## Initial Mark Up And Gross Margin

What is Initial Markup?
Initial Markup (IMU) is the difference between the cost and selling price of an item when it is first introduced for sale. It is also called Initial Mark On, Markon or Markup. The formula for this calculation is: Selling price – cost = Initial Markup Dollars. If a buyer brings in a new line of jeans with a cost of \$25 per pair and initially prices them to sell at \$55 per pair, the Initial Markup is \$30.

Selling Price – Cost = Initial Mark Up Dollars
Initial Markup is normally expressed as a percent. The Initial Mark Up %, for the above example, based on the retail selling price, is 55% (calculated as \$30 / \$55). The IMU% should always be based on retail dollars, not cost dollars as some retailers and software programs too often do. After all, you own a retail store and record sales at retail. Your sales goals are expressed in retail dollars. Plus, net sales, at retail, are used as the basis for expressing account amounts from the financials (For example, what percent is your Occupancy Costs actually means what percent of your net retail sales are dedicated to Occupancy costs.). Use RETAIL.

An initial retail price must obviously cover the cost of the item, and any selling expense associated with the item. It also must cover a portion of the store’s day to day expenses for rent, fixtures, insurance, utilities, etc., also known as overhead, as well as leave you some profit. Stated another way, Initial Markup must be enough to cover Planned Markdowns + Planned Profits + Selling and Overhead Expenses. The Selling Price covers all that plus the cost of the item.

What is Gross Margin?
Gross Margin (also called Maintained Margin or just Margin) is related to actual sales. It is expressed as a percent of Net Sales. Gross Margin is the difference between Sales and Cost of Goods Sold. (Net Sales – Cost of Goods Sold = Gross Margin Dollars.) Gross Margin is always based on Net Sales and is always expressed from a retail viewpoint. Initial Markup addresses the aspect of price for merchandise: “How much can I get for this ___________?” Gross Margin answers the question: “How much did I make on this __________?”
Impacts on Initial Markup % and Gross Margin %

Many factors affect how retailers decide just how much Initial Markup will provide the best return on their investment. Things that affect Initial Markup are Brand, Competition, Market Saturation, anticipated Markdowns and perceived customer value to name a few. Perceived value is often most difficult to pin down. Occasionally there are certain labels that seem to perform magic when it comes to moving merchandise. A perfect example-Tickle Me Elmo (Tyco) in 1996-was a slow seller until being featured on an afternoon talk show. “In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Tickle Me Elmo dolls were in such scarce supply that ads cropped up in newspapers asking for as much as \$2000 per doll.” The Brands (both the talk show and Elmo) were magic. Competition kept the prices up. Low Supply kept the market from becoming saturated. But, customer perceived value kept the prices unbelievably high.

Another major impact is Markdowns. No matter what your Initial Markup is, if it isn’t great enough to cover your planned markdowns and expenses, you will give up your profit to make the sale. When an item doesn’t move, most over-worked and stressed out retailers will take the path of least resistance, and take a larger markdown and keep taking those markdowns until the offending merchandise is gone. Some will keep the poor seller, hoping for the one customer who will come in “someday” and purchase that saved item… if that customer ever arrives and if you can find the item when he does. If Markdowns are higher than anticipated, net sales will be lower, and therefore, gross margin, a.k.a. Maintained Margin, or just Margin, will also be less. Brand, competition, market saturation and perceived customer value also affect Gross Margin–just like Initial Markup.

The Finer Points of IMU% and Gross Margin
It does not follow that each class of merchandise will realize the same IMU % or the same Gross Margin %. Each class and each style within a class (or category) is as unique as each vendor. Competition, pricing structure and perceived customer value may make it necessary to deviate considerably in actual IMU% and GM, but make a point to plan for your profit as well as you plan sales, markdowns or expenses. You want to make sure that you are achieving your Gross Margin plan at the store level, even though some classes may fall far short. The Gross Margin for other classes needs to be high enough to make up the difference for the lower performing classes.

For example, if your Initial Mark Up is 58% and you plan a 9.5% Markdown rate with a goal to maintain a 54% Gross Margin, you can use a “cost multiplier” of 2.40 to achieve your goal. The Cost Multiplier is a number you can multiply the merchandise cost by to achieve the desired Gross Margin percent. An item that Costs \$20 will carry an Initial Price (Cost + Initial Mark Up) of \$48 when using the 2.40 cost multiplier. If you plan Markdowns of 35% and require a Gross Margin of 54%, merchandise will carry a 66% IMU, using a Cost Multiplier of 2.95 to achieve the same 54% Gross Margin.

Markdowns do not affect IMU% after the initial price is set. The Initial Markup is what it is. However, Markdowns have a huge effect on Gross Margin %. Markdowns decrease profit. It doesn’t matter how much an item is marked up, if it must be marked down those markdowns come from your Gross Margin. Of course, the reverse is also true. When you bring in that unique item that your customers must have, you may not need to take planned markdowns. Then you get to enjoy your higher profit.

Ways to Increase IMU% and GM
Of course, you can just raise your IMU%, but if you raise it too much above the competition, you will lose sales. If you sell popular items that your customers feel a need to own, you may have lower than planned markdowns resulting in a higher Gross Margin. Another good way to boost both the IMU% and the GM is to make a practice of holding some money back from your Open-To-Buy when shopping and plan to rely on some in-season purchases to see you through. Generally, in-season purchases delivered immediately allow for a higher IMU% because you pay less for them.

Another thing we recommend is joining a Buying Group. Buying Groups have benefits for their members to save them time and money. Also, when you go to market, look for a new vendor or two to try. Generally, your customers value individuality as much as you. Give them some items to pick from that set you apart from the pack when possible.

If you feel there is little excitement for your inventory or it is developing “sameness” in appearance, try a different market. All vendors do not go to every market and by going to a new market you may be able to find just what you want. New vendors may offer a unique appearance in color, fit or style that appeals to your customers. Look for merchandise keeping with your quality line that offers a higher markup.

Using an Open-to-Buy is a great way to plan, record your actual results and then check yourself to see how you are doing as the year progresses. It can also help to prevent the high markdowns needed to clear out excess inventory.
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Our approach is to provide a definitive yet thorough assessment allowing you, and your company, to consider a broad overview of alternatives to manage the challenges and enhance the performance of your business.

In short, we identify opportunities, work with you and your organization, and enable you to take advantage of business potential and growth. The move to part time, on call, and virtual services has become more accepted in the business world over the past few years. For a fraction of the cost of a full time employee, a small business can have the Controller / CFO function filled by an experienced professional.

We are headquartered in the Tampa Bay area; a portion of our work is handled remotely, yet, we are able to talk, meet, and work with you on a regular periodic basis.

PETER DESMIDT has more than 48 years of accounting, cost accounting, and systems implementation (including QuickBooks, Intuit, Enterprise, Passport, RealWorld, Peachtree, Great Plains, Dynamics, Sage, Direct Systems, SouthWare, ACCPAC, and Computer Associates software) experience, as well as management positions with companies like Atlantic Richfield, Signode, Norlin Industries and R.R. Donnelley and Sons. Peter DeSmidt’s specific experience is as a CFO, Controller, Accounting Manager and Advisory Consultant. He holds a BA Degree majoring in Accounting and an MBA Degree majoring in Accounting and Computer Science. As we are a small business ourselves, we understand what it takes to get a small company off the ground and on the right track.

Contact us for a free initial telephone consultation to discuss the immediate and long term benefits that we can offer you.

