ceo-transition-socialOnce a financial plan has been approved by the board of directors, management’s job is to execute against the plan and report monthly on how things are going. The best approach is to use the same dashboard for planning, tracking, and reporting past, present, and future financial performance.

Past performance data is in the accounting system, data about the future is in the planning system, and data about the present is in manager spreadsheets. There is an art to gathering, organizing, and conjoining data from all three sources to present a continuous view of past, present, and future financial performance for planning, tracking, and reporting purposes.

IntelliVen uses a structured process and a proprietary template to provide a seamless view of past, present, and future financial performance. In so doing, we also:

  • Review the financial plan to make sure it is internally consistent, modeled correctly, and to validate management thinking underlying revenue and cost build-ups.
  • Conduct monthly financial reviews which are a critical tool to manage and control the business.
  • Work with management to  make sure that next-period performance projections are accurate.

Approach

We start by reviewing the current financial plan and check for internal consistency, modeling integrity, and reasonableness given actual performance relative to past, plan, and peers.

We then develop a monthly schedule of steps to collect actual data, management summary data, and planned data. In summary, each month we:

  • Work with in-place accounting staff to collect data for the month just closed. Ideally we have electronic access to the internal accounting system so we can pull data on our own.
  • Compare the actual results of the month just closed against prior month projections and annual plan, and analyze the differences (variances) between them.
    • Determine why actual results vary from projection, determine what there is to learn from that, and help you decide, therefore, what to do differently going forward in terms of running the business or tweaking the projection process.
    • Assess margins and key metrics such as realization, fringe rate, and average effective billing rate.
  • Work with you to develop revenues and expenses projections for the coming months.
  • Develop a Working View, or forecast, of financial performance over the next few months using the data and your projections of revenues and expenses.
  • Create a presentation to review that:
    • Summarizes the month just closed and its key variances.
    • Identifies and analyzes the key points of difference with the forecast and plan for this month.
    • Provides a forecast of the next few months and an analysis of its implications.
    • Can be used to develop and present a Management Discussion and Assessment to share with the management team and the board.

Working together this way month after month, you will gain more control over operations over time and a deeper understanding of its drivers. The following chart summarizes the monthly work flow.

What-Why-Now What-So What

We deliver the first presentation in person. After that, we can do them by phone, Skype/Zoom/Google Hangout, or in person.

Staffing and Qualifications

An IntelliVen Principal with extensive financial and operational experience with comparable organizations will be assigned to perform this work.

Schedule and Fees

We will do the reviews each month with the understanding that:

  • Every three or four months and at the end of the year, we will review the value and scope of this work and adjust the level of effort up or down if/as appropriate.
  • You may terminate all or part of the engagement at any time with five days’ written notice.
Contact intelliven@intelliven.com for a free, no obligation, one-hour session on how our approach can help you and your team

See Also

Financial Tutorial

Financial Reporting

How to increase the accuracy of revenue forecasts.

Target CFO Competencies, Characteristics, and Profile.

Intelligent Strategies. Successful Ventures.