Saturday, 29 September 2012

What is the Importance of Financial Management in Your Business?

If you plan to go big with your business, you can never neglect the importance of Financial Management. It is an essential tool that is required to move ahead with your expansion plans. Generally, this critical aspect is disregarded because the entrepreneurs are unaware of its advantages and uses. Financial reports can help aid in making important future decisions. If you have a solo or micro business, then it is not imperative to make use of Financial Management. But as I mentioned earlier, if you plan to make it big in the world of business and commerce, you should make Financial Management your forte!

o Accounting and Financial Reports - It is very important to keep track of your company's origin and its past history, particularly an account of the money that has been spent. When you analyze the financial reports, you will be aware of all the spending and expenses accurately. The earnings from specific services, product lines and sales staff - all will come into clear focus once you have gone through the financial reports. This will help you to manage your expenses and marketing accordingly.

o Financial Ratios - These ratios gives you all the information that you need to know about your business. Moreover, it is very easy to calculate. This way you can compare your company's standard with others. Financial ratios are not essential but it can point out your faults.

o Research - A little bit of research on the expenses managed by other companies will help you manage yours better and your bottom line could increase. You might need to tweak the procedures, alter operations, streamline competencies or shake up the staff for a better performance. Analyzing the financial ratios will guide you towards the area you are most weak in so that you can develop a strategy to enhance the efficiency of your business.

o Financial Statements - All the patterns in your expenses are exposed with the help of Financial Statements. Sales Trends comes into attention whether impacted by the season, changing consumer taste or other factors. This helps you to manage your inventories better, staff levels and sales promotions. Variable expenses and unusual or unauthorized expenses can be monitored with the help of Financial Statements. This will aid you in occasions of theft, embezzlement or other questionable activity before the stakes become too high.

Economic highs and lows affect all companies and these periods of change is a test for all. Some stumble, some even fail and there are some who stand unscathed. But the economic growth of all companies is affected collectively. Sometimes the growth is totally unplanned and the expansion occurs due to some external factor which can range from landing a large account to just finding a great deal on a second location space. Always remember that without proper and concrete planning, no business can survive.

Financial planning and management is not only for reviewing the financial statements but also to be aware of your expenses and then manage them in such a way that they don't go waste. You can use it to fund your future realistic projects and help your business go big.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

When Will America Have Its "Charlie Moment"

Last night on Revolution, a new show on NBC that depicts the remnants of the USA 15 years after electricity suddenly stopped working, Charlie (the hot blondie blue chick) chastised two compatriots because they were so intent on stealing a sniper rifle that they had not even thought about what the sniper was guarding ... thirty enslaved people. The show is fictional, of course, but hardly irrelevant: people today, in the good ole USA, are working against their will, usually at mere subsistence levels. When will some Charlie out there awaken the nation to the slaves amongst us? Well, President Obama may be trying to do so, TODAY, 25 Sept. 2012, in his speech from the Clinton Global Initiative at Noon EDT. We shall see.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Financial Management - Things All Business Owners Should Know to Succeed

Statistics show that 87% of small business failures are due to one reason: Lack of proper financial management skills! This is a horrible statistic and it can easily be turned around for you! The formal definition of financial management is "the planning, directing, monitoring, organizing and controlling of the monetary resources of an organisation." Basically; do you understand, track and control where and when your cash flows in or out of your business.

I have seen evidence of this statistic over and over again. There are so many small business owners out there that pay a fortune every year for their financial statements to be prepared by their accountant, and have very little understanding of what this document actually means. No sooner have they written out the cheque (with a very heavy heart) to their accountant, and the next cheque is on its way out -to the tax man!!!

Financial Management is not something you only worry about after year end, when you need to report to the tax man. Its a process of understanding and tracking how your business is performing on at least a monthly basis. Some business' require a more frequent review depending on its size or even how desperately the business needs it. To prevent you from becoming part of this 87%, I have formulated a few DIY tips in my report so make sure you sign up for it before you go!

It is designed specifically for you (the local business person with little or no understanding of financial numbers or processes) and you can use them to gain an understanding and eventually confidence in your business today, and tomorrow...... your business' future. You can also sign up for our DIY templates package to get you started "understanding, tracking and controlling" your business. Be part of our database and you will be able to get started "number crunching" the Turnover you desire - and qualify for 30 minutes extra expert time for FREE.