We provide part-time offsite and onsite Controller, CFO, Accounting, Cost Accounting, Forecasting, Inventory Management, Cost Control, QuickBooks Problem Solving, and QuickBooks Training Services to small and medium sized businesses.

Thank you,

Peter DeSmidt, BA, MBA, PA

Microsoft Certified Accounting Application Specialist

Microsoft Certified Installation Specialist

## Benefits Of Retaining Us To Perform Your Part Time Controller and CFO Services

Small and medium-sized companies that are not in a position to hire a full-time Controller or CFO are often the companies that would benefit the most from the expertise of an experienced Controller or CFO.

We can take complete responsibility for the financial side of your business, or we can function purely as your part-time / virtual Controller or CFO, optionally, managing your existing accounting and bookkeeping staff. Every business and situation is different.

We can work with your accounting and bookkeeping staff, attorneys, bankers, insurance brokers and tax preparers at a fraction of the cost of a full time employee.

We are seasoned professionals and have the experience, expertise, education and qualifications to be your part-time / virtual / on-going Controller or CFO.

The types of services that we can optionally provide include:

•Monthly Accounting

•Accounts Payable and Receivable Management

•Financial Statement Preparation

•Cash Flow Analysis and Management

•Inventory Management and Control

•Fixed Assets Reporting

•Bank Reconciliations

•Tax Return Preparation

•Payroll Tax Compliance

•Variance Analysis and Reporting

•Activity Based and Job Costing

•Revenue and Expense Analysis

•Staff Training and Utilization

•Accounting Systems and Controls

•Financial Analysis and Reporting

•Strategic Planning and Consulting

•Cost / Revenue Benefit Analysis

•Budget Preparation and Reporting

•Financial Forecasting and Modeling

•Treasury / Cash Management

•Negotiations for Financing and Operations

•Reorganizations, Mergers and Acquisitions

•Software Selection and Implementation

•Software Training and Support

•Preparation of Policies and Procedures

We are headquartered in the Tampa Bay area; the majority of our work is handled remotely, yet, we are able to talk and work with you on a regular periodic basis.

We have over 45 years of Accounting, Management and Systems experience. Contact us for a free initial telephone consultation to discuss the immediate and long term benefits that we can offer you.

Ask us for help – this is what we do.

813-252-9490

Thank you,

Peter DeSmidt,

## The Definition of Success – Having to Hire a CFO to Manage Finances

A small business owner is usually a lone entrepreneur who starts a company on a dream, sweat, tears and hard found money. Then it takes a dream, sweat and tears to use that hard found money to invest in the business and make it turn a profit. Once the business finds some equilibrium and starts making money, this may be the time for the business owner to examine the complexities of success. It is probably time to seek small business financial help by hiring a CFO or a Chief Financial Officer.

Once a small business passes over the threshold of making money, becoming successful and sustaining a position in the black, it is time to turn over the financials to a professional who can handle all revenue and expenses and provide accurate and timely taxes to the IRS, get bills paid on time and prepare budgets and business plans. By this time, it is important for the business owner to focus on marketing for more business and it is the CFO’s responsibility to keep an eye on cash flow, profits and expenditures. Meanwhile, the CFO can assist the CEO in tracking investments so that the return is profitable. And what about financial statements? In many cases, the CEO is happy that at last, someone else will take care of a daunting task.

Reporting and paying taxes is crucial to small business financial help from a CFO who monitors and manages a company’s finances. Having accurate and timely financial and accounting information facilitates making better management decisions for expansion, obtaining loans, forecasting profitable growth and keeping the company in check.

Can a small business afford to pay a full time CFO? In most cases, the answer is no. CFOs are generously rewarded for their expertise and hard work and the salary reflects their qualifications and capabilities. But there are CFOs that act as a contractor/consultant on a part time basis. Instead of reporting to the office every day, a part time CFO will provide reports, statements and monitor the company’s fiscal health a few days a week or a few weeks a month.

When small business financial help comes in the form of a CFO, think of it as a gift rather than an expense. A CFO brings a level of achievement to move your company from one level to the next one. Along with the CFO’s cache, a high level of integrity, confidentiality and great service will navigate your company to success. The CFO understands how to guide your company through the financial and administrative maze for making educated and informed decisions.

It is the CFO who can help steer the business through any financial crisis. It is the CFO who sounds a warning when there is the slightest hint of a treacherous iceberg blocking the path of success and profitability. When hiring a CFO, the business owner must place all trust in the hands of an expert to achieve internal operating goals, maintain business integrity, making it work.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3315646

Our approach is to provide a definitive yet thorough assessment allowing you, and your company, to consider a broad overview of alternatives to manage the challenges and enhance the performance of your business.

In short, we identify opportunities, work with you and your organization, and enable you to take advantage of business potential and growth. The move to part time, on call, and virtual services has become more accepted in the business world over the past few years. For a fraction of the cost of a full time employee, a small business can have the Controller / CFO function filled by an experienced professional.

We are headquartered in the Tampa Bay area; a portion of our work is handled remotely, yet, we are able to talk, meet, and work with you on a regular periodic basis.

PETER DESMIDT has more than 48 years of accounting, cost accounting, and systems implementation (including QuickBooks, Intuit, Enterprise, Passport, RealWorld, Peachtree, Great Plains, Dynamics, Sage, Direct Systems, SouthWare, ACCPAC, and Computer Associates software) experience, as well as management positions with companies like Atlantic Richfield, Signode, Norlin Industries and R.R. Donnelley and Sons. Peter DeSmidt’s specific experience is as a CFO, Controller, Accounting Manager and Advisory Consultant. He holds a BA Degree majoring in Accounting and an MBA Degree majoring in Accounting and Computer Science. As we are a small business ourselves, we understand what it takes to get a small company off the ground and on the right track.

Contact us for a free initial telephone consultation to discuss the immediate and long term benefits that we can offer you.

We provide part-time offsite and onsite Controller, CFO, Accounting, Cost Accounting, Forecasting, Inventory Management, Cost Control, QuickBooks Problem Solving, and QuickBooks Training Services to small and medium sized businesses.

813-252-9490

Thank you,

Peter DeSmidt, BA, MBA, PA

Microsoft Certified Accounting Application Specialist

Microsoft Certified Installation Specialist

## Outsource Accounting Tasks To Us Instead of Using Expensive Internal Accountants

By Amitaabh Saboo

Do you know the language of business? Accounting is termed as the key language of business by many people. Without adequate accountancy knowledge, skills and experience, your business performance and monies will be difficult to track. Nowadays many entrepreneurs are not able to study and manage their businesses at the same time. They are taking advantage of outsourcing. When entrepreneurs outsource accounting, they shift their difficult responsibility to an outsider, who has nothing to do their organizations. Both of them form a contract that defines the scope of service delivery, terms of payment, task deadlines, methods of service delivery and many other parameters.

Since managing your company is hard enough, you may also want to outsource accounting to a reputable firm near you. An accountancy firm is an independent organization that employs thousands accredited and qualified accountants. It has a remote data entry centre that accommodates its employees. The arrangement involved in outsourcing is quite different from a normal recruitment process. Your company and an accountancy firm of your choice will get into a business deal that does not involve any employment terms. The firm will get your accounts books balanced and you will pay the agreed rate to return the favor.

As you can clearly see, entrepreneurs who outsource accounting tasks to an autonomous service provider, avoid the hassle and stress of recruiting new accountants. Would you not want the same thing? Another cost you can avoid is that of training or retraining new or existing staff. Software development technology has greatly advanced these days, and new accounting software products are cropping up quickly. The cost of training your accountant on how to use new accounting software can be higher than the cost of assigning your daily tasks to an external accountancy firm. When you outsource accounting, you are given an opportunity to choose among different accounting software programs.

