November 8, 2019

4 Smart Ways CFOs & Finance Execs Can Tackle Year-End

By Manuel Azuara

and David Conrad

The end of the year is always a busy time that is oftentimes rife with competing priorities and overworked employees. There are projects to wrap up, key organizational milestones to tackle before the holidays hit, new regulatory requirements to meet— and of course, business budgets to handle. There are, however, some smart ways you can close out your year successfully and set your organization up for success in the new year.

Do you take your year-end preparation in stride, or do you dread it? The following are some key steps that lead to a smooth and painless year-end. Let’s take a closer look.

  1. Confirm the major revenue assumptions in your FY2020 budget

    Business risk related to revenue concentration among major clients can be lurking below the surface during the budgeting phase. Unfortunately, it usually comes in the form of unchallenged assumptions from prior budgets and analysis. Take the opportunity to shore up any of those weaknesses by verifying directly with your account managers (or other internal owners), if there are any risks associated with each client and their potential to churn.

    Catching these risks before your budget process wraps up will give the organization the opportunity to address these potential budget bombs, using measures that prevent major re-work, such as applying a broad hedge to your revenue and/or your operating income.

    Avoid financial surprises during year-end review, by double-checking key assumptions in your budget where you have material revenue concentration.

  2. Re-examine pricing with vendors & service providers

    Cut the bloating and get lean by renewing the effort to evaluate your major contracts with vendors, suppliers and service providers. Follow-up on your key action items related to your major contracts, and make sure those are being renewed or renegotiated. Additionally, if the contract is being cancelled, make sure it is being replaced with a new vendor that is priced right.

    Moreover, legacy service providers and software programs always seem to slip in under-the-radar and into the budget. Some of these underutilized programs can be expensive to maintain. Therefore, cutting them can result in real savings. Putting together a running list of programs, with their license count, can help identify these expense leaches.

  3. Set your reporting and forecasting functions up for success

    Most organizations have software programs and ERP systems that are severely underutilized, and have capabilities that are strangely hidden out in the open. Take advantage of the slower business cycle to explore additional functionality of your current ERP and forecasting system, to determine if there are more efficient ways for your team to operate. Online research from web searches and forums, as well as conversations with subject matter experts and consultants, can uncover substantial efficiencies that were previously unknown.

  4. Use a consistent message and tone in your communication

    There is no better tip to orient the direction of your organization, than consistent messaging and respectful tone in communication to all employees. Implementing any of the above tips will be made more difficult if the overall message changes or is inconsistent. This will cause confusion between the employees in charge of implementing such changes, and inevitably lead to the unraveling of any efforts.

    At its core, implementation of a new product, policy and/or procedure is a messaging campaign that should come in two forms:

    • First, have readily available documents that employees can see, with an overall objective, as well as a list of benefits that can be explained in doing the new implementation.
    • Secondly, ensure that common talking points are used by the leaders who are implementing the change. This will help to prevent any messaging inconsistencies from occurring.

HOW WE CAN HELP

How long is your year-end to-do list? Need an extra set of hands or additional coverage over the holidays to get more open items across the finish line? Here at Bridgepoint Consulting we have a team of finance, accounting and technology experts ready to help you tackle your projects and initiatives from start to finish. Let us partner with your finance team and bring our collective knowledge and expertise to ensure you successfully achieve your company’s objectives and goals. Check out our service offerings and let us help ease your year-end today!

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About Manuel Azuara

As Principal at Bridgepoint Consulting, Manuel helps to lead the firm’s Financial Consulting practice. His background includes more than 20 years of experience in business process re-engineering and corporate governance across a range of public and private sector clients. Manuel has revenue recognition expertise and has helped multiple companies in times of crisis, including mergers and acquisitions, fraud investigations, exit strategies and cash optimization. Prior to Bridgepoint, he was CFO of Public Strategies, Inc. Manuel received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Texas at Austin and is a Certified Public Accountant* in Texas.

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About David Conrad

David Conrad is a corporate finance and FP&A professional fifteen (15+) years of diversified industry experience serving both public and private companies. As a Consultant in Bridgepoint’s Financial Consulting practice, he has established strong working relationships with a wide range of business partners across Central Texas. Conrad is adept at working with complex data sets and IT systems to implement more effective reporting processes that yield greater degrees of transparency, accountability and understanding. He also has highly tuned analytical skills along with strong consulting skills and leadership capabilities to help clients meet their business objectives.

Areas of expertise:

  • Operations Management
  • IT Systems Integration
  • Budgeting, Forecasting, Modeling
  • Acquisitions & Wind-Downs
  • Organizational Right-Sizing Initiatives
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