Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting

Profitability and optimized performance pressure from top management are driving CFOs and Finance executives to develop and maintain effective financial planning and analysis skills. It also means going beyond the numbers by bringing the voice of the customer into the spectrum.

To deliver exemplary financial planning and analysis results, you must have clear understanding of the current business financial and conduct (customer and employee perceptions) standing, compare critical KPI metrics to competitors, analyze the industry to identify value factors and trends that can yield profitability and differentiate your company from competitors coupled with the optimization of client satisfaction, and utilizing the most effective budget model for your business.

For example, your business may use a historical budget model coupled with variance analysis, trends analysis and CRM deals tracking (revenue forecasting). However, for more efficient results, you should also analyze risks (create and maintain an annual risk management plan), make savings as an expense (automate savings for your business), collaborate with HR to assess and properly plan for hires, include an emergency reserve budget for unexpected expenses in your budget, and ensure you have a strong inventory management process.

The 3 most important KPIs in finance are: costs, staff productivity and process efficiency. These should be compared to industry and competitors to realize opportunities for improvement. It is also important to be aware of the costs associated with the staff that handles financial planning, budgeting and forecasting. Some measures of performance that should be tracked to assess costs should be cost per invoice, process cycle time, average receivable days (DSO), lead time, percentage cost to perform the function process as a percentage of total finance process cost, et cetera. These measures of performance should also be benchmarked.

Top management must lead the change in the finance department if they seek to yield optimized productivity and profitability. Effective leaders “walk the talk.” They communicate the changes in strategy and company mission daily to employees and encourage critical KPIs to be visual and periodically reported.


E.O.W (End of the week) Notable Tip: Client-centric Accounts Receivable

Happy Friday!

I hope you’ve had a great week.

Today’s E.O.W is about encouraging your accounting team to embody a more client-centric approach to accounts receivable by asking smart questions that glean insights into what clients value most and what their priorities are. To truly understand that customer everyone must be part of the customer service spectrum because anybody in the company can affect how the client sees the company. This also provides the opportunity to realize areas for improvement, for example, reduction of receivable days and optimized value creation.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this E.O.W!

As always, “Success is continuous improvement!”

Days Sales Outstanding: Get Paid Faster tips

You’ve made a sale! That’s great but the customer hasn’t paid and the invoice is now 90 days past due. This scenario is common amongst many businesses. Many businesses resort to offering extended payment terms but this is a bad idea because it affects their cashflow. What you really want is client satisfaction because when the client is happy they will quickly remit payment for the service or product that was provided to them coupled with strong A/R controls and processes that ensure you get paid in a timely manner.

By developing and comparing critical A/R KPI metrics (cost per invoice, process cycle time, payment turn-around, et cetera) to industry and competitor data you are able to realize opportunities for improvement in DSO. Finance executives can use this knowledge to reduce DSO with the company’s capabilities and ability to sustain DSO process controls in mind.

A client’s ability to pay on time is based on their credit risk. Finance Executives should stay abreast of client industry and market shifts, require and create a client financial stability plan when pursuing clients to ensure they are financially stable and are not slow payers. Some companies may be apprehensive about requesting a credit history in fear of losing an attractive customer, however, incentives and credit risk insurance can be offered to offset this possibility.

Payment terms should be made clear to clients by various communications, such as, the invoice itself, on-boarding materials, introductory emails, et cetera. These payment terms should also be in agreement with common industry practice and customer needs and expectations. For example, if clients are billed per retainers/retention, it is best that you require an initial upfront payment. Other ways to safeguard cashflow and ensure faster payment would be to offer broad payment options (ACH, Check, wire transfers, PayPal, Credit Cards, et cetera), payment plans and quick pay discounts.

Overdue receivables should require constant and daily communication with clients to understand the reason for the payment delay, offer payment solutions or optimize value.

The billing process is critical to the reduction of DSO because it should run smoothly. Meaning invoices should be created and sent on time, have no errors, and contain all the appropriate information. Incorrect charges, incorrect rate discounts and mailing addresses are all things that can delay payment. It is also important to update customer profiles in accounting software with contract agreements and up-to-date contact information.

Companies should regularly convey and update their A/R controls and processes. They should utilize the voice of the customer to gather data that can help improve those processes, support clients falling on hard times by offering payment plans, and develop client-centric processes for handling non-paying customers, including guidelines for managing disputes and turning over invoices to a collections agency.

Top management must commit to these DSO reduction efforts and have continuous conversations about A/R controls. They should make these controls visual so that everybody can see them and audit the process periodically. By continuously staying abreast of DSO metrics and making improvements as the industry and company changes will ensure that employees understand how important these efforts are to the company.


Lean Wednesday Tip: Tax savvy family-owned businesses

“Family businesses allow tax savings through income splitting between parents, children or other relatives.”


E.O.W(End of the Week) Notable Tip: Return on Assets

Happy Friday!

I hope you’ve had a great week.

Today, I would like to discuss return on assets. Effective companies utilize their assets wisely by ensuring for example that low margins are supported by an equally low asset density coupled with the ability to remove waste and inefficiencies from processes. Continuous investment in assets and continuous improvement of processes yields better operating asset efficiency and is good for shareholders as well. Asset depreciation with a stagnant revenue stream is not good for shareholders as the net-to-gross ratio tends to decline as assets age without the appropriate replacements or investments being made.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this E.O.W and as always, “Success is continuous improvement.”




E.O.W (End of the Week) Notable Tip: Numbers Vs People

Happy Friday!

I hope you’ve had a great week! Read below for the EOW for today, Friday, October 6, 2017.

“When it comes to safeguarding the bottom-line, hitting the numbers is the only focus. This narrow thought process causes leaders to lose sight of what truly drives those numbers and that is their employees and customers. When employees and client satisfaction is made top priority revenue/profitĀ  follows.”


I hope you’ve enjoyed this tip!

As always, “Success is continuous improvement.”


Lean Wednesday Tip: Tax deductible Holiday Expenses

“Employee parties/outings, public entertainment and charity events are 100% deductible.”


Taxes: Depreciation Categories

When buying assets it is important to know the best way to purchase and depreciate to take advantage of tax loopholes. Capital expenses usually include the following assets: buildings, cell phones, computers and software, copyrights and patents, equipment, improvements to business property, inventory, office furnishings and decorations, small tools and equipment, vehicles and window coverings. Below you will find a more detailed account of these depreciation categories.

3 year property:

  • plastics
  • metal fabrication
  • glass


5 year property:

  • cars
  • trucks
  • small planes
  • trailers
  • computers
  • peripherals
  • copiers
  • calculators
  • manufacturing equipment (for apparel)
  • construction activity assets
  • R&D equipment


7 year property:

  • office furniture
  • manufacturing equipment
  • fixtures
  • oil
  • gas
  • mining assets
  • agricultural structures
  • personal property

Commercial buildings can be depreciated over 39 years while residential rental real estate can only be depreciated over 27.5 years. Expenses incurred for improvements to sidewalks, roads, drainage facilities, fences and landscaping are depreciated over 20 years.

To learn more about Notable Bookkeeping’s tax planning, preparation and research services call us today at 201-937-3428.


Lean Wednesday Tip: Maxing out Asset Depreciation Deductions

“If you max out asset depreciation deductions and have written it off 100%, it is best to donate it to reduce income taxes.”


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