An outsourced company already has many professionals who know how to use software at no additional cost on your part. What’s more, you get to choose when you want to contract out and when you want to do the job personally. After ending a contract with an independent outsourcing company, you can decide not to form another contract until you are financially. On the contrary, keeping an office employee denies you the pleasure of not paying any monthly wages when your business is not getting enough contracts. It is therefore convenient and cheaper to outsource accounting than to do the job yourself. In addition, when you assign a task to a remote contractor, you can free your office space by dismissing redundant staff.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Amitaabh_Saboo

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7185943

Ask us for help – we provide on-site and remote accounting and controllership services.

813-252-9490

Thank you,

Peter DeSmidt, BA, MBA, PA

## Our QuickBooks and Enterprise Setup, Implementation, Training and Support Services

We provide QuickBooks and Enterprise help,  installation, set up, accounting, training, support, troubleshooting, implementation, consulting and controller services to small and medium sized businesses.  We also provide small business consulting  services to include cost control, financial systems, staff training, treasury  management, revenue and expense analysis, inventory management, and small business turnaround services.

You will always work with the same person at our firm; Peter has over 45 years of experience in Accounting, Systems and Business Management; he has been an Accounting Instructor at Mercer University and Georgia State University; and is a Certified QuickBooks Advanced ProAdvisor.

We are headquartered in the Tampa Bay South Shore area, and serve the metro area, and remotely serve Florida and the US.

Our Services Provided Include:

• Monthly Accounting Services
• Accounts Payable and Receivable Management
• Financial Statement Preparation
• Cash Flow Analysis and Management
• Inventory Management and Control
• Fixed Assets Reporting
• Bank Reconciliations
• Payroll Tax Compliance
• Variance Analysis and Reporting
• Revenue and Expense Analysis
• Staff Training and Utilization
• Accounting Systems and Controls
• Financial Analysis and Reporting
• Budget Preparation and Reporting
• Treasury / Cash Management
• Software Selection and Implementation
• Software Training and Support
• Controller and CFO Services
• Virtual, Part-Time, and Outsourced Services
• Cost Control / Cost Management Consulting
• Accounting Software Training and Support
• Strategic Planning and Consulting
• Policies and Procedures
• Defining Job and Project Cost Elements
• Creating and Customizing Reports

QuickBooks is a user-friendly and easy to use system, provided the initial set-up is implemented properly.  In fact, the majority of QuickBooks problems discovered after implementation stem from improper initial set-up.  Get started on the right track, by working with us, and avoid costly problems in the future. You will receive a QuickBooks file customized for your business based upon the information that you provide.

Here’s a list of the services that we can provide during your QuickBooks setup:

• Evaluate your software requirements and overall accounting needs
• Determine your accounting and QuickBooks software needs
• Recommend the appropriate QuickBooks software and establish hardware requirements
• Software installation and set-up
• Design and set-up the chart of accounts and the entire accounting system– including payroll, accounts receivable, inventory, and accounts payable
• Determine your QuickBooks start date
• Customer and vendor set-up
• Item set-up including services, inventory parts, non-inventory parts, other charges and sales-tax items
• Set-up your outstanding accounts receivable and accounts payable details as of your start date
• Set-up your ending statement bank balances and outstanding checks & deposits in transit as of your start date
• Print a trial balance as of your starting date and compare it to your trial balance from your old system
• Train your staff in use of software to meet your accounting, management and tax-reporting needs
• Follow-up training to ensure you are on the right track
• Monthly, quarterly or annual review of QuickBooks to assist in tax preparation and management reports

Why our one on one training is the way for your company

• Training at your location, a quiet restaurant, or via shared desktop at a time that is convenient for you – including weekends
• Work on your live QuickBooks file
• Training is based on your skill level, and at your pace
• Training implemented in one to several 3 to 5 hour intervals – spaced over time

While a one-on-one instructor-led QuickBooks training class is more expensive than attending a group class, it is a good investment when you have specific QuickBooks issues to solve or you need to get QuickBooks started in the right direction with your QuickBooks accounting and bookkeeping needs. I can help you figure out the best solutions for your particular QuickBooks accounting issues, and give you a strategy for how best to pursue your short-term and long-term goals for your business. Getting off on an ill-directed path in QuickBooks accounting can be very costly in the long run; getting the right professional advice from the start will certainly be well worth the investment.

We can train on Pro, Premier, Online, industry-specific versions and Enterprise versions of QuickBooks.  Our one-on-one training is customized for your business. Email us or call us – to  schedule your implementation / training / support services to learn more,  and to discuss your requirements.  Free initial telephone consultation. Evening, weekend, and daytime telephone consultation appointment times are available. We would welcome the opportunity to work with you.

Ask us for help – this is what we do.

813-252-9490

Thank you,

Peter DeSmidt, BA, MBA, PA

Microsoft Certified Accounting Application Specialist

Microsoft Certified Installation Specialist

## Part Time CFO And Controller Services – 5 Ways Outsourcing Can Change Your Business

By Terry L Mickelson

Small companies often face similar financial challenges to those of larger companies. Many reach a point in company growth where the expertise of a financial professional is needed, but are unable to afford a full-time CFO. With a part-time CFO, you receive the benefits of financial help at a much smaller financial commitment than hiring another full-time employee. Along with saving both time and money, you’ll be able to focus on where your company needs you most. A part-time CFO can help you:

1. Receive accurate financial information. Many companies’ financial statements are filled with incomplete or inaccurate data, making it almost impossible for business owners to choose right for their business. A part-time CFO uses up-to-date accounting standards, giving you the key profitability information needed to make vital decisions for your business.

2. Spend more time with customers. Spending time with current and future customers is not just a luxury; it is essential for a profitable business. If you are not spending time with your customers now, then your competition is. By taking care of HR functions and accounting; a part-time CFO can free needed time so you can focus more on your customers and growing your business.

3. Get more money from banks or vendors. Banks and vendors are looking for financial statements that follow correct accounting standards, look professional and highlight key information. Create the professional financial statements you need to improve your company image and receive better terms with banks and vendors.

4. Discourage employee dishonesty. Many business owners have been shocked to learn how much stealing can go on within a company. There are many different types of theft such as; theft of money, customer lists, inventory and more. A part-time CFO can help discourage theft by establishing control and keeping you more aware of what going on inside your company.

5. Manage your cash flow properly. Lack of planning can often cause unpleasant cash flow surprises. Don’t address only the ‘squeaky wheel’, or let your company only ‘exist’ from month to month. By correct planning, using cash flow management solutions and securing needed financing, many cash flow issues can be reduced or even eliminated.

All companies face large challenges, but with the help of a part-time CFO big obstacles such as getting more money from banks and receiving accurate company data can be simplified and handled properly. By aiding in better cash flow management, discouraging employee dishonesty and freeing more time to spend with customers; CFO services can help your company succeed.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/1678331
———————

Our approach is to provide a definitive yet thorough assessment allowing you, and your company, to consider a broad overview of alternatives to manage the challenges and enhance the performance of your business.

In short, we identify opportunities, work with you and your organization, and enable you to take advantage of business potential and growth. The move to part time, on call, and virtual services has become more accepted in the business world over the past few years. For a fraction of the cost of a full time employee, a small business can have the Controller / CFO function filled by an experienced professional.

