. The right set of tools helps make the information you need secure, accessible, consumable and shareable.
5. Use It
Don't archive your reports after a glance. Use your monthly reporting to measure your progress toward your goals and steer your team’s focus to ensure you accomplish what you set out to do. Adapt your practices with your business. The opportunities and challenges a business owner faces evolve over time. Take the time to ensure your metrics adapt accordingly to keep you a step or two ahead of the competition.
How to make it All happen
If you’re excited by the concept of taking control of your finance function, but concerned that this new initiative may go the way of the gym membership (where you’re “all in” until early February when your focus wanes as other priorities surface), consider outsourcing your finance department. Leaning on Driven Insights for the heavy lifting, will ensure you get the most out of your finance department and that it continues to evolve with your changing needs and opportunities.