#1 CEO Series – “Aha Moments”
“What do you mean? My accountant isn’t looking at my numbers to help me understand and improve my business?”
And there it is. The silence as the full impact of this statement becomes clear to the CEO group. The realization that the assumptions they’ve made about who is looking out for them financially may be wrong. The collective “Aha!” moment from the driven group of hard-working leaders fills the space in the room.
I’ve witnessed this moment time and again in the seven years that I’ve worked with CEOs in every industry you can imagine. We’ve just spent an engaging session demystifying the pages of numbers their accountant sends them at the end of the year, or quarter, or never. We’ve talked about the balance sheet, P&L, and the income statement. I’ve shared how to divide a couple of numbers from these reports to get invaluable data on trends in their business, opportunities for growth, and to know what is happening to their cash. We’ve talked about what metrics to follow and where to get the data on these documents. They agree that this is vital information that they haven’t leveraged. And they’ve been honest – many share that they don’t look at these reports because a.) they don’t understand them and b.) “that is why I have a CPA.” And the “Aha!” moment has happened. As CEOs, they now understand that managing the numbers should be and is critical to their organization’s success.
Assuming your CPA or your in-house bookkeeper is managing your numbers is a common assumption. Sadly, it is also often wrong. A CPA’s job is to help you with your taxes and advise you on how to best present your numbers for tax purposes. That is not an easy task and it requires significant knowledge, expertise, and skill. You want your CPA to do a great job, but doing your taxes is not the same as monitoring your finances. Most CPAs don’t watch things like your break-even analysis, receivable patterns, or changes in cash flow because they are focused on taxes.
The good news is that there are people who can help and it might be your CPA! All you’ve got to do is begin the conversation and ask for data that can help you monitor your business trends. We do this at Mettise by creating Dashboards for clients that provide online access to key financial and business data. You can do it for yourself by simply identifying what metrics are pertinent to your own business. Whether Mettise creates a dashboard or create your own reporting system, the key is looking at the data at least monthly to quickly identify trends.
No one cares more about the business than you. Getting the data you need in a format that makes sense to you will empower your decisions!
CEO “Aha! Moment” Series by Gene Hopper
Getting clear on what to do, when to do it and who will do it is no easy task for a company faced with growth or transition. At Mettise we work with hundreds of business leadership teams from all industries on a planning and growth process that results in a “real world”, 3-year business plan. “Real world” means the plan gives the management team a practical tool they actually use to run the company, make decisions and align the team for 3-years. Our method includes getting clear on direction, demystify finances, marketing and sales tools that drive results, and building team capacity to make the plan a reality. In this series, we’ll share our clients most popular “Aha!” moments and cut-to-the-chase on the helping you incorporate them into your business.