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Strategic Planning for Business | Supporting Strategies

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Why Your Company's Strategic Plan Must Include Bookkeeping

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Set specific goals by running accurate numbers: An outsourced bookkeeping and controller service can show you how.

Every organization should have a strategic plan that outlines a vision for the future. But to make that vision a reality, you need accurate financial data from every area of the operation. It's the only way you'll be able to tell whether or not you've reached your goals.

Professional bookkeeping gives you the hard numbers you need to put your strategic plan into action and get everyone in the organization on the same page.

Set Up for Success
When done well, strategic planning sets priorities, improves operations, sharpens focus and increases collaboration across departments. And again, it all starts with professional bookkeeping — and professional bookkeeping starts with a well-conceived chart of accounts (COA).

There are many different ways to record revenue and expenses, depending on the type of business you're in. The key is to determine the method that offers the greatest insight into which revenue streams are the most (and least) effective, as well as granular detail on different categories of expenses so you can look for ways to cut costs.

A professional bookkeeper can sit down with you to customize a COA for your specific business that will provide a clear starting point for your strategic plan.

Stay on Course
Once you set your strategic plan in motion, you need signposts to tell you how you're progressing. Professional bookkeepers call those signposts key performance indicators (KPIs). Like COAs, KPIs can vary from business to business. They can include, for example, cash reporting and budget versus actual analysis or reporting on a specific metric.

Once you've determined which KPIs matter most to you, a professional bookkeeper can use the latest software to set up a dashboard that allows you to monitor your KPIs at a glance. Like a car dashboard, a KPI dashboard lets you keep tabs on vital information as you progress. It can also indicate if something is amiss that could cause you to stall out short of your goal.

Adjust As Needed
If you find your strategic plan isn't playing out as expected, don't panic. No plan is perfect. If you have to make adjustments, professional bookkeeping is vital.

For example, suppose you determine you'll need financing to open an additional location. A bookkeeping pro can go over different financing options with you and help you secure all the documents you'll need, regardless of which financial institution you use.

One other point about growing your business: Make sure the bookkeeping partner you choose understands scalability — i.e., setting up your bookkeeping systems so they will grow seamlessly, in lockstep with your business growth. That partner should also be able to provide additional support as needed, ensuring you always have the proper financial controls in place.

See Where You're Going
When you launched your business, chances are you had a strong gut instinct. You knew the field, you sensed an opportunity, you did some basic market research — and you went for it.

But while gut instinct, and the conviction that goes along with it, is a powerful force for starting a business, it's not sufficient for growing a business. That next step requires a clear strategic plan built on solid financial data, carried out with the right COA for your business and measured with the appropriate KPIs.

In short, it takes real-world numbers. And to get those, you need a bookkeeping professional.

Steve Barber

Author:

Steve Barber

Steve Barber, Managing Director of Supporting Strategies | Northwest Maryland, provides bookkeeping and controller services to growing businesses.

Legal and Tax Disclaimer

This website is created by Supporting Strategies to provide general bookkeeping and accounting information only. Supporting Strategies does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice, and the information contained herein is not intended to do so. As such, the information provided should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, legal, and accounting advisors, and you should consult with a tax, legal and accounting professional before engaging in any transaction.