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Posts Tagged ‘Management’

Do You Have a Compass For Your Journey…?

November 13th, 2013 Comments off

I’ve written before about the criticality of having  not only the right systems in place, but having them planned and configured in a manner that will yield the highest quality information that you can use to make your daily decisions. Although I have always worked in relatively lean environments and have always had to have a strong level of self-sufficiency, I’ve come to appreciate the quality of good information even more working in a start-up environment and having to ensure that every resource deployed ($$$) is being done so in the most productive manner.

For our company, our biggest asset, or conversely, our biggest liability, is the people that have come to work for us. We are still a small enough company that every hire must not only have the appropriate experience and skills, but also be able to integrate in with the rest of the team. Even then, the need to hire must be quantified as much as possible and have the appropriate data and long-term plan to support each new position. While this might seem a pretty simple and somewhat rhetorical point of view, its application is a bit harder in a start-up environment. While there has always been the specific business plan in place, many of the early hires were done so at a “gut” level with the belief that they would support the mission and make the necessary contributions.

As the company has moved from living room start-up to growing revenues, it’s been extremely satisfying to be able to have the data that honestly supports the hiring of new positions. Data that is the product of systems that were planned, implemented, and have evolved with the growth of the company. Data that looks at everything from the opportunity pipeline that Sales is working on, to projects currently being scheduled for delivery, the manner in which our consultants are spending their time, to the necessary time our consultants support the Sales team.

We can now look at the time that our folks are spending on both internal and external projects and make informed decisions on when to hire and what specific skills need to be hired in order to support the current team and developing opportunities. It’s certainly a win for the entire team when you can make a decision that is based on data and not based on gut or hope that an expected event will transpire. Although the timing may not always be ideal and the existing team might be taxed a bit longer, you’re ensuring that when the resources are finally deployed and you bring in a new employee that they will be there for the long haul and become part of the “family”.  After all, working in a start-up is no cakewalk and it’s the long days, accomplishments, and team camaraderie that ultimately deliver the success that everyone shares in.

Thanks for reading…

Jeffrey Ishmael

Working Remotely: Balancing Productivity vs Staying Connected…

August 28th, 2013 Comments off

It seems that no matter how much I think there should be a normal daily routine in corporate finance, there never is. Whether it’s the latest ad hoc reporting need, vendor emergency, or employee related issue…there just isn’t a normal day. I have a hard time accepting this since I have multiple family members who worked in Law Enforcement and I hear them talking about how there is NEVER a “normal day”. Using that same line seems a bit trivial for the work I do compared to them.  However, it really is the case and with the lack of a standardized schedule comes the challenges of fitting in the necessary daily operational tasks, as well as the countless extras that come with working in a start-up environment and wearing a half-dozen hats. Don’t get me wrong, I love all my hats I wear and they’re a necessity in our current environment. However, there is also a point reached where the daily tasks are backlogged, as are the ad hoc requests. At that point…time to consider alternatives.

It’s not something I resort to often, but I’ve taken the approach of basically going into “monk mode” and taking a 3-5 day out of office remote effort. No meetings, very few calls, and just focusing on the backlog of tasks. I have to say, this is a rather unique and somewhat uncomfortable approach for a Finance person. While the majority of our staff takes this approach within our company, it’s a very foreign approach for what I’ve become accustomed to. While it may only happen once every 1-2 months, it’s still a weird feeling. However, I have to say that it provides not only a nice balance to the constant Mach-5 speed we seem to be working at, but the break from meetings and calls provides a fantastic ability to focus on the list of deliverables and make some progress on key items that get bogged down in the daily minutiae.

Even more strange to consider is that almost all of our systems are cloud-based, which allows me to have an even higher level of productivity out of the office in the absence of constant schedule deviations. Provided you’re  not choosing a location where you’re hitting the local night spots, watching your favorite shows on cable, or some other distraction, you basically have nothing more to do than get caught up on the backlog…and write that past due blog 🙂

In all seriousness, with a cloud-based systems structure, I have the ability to stay connected and work on all accounting related needs, HR needs, monitor the progress of bookings, address important emails within minutes, and maintain the same dynamic systems structure I have at the office. Pretty darn amazing! All without the need of utilizing a VPN or being onsite for physical systems access. It’s certainly not an ability, or luxury, I would have envisioned even 5 years ago. To think I can have the same level of productivity on a remote basis is quite an amazing opportunity. The key is infusing a personal level of discipline that if you are going to work remote….you’re really going to get it done. As with everything else in my life, tasks are measured and my ability to deliver is measured.