We are headquartered in the Tampa Bay area; a portion of our work is handled remotely, yet, we are able to talk, meet, and work with you on a regular periodic basis.

PETER DESMIDT has more than 48 years of accounting, cost accounting, and systems implementation (including QuickBooks, Intuit, Enterprise, Passport, RealWorld, Peachtree, Great Plains, Dynamics, Sage, Direct Systems, SouthWare, ACCPAC, and Computer Associates software) experience, as well as management positions with companies like Atlantic Richfield, Signode, Norlin Industries and R.R. Donnelley and Sons. Peter DeSmidt’s specific experience is as a CFO, Controller, Accounting Manager and Advisory Consultant. He holds a BA Degree majoring in Accounting and an MBA Degree majoring in Accounting and Computer Science. As we are a small business ourselves, we understand what it takes to get a small company off the ground and on the right track.

Contact us for a free initial telephone consultation to discuss the immediate and long term benefits that we can offer you.

We provide part-time offsite and onsite CFO, Controller, Accounting, Cost Accounting, Forecasting, Inventory Management, Cost Control, QuickBooks Problem Solving, and QuickBooks Training Services to small and medium sized businesses.

813-252-9490

Thank you,

Peter DeSmidt, BA, MBA, PA

Microsoft Certified Accounting Application Specialist

Microsoft Certified Installation Specialist

## Getting a Rein on Organizational Functions With The Expertise of a Virtual Controller

By Shoni Priyanka

Staying on top of one’s finances and working the way through budgetary restraints and defined deadlines can be one of the most daunting challenges for startup companies and other organizations. While taking care of all the issues concerned with the nature of the business, owners and management officials often find themselves at their wits end as they go about controlling all the documentations connected with financial transactions, banking formalities, accounting and taxation procedures, budget planning and other conciliatory activities which require time, energy and knowledge resources.

Under the circumstances, it certainly helps to have an external controller who takes over the responsibilities of managing the basic as well as advanced functions and processes and helping the organization work in smoother fashion.

Who exactly is a virtual controller and what is the periphery of his services and scope of work?

Well, if you do not want to employ a full time controller in house for reasons connected to finance restraints or work culture prevailing in the organization, you would consider going in for the services of a virtual controller – who works online and guides you by providing valuable management insight, customized and well prepared financial reports and value added services in the field of business decision making.

Some of the common ways in which an external expert can assist in controlling the different aspects and functionalities of your business organization are as follows:

• He / she is an experienced agent who can hold your hand and guide you through all the formalities of setting up your accounting system and package and set up the same as per your customized needs and requirements.

• As your business accounting procedures may go through certain changes after the employment of an external controlling firm or agent, they help the existing in house staff get used to the changes in the processes and also train them to use the same.

• If you already have a bookkeeper in house, then the controller co-ordinates the various processes of recoding and reporting financial transactions and makes sure that the work is done accurately and in a timely fashion. He also helps the bookkeeper in the event of any unprecedented problems or issues arising in the course of account management.

• They give adequate time to discuss the various ongoing and other pipelined projects and share their knowledge ad ideas on the department’s profitability as well as the feasibility of the various activities going on in the organization.

• Apart from fixing the asset depreciation schedules for equipments, taking stock of all the assets and liabilities and keeping a close eye on the current purchases, accounts receivable and payable, a controller also helps in tax preparation and filing of returns.

• They go a long way in planning out the strategies, helping in the documentation of procedures and policies, assisting with mergers and acquisitions and planning solutions for various issues connected with any unprecedented events which may arise in the course of the business.

The services of a virtual controller are exhaustive and cover a wide gamut ranging from the basic to most advanced functions. Cost effective and highly experienced, they help businesses get a controller function without locking up any infrastructural and other in house resources.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Shoni_Priyanka

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/8008926

We provide virtual and onsite Controller and CFO Services to small and medium sized businesses.

Ask us for help – this is what we do.

813-252-9490

Thank you,

Peter DeSmidt, BA, MBA, PA

Microsoft Certified Accounting Application Specialist

Microsoft Certified Installation Specialist

## Standard Cost Accounting in Determining the Estimate Versus Actual

By Victor Viser, Ph.D.

Cost accounting in manufacturing answers the simple question: “Am I making money on this job, and if not then why not?”. Cost accounting is a bridge between financial and management accounting and is a technique used to address the demands of both. It is a systematic application that takes all events in the supply chain and translates them into financial values for analyses by various people both inside and outside the company operations. The most important results of the analyses are findings by which management can reduce manufacturing costs while improving profitability, especially in the multi-sequence operations of manufacturing. While there are several ways to approach cost accounting (e.g., activity-based, throughput, etc.), the generally accepted accounting principles most in line with manufacturing operations are standard cost accounting and weighted average cost accounting. In both standard cost and weighted average cost accounting, managers can best assess production profit results as they are related to a formula for the “standard cost” of manufacturing a product.

In general terms, the computation of manufacturing cost involves many methods and techniques to define the components of cost, as well as determining what will be the basis of cost measurement such as historical cost, market value, and/or actual cost. For managers, the simple point of cost accounting is to determine why production costs are different than what they were planned (or estimated) to be, and then to take the appropriate corrective action. In an integrated enterprise resource planning operation (ERP), where work orders, shop floor routers, and travelers define the job sequencing for a generated sales order, each aspect of the sequence is reviewed in terms of actual versus estimated cost to attempt to discover those production steps than are deviating the most from the planned cost. In focusing so closely upon the production sequence, each and every step can be macroanalyzed in terms of cost as it is related to variables such as volume of output, material, and labor time for production.

For example, to discover actual versus estimate discrepancies in a particular work center or production sequence, management can look to things such as scrap piece counts, set-up times/cost, and material costs as they concern specific sequences. As such data is accumulated, it is easier to come to an understanding as to what specific aspect or sequence in production is costing more than the estimate, and why it is doing so. For those manufacturers utilizing more robust ERP software systems, managers can quickly and easily see actual dollar costs against individual production activities, as well as finding opportunities to streamline operations and reduce costs. If needed, as a result of cost accounting a manager can even determine whether they should eliminate the entire production activity, especially if there is no value added or profit to be made.

With accurate and regular job cost accounting facilitated by ERP software, the modern manufacturer gains a competitive edge through the routine maintenance of cost efficiencies. Indeed, as corrections, as a result of cost accounting, are made in the production system to alleviate inefficient or non-profitable sequences, actual costs come into closer alignment with estimated costs, and in doing so provide a more predictable bottom-line.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Victor_Viser,_Ph.D.

We provide part-time offsite and onsite Manufacturing Cost, Forecasting, Inventory Management, Cost Control, QuickBooks Problem Solving, QuickBooks Training, Accounting, Cost Accounting, Controller and CFO Services to small and medium sized businesses.

813-252-9490

Thank you,

Peter DeSmidt, BA, MBA, PA

Microsoft Certified Accounting Application Specialist

Microsoft Certified Installation Specialist.

Microsoft Great Plains Authorized Real World Consultant.

## Strategic Planning for a Small Business – Overcome the Challenges

WHY PLAN?

Things are ok. But how do you know you are thinking BIG enough? Are you leveraging the strengths, interests and talents on your team? Will you wind up in a place that will make you happy? What exactly is the best game plan? It is not that you haven’t been thinking about these questions. The business environment is complex and the choices are daunting. How do you answer the hard questions?

For the same reasons that pilots use maps when they fly cross-country and chefs follow recipes, it makes good sense to work towards organizational and personal goals with a written plan. One can operate without a plan, and many do, but the results probably won’t be optimal.

