When to ask for help
Asking for help does not mean we are weak. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.
~Anne Wilson Schaef, PhD
In the table below, we list and discuss some of the situations that create both challenges and opportunities.
Our Services page explains how we can help with these and other events, situations, challenges and opportunities.
A change of CFO, Controller or other key person with an impact on financial operations. Changes outside the finance department, such as a key executive, or board member, or in the finance committee, can create new demands and/or scrutiny of the accounting, finance and reporting functions.
Maturing debt, acquisition of property, or a significant endowment will often challenge a finance department that doesn't have the experience and /or sufficient resources to do the job right.
New debt or debt replacement, whether standard bank loans or complex bond financing, are very time-consuming activities that will impact the organization for years into the future. Careful thought and planning on the myriad of implications - from the By-Laws and covenant reporting all the way through to the chart-of-accounts must be considered.
Many organizations have challenges with covenants and commitments on their debt instruments. Being pro-active rather than re-active can mitigate a lot of negatives in restructuring the debt, as well as restructuring the operations to meet the renegotiated obligations.
|Policy & Procedures||
'If it's not in writing, it isn't going to happen.' The board is responsibile to set policy. Management is responsible for procedures. Procedures drive the job duties and job descriptions, which governs performance, which causes results. You have an outside service that checks your office fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems, right? So... how are your financial policies and procedures functioning? |
Think of your information system like a building. Is the foundation sound? Is it up to code? Are the hallways an impenetrable maze? Are the rooms open or locked? Is the signage helpful? Too many companies migrate to a new computer system and never update the architecture and structured interrelationships of the data, nor consider future data reporting needs or opportunities.
Times have changed and organizations cannot afford to be casual about financial controls. In difficult financial times it is even more important. Our healthcare clients are diligent about having fire drills for patient safety. When did you last check the financial controls for your organization's financial assets? Is it overdue?
Does your budget actually budge anything? Does it facilitate decision-making and action? Does it drive appropriate behaviors? Or does it seem a distant, arbitrary and now irrelevant guess made months ago? A budget should work like a guided missile - constantly adjusting and refining its trajectory based on current conditions. Is your organization on or off target?
The reason you should do "what-if" scenarios for short and long-range planning is to minimize the chance of having to make "what-now?" decisions down the road. By planning for contingencies, you can help your organization to respond more quickly and confidently to opportunities as well as to downturns.