Why Should You Forecast the Balance Sheet?

Dear CFO,

Whenever our business does forecasts, the owners only care about the P&L (Income Statement). As the Controller, I want the business forecast and budgets to include a balance sheet. How can I convince them it’s equally important to forecast the balance sheet?  I also need to develop a model to forecast the balance sheet, once I convince them.
Expanding my forecasts, Baltimore

It seems like most entrepreneurs only focus on the income statement. In my experience that sets up the scenario of unexpected cash flow problems for the business.

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Understanding the Difference Between Debt and Equity

Dear CFO,

The business I run needs an infusion of cash. I asked my controller to analyze the best way to obtain it and he referred me to you. I run a growing small business and in my budget for next year, I am projecting a need for capital to support sales growth and product development. 
Growing too fast for cash flow, Minot, ND

As you’re finding out, growth can be expensive. It does sound like you are at least ahead of the curve by thinking about it now.

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The Benefits of an Advisory Board

What constitutes an advisory board? Who should participate on an advisory board? Is an advisory board the right fit for my business? While most private companies aren’t required to have a formal board of directors unless investors or their banks insist, advisory boards bring value to the business. Even if you are the sole owner of your company, there are many reasons why you should consider setting up an advisory board.

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How to Successfully Take on a Business Partner 

The horror stories of business partnerships gone awry, often sound like bad divorces. Most of these stories serve as cautionary tales as to why we should never take on a business partner.  Of course, it’s possible to start and grow a business without partners, but there’s also nothing wrong with a good partnership. So should you take on partners and if you do, how do you create a good partnership?

The decision to take on partners is your choice alone.

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File Naming Conventions: Best Practices to Save Time (& Money)

Dear CFO,
I am an accounting manager at small injection molding company. I’m also over the IT administration. Many of our employees complain they can’t find files in the system when they want them, myself included. I also have concerns about the security of some of the files. I am wondering if there are tips for filing best practices in a small company that might make this easier.
Can’t find it, Detroit

That has a familiar ring to it. In the small company I ran, finding files and information was a common problem until we established standard file naming conventions and filing procedures.

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Let’s Talk KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

There is much discussion of key performance indicators: what are KPIs? How to set KPIs? How to organize your dashboard? Let’s clear up some of the confusion as to what KPI means as well as discuss how to choose YOUR key performance indicators for YOUR dashboard.

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How to Make Inventory Easier on Your Business

Dear CFO,
As the controller in a very small manufacturing company, taking inventory is the worst job in the world (ok, maybe not the worst, but certainly tedious). The process itself is hard, but the reconciliations are even more difficult. My team uses information provided by the shop floor and sometimes I’m not sure if they really counted. What can I do to make inventory easier?
Inventory Not Managed in New England

You aren’t alone in your frustrations. New ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems can make inventory easier with real-time tracking. But keep in mind, these ERP systems are still dependent on good information. You know the old saying – garbage in/garbage out?

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Employee Onboarding & Orientation: How To Prepare Your New Hire for Success

In today’s tight labor market, employee onboarding has never been more important. It’s often challenging to find and hire the right people for your company. When you finally hire, it’s essential to have processes in place to help him or her succeed.

So, you’ve hired the perfect (or near-perfect) employee and they’re ready to start their new and exciting position with your company. Now what happens? Effective employee onboarding is critical to seamlessly integrating new hires into everyday operations and company culture.

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How Can a CFO Establish Formal Closing Procedures?

Dear CFO,
I am the CFO of a mid-sized manufacturing company with three divisions. I am required to have “final” numbers to Senior Management by the 5th workday. It’s like pulling teeth to get the required information from everyone involved. I’m the one who looks bad when the numbers are late. How do I get the accountability without much authority?
Tired of the battle, Scarsdale, New York

I can empathize, having been in a similar situation. In my case, I was at Corporate and the division accounting people reported up through the division presidents; therefore, I had no direct authority to address the problems.

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