A strategic thinking and planning process can help to create a framework where you take control of the business, instead of sitting back and watching the business taking control of you. For many, the process of planning (thinking, discussing, researching and analyzing) is even more useful than the final plan. A planning process can help to sharpen a vision, evaluate alternative paths, build common understanding and commitment, balance dreams with reality, and transform uncertainty into action.

SOUNDS GOOD BUT MOST SMALL BUSINESSES DON’T PLAN

Although there is a lot of research correlating success with planning, it probably won’t surprise you that the majority of small businesses don’t have a written strategic plan. The reasons why are varied but some common themes include: “It’s not the best use of my/our limited time”, “planning takes away flexibility”, “there are too many uncertainties”, “we have a business plan”, “building consensus is too difficult”, and “it will cost too much”.

These are all real concerns, especially to the small business owner. The dichotomy is that the very reasons why organizations avoid planning are the same reasons that planning can be so effective. Let’s take a look….

TIME- “We are so overwhelmed – hiring, making sure our customers are happy, getting new products out – we just don’t have time to think about next week, forget about next year. Somehow, the future will just have to take care of itself.”
Thinking versus action provides a dilemma for many professionals. We are action oriented. When we are doing something, we feel productive. When we take the time to think, we feel unproductive. We need to do both. Without investing the time and effort to think about where we’re headed, it is likely we won’t get there.

When we become so involved in the day to day that we risk losing perspective, it is time to step back. If we stay mired in the trenches, the easiest solution is often implemented, not the best one. Planning takes time, but it leads to a focused use of the limited time available.

FLEXIBILITY- “We like to stay open to opportunities as they arise.”

Creating a strategic plan doesn’t mean that your business can’t be flexible. A plan sets the foundation so that when things start changing; there is a baseline from which to evaluate new opportunities.

Out of strategic planning come decisions like: “we will approach this target market, not that one”, “we will offer these products or services, not those”, “we will accomplish this objective before anything else.” Written plans demonstrate that careful consideration has been given to the future. It is easier to make these kinds of decisions strategically with a longer-term view. When things get stressful, it becomes difficult to see all of the options well enough to make educated decisions.

“We have a basic idea of where we are headed, why write it down?”

Unwritten goals are simply thoughts that will change as often as your opinions change. The act of writing out goals helps to clarify them and can provide an objective way of tracking them against actual results. Magic happens when you put goals on paper, they start to become real. You begin to make commitments, and are open to opportunities you may not have noticed before.

UNCERTAINTY- “Strategic planning is a business school concept developed when people thought they could anticipate and predict the future. How can we plan in a world that is highly uncertain?”

Uncertainty is a real issue in forward planning. However, putting our heads in the sand probably isn’t the best solution. Most organizations have their strategies, structure, and service offering challenged on a regular basis. To remain successful it is vital to ask the following strategic questions on a regular basis:

Where are we now? Where are we going? How are we going to get there?

Strategic planning helps a business evaluate market opportunities. To do this effectively, the process includes collecting and analyzing information about the business environment, understanding internal strengths, and developing a set of ‘key assumptions’. Optimal strategies are designed based on all of these factors. As the environment changes, so should our plans. One way to assess whether it is time to conduct a new strategic planning process is to check your list of ‘key assumptions’ on an annual basis to see if anything has changed.

I HAVE A PLAN- “I wrote a business plan when I started the business”

The act of strategic planning is often confused with a business plan. Business plans are usually drafted to obtain financing, then wind up filed away. The strategic planning process is an activity that is conducted every few years to evaluate opportunities, wrestle with environmental changes, build consensus, and to create updated goals. The output (a strategic plan) is a short working document that defines the positioning and future of the organization, with an action plan to get from here to there.

ORGANIZATION DYNAMICS- “I could never get everyone to agree on the best way to move forward. Anyway, shouldn’t it be my vision?”

An effective planning process will help to get people talking, and ensure that the business owner/CEO benefits from the ideas of his/her team. A good process is designed to build confidence, support and commitment among all involved. Even if only a limited group is included in the process, the completion of a strategic plan provides a great opportunity to communicate the company’s direction and core values to employees.

The use of an outside facilitator can greatly enhance the effectiveness of a planning process and keep the process on track. There is often a strong tendency of those participating to focus the discussions on today’s problems. An outside facilitator can help to broaden thinking and make sure that new ideas and directions are generated.

COST- “We don’t have a budget for planning.”

With all the activities that make up running a business, setting priorities in the context of a plan is important. Without a plan, the limited resources of a growing business will tend to be scattered in many directions, netting results that take longer and cost more.

What are your personal priorities? Is profitability, work/life balance, a motivated staff, or public recognition on your list? What are the personal benefits of achieving your goals? What are the consequences if you don’t?

If you are serious about your business, it is time to overcome the challenges to planning and start to soar. Don’t hesitate to enlist help. Stop thinking about a better future, TAKE ACTION!

We provide part-time virtual and onsite QuickBooks Training, Accounting, Cost Accounting, Controller and CFO Services to small and medium sized businesses.

Ask us for help – this is what we do.

813-252-9490

Thank you,

Peter DeSmidt, BA, MBA, PA

Microsoft Certified Accounting Application Specialist

Microsoft Certified Installation Specialist

By Gary Farrell

Whether large or small, no matter what you sell, your business needs an accounting program that is reliable and accurate, allows for simple generation of reports and is highly functional. Enterprise Solutions from QuickBooks, designed for growing businesses, has the capabilities and flexibility to meet your business’ unique needs as it grows – and it could save you thousands in up-front and ongoing system costs.

QuickBooks Enterprise provides the key functionality you need with incredible ease of use. If you are a business owner or manager exploring the available solutions for improving the financial flow of your work, here are just a few reasons why you should consider this product.

Business Growth Support: QuickBooks Enterprise lets you scale up to 30 simultaneous users as your organization grows. Flexibility: The software is designed to work the way you work, so you don’t have to change your current business processes. This program lets you customize any of its 120+ built-in reports and forms such as estimates and invoices to look and work the way you want. Instant Access: Get real-time, instant access to the information you need to know about your business, when you want it and in the format you want it in, from Enterprises’ 120+ built-in reports, such as Forecast Overview, Forecast vs, Actual, Profit & Loss Budget Performance, and A/P Aging Detail. Functionality: Enterprise Solutions delivers all of the key financial management and accounting functionality you would expect from a sophisticated solution, including: G/L, A/P, A/R, Payroll, Fixed Assets, Job Costing, Budgeting and more.

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We are headquartered in the Tampa Bay area; a portion of our work is handled remotely, yet, we are able to talk, meet, and work with you on a regular periodic basis.

PETER DESMIDT has more than 48 years of accounting, cost accounting, and systems implementation (including QuickBooks, Intuit, Enterprise, Passport, RealWorld, Peachtree, Great Plains, Dynamics, Sage, Direct Systems, SouthWare, ACCPAC, and Computer Associates software) experience, as well as management positions with companies like Atlantic Richfield, Signode, Norlin Industries and R.R. Donnelley and Sons. Peter DeSmidt’s specific experience is as a CFO, Controller, Accounting Manager and Advisory Consultant. He holds a BA Degree majoring in Accounting and an MBA Degree majoring in Accounting and Computer Science. As we are a small business ourselves, we understand what it takes to get a small company off the ground and on the right track.

Contact us for a free initial telephone consultation to discuss the immediate and long term benefits that we can offer you.

