Business Intelligence - to Start, Run and Sell your Business
Originally posted on Linkedin
I am regularly asked questions by friends and associates who operate their own businesses, like is this normal? What would you do about this? How do I do this?
I am always happy to answer any question, but this is normally done by asking questions myself to work out how and why the issue occurred and how it could have been avoided. As a result my normal advice is to improve process for information to support necessary management decisions – something we call “business intelligence”
This decision support information should be in places whether you are doing it yourself, outsourcing, in-sourcing or with a finance team. Too often I see that businesses of all sizes underestimate the power of complete and timely information.
It's also a fact that a well reported business is easier to explain internally to staff, externally to clients and key partners as well as to investors. Understanding your own business increases its value as well as its speed of execution.
The Intelligence you Need - Below I outline key pieces (and frequency) of pieces of business intelligence that owners or managers of businesses should expect to have in place to support their decision making.
Client Sales History – Report of Invoicing by month (I would have this rolling 12 months basis), the can be split by sales person or product or department as you increase in size.
Aged Sales/Debtors Ledger – Unpaid invoices by Month and to include a debtor/sales ratio for each client (i.e. how many months of billings does the current balance represent).
Cash Receipts – A monthly report of cash remitted by Clients.
Cash payments - A monthly report of cash payments detailing nature, approver and vendor (split by operating expense and capital)
Expense Report – Report of all expenses committed to in the month, detailed by person that committed to the expense (Hint, this is not the same as payments, or invoices and involves knowing what you are going to receive and invoice for)
Creditors Listing – Listing of unpaid invoices at the end of the Month.
Payroll – Payroll by person including gross cost and benefits.
Leave Report – Annual, Medical and Compassionate Leave taken in the month.
Bank Reconciliation – Bank Statement Reconciled to Cash Book (your company record of your cash position)
CashFlow Report – Combination of you (3) Cash Receipts + (4) Cash Payments + Loan/Investment Activities.
P&L – Your Monthly (and cumulative) Accruals Based Net income report, are you making an accounting profit or loss. This can be split by department as you increase in size.
Balance Sheet – With simple headlines to show your Fixed Assets, Current Assets, Cash and Liabilities.
If these 12 reports are part of your business from day 1, then as you scale up anyone reporting to you will have a very clear picture of what's expected from you and from the business.
Besides being the CFO at Tradition, I'm also the founder shareholder of Jai Financial and Blake-Dair Consulting.