You Just Got Financing...Now What?
As new funding and growth comes into the company it is important to not overlook the impacts this will have on the accounting and finance teams.
- Published by Craig Kirsch
on Thursday, January 9, 2020
Grow Fast…Grow Smart!
Whether this is your first round of funding or a subsequent round taking new money is always exciting. Each round of financing is outside validation of your business and belief in your future.
With the new round of financing the emphasis is normally focused on the sales and marketing efforts. New sales and marketing campaigns are developed, more resources are brought on board with the expectation that sales will grow, and it is likely that sales will indeed grow.
Often overlooked are the challenges of effectively managing this growth and the overall impact on the accounting and finance team. Companies rely on the accounting department to analyze the impact of sales and operations in the form of financial statements. But the role of the accounting and finance department goes way beyond the monthly financial statements.
The company relies on the accounting team to provide key metrics critical to managing the business. Naturally as the company grows, the expectations and demands of the accounting department also grows.
With the heavy emphasis on sales and marketing, often the demands of the accounting team grow faster than the resources allocated to the team. In other words, your job just got harder.
You are not alone. RevLock helps companies manage and maximize growth through automation and analytics. During our years of experience, we have identified five things that great companies do effectively grow and manage this growth:
- Minimize business and process disruptions
- Integrate various data sources
- Elimination of manual spreadsheets
- Identify KPI’s that work best for your company
- Ability to manage data and generate meaningful reports
Minimize Business and Process Disruption
Change is inherent in the funding and post funding process. Effectively deploying the funds, meeting the demands of increased sales activity and satisfying the investors’ reporting and management requirements brings a certain level of change. These new demands on the company can be disruptive and can inject an unhealthy level of uncertainty on your employees.
The best companies are able to navigate the changing landscape while minimizing the disruption on the business and processes. This is a conscious decision to maintain focus on the real objective of growth.
Integrate Various Data Sources
The best companies are able to minimize the level of change by better understanding the data sources and using these existing systems more efficiently. One of the best ways to do this is through integration and automation of current processes. This allows companies to do more with the available resources.
In other words, the information that is needed to effectively manage a growing company typically exists within the company. However, efficiently gathering and analyzing this information can be a challenge. For example:
Sales information is maintained in a CRM system while project management is maintained in another. This information is collected by the accounting department and entered into the accounting system forming the foundation of the financial statements. Unless your various data sources are integrated the process can be burdensome and the ability to efficiently analyze the data is limited. One way to gauge your level of integration and access to the important data you need is by the number of manual spreadsheets are used to manage your business. Spreadsheets are inefficient, subject to human error and have limited ability to efficiently extract the data you need for analytics and management.
Spreadsheets are burdensome and by their very nature limit the ability to efficiently manage growth. Let’s review some key issues and limitations inherent with spreadsheets:
- Complexity – Spreadsheets are complex and becomes more complex over time.
- Version Control – Spreadsheets change over time. It is difficult to track these changes or ensure that the changes are correct and appropriate. Spreadsheets are seldom controlled documents. This increases the risk of undocumented or inappropriate changes. In addition, it is difficult to measure the impact on previous versions and the lasting impact of such changes.
- Usability – The number of people who understand the detailed workings of the spreadsheet is limited. The ability to efficiently and effectively transition responsibility of the spreadsheet to other team members is difficult. This presents a risk in the event that the “owner” of the spreadsheet leaves or is assigned new responsibilities in the company.
- Human Error – Spreadsheets require manual input and is subject to undetected input errors.
- Duplication of Efforts – Spreadsheets require the input of information from various sources which by its very nature is a duplicative effort. In addition, the spreadsheet is used to calculate an output. This output is often then entered into the accounting system representing a duplication of effort and opportunity for input error.
- Limited Reporting Capabilities – The ability to extract meaningful information for meaningful analytics is significantly limited.
In general, relying on spreadsheets is extremely inefficient and presents a high level of human error. Since spreadsheets are designed for a limited purpose, the functionality beyond this purpose is limited. In other words, your company needs access to more data than one spreadsheet can provide and the ability to integrate all of the data from multiple spreadsheets is a nightmare and provides little analytical value. Great companies know that relying on spreadsheets will limit their ability to efficiently and effectively grow.
Identify KPI’s that Work Best for Your Company
The combination of integrated data sources and the elimination of spreadsheets allows companies access to powerful information. Great companies have a deep understanding of their business and the key performance indicators that drive success.
Key measures include MRR/ARR which by definition include new customers, lost customers, expansion, contraction, etc. Metrics such as average customer life and customer lifetime value provides insights into the effectiveness of your sales team and sales channels, the value of your products and services in the marketplace and the effectiveness of your customer service efforts.
Although each of these are common metrics, there are no standard definitions applied to all companies. As a result, relying on canned reporting packages limits companies’ ability to measure what is important to their operations, management and investors. To meet the specific needs, canned reports must be modified limiting the effectiveness of the reports and the time to generate them.
Ability to manage data and generate meaningful reports
Knowing that your business is unique and understanding what is most important to your business is critical, the ability to manage your data and generate meaningful reports is paramount to your success. In other words, canned reports will not cut it.
Successful companies are able to identify the data that is important to them and use this data to generate meaningful reports. It is important that the data generate dynamic reports in a real time basis. This cannot be achieved through spreadsheets or canned reports since these approaches require modifications and additional input for each iteration of reporting.
Relying solely on a snapshot at the end of the month is like keeping score after the game is over. The ability to see and analyze business as it is happening provides management with insight way beyond month end or quarterly reports. Goals and targets change rapidly, good companies have vision into their operations as they are happening.
Good companies can raise money; great companies efficiently maximize the impact of financial investments. Minimizing disruption, automating processes, efficiently collecting and integrating information from various departments and the ability to analyze the data that is important to you allows your company to leverage the new money an maximize profitable growth.
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