We provide part-time offsite and onsite CFO, Controller, Accounting, Cost Accounting, Forecasting, Inventory Management, Cost Control, QuickBooks Problem Solving, and QuickBooks Training Services to small and medium sized businesses.

813-252-9490

Thank you,

Peter DeSmidt, BA, MBA, PA

Microsoft Certified Accounting Application Specialist

Microsoft Certified Installation Specialist

Contact us to inquire about our QuickBooks services; or to set up a free consultation telephone call.

By Tim Garrison

Many small business owners launch their business to follow a passion, whether that passion is writing, programming, Web design, art, sound & video, or any number of other industries. Your business begins to grow by word-of-mouth and soon, you’re hiring employees or independent contractors to take over part of your responsibilities rather than doing it all yourself.

Somewhere along the line, you grow large enough to hire a small business bookkeeper. Until now, you’ve managed your books yourself, either through QuickBooks or another bookkeeping software, or some system that you’ve devised yourself. Now, you’ve just gotten too big for this system to work anymore.

You hire a bookkeeper who understands financial accounting software and can manage your books on a full-time or part-time basis. This person could be an in-house employee, or maybe a local contractor. Or maybe you’re one of the growing number of smart business owners who hires an outsourced bookkeeper based in the U.S. who works virtually and communicates with you via phone and email.

Things go along well, but now that you’re not doing your own books anymore, you feel a bit out of touch with your company’s broad financial picture. Your bookkeeper can send you the reports and spreadsheets, but it doesn’t always make sense. You need someone to interpret all those numbers in boxes for you. Most importantly, you’ve grown large enough that you need a trusted financial advisor with the knowledge to help you make the best decisions for your rapidly growing business.

If you know anything about financial controllership, you might think a full-time financial controller comes with a 6-figure salary. And you’re probably right. Your business doesn’t have the budget for that — and it’s not what you need anyway.

You just need someone on a part-time basis to review your books with you monthly, provide checks-and-balances for your in-house or outsourced bookkeeper, and help you with financial planning and budgeting on a monthly or quarterly basis. If you think you can’t afford a financial controller, think again. Outsourced controllership services are less expensive than you may think, and will save your business money in the long run with better financial planning.

You may be concerned that, by hiring an outsourced controller, you’ll be giving up “control” of your company. That couldn’t be further from the truth. A financial controller provides you with the information you need to make the best decisions for your company — but all decisions remain yours. A financial controller doesn’t “control” your business. As a trusted advisor, he gives you the information you need to be more in control of your company.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7114727

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Our approach is to provide a definitive yet thorough assessment allowing you, and your company, to consider a broad overview of alternatives to manage the challenges and enhance the performance of your business.

In short, we identify opportunities, work with you and your organization, and enable you to take advantage of business potential and growth. The move to part time, on call, and virtual services has become more accepted in the business world over the past few years. For a fraction of the cost of a full time employee, a small business can have the Controller / CFO function filled by an experienced professional.

We are headquartered in the Tampa Bay area; a portion of our work is handled remotely, yet, we are able to talk, meet, and work with you on a regular periodic basis.

PETER DESMIDT has more than 48 years of accounting, cost accounting, and systems implementation (including QuickBooks, Intuit, Enterprise, Passport, RealWorld, Peachtree, Great Plains, Dynamics, Sage, Direct Systems, SouthWare, ACCPAC, and Computer Associates software) experience, as well as management positions with companies like Atlantic Richfield, Signode, Norlin Industries and R.R. Donnelley and Sons. Peter DeSmidt’s specific experience is as a CFO, Controller, Accounting Manager and Advisory Consultant. He holds a BA Degree majoring in Accounting and an MBA Degree majoring in Accounting and Computer Science. As we are a small business ourselves, we understand what it takes to get a small company off the ground and on the right track.

Contact us for a free initial telephone consultation to discuss the immediate and long term benefits that we can offer you.

We provide part-time offsite and onsite CFO, Controller, Accounting, Cost Accounting, Forecasting, Inventory Management, Cost Control, QuickBooks Problem Solving, and QuickBooks Training Services to small and medium sized businesses.

813-252-9490

Thank you,

Peter DeSmidt, BA, MBA, PA

Microsoft Certified Accounting Application Specialist

Microsoft Certified Installation Specialist

## Alignment – A Foundation For Lasting Revenue Growth

Your ability to win or lose more business is about alignment – configuring and calibrating key aspects of marketing and sales execution to optimize revenue growth. What this asserts is that the extent to which the organization consistently meets revenue targets is directly proportional to the degree of alignment between the organization’s parts and its strategic priorities.

Sustaining top-line revenue growth is an ongoing challenge for most companies. It’s no secret that one of the most critical challenges facing every 21st century organization is consistently delivering against the #1 driver of long-term company success-top-line revenue growth. Over the past decade of working with CEOs to design and deliver better long term revenue performance, I’ve seen and see, that those unable to sustain success routinely lack much of a coherent or comprehensive plan. Moreover, their teams have little understanding of how it all comes together and what their roles are, and/or the sequencing of events in achieving future plans.

When it comes to alignment, perception and reality often differ. That said, most executives think their companies are aligned. Over the past few months, they’ve put plans in place to align the organization and focus their resources to achieve maximum growth. They’ve organized a series of group and one-on-one meetings throughout the organization to communicate key initiatives, priorities, and growth expectations and get everyone on the same proverbial page. They sincerely believe that they are leading well-aligned companies, with all members of the management team and every employee clear on the rationale behind the strategic plan and their own priorities and accountabilities to support the plan, with specific time frames articulated.

But the facts tell a different story.
• 85% of executive teams spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy. (Norton)
• 54% of executives say that company’s capabilities do not reinforce one another (Booz@Co.)
• Two-thirds of support units are not aware of corporate strategy or aligned with their own business unit’s strategy. (Norton)
• 60% of organizations don’t link budgets to company strategy.(Norton)
• 95% of employees claim they are not aware of company strategy.(Norton)

It’s clear that organizations may not have their resources as well aligned as they think. Managers would do well to ask themselves and their teams the following questions:
• Are we all synchronized and systematically working towards the same objective-driving healthy revenue growth.
• Do we know the big picture and where we individually and collectively fit into that process?
• Are we clear on the critical factors that drive growth, there dependencies and that we’ve providing proper context for daily decisions being made in support of those objectives?

Without alignment, it’s difficult-if not impossible-for workers in an organization to have context for the decisions they’re making. Alignment and context allow an organization to move confidently beyond its current state to its future desired state.

Alignment is such a simple concept; why is it so difficult to achieve? The importance of aligning the team is hard to dispute, and it seems logical and obvious. But when you consider that strategy is set by very few, maybe once or twice a year, yet the real work is done over a long stretch by many who weren’t in those strategy meetings, you start to see the issue. The workers who ultimately carry out the mission have little understanding about how that strategy was reached, and they had no input on whether they think the strategy is plausible given the reality of resources, budgets, and competition they see out in the field. The result is that most do not have proper context for making good decisions in their daily work.

When you think of all the possible decisions that are made daily, one or two bad calls might appear to have little impact in the overall scheme of things. Most leaders may never be aware of these tactical decisions, or only find out about them when review meetings take place after the fact. But collectively, over time, decisions made outside the context of the organization’s overall direction will drive inconsistency and have significantly negative impact, with little opportunity to recover. This can result in confusion and unnecessary chaos, ultimately reducing the odds for success while driving down productivity and draining morale.

