Strategic Financial Planning In 2 Questions

Strategic Financial Planning In 2 Questions

Developing a strategic financial plan can seem daunting; however, it can be boiled down into two questions: what are you doing now and where do you want to be? This article walks you through the process of answering these two questions, providing a foundation for developing a financial strategy for your organization.

Question 1: What Are You Doing Now?

Every journey has a starting point and an ending point. Before you can implement a plan to achieve your financial goals, it is important to consider where you are now.

Current State of the Numbers

The current state of your organization’s numbers are a good starting point when determining your organization’s capability to meet its financial goals.  Some important questions to ask include:

  • Are you in a position of stability? Financial stability is vital to reaching “stretch” goals.  If the organization is not currently financially stable, it is important to identify this fact and develop a strategy for achieving stability as a first step in the planning process.
  • What is actually coming in/out the door? Knowing the size of the company’s cash reserves is not enough for financial planning.  How much revenue is coming into the organization and how much is going out again as expenses?
  • What is fueling the majority of your expenses? While increasing sales is one way of improving the organization’s financial footing, the ability to do so depends on the market and potential customers.  Identifying and minimizing expenses increases profits as well but is less impacted by external factors.

Culture

Achieving financial goals requires the support of the entire organization.  Take a moment to consider your organization’s culture and if the company has the maturity and ability to meet its goals.

  • Do your decisions match your vision and mission? An organization’s goals and procedures are important, but actions are even more so.  Are your decisions, both recent and historical, helping to move the organization towards its goals?
  • Would your employees agree? Employees throughout the organization can have different perspectives, insights, and recommendations.  Ask those “down in the weeds” how well the company is following its vision and mission and how they believe things could do better.

Question 2: Where Do You Want To Be?

The effectiveness of a strategic plan can only be effectively measured if there are usable metrics.  Before starting to build a plan to improve the organization’s financial position, it is necessary to define success and failure.

Targets

The first step in defining “success” for a financial strategy is defining concrete targets.  From there, the next question to ask is what do you need to achieve your targets?

  • Human Capital.  Does your organization have the human capital necessary to achieve its goals?  This not only includes headcount but access to the specific skill sets required now and in the future.
  • Acquisitions. Does your organization have the capabilities that it requires?  Are there areas of your business where things could be done more effectively or efficiently?
  • IT Investments. The IT landscape is evolving rapidly, and new solutions have the potential to dramatically improve operational efficiency and effectiveness.  Are there any IT investments that the organization should make that would help in reaching its targets?

Expenses

A failure to properly monitor and manage expenses is one of the most common ways that businesses fail to achieve their financial goals.  Gaining visibility into past, present, and future expenditures is an essential part of financial planning.

  • How can you gain more visibility into your expenditures? Visibility into expenditures is essential to identifying opportunities for optimizations and cost cutting.  How can you achieve a higher level of visibility into business operations?
  • Do you have an idea of your cash flow on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis? What level of visibility do you currently have into your organization’s cash flows?  Examining cash flows at the daily, weekly, and monthly level can help to identify potential inefficiencies and opportunities.

Beginning Your Strategic Financial Plan

Answering the questions that were asked in this article enables you to lay the groundwork for developing your organization’s financial strategy.  To learn about the next steps in your financial planning process, download the CEO’s Guide to Strategic Financial Planning.

Lavoie Secures Kelley Michalski as Partner and Vice President of Operations

Lavoie Secures Kelley Michalski as Partner and Vice President of Operations

Lavoie secured Kelley Michalski as Partner and Vice President of Operations. Lavoie is excited to welcome Kelley Michalski to our team as our new Partner and Vice President of Operations in Charlotte, NC. In this role, Michalski will be responsible for managing client operations, maintaining internal control structures, and providing strategic support to our clients and organizations. As Lavoie continues to grow exponentially year over year, Michalski’s leadership will be an invaluable asset in reaching our goals.

“I am truly looking forward to being a part of an established market leader in the finance field,” said Michalski. “I’m excited to become a contributor to the growth of Lavoie.” 

Michalski brings with her over 20 years of experience leading strategic financial planning and implementation. Her wide breadth of practice includes everything from overseeing financial performance and organizational governance to managing risk and compliance. She has excelled in creating sustainable, data-driven financial strategies by developing a foundation of analytics to fuel tactical and long-term business decisions. Michalski’s leadership and expertise will be valuable additions to the Lavoie team.

“We are delighted to have Kelley become a Partner with the company. Through Kelley’s involvement with our team over the years, she has shown herself to be an exceptional leader in the industry,” said Sharai Lavoie, Lavoie’s CEO/Managing Member.

Prior to joining Lavoie, Michalski was the Chief Financial Officer for a subsidiary of a Fortune 15 organization and the owner of a small business located in Charlotte. A graduate of Iowa State University, Michalski brings with her an entrepreneurial mindset to support organizations of all sizes.

More information about Kelley Michalski is available at Lavoie’s Executive Team page

About Lavoie: Founded in 2009, Lavoie has served as a reliable Charlotte CPA firm that specializes in strategic financial and operational planning for businesses of all sizes. By delivering state-of-the-art strategic support, Lavoie’s clients can focus on growing their business and soar to the next level of greatness. In addition to providing customized solutions for clients, Lavoie prioritizes social justice issues and is extremely involved in the local Charlotte community.

