Top 10 Actions CFOs Must Take Now to Prepare for Year End

Oct 1, 2013

30396871The dog days of summer are over, and vacation season is just a memory. It’s time for CFOs and other business leaders to prepare for a strong finish to the year. Hardesty partners offer some options to help your business finish the year strong.
1. Plan, plan, plan! Now is the time to assess this year’s sales activity and establish sales goals for next year. With solid sales goals, you can then develop budgets for sales and operations that will help ensure management accountability.
2. Talk to your customers. Every customer has a wish list. Ask them what they need from you to help make their businesses successful. Ask them what you’re doing well and what you could improve, and respond meaningfully.
3. Clean up the balance sheet. Work through excess inventories, ramp up collections efforts, review your accounts receivable aging and meet more often with project managers to carefully manage costs. A healthy balance sheet ensures a good working relationship with banks and will improve your ability to get financing next year.
4. Refresh your product offerings. Business can change fast (just ask Blackberry). Are the goods and services you provide dated? Sometimes small tweaks can give a product new life. This is why it’s important to talk to your customers (see #2).
5. Gather intelligence on competitors. Chances are you’ve lost business to a competitor this year. Find out why.
6. Add the right skills to your team. According to the CFO Quarterly Global Outlook Survey, 61 percent of CFOs plan to hire within the next six months, and most CFOs are not expecting employment reductions within the next year. At Hardesty, we’ve noticed a rise in hiring across the board as businesses manage growth.
7. Reinvigorate the team. Discuss openly with employees about the previous year’s results and what it means. Use their annual evaluations to learn what they want to accomplish for the next year. Remind them about your mission and why it’s important. Provide an outlet for two-way communication and demonstrate that you are listening to them.
8. Evaluate health benefits. This is usually the time for open enrollment, so take a deeper look into employee participation, deductibles, co-pays and alternative carriers. For many small to mid-sized businesses, healthcare is becoming more expensive and a thorough review can make a big impact on healthcare costs.
9. Schedule maintenance and upgrades. For labor intensive businesses like manufacturing, this is an important time to plan for maintenance that will ensure a strong start next year. Understand what can and should be done during the holidays and if it makes sense to have portions of the operation down during the holiday season.
10. Pay attention to the broader environment. It may seem obvious, but knowing what’s happening in the world around us from a government, regulatory and tax perspective determines how our businesses will be affected in the coming year.
Now is the best time to step back and view your business from 30,000 feet. What you do today will impact your business performance for the next year, so make it count.
Hardesty partners have decades of experience with year-end planning that prepares businesses for growth. To learn more, visit