Welcome to the CFO Secrets Blog! In the interests of full disclosure (because, accountants are like lawyers in our penchant for disclosure) here is what CFO Secrets is not intended to do:
- Share with you my fantabulous tips which will allow you and your company to increase earnings by 300%! In a week!
- Totally revolutionize your business strategy through the power of positive thinking and a masterful handshake.
- Totally DISRUPT the accounting, operations and administration fields. Or increase synergy. In anything.
(May I digress for a moment? No wait, sorry, may I disrupt this post? Is the word “disrupt” not horribly, horribly overused? Yes? You agree? You hate it too? That’s wonderful!)
I’m not here to disrupt accounting. It doesn’t require disruption. Just a wee bit of translation into layman’s terms. And that’s my goal: to provide you with simple, clear instructions and guidance on how to manage the financial, operations and administrations elements of your business even when you aren’t large enough to have an in house finance person. For example, that might include:
- How to use a cash-based budget to track and control cash
- Tricks to ensuring a smooth sales cycle
- How to manage the payroll cycle and work effectively with a payroll controller
- How to manage and work with your accountant and your legal counsel effectively and efficiently
- How to read the financial statements your accountant just made you sign
- And knowing what “fully-diluted, as-converted equity” is.
No excitement, no flash and no nonsense. Because, honestly finance, operations and admin are more about keeping things chugging along smoothly (and quietly) than making noise.
If you will take another look at the above list, you’ll note that I refer to your payroll controller, accountant and legal counsel. The goal is not to replace them. Rather, the intent is that you’ll know enough to be able to provide these critical service providers with the information they need for them to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. By the way, doing so should not only get you better service, it may also save you money.
I suspect that there may be some of you that are only interested in finance if it is cool, say, areas such as valuations and IPO’s and venture capital and the like. I get it. I like learning about those areas too. That is accounting and finance all dressed up in a red, slinky gown and all sexy and hip. Every time I go to lectures about this stuff I think “Yeah, that’s me! An ACCOUNTANT! We do cool, fancy stuff! Accountants boring? Hello!!!! LOOK AT THIS RED, SLINKY GOWN I’M ROCKING!” And then the lecture wraps up and I go back to work and I remember, well, no, that’s not really me. My job is to keep the company humming along. Making sure that the cash is managed, that contracts are reviewed, that invoices are issued and collected, that suppliers and employees are paid and that I don’t strangle the VP R&D, even though he frequently deserves it. Stuff like that.
But you know what? It’s not really you either.
Sure, you may need to do a valuation someday, in particular if you have an ESOP plan. And maybe, MAYBE, you’ll go through an IPO. But the reality? You probably won’t.* But all that useful, everyday operations stuff I listed above? If you have your own business, you absolutely need to know that.
So let’s get down to business, shall we?
*For those of you who are convinced that you are on the IPO track, may I remind you that knowing how to manage your company’s finances so that you don’t burn through all of your cash in the first six months and shut down is a definite prerequisite for getting to a stage where an reputable exchange will let you list by them. Just a thought for you to ponder….