By, Cherie Widener, Business Operations Manager
For many businesses, Friday, March 31 represents the end of the First Quarter of the fiscal year. Now is the time for business owners and leaders to take a deep dive into the numbers. However the question must be asked; What are the relevant numbers one must review to fully understand what’s happened over the first 3 months of 2017?
Many First Quarter reviews start by assessing the financials found within the accounting platform: Accounts Receivable (AR), Accounts Payable (AP), Profit and Loss Statements (P&L), Bank Statements, etc. The review then moves to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to see how sales performed and review the status of the sales pipeline. Unfortunately, for most businesses these two platforms – Accounting and CRM – aren’t integrated with one another.
While detailed reports can be exported from the Accounting and CRM platforms, neither platform provides:
- An integrated report detailing how sales in the First Quarter impacted AR or P&L.
- Sales projections offering future income, cash flow, or profitability projections.
- Employee productivity reports.
- Evaluation of the risk and quality of customers with unsecured lines of credit (measuring customers with payment terms and timeliness of their payments).
To get this level of detail, business leaders typically task a few employees to stitch together all this information from different sources and complete the analysis to review. There are definite shortfalls to this model: it’s timely, expensive, and the reports offer a static look at the data based on the date the data is pulled. If the report takes one week to compile, it does not include any real-time payments, defaults, or successfully signed contracts, etc.
Vantage Agora offers an industry-leading Business Operating System, OX Zion, that is your one-stop solution for all your Business Intelligence needs. OX Zion enables business leaders to make smarter decisions by gaining on-demand visibility of your operations. You can now pull data from multiple sources to create meaningful dashboards.
In addition to these traditional metrics to review 1Q17, business leaders should also look to external metrics to help shape the business strategies for 2Q17 and the rest of the fiscal year. It would behoove leaders to consider the following market conditions:
- The Federal Reserve voted in favor 25-basis-point increase in the federal funds target rate from 0.75% to 1%. While the Federal Reserve doesn’t directly control interest rates, their decisions have a direct impact on the cost to borrow money and finance business and personal operations.
- Inflation fears may cause the Federal Reserve to continue increasing interest rates throughout 2017.
- The U.S. stock markets have begun to show some shakiness after a prolonged bull market. This may be a temporary dip as investors look to capitalize on profits or it could signal a more unstable confidence in the stock market as world events mark uncertain futures: Brexit, North Korea, terrorism, failure to pass expected legislation in the United States, etc.
Business leaders have a lot to think about as they review their First Quarter performance and plan for the balance of 2017. Partnering with Vantage Agora will provide you with the transparency and visibility you need to run your operations more effectively. Call us today at 216.816.9900 or email us to see how you can get your 2Q17 operations off to a strong start.