Financial management is a big part of a running a business and it's likely to determine your long term success.

Every business owner should have a strong skill in the area of financial management. If not, it is important to have someone on your team who is a specialist. You should take on financial management with great focus and importantly, take into account the strategies and plans that offer growth, stability, as well as continuous profit for the business. Managing your finances will always involve some risks but these can be reduced with the assistance of experts like the team from "Confident Cashflows."

Don't become an all to common statistic!

You can learn and understand the basics of financial management, but as a business owner, it doesn't mean that you need to know everything. It is your role to steer the ship and have an understanding of what is going on in the engine room is critical.

Sign up for our "Financial Health Check" which can help you truly understand how "healthy" or how "not-so-healthy" your business is. Don't wait - tomorrow may be too late!

Regardless of what specific tools you adapt for managing your finances, you will certainly be on the right track if you consider a team of financial experts who can help and guide you well on how to handle your finances.

Benefits of working with financial experts

  • Financial experts let you focus on your technical and operational expertise of your business - but help identify potential stumbling blocks along the way - BEFORE your business falls down!!
  • Financial management experts help you employ BIG business principles to small(er) business enterprises. Remember you will never be able to handle BIG profits if you cannot manage smaller profits NOW!
  • Financial experts give you advice based on your specific industry and your specific business. Every business is unique - with its own strengths and unfortunately its own weakness'. Without the knowledge of where you stand - it's very difficult for you to make informed decisions about your business' future!

The key to success is always a solid foundation and knowing your goals and more than anything else, choosing the best financial management experts to help you reach your financial goals and run your business effectively.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Program Financial Management

Program Financial Management includes identifying sources of funding, integrating individual project budgets, developing a overall budget and controlling costs throughout the lifecycle.

Program finance management sets the structure for managing finances efficiently. Key elements of finance management includes aggregating the individual project budgets as well as budget for the effort involved in managing the initiative as a program.

A program is a financial investment. The ability to steer the program within the budget limit has a direct impact on the organizations revenue. A common understanding of the cost drivers and the cost limits are essential in finance management.

The primary purpose of finance management is to ensure that the program is completed within budget, and that the finances are managed in a way that is in accordance with the organization's rules for financial control.

Program managers are generally involved in financial management of the initiative starting from the initial pre-approval stages.

The first process under financial management is Establish Program Financial Framework. This process falls under the Initiating process group and is generally performed at the beginning of the lifecycle.

Connecting the phase, process group and the process, it would be the Program Initiation Phase, Initiating process group and the process falls under Financial management knowledge area.

The process Establish Program Financial Framework is about determining the funding sources for the program and creating a plan for managing funding flows and ensuring money is spent efficiently

A Program's financial framework varies according to the environmental factors in which the program operates. Common environmental factors that affect the financial framework of a program include cost, size, geography, industry and duration.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Homeless?

This week we closed on the sale of what had been our home for 19 years. Going through a packing frenzy of moving life-long belongings and wanting to pass on a sparkling, clean adobe; the moment caught me completely off-guard. I am not an emotional person, but upon the final signature at the closing, I burst into tears and hugged the new owners of our home where we had raised our family. I was passing a part of us on to these newly-met out-of-towners.

Over the course of the day, I went from exhaustion, -to tears, -to exhilaration. For the first time in three decades, we were mortgage-free. It felt gypsy-like. Think of how close the moment of being totally debt free. This summer, we purchased five acres out in the country, have our orchard started, a vegetable garden in, 41 grape vines underway and four hens laying eggs – but no house. Not wanting to risk two mortgages, we made the decision that we would sell our current home before building our next home. And in the interim? We would make due with our motorhome.

Still waiting for electricity and water, living in a motorhome parked in a cow pasture feels a little too off-the-grid for me. Yes, we are saving lots of money and are appreciative for the next space already. We are open to the 6-9 month adventure of what I consider an ultimate frugal life-style. But there are two sides to this coin and we are finding ‘homeless’ comes with both its hardships and its blessings. Hopefully, the blessings will continue to outpace the hardships.  