LAVOIE + BESPOKE SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT CASE STUDY

LAVOIE + BESPOKE SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT CASE STUDY

See why this award-winning Charlotte Sports & Entertainment Marketing Agency uses Lavoie CPA as their financial strategy partner

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Company: Bespoke Sports & Entertainment

Founded: 2014

Specialty: Sports and entertainment consulting and experiential marketing agency

Location: Charlotte, NC

With over 50 years of combined experience in Sports & Entertainment Marketing, Bespoke’s founders, have seen their fair share of agencies come and go. They have worked with some of the largest names and most complex brands in the sports and entertainment industry. So, when they started their venture, they knew they needed more than just an accountant to supervise their financial stability. They needed a financial strategist that could confidently run major investor meetings and take control of the company’s future; and a firm that could manage expenses while also augmenting human resource needs.

Download the case study to learn how Lavoie helped the company grow year over year and work with award-winning brands.

“It’s simple, Lavoie helped us create the infrastructure we needed. From setting up accounts payable and HR policies to recommending affordable technology, Sharai Lavoie and her team were there to give us the day to day insights we needed to keep cash flowing, flexibility to focus on sales, and proactive recommendations that enabled us to scale at the right pace.”

Mike Boykin

CEO & Cofounder

Sage Intacct’s 6 Key Performance Metrics For Subscription Businesses [INFOGRAPHIC]

Sage Intacct’s 6 Key Performance Metrics For Subscription Businesses [INFOGRAPHIC]

How Healthy Is Your SaaS Business? These 6 Metrics Will Help You Figure That Out

As a Sage Intacct certified accounting and implementation firm, Lavoie CPA is excited to share the latest findings for SaaS businesses to become successful in 2021.

From startups to organizations ready to scale each one of these indicators is an invaluable piece of information to evaluate your company’s overall health — not to mention prep you for that looming board meeting in the near future.

In this infographic we will dive into why each of these metrics is the difference between getting your next round of funding, scaling year over year, or hitting the wall.

Get the infographic and learn why you should care, how to calculate, and an interesting fact about the following KPIs:

  • CARR (Committed Annual Recurring Revenue)
  • CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)
  • CLTV (Customer Lifetime Value)
  • Churn
  • Free Cash Flow
  • CCS (Cash Conversion Score)

A CPA firm that does NOT provide Tax or Audit services?

A CPA firm that does NOT provide Tax or Audit services?

The value in not providing traditional accounting services

When most people hear CPA they immediately think tax and audit.  Lavoie CPA does NOT provide either service.  So, what do we do?  We provide world class accounting bundled with leading technology (Accounting as a Service) to help our clients succeed . But why don’t we provide tax or audit services?

  1. Our focus is helping grow your business.  We provide financial intelligence you can rely on to make informed financial decisions.
  2. We don’t want to become tax experts.  Staying on top of changes to tax laws and regulations is an exhaustive process. We rather partner with tax professionals and focus on what we do best – help grow your business!
  3. We can’t audit ourselves. Since we provide leading finance and accounting services, we can’t audit our own work.  However, our clients are always audit ready!

Why do clients come to Lavoie CPA since we don’t do tax or audit?

  1. We help grow sales.
  2. We turn finance into a strategic asset.
  3. We keep cost under control.
  4. We eliminate distractions and let our clients focus on what they do best.

Want to learn more? 

Finance’s Elevated Role and Other Critical Trends for 2019

Finance’s Elevated Role and Other Critical Trends for 2019

The beginning of a new year always signals a time for trend spotting Which financial opportunities, challenges and changes should companies prepare for now? Below are six soon-to-be realities that you should consider for 2019.  .  

CFOs take on more responsibility.

The role of the CFO has merged with that of the COO to assume strategy and operations functions. This calls for greater collaboration in business areas such as marketing, procurement, sales and design/R&D in order for CFOs to build sound budget strategies and operational processes.

Customers’ changing demands disrupt industries.

Think of it as forced evolution. Millennials and Gen Z crowd are making their wishes known – pushing for greater transparency, asking for more sustainable products, embracing technical conveniences. Business has no choice but to respond – re-evolving business models, selling on social media, adopting voice-commerce, etc.

Technology makes finance smarter and faster.

Automation and new technologies are making finance software programs do more with less. This leaves more time for focusing on the organization’s strategic vision.

We’re grappling with uncertainty again.

From foreign policy to data regulation, businesses are operating under the strain of uncertainty. Expect another year of having to navigate a turbulent, highly politicized environment.

Even the workforce is evolving.

2019 will introduce a diverse generation of employees with new expectations and wants. For accounting, the skills gap widens, re-training requirements grow, and a higher level of contract employees emerges.

New data risks are surfacing 

Companies will need to have a deeper understanding of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), because there will be a higher level of concern about data security as more info is created, collected, and stored online which allows for the possibility of hacking.

As these developments proceed, the role of finance becomes more important and extensive. Many companies are turning to service providers to help them make the transformation. This may entail consulting services, augmenting current staff or even outsourcing the financial and accounting function.