Time is precious, and yours is best spent understanding and discussing the results, not preparing all the spreadsheets and checking the data.

My first piece of advice to business owners and managers is ‘don’t live in Excel’; rather: implement the right job management and accounting systems, and invest in the right person to train your team how to be quick and efficient, and adept with the numbers, so that they can provide you with all the reports you need.

Ask yourself:

  • What do you need to know?
  • When do you need to see the figures?
  • Who is the right person for the job?
  • How much non-billable time does this cost me? 

The main question is “What should you be analysing?”  Here are my top 10 recommended metrics:

  1.  Retainers – What is in-scope, and out-of-scope?
  2. Overhead allocation – Are your administrative overhead allocations appropriate and are they consistently applied?
  3. Billings – Look at your budget, actual results, forecast, and how big is ‘The Gap’?
  4. Productivity – Look at your billable and non-billable time. Are your seniors spending time on non-billable tasks which someone else could do?
  5. Billings per head – How does this compare to the benchmark?
  6. Mark up – Are you recovering your costs and recognising value-add?
  7. New business – Do you have enough new business in the pipeline to bridge ‘The Gap’? What is your Return On Investment (ROI)?
  8. Top 5 clients – Billings and profitability. Consider the 80/20 rule.
  9. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – Do your targets support your business objectives?
  10. BAS payment – How much is due, when, and do you have the funds to pay?

When do you need the information?

From a daily flash, to a monthly summarised top line, and the annual comprehensive budget review process – the frequency of your financial reporting and analysis will heavily depend upon your job management system and accounting program.

Are you using MYOB or Xero? Combined with: Harvest, WorkflowMAX, or Streamtime? Or perhaps: Pegasus, Job Bag, WorkBook?

Can your current systems and reporting programs give you what you want? Do they deliver quickly, and efficiently?  

Where do you get the know-how?

The power of your job management system may dictate the frequency and detail of your reporting. If you have a clever Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution – you will have information on demand, and it will be live, dynamic data.

It’s time to get smart and be strategic to ensure that your team has the right tools to manage their time and clients’ budgets.

If you don’t get the level of reporting you need, then you will be wasting billable team-mates’ time, and finance brains, to create and build essential reports in Excel.  And of course you might receive these reports too late, and you may not quite trust the figures anyway.

Take action and plan to review and improve the way your team manages the figures.   Ask me to assess your financial reports, systems, and routines – I can provide you with the professional development you need to help stretch you and your team’s analytical minds.

And if you would like to treat yourself to some complimentary business advice – send me a message via Intercom, email, or phone me – I’d love the opportunity to help ensure that you have the best year ever.

A quick call might be just what you need to get you there.