What extremes have you taken on, in either risk-aversion or in goal-savings? I want to hear from someone more nuts than us. :)


Thursday, 13 September 2012

Take A Financial Management Course

Everyone is trying to be more frugal, more conservative and smart with their money. Even businesses are taking their budget more seriously and cutting out things which are not really necessities. For these reasons as well as others, financial managers have become in high demand in recent years. In order to properly maintain finances, one needs to apply specific management principles. This requires a lot of attention to detail, careful planning, and a good knowledge of monetary strategies, cash flow, and other complex processes and practices. Those who are running a large business, or just one with complicated finances will require the talents and training brought on board by a financial manager. Those who are trained through a financial management course can bring a lot to the table.

Financial managers usually have somewhat large tasks with stressful decisions to make. They will have the task of maximizing the companies wealth and properly distributing it as necessary to fulfill obligations, such as paying staff and other bills.

This individual will have to be well versed on the corporations activities to properly manage the task ahead of them, and they will need to be well educated and well founded with tools such as budgeting, management, accounting, risk management, reporting, accounting, and dealing with financial statements and tax preparation.

People who take this role will have to be disciplined, educated in the practices of financial management, and be well able to work under pressure and stress. They will also need to be able to take a leadership role and keep others on task who work under them, strategically assigning responsibilities as necessary. This is a job that is vastly important and requires a highly responsible and trustworthy

The appropriate skills for this job type can be gained through associates or bachelors degrees that are available at a number of institutions and even online colleges. Some will choose the online college because of its flexibility and convenience.

Not only can individuals with this type of degree work for businesses, but those who start their own business or enterprise could benefit from the knowledge they have gained, being more able to run their businesses effectively. Many individuals who are starting a small company will choose to at least take a few management courses or get an associates degree to help kick-start their career. Perhaps some will even choose to take a few classes to benefit their own personal finances. This is one area that we could all use a little more help in.

Finance is actually one of the most popular choices for those considering management degrees. This is a well paying job that is in high demand. While location, position, and experience will factor into ones salary, the average around the country is $75,000, not at all shabby. Many analysts and directors of finance will earn much more than this.

Financial analysts and managers play a crucial role in the financial market today, making predictions and giving advice concerning mergers and expansion projects. Getting a degree in financial management is sure to land you a steady comfortable job, and offer a lot of perks, helping you along even in your own personal life.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Yvette Clarke not entirely wrong

Yes, I saw Stephen Colbert's interview of Yvette Clarke (D-NY) in which Ms. Clarke professed to believe that slavery existed in New York City in 1898. That is eighteen ninety eight, 30+ years after the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the 13th amendment of the U.S. Constitution ended formal slavery. Clearly, Clarke was confused about the chronology, even claiming that the Dutch were the culprits.



Yet, Clarke was not entirely wrong because various forms of unfree labor continued in NYC and elsewhere in 1898. In fact, they persist to this day, even in America. So Clarke would have been right to tell the New Yorkers of 1898 to set the enslaved free. The ironic thing is that she should be saying that today, too: set free everyone, white or black, male or female, American or otherwise, who have no or limited choices due to the power of their pimp, handler, or warden. I've laid how out in Fubarnomics and will continue to do so as editor of a new book series, about which more anon, tentatively titled Slaveries Since Emancipation.

Booms, Busts, and Bubbles











I gave this presentation before the CFA Society of Buffalo on 9/7/12.




































































Saturday, 8 September 2012

Frugal Fun Night?


As classes have started and I’m back to teaching personal finance, I have a challenge for all the students taking this class and using “Personal Finance; Building Your Future” by Walker & Walker. I want to know who can come up with the best frugal fun night. Add your suggestions and ideas by adding it as a comment to this blog. Keep it clean (PG rating), include an estimated cost and how this Frugal Fun Night reflects your values – the values that you worked on in Chapter 1. Remember, being frugal is not being cheap, but it is the wise spending of money in accordance with your values.

I look forward to reading your responses and getting ideas of how I can spend a Frugal Fun Night!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Core Small Business Skills - Financial Management

With research into Australian small business failures revealing that 90% of small business failures occurring as a result of a lack of key management skills, it pays small business owners and entrepreneurs to develop a core set of key management skills on which they can draw. Developing strong financial management skills is one of the core skills essential for the management and growth of any small business and entrepreneurs should learn to master these skills to ensure their ongoing viability and success.

Financial Responsibility

Many entrepreneurs abdicate responsibility for the financial management of their business to their accountants.This is a rookie mistake. As the business owner you must take responsibility and accountability for the management of your finances. For the planning, for the ongoing management and monitoring of the financial aspects of your business performance.

