FP&R, or, How We Kicked The Spreadsheet Habit

Are you missing the “A” in your FP&A (financial planning and analysis)? Maybe missing some of the “P” as well? Are you and your department getting a bit tired of the “FR” gig you seem to have landed?

Managed Applications, Cloudpaging, and a New Flavor of Hosted QuickBooks

Back when a few businesses started operating as Application Service Providers (ASPs), there were a limited number of realistic approaches available for building the platform to deliver desktop applications. Many application hosting offerings grew somewhat like a fungus from the internal Citrix Metaframe and terminal service set ups performed by IT service companies. A lot of these companies didn’t start out to provide application hosting services; they simply found it to be more efficient and profitable than trying to manage all that hardware and software at the client site. And let’s face it – those solutions NEED a lot of management and resources, then and now.

Of Products and Customers, Cabbages and Kings

Product evaluation criteria can utilize these four categories:

1) Fails to make money under any and all measures
2) Does not cover variable costs, but breaks even when future / downstream / derivative / service / after-market revenues are included
3) Covers its variable costs (which already includes standard direct and indirect costs, since he is assigning all costs via ABC)
4) Covers its variable costs and its associated cost of capital

Once you’ve segmented your products (or customers) by profitabiltiy, one of the basic tenants of activity-based management is to take the necessary actions to move the losers into the break-even column, and shift the break-even products into profitable territory. Yet his history showed that, once introduced, products tend to improve their profitability up to a point, then peak and level off there, no matter what actions R&D, manufacturing or marketing may attempt to propel them to the next level.

Prescription? We need to be better disciplined about terminating the losers.

Joining All BPM Methods Together – Is That Even Possible?

It is difficult for consultants to market and sell a comprehensive BPM solution because we are often dealing with organizations that seek to play one BPM approach against another. Customers are confused how is your BPM approach different from Lean or 6Sigma, and why should they use BPM at all. It is many times difficult to explain that BPM is a more comprehensive approach to process improvement than any single method and it is focused on integrating, aligning, managing and measuring all of an organization’s business processes and that Business Process Management includes the application of all the other available methods, where, when and how they are appropriate. BPM is an approach that is inclusive, not exclusive, of other approaches. So, it is not BPM against Six Sigma, Lean or any other but it is BPM with all the previously mentioned methods.

Are CPAs Joining The Dark Side?

The reputation of CPAs, perhaps exaggerated, is that they are precise, introverted, and conservative. Whether they are employed by a public auditing firm or by an organization, a CPA’s traditional responsibilities have been financial stewardship and assurance of financial accounting compliance with regulatory and tax agencies and typically report past historical data.

The 5 Levers to Pull in Finance to Add More Value to Your Business

What are the most important business decisions? Which decisions are material or risky? Is Finance really involved in decision-making today or just providing information as input to the decision?

Agreeing the ‘business value opportunities’ is the first lever for a good reason – it’s the most important lever to get right.

Yet this is the lever that most CFOs skip over, or pay lip-service to.

Why You’re Wasting $$ On Finance Skills Training

Most Finance Directors say that having the right people with the right skills is their number one priority for delivering business value from Finance.

Yet, in my experience not many FDs identify the specific capabilities needed by their finance business partners, as opposed to general skills like ‘presenting with impact’ or ‘influencing skills’.

As a result a lot of learning and development money gets spent on general ‘soft skills’ training - presentation skills, negotiation skills etc. Does this really drive more business value?

Preparing for Disasters of the Legal Kind

As businesses begin to realize the benefits of cloud computing and business data mobility, they may be overlooking one of the most important issues any enterprise can face: information management in the event of litigation.  While the IT department probably has a disaster recovery plan for handling various computer system failures, is there also a…

Accounting Professionals, Software as Service, and DIY

The question begs to be asked “how did we get here?” (with “here” being the current state of information technology and the accounting industry). There is confusion in the market; there is still significant debate as to the underlying value of Internet technologies and online application services, and the “managed enterprise approach” has yet to return the benefit and cost-efficiency that is expected.

The accounting industry is experiencing continued change, and understanding the progression of events and technology developments can provide significant insight into where the industry is today and where it will likely be tomorrow. Most professional accounting firms recognize the need to implement technology and solutions that will help the firm and its clients compete in today’s market. Understanding the options available and imperatives that drive the need is key to making the right choices

What’s Your Take on Rolling Forecasts?

More than 130 organizations have participated in EPM Channel’s Rolling Forecast Survey and the preliminary results are intriguing.

Everyone who participated will receive a free pdf of the results, as well as a guide book based on a thorough assessment of the survey results.

If you’re interested in adding your voice here’s the link (the survey takes less than 5 minutes to complete):