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Strategic Advisor Blog

Content, tips and best practice for the Accountant Strategic Advisor

How and Why to Integrate Gamification Strategies Into Your Business

[fa icon="calendar'] Mon, Jan 16, 2017 / by Daphne Stanford posted in Growth & Productivity

Gamification can be highly motivating, for both internal employee performance and customer loyalty.

It’s the practice of structuring everyday tasks into a game-like format so as to increase the level of role-playing and point gaining—simulating a game being played—by incorporating goal-setting, integrating online tools, and offering real-time feedback.

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Productize Your Service Offering: The Why and How

[fa icon="calendar'] Mon, Dec 26, 2016 / by Kathy Gregory posted in Growth & Productivity , Strategic Advisor Method

I have done financial modeling and forecasting in one way or another for my entire career. I have performed this work for a vast array of business uses: management departments within private companies, project based companies, public companies and their boards, and companies seeking IPO.

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The ROI of High Employee Morale

[fa icon="calendar'] Thu, Dec 15, 2016 / by Daniel Matthews posted in Growth & Productivity

A business is an investment. You want it to succeed. You pour everything you can into it.

But, while you’re ensuring your ROI makes the venture worthwhile, it’s easy to forget one fundamental truth: Employees aren’t an investment—they’re people.

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Thriving As an Introverted Business Owner

[fa icon="calendar'] Mon, Nov 14, 2016 / by Harriet Genever posted in Growth & Productivity

You may think that leadership and introversion don’t go together. Why would anyone blame you? Just take a look at some of the most prominent and successful leaders across history.

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10 Tips to Improve Business Efficiency

[fa icon="calendar'] Mon, Oct 10, 2016 / by Briana Morgaine posted in Growth & Productivity

Your company is running smoothly enough, but you know things could be better. Sometimes, a project gets hung up a few days too long, or meetings that once felt productive and useful now seem to drag on for hours. It can feel like wheels spinning in the mud, and it’s hard to get that traction back.

How can you fix these kinds of issues?

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Manage Your Clients’ Expectations in 3 Easy Steps

[fa icon="calendar'] Mon, Sep 12, 2016 / by Daniel Wilhelm posted in Growth & Productivity

Managing expectations can definitely be a balancing act.

Managing expectations is an aspect of business that is often overlooked while establishing client relationships. When clients are not briefed at the outset, or request changes further down the line, there is a tendency to over-commit and take on more work than is really feasible.

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How a Small Business Can Compete With the Big Guys at SEO

[fa icon="calendar'] Fri, Aug 12, 2016 / by Brad Shorr posted in Growth & Productivity

You’re running a small business. You’d dearly love to have high visibility on Google for organic search engine traffic and leads—but you’re being overwhelmed by big competitors with deep pockets and an army of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialists at their disposal.

Cheer up! You can still win at SEO, but you have to be smart—very smart—about how you deploy your resources.

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Setting Goals This Year? Should You Bother?

[fa icon="calendar'] Wed, May 11, 2016 / by Harriet Genever posted in Growth & Productivity

Have you ever stopped to think about why we set goals for ourselves? You only have to look at the statistics to realize the odds are stacked against us.

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About Excel and Your Business Plan

[fa icon="calendar'] Tue, May 10, 2016 / by Tim Berry posted in Growth & Productivity

I was just browsing the web with my laptop on a Sunday afternoon, half watching football, when I caught a LinkedIn question about business plan software. “Just use Excel and do your own,” the answer says.

“Yeah, right,” as one of my daughters used to say, rolling her eyes, when she was still a teenager, “and oh, brother.”

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5 Tips For How Accountants Can Win New Clients at Networking Events

[fa icon="calendar'] Mon, May 9, 2016 / by Caroline Cummings posted in Growth & Productivity

Being an accountant or a CPA also requires learning how to sell yourself and your firm’s services. Larger firms typically have someone responsible for marketing and business development, but smaller and one-person firms must know how to do it all if they want to compete and differentiate themselves.

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How Cloud Services Can Differentiate Your Firm

[fa icon="calendar'] Sun, May 1, 2016 / by Sabrina Parsons posted in Growth & Productivity

Businesses both large and small have come to expect that financial information will be accessible at all times and that accounting firms show they’re as tech-savvy as any other profession.

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The Research-Backed Guide to Increasing Office Productivity

[fa icon="calendar'] Sat, Apr 30, 2016 / by Briana Morgaine posted in Growth & Productivity

There are few buzzwords as often rehashed has “productivity.” However, as well-canvassed as the concept of workplace productivity may be, the goal of creating the most productive workplace possible seems sometimes elusive.