You are also responsible for learning to read and thoroughly understand the key financial reports. Work with your accountant to learn how to read each of the reports and to look for indicators as to your business's financial health.

Financial Planning

Financial planning and in particular forecasting is vital especially when it comes to managing capital and liquidity, because any shortfall for either will lead to the early demise of your business. You need to be continually looking ahead to determine your upcoming financial situation and to asses what needs to be done to meet those financial commitments.

Accounting System Management

The first core requirement is the ability to maintain an accounting system that is compliant with current taxation requirements, such as MYOB or Quickbooks. These systems provide a raft of automated processes including the delivery of key financial documents such as Balance Sheets, Income and Expense Statements and Cash Flow forecasts.

You need to be able to understand each business transaction and translate and record the details of each transaction into the accounting system. This information can then be used to generate your financial reports, and can also be used as the basis for your taxation returns.

Estimating and Pricing

Incorrectly estimating jobs or pricing your goods and services can be disastrous for your business. If you consistently charge less than it costs you to do the job, you will quickly run out of cash. While if you prices are too high you may just price yourself out of the market. Building your skills in estimating and pricing is paramount to the success of your operation and you should make yourself familiar with the various pricing models and learn to apply the model most appropriate to your situation.

Taxation Management

Taxation rules and regulations are a huge, constantly changing body of work, and it is best left to the experts in the field. However, that does not mean you don't have to build your own basic to intermediate body of knowledge. You need this to work effectively with your financial and taxation advisors. You need to know how to ask pertinent questions about the cause and effect of particular decisions and how they are declared for tax purposes, so that you can make informed tax management decisions.

You don't have to be a fully qualified bookkeeper or accountant, but it certainly pays to know and understand the accounts and financial elements of your enterprise. Work with your accountant and tax specialists to determine the most appropriate solutions in your particular situation but don't abdicate responsibility. Make sure you have them mentor your financial management skills along the way.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Financial Management Software Secrets

Money is tight, times are hard, you have heard this constantly for the past couple of years and businesses in particular have suffered at the hands of the global economic downturn. Perhaps the poor economy as much as anything else has increased the importance companies now place on their financial teams and perhaps to a greater extent the financial management software that they employ. Is it really possible that something as basic as software could be the difference between success and failure in a recession?

It may be a little far-fetched to say that financial management software will determine how a company performs in any kind of market; however it is entirely reasonable to say that it can change the fortunes of a company. It is also fair to say that if used correctly it will provide a road map to how a business can avoid the worst of a difficult trading situation and perhaps even prosper in a recession. Of course not all financial management software is created equally and I'm not suggesting that a program created to manage a home budget will change the fortunes of a large business, what we are talking about here enterprise level software designed with business in mind. So how does it achieve all this?

Today programs are more than just accounting software and definitely about more than just managing a bank balance. Actually it is used to provide in depth information as a basis for key strategic business decisions, the reporting features that enterprise level financial software has means that it is an invaluable tool for any company involved in planning for the future, informing decision makers of the areas of business where savings can be made and how those savings can be made. It's not only about savings though, increasing profits is an area where the insights offered by the reports can prove invaluable, the combination of cutting costs, making savings and increasing margins the basis of how using financial management software can turn the failing business around to be a successful and lean operation. How to choose the right software is another matter entirely.

Enterprise level financial management software does more than just accounting, when choosing a program there are several factors that must be considered to get the right platform for the specific business conditions you operate in, to do this it should be:

  • Reliable; it is essential that the program has been proven over time.
  • Robust; the software should be strong enough not to break through input error.
  • Flexible; it should be able to manage the whole range of financial processes.
  • Simple; a smooth learning curve is helpful, user-friendly is essential.
  • Integration; it is a necessity for the software to integrate seamlessly with existing business applications.
  • Expandable; if necessary a modular program that can growl to a full suite of ERP applications is idea.

Although not exhaustive this is the very basics of what is required for a finance application to be good enough to guide your business strategies, anything less and the results would be misleading.

Cost effective financial management is not easy with finance teams having to achieve more in less time with less resources, the only way they can manage to do this is by utilising the best possible tools at their disposal. Financial management software can help them provide the proper reports for the best possible strategic business decisions to be made.