Alignment can be the difference between business success and failure. CEOs struggle each day with new challenges and increased complexity both within their companies and in the external environment. The percentage of companies that have consistently achieved even a modest rate of growth of over 5% for 10 years or more has continued to drop, and the business environment isn’t getting any easier.

Why do some companies succeed where others fail? When you think about it, all companies have the same basic ingredients: unique products or services, value propositions, a marketing budget, managers, leaders, people, buildings, metrics, etc. But, within each organization, the system can’t perform to its highest levels unless its constituent parts are aligned.

Think of professional sports teams. They all have the same ingredients: players, managers, owners, equipment, stadiums, playbooks, the best athletes, etc. Each is a system that is trying to become more successful than its competitors. What brings success? Alignment of the constituent parts. This rule applies equally to championship sports teams, Ferraris, and corporations. For the latter, it means developing and implementing a strategic framework that is translated into specific objectives and measurable initiatives. This framework galvanizes, links, and governs the entire organization, bringing more consistent and repeatable high performance.

Hitting your revenue growth expectations is proportional to your team’s degree of alignment. What becomes paramount is how well the organization can become aligned in order to move faster, make better decisions, and ultimately win more than the competition. This will allow leaders to more successfully align and optimize the collective resources to achieve key initiatives. This is a critical step in becoming more consistent in winning more than your competitors and, as such, should be a managed and formalized process that executives focus on for the long haul.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7488684

We provide remote cloud based Accounting and Accounting Management services for users of Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise / Desktop / OnLine, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Passport Business Solutions, including Entries, Inventory, Consolidations, Payroll, Analysis, Reconciliations, Budgeting, and Financial Reporting.

We provide these services on an hourly / part time / as needed or project basis, to include Accounting, Distribution, and Reporting functions; remotely or on your hosted systems.

PETER DESMIDT has more than 48 years of accounting, cost accounting, and systems implementation experience (including QuickBooks, Intuit, Enterprise, Passport, Dynamics, Great Plains, RealWorld, Peachtree, Sage, Direct Systems, SouthWare, ACCPAC, and Computer Associates software), as well as management positions with companies like Atlantic Richfield, Signode, Norlin Industries and R.R. Donnelley and Sons.

Peter DeSmidt‘s specific experience is as a CFO, Controller, Accounting Manager and Advisory Consultant. He holds a BA Degree majoring in Accounting and an MBA Degree majoring in Accounting and Computer Science. As we are a small business ourselves, we understand what it takes to get a small company off the ground and on the right track.

We are headquartered in the Tampa Bay area; the majority of our work is handled remotely, yet, we are able to talk, meet, and work with you on a regular periodic basis.

Contact us for a free initial telephone consultation to discuss the immediate and long term benefits that we can offer you.

View our testimonials www.desmidtconsulting.com/testimonials.html

813-252-9490

Thank you,

Peter DeSmidt, BA, MBA, PA

Microsoft Certified Accounting Application Specialist

Microsoft Certified Installation Specialist

Microsoft Great Plains Authorized Real World Consultant

Microsoft Certified Small Business Manager Consultant

Contact us to inquire about our CFO, Controller, Accounting, Dynamics GP, Passport, or Intuit / QuickBooks Services.

By Nantaram Peggy

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Our approach is to provide a definitive yet thorough assessment allowing you, and your company, to consider a broad overview of alternatives to manage the challenges and enhance the performance of your business.

In short, we identify opportunities, work with you and your organization, and enable you to take advantage of business potential and growth. The move to part time, on call, and virtual services has become more accepted in the business world over the past few years. For a fraction of the cost of a full time employee, a small business can have the Controller / CFO function filled by an experienced professional.

We are headquartered in the Tampa Bay area; a portion of our work is handled remotely, yet, we are able to talk, meet, and work with you on a regular periodic basis.

PETER DESMIDT has more than 48 years of accounting, cost accounting, and systems implementation (including QuickBooks, Intuit, Enterprise, Passport, RealWorld, Peachtree, Great Plains, Dynamics, Sage, Direct Systems, SouthWare, ACCPAC, and Computer Associates software) experience, as well as management positions with companies like Atlantic Richfield, Signode, Norlin Industries and R.R. Donnelley and Sons. Peter DeSmidt’s specific experience is as a CFO, Controller, Accounting Manager and Advisory Consultant. He holds a BA Degree majoring in Accounting and an MBA Degree majoring in Accounting and Computer Science. As we are a small business ourselves, we understand what it takes to get a small company off the ground and on the right track.

Contact us for a free initial telephone consultation to discuss the immediate and long term benefits that we can offer you.

We provide part-time offsite and onsite Advisory, CFO, Controller, Accounting, Cost Accounting, Forecasting, Inventory Management, Cost Control, QuickBooks Problem Solving, and QuickBooks Training Services to small and medium sized businesses.

813-252-9490

Thank you,

Peter DeSmidt, BA, MBA, PA

Microsoft Certified Accounting Application Specialist

Microsoft Certified Installation Specialist

By Jon C Daiker

The role of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) -and the structure in which CFOs operate-varies significantly across organizations. Market complexity, revenue sources and budget size are important factors that drive how the CFO role is configured-and how the role evolves over time.

The past decade has seen dramatic changes to the role of CFO – an evolution from a “bean counter” who reported the numbers and controlled over-all costs to a dynamic, strategic member of the management team. The responsibilities of today’s CFO have gone well beyond the finance function as more time is expended on strategy and operating issues and less on budgeting and accounting. Increasing business pressures, government regulatory intervention, the tight economy and a need to measure the operating performance of a company in order to stay ahead of the competition has transformed the “green eye-shaded” CFO into a key business partner of the CEO.

An interim CFO can fulfill a vital role in keeping a company on track, both in terms of day-to-day operations as well as longer term strategic objectives during these transitions. According to The CFO Expert, Samuel Dergel, even if a company is truly serious about hiring their next CFO and makes the search a priority, it could take up to 3 months to complete the search. “Can a company afford to leave this position unfilled for up to 3 months or more”?

In order to answer that question, let’s look at some of the responsibilities of the CFO on which organizations have become very dependent.

Cash flow is of utmost importance for all companies, and a tight economy really exacerbates managing the cash flow situation. To be successful, today’s CFO needs to manage both sides of the balance sheet.

On the asset side, managing the company’s accounts receivable balance becomes critical. How many days’ sales are outstanding compared to a year ago, compared to industry standards, compared to the company’s best ever? Has the company’s aging deteriorated? What can be done to accelerate collection? How much will it cost? What has been written off and why? Does the credit extension policy need revision in light of economic conditions? No business can afford to lose sight of any credit extension factors and the collection of outstanding accounts receivable balances. Who is the key to all this? —-the CFO and the financial staff.

Again, on the asset side of the balance sheet, a potentially huge use of cash that needs to be managed is inventory level. In a tight economy, consumer spending habits change. In response, production output probably needs to be reduced. However, cutback production too far and sales may be missed. A lot of analytical work needs to be done by the CFO and the financial staff to understand which SKUs are moving on a regular basis and which ones have started to stagnate. If production is cut, what facility is most efficient and has the capacity to meet new needs? What are the economics of the labor agreements in the plants where downsizing would occur? No business can afford to lose sales, build inventories without demand or make bad decisions on plant cutbacks. Who is the key to all this? —- the CFO and the financial staff.

