The CFO'S Perspective

What Really Matters to Improve Employee Retention

With current unemployment rates remaining at historical lows, businesses around the Northwest say their number one challenge is finding and retaining employees. For a business with an existing team, it is vital for them to retain their employees and increase engagement.

Not only are the costs of finding, hiring, and training new employees (if you can find them) high, a team of passionate employees often leads job seekers to your company. Investing in the happiness of your existing team will generate a big return on your investment.

Topics: Hiring HR Leadership

When an Accountant is Not Enough (is it Time to Hire a CFO?)

If you're a business owner or CEO, you need some kind of financial guidance. Maybe you create addicting video games for smartphones, run a local real estate agency, or are a health services provider. No matter what your trade involves, being in business can be a challenge.

But unless you run a CPA firm, you probably didn't go into business to stare at numbers and comply with financial regulations. These are often perceived as a pain, but they are a necessary piece of any successful endeavor. Hopefully, you already have some help in this regard.

Unfortunately, hiring financial help is often either an afterthought or a hastily made decision, and you don't get the guidance you need and deserve. Even worse, your business meanders down the wrong path and ends up being just another scary statistic.

A successful business needs not only financial assistance but also guidance that is effective. On the one hand, you might just have the wrong accountant in your corner, but there's also a chance that your company needs something more.

Topics: CFO Hiring

Key Financial Processes Questions and Answers

In the early days of your business, you might have managed your books single handedly or hired an outside accountant to take a peek at regular intervals. As you scale and grow your business, your financial management needs expand as well.

One of the keys to success in just about any sector is strong financial planning and management. This requires taking more than just a backward glance at what just happened during the past month, quarter, or year.

While a full-time bookkeeper can give you some of the controls you require, the truth is that you will need to dedicate more resources to the sound financial management of your business. So, just what is financial management, and where do you begin?

Here are some common questions and answers about key financial processes as they relate to your business.

Topics: Financial Reports Financial Process

3 Paths to Making Your Independent CPA Audit a Success

Why Audits Matter

For many middle market, closely-held businesses, the annual independent financial statement audit is an important part of the financial reporting process.

Lenders, investors and the company’s board of directors rely on audited financials to validate the interim financial data they are receiving as well as provide a sense of security as to the assets they have at risk.

As a result, many loan and shareholder agreements require annual audited financials.

In the best run businesses, the audited results should not differ from the unaudited internal financials.

That’s because the finance and accounting team is closing the monthly books on an accurate and timely basis. The team is also staying abreast of potential accounting issues that may need to be dealt with before year end.

In many businesses, incentive compensation plans may be tied to audited results.

This means that a well-managed company can ill afford to provide the management team with financial data subject to significant audit adjustments. Accordingly, it is in everyone’s best interests that the audit be conducted in an effective and efficient manner.

Topics: Leadership Audit CFO Responsibilities

A CEO Guide to Change Management for Financial Processes (and Financial Teams)

Change comes more from managing the journey than from announcing the destination.”  -  William Bridges

Change can be hard to navigate under the best of circumstances. When things aren't right within the financial arena, it can unknowingly create a delicate situation. CEOs should tread lightly, and yet, must still be effective leaders.

The inclination of many CEOs is to assume that because financial teams tend to be more analytical than, for instance, a marketing team, they can make changes without understanding the potential ramifications. This may not be the case. Here are some best practices for navigating change in your financial waters.

Topics: Leadership Financial Process Change Management