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Cash Flow 101: How to Identify and Fix Cash Flow Problems

[fa icon="calendar'] Mon, Apr 25, 2016 / by Tim Berry posted in Growth & Productivity

This is the second installment in our “Cash Flow 101” series—our ultimate guide to help you understand and manage your business’s cash flow, and prevent future cash flow problems. Need to catch up? You’ll find links to the previous installments in this series at the end of the article. 

Though they’re by no means uncommon, cash flow problems can cripple businesses of all sizes, and smaller ones are perhaps more vulnerable. Without access to capital, companies are unable quickly adapt to today’s ever-changing business world. As such, they’re unable to grow.

The good news is that cash flow problems aren’t entirely out of your control—and they’re not unpredictable, either. Proper budget forecasting, coupled with an understanding of symptoms that might indicate cash flow problems are in your future can help you protect your business from scrambling to figure out where to get its next infusion of cash.

If your business is suffering from any of the following five symptoms, cash flow problems may very well be on the horizon.

1. Your accounts receivables are high

While it might feel great to extend lines of credit to your customers, if they’re not paying their invoices promptly, what’s the point? Yes, your accounts receivables may be high, but you won’t have access to that cash right away.

And, who knows when or even if you will? When your accounts receivables are high, you’re essentially giving your clients interest-free loans. It doesn’t sound too good when it’s phrased that way, does it?

To see whether your business is doing well with collecting its accounts receivables, consider keeping track of your receivables turnover ratio (net credit sales over average accounts receivables balance). A low ratio might indicate it’s time to reassess how you do business.

See Also:  Cash Flow Calculator

2. You have too much inventory on hand

Businesses that sell their products to other businesses may like to have a lot of inventory on hand to ensure they’re able to accommodate orders of all sizes. But if a majority of your funds are tied up in that inventory and your customers aren’t racing to buy all of it, your business may have a hard time growing until sales are made.

To ensure your company has the products it needs to grow on hand while also being able to access cash when needed, it might be worth taking a look at whether it’s time to revise your order cycles, reconsider how many product quantities to keep in stock, or make use of inventory optimization tools, among other things.

3. You’re overextending your business

Though you might be very eager to grow your business quickly, it’s important you make sure to do so at a reasonable rate. If you overextend your company, chances are a lot of your cash will be tied up in capital and operating expenses, leaving your business less flexible in the short term.

To avoid having to deal with the problems related to overextension, be sure to thoroughly plan your growth well in advance. You might also want to consider reexamining your business processes to see what aspects of your organization would benefit from automation. But remember, the key to successful business growth starts with having a crystal clear vision of what you hope your organization will accomplish when you start expanding.

4. Your sales are declining

Maybe the economy is in shambles. Maybe you’ve got a lot of new competition. Whatever the case may be, if sales have been steadily declining over the last few quarters, there’s a good chance your profit margins are getting sliced as thin as possible—if they still exist at all.

Since your overhead costs likely won’t change, declining sales may indicate that cash flow problems are imminent. To combat declining sales, you might want to adjust your strategy. When was the last time you redefined your customer personas or looked at updating your messaging? How customer-focused is your brand? Today’s technology-driven world changes quickly, and your business has to keep up if you want it to survive.

5. Your business just isn’t profitable

At the end of the day, if you’re spending more money than you’re taking in, it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you that you’ll probably have cash flow problems sooner or later.

If you find yourself in such a position, you might want to reexamine your business model to see how it can be changed to enhance profitability. For starters, you could get creative and figure out how you can lower your expenses; for example, you might find that moving your computing infrastructure to the cloud will save money and increase productivity. It might also be time to think about whether it makes sense to increase your prices.

Read next:

Cash Flow 101: Building a Cash Flow Statement

Need to catch up? Read the first installment in the series here:

Cash Flow 101: What Is Cash Flow?

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Services Businesses Want (but are not getting) From Their Accountant

[fa icon="calendar'] Mon, Apr 18, 2016 / by Caroline Cummings posted in Growth & Productivity

One of the first professional hires many small business owners make is a bookkeeper or accountant to help them handle their payroll and taxes. What most accountants don’t realize is that they are the most under-utilized asset in a small business.

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Why We Switched: Moving from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online

[fa icon="calendar'] Sun, Apr 10, 2016 / by Kathy Gregory posted in Growth & Productivity

An interview with Palo Alto Software’s CFO Trevor Betenson, on why he switched the company from QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise Edition to QuickBooks Online, and why he feels QuickBooks Online is ready for most businesses.

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