The CFO'S Perspective

Moving Beyond a Cost Reduction Strategy

Expense reduction services and cost reduction consultants have been extremely busy over the last year as organizations scrambled to overcome pandemic-related barriers and an overall downturn in the economy. Many companies that had been thriving before the pandemic saw their future success threatened and quickly froze their spending on everything from marketing to R&D. Others took a more measured approach, tightening spending across the board instead of cutting any areas altogether. And while their intentions were good, many businesses missed the mark when it came to executing cost containment strategies.

The reason too many cost reduction approaches fail is because they are predicated on the wrong assumptions. The assumption is that reducing costs will improve cash flow to allow struggling or compromised companies the breathing room needed to stay in business.

Topics: Finance Cash Flow Expenses Strategy

Is It Time to Downsize Your Business?

Downsizing is never a light topic to broach, but for businesses that are financially compromised or experiencing a reduction in demand, it is important to fully understand before any strategic planning can begin.

Downsizing is often tied to a reduction in headcount. Headcount is more than just a number, which is why downsizing should be approached with the utmost care and consideration. Knowing why a company should downsize, what kind of risk is associated with doing so, and how to avoid common mistakes is key to increasing the likelihood that your reduction efforts will be successful.

Use this guide to get a better understanding of the implications of downsizing and help inform your strategic planning as it relates to both maintaining your business and preparing it for sale.

Topics: Economic Trends Mergers and Acquisitions Planning Staffing Leadership Forecasting Expenses Profit Margin Assessment Strategy COVID-19

Understanding Nonprofit Functional Expense Allocation

Nonprofit organizations are required to report functional expenses either in footnotes, the Statement of Activities (SOA), or a separate Statement of Functional Expenses (SOFE). The goal of this functional expense allocation is to illustrate the relationship between program expenses and supporting expenses to better understand how those supporting expenses further the organization’s mission. And while this sounds easy enough in concept, some expenses can be difficult to classify.

To complicate matters, functional expense classifications can change over time. Like a for-profit business, a non-profit organization’s operations can change year-over-year, requiring that functional expense allocations be regularly updated to keep up with current activities. Otherwise, expenses can be misrepresented or fall through the cracks, resulting in misrepresentation of the organization to key stakeholders like grantors, donors, and boards of governors. Management also relies on functional expense information accuracy for strategic planning, making it critical to the day-to-day operation of the organization.

Topics: Non Profit Organizations Financial Reports Expenses

Vendor Management – Pay Now or Pay Later?

Effective cash flow management requires careful control of both money coming in and going out. While practices like shortening payment terms, offering variable pricing, and pursuing collections can increase the timeliness and amount of money coming in, delaying payments to vendors can slow cash outflows, providing the float needed to sustain operations during difficult times.

In an article about re-opening your business, Jeff Dunn explains succinctly, “Determine which vendors are critical to your day-to-day operations and pay them as timely as possible; which are important but can be paid slowly; and which are not important going forward that will be paid when able.”

How do you decide who to pay now and who to pay later, and how do you abide by vendor management best practices while doing both? This quick guide will help you answer those questions to improve your cash flow position right away.

Topics: Planning Cash Flow Expenses Strategy COVID-19

Accounting is a Team Sport

Repeat after me…

Accounting is a team sport."  

This has been my mantra for the past 30 years and it’s as important and true now as it was 30 years ago.  What I have learned in my 30+ years as a CFO is that accounting works best when it is integrated with the management team and you will never be at your best if your accounting team works in a silo.    

Topics: Accounting Staffing Leadership Expenses