One last area of concern on the asset side of the balance sheet is capital improvements. Even in good economic conditions, capital investment decisions are somewhat subjective. There are always a lot of assumptions that need to be made and challenged. A tight economic environment only intensifies the decision making process. And when funds requested are for an intangible like software, assumptions are difficult to challenge and evaluate. No business can afford to forego ROI and Payback analysis at any time, let alone in a tight economy. Who is the key to all this? —- the CFO and the financial staff.

Turning to the right side of the balance sheet, accounts payable and accrued expenses can be an important source of funds from a cash flow perspective and require more scrutiny and management in tough economic times. Understanding vendor agreements and negotiating better terms are responsibilities of the CFO and the financial staff. No business can afford to leave a stone unturned if the goal is to maximize cash flow and minimize borrowing. Who is the key to all this? —- I think you know the answer!

One of the CFO’s primary responsibilities in all economic environments is ensuring there are adequate funds available through loans, lines of credit or equity. These agreements require continual monitoring to avoid default. Also, determining if market conditions are right for a refinance or equity offering are equally important. No business can afford to default – the market waits for no one, so be ready to refinance when appropriate. You know who is the key to these transactions.

The tactical responsibilities detailed above all support the day to day activities of cash flow management which by itself is a full time job. And that is before the control and reporting aspects of the CFO’s responsibilities are considered. When you add all the regulatory responsibilities that are now part of the CFO’s portfolio, the CFO is truly moving from “bean counter” to “jack of all trades”.

The CFO’s responsibilities go well beyond finance into balancing compliance and risk management with overall business performance. A CEO needs the CFO to take a leading role in shaping strategy that drives bottom line results while managing risk. Market conditions are continually changing and the CFO needs to recognize change as it relates both to control as well as business performance.

The executive team needs to seize opportunities as they arise. Understanding and monitoring evolving business drivers and developing models that portray the “what ifs” of new market conditions requires diligence as well as consistency. Management needs to know the deeper sense of how business will be affected by various scenarios. The CEO is no longer relying on marketing and business development to make these decisions without having applied the financial analysis tools of the CFO and the financial staff. No business can afford to approach these scenarios in a haphazard way, as a wrong turn could cost the company millions of dollars and a potential loss of market share. Who is better equipped to address these issues?

Increased business pressure and the tightening of purse strings are causing the CFO and CIO to work more closely together to leverage technology to cut costs and improve processes. The need for real-time operational and financial data and analyses is being demanded by management and the need to respond to the fast pace of today’s market conditions. Processes need to be streamlined to adapt to the ever-changing business and market demands to meet key business goals and improve the bottom line. Again, these decisions are more subjective and can negatively impact the bottom line if the appropriate analysis and due diligence are not performed. Here, again, you can’t afford to proceed down the process improvement path through technology improvements without the scrutiny and challenge of the CFO and the financial team.

With the changing focus of the CFO’s responsibilities and financial management in general, the CFO is becoming a strong business leader. More involved with the evolution of the company’s culture, concerned with the development and mentoring of the financial team, the CFO must now instill financial acuity into the whole organization. Assisting the CEO and other key management personnel with talent management is only the tip of the iceberg. Today’s CFO must instill a sense of confidence and credibility with all stakeholders….employees, customers, partners, business analysts, and shareholders.

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Our approach is to provide a definitive yet thorough assessment allowing you, and your company, to consider a broad overview of alternatives to manage the challenges and enhance the performance of your business.

In short, we identify opportunities, work with you and your organization, and enable you to take advantage of business potential and growth. The move to part time, on call, and virtual services has become more accepted in the business world over the past few years. For a fraction of the cost of a full time employee, a small business can have the Controller / CFO function filled by an experienced professional.

We are headquartered in the Tampa Bay area; a portion of our work is handled remotely, yet, we are able to talk, meet, and work with you on a regular periodic basis.

PETER DESMIDT has more than 48 years of accounting, cost accounting, and systems implementation (including QuickBooks, Intuit, Enterprise, Passport, RealWorld, Peachtree, Great Plains, Dynamics, Sage, Direct Systems, SouthWare, ACCPAC, and Computer Associates software) experience, as well as management positions with companies like Atlantic Richfield, Signode, Norlin Industries and R.R. Donnelley and Sons. Peter DeSmidt’s specific experience is as a CFO, Controller, Accounting Manager and Advisory Consultant. He holds a BA Degree majoring in Accounting and an MBA Degree majoring in Accounting and Computer Science. As we are a small business ourselves, we understand what it takes to get a small company off the ground and on the right track.

Contact us for a free initial telephone consultation to discuss the immediate and long term benefits that we can offer you.

We provide part-time offsite and onsite CFO, Controller, Accounting, Cost Accounting, Forecasting, Inventory Management, Cost Control, QuickBooks Problem Solving, and QuickBooks Training Services to small and medium sized businesses.

813-252-9490

Thank you,

Peter DeSmidt, BA, MBA, PA

Microsoft Certified Accounting Application Specialist

Microsoft Certified Installation Specialist

## Microsoft Great Plains Dynamics – We Provide Remote Accounting Services In Your Hosted Environment

Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains) is a robust, reliable, and secure accounting system for small and mid-size businesses. For over 25 years, Dynamics GP has delivered comprehensive out-of-the-box business management functionality, from operations management and financial management to manufacturing and project accounting. Dynamics GP connects the many moving parts of your organization, giving you better visibility into and control over what’s going on in your business.

Microsoft Dynamics GP enables you to make smart decisions that have a direct impact on your bottom line – increasing margins and improving your cash flow. Simple to learn and to use, Dynamics GP works with your existing technology and scales as you grow to deliver long-term value.

Dynamics GP includes:
• Financial management and accounting
Manage your cash, assets, budgets, and banking—with built-in analytics and account-level security.
• Inventory management and operations
Track and manage your production, inventory, orders, returns, and vendors.
• Sales and service
Manage your sales, service contracts, and field resources.
Get real-time visibility and analytics to track performance and act with insight.
• Human resources and payroll
Hire, train, and pay your team with the help of complete employee profiles and evaluation tools.

We provide remote cloud based Accounting and Accounting Management services for users of hosted Microsoft Dynamics GP, Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise, Passport Business Solutions, including Entries, Inventory, Consolidations, Payroll, Analysis, Reconciliations, Budgeting, and Financial Reporting.

We provide these services on an hourly / part time / as needed or project basis, to include Accounting, Distribution, and Reporting functions; remotely on your hosted systems.

PETER DESMIDT has more than 48 years of accounting, cost accounting, and systems implementation experience (including QuickBooks, Intuit, Enterprise, Passport, Dynamics, Great Plains, RealWorld, Peachtree, Sage, Direct Systems, SouthWare, ACCPAC, and Computer Associates software), as well as management positions with companies like Atlantic Richfield, Signode, Norlin Industries and R.R. Donnelley and Sons.

Peter DeSmidt‘s specific experience is as a CFO, Controller, Accounting Manager and Advisory Consultant. He holds a BA Degree majoring in Accounting and an MBA Degree majoring in Accounting and Computer Science. As we are a small business ourselves, we understand what it takes to get a small company off the ground and on the right track.

We are headquartered in the Tampa Bay area; the majority of our work is handled remotely, yet, we are able to talk, meet, and work with you on a regular periodic basis.

Contact us for a free initial telephone consultation to discuss the immediate and long term benefits that we can offer you.

813-252-9490

Thank you,

Peter DeSmidt, BA, MBA, PA

Microsoft Certified Accounting Application Specialist

Microsoft Certified Installation Specialist

Microsoft Great Plains Authorized Real World Consultant

Microsoft Certified Small Business Manager Consultant