Regardless of the progress, it’s still a strange & foreign feeling working remote. While I appreciate the gains in productivity, I can see how working on a remote basis would leave one feeling a bit disconnected from the energy and culture of the company. For me, doing this every 1-2 months would give me the edge to maintain productivity while not losing touch with the daily vibe. To do this more would leave me feeling somewhat disconnected from the pulse of the company and team. But then again, that is in perspective to the work I do and needing to check that pulse against the numbers I am seeing reflected in the system.

The challenge of increasing productivity, while working in a start-up, has forced me out of my comfort zones and to find approaches that will allow me to deliver, without taking the easy approach of hiring another consultant or lobbying for another position. Working remote, while absolutely strange, allows for the potential of a fantastic ROI if properly deployed.

Thanks for reading…

Jeffrey Ishmael

Start-Up Fun. A Fiscal Year Review…

July 25th, 2013 Comments off

I think I have been living the adage of “time flies when you’re having fun…”.  I realized yesterday that it had been almost a full two months since my last blog entry and I was a bit mortified. Especially when I try and keep a strong discipline in all aspects of my life. However, when I look back on what has been happening the last 60-days, it’s easy to see how that could have happened. With the final wrap-up of an ERP implementation and the closing of our first fiscal year, it’s been a crazy few months. But it’s not just the last few months, it’s the satisfaction of looking back over the last year and seeing what we have been able to accomplish as a team. While I’m obviously not going to share financial results or product development achievements, the growth and operational achievements are something for the team to be proud of.

When I first started with Cylance, we were all of 7 employees, I was given a laptop with Quickbooks installed on it, and the company had signed on with a PEO to administer our payroll and benefits. The company’s founder, Stuart McClure, had just started to implement his vision and we were working out of a living room. At that point, you couldn’t have asked for a cleaner slate to move the company forward. Fast forward to now and you realize how much of a transformation this company has gone through.

While I continued to use Quickbooks for a short amount of time, we put tremendous effort into bringing a sales management platform online to manage the opportunities we were already seeing coming into the company. Once we had the confidence we had effectively installed the first phase of our automation, we moved on to implement an additional platform aimed at the management of our professional services business. How do you make effective business decisions if you don’t have the ability to measure your business? A rhetorical question I know, but those needs can easily be lost in a hectic start-up environment. Once we were about halfway through that effort, we already knew that we were going to have to upgrade the Finance side of the house so we could have seamless integration of all three platforms. Hence, the process started to interview ERP candidates. I started having bad flashbacks to the SAP implementation I had carved myself out of a year prior. However, we aligned ourselves with a great partner and the calendar was set to bring the final piece online. As with everything else, we committed to the calendar and executed to the exact day and brought all elements of the business online with platforms that will support us for years to come.

Time for a break…right? Not even close. The next big step, with a VERY underestimated effort of what it would take, was to extract ourselves from our PEO parent on payroll and benefits and bring that entire effort in house. This might have been more painful than the SAP implementation, but a worthwhile endeavor. Again, a full interviewing of partner candidates. In the end, we were able to achieve savings, enhance our benefits offering to employees, and be the master of our destiny with regards to program management. We successfully brought our benefits offering online and on time, as well as bringing all payroll processing internal.

What a year it’s been. But wait…there’s more. Toss in the scouting for a new corporate office, 3 different office moves before we settled permanently, an increase in our employee count from 7 to 60, the development of a remarkable team, customer base, and marketing results that would make most established companies envious. Ok, now for a break….right?

We’re not just knocking on the door of our 2014 fiscal year, but we’re kicking it in. It’s still a target rich environment and the task list is longer than Santa’s naughty & nice list in December. At the end of the day, you need to look back on the day, the week, and ultimately, the last year and feel satisfaction with what you’ve accomplished. Start-ups are not for the faint of heart and you need to stay motivated and driven. It’s easy to stay that way when you have a mission you’re committed to and a team that is equally committed.

Thanks for reading…

Jeffrey Ishmael

A Squandering of Brand Value: Developing A Case Study…

April 22nd, 2013 Comments off

In my last entry I mentioned that I would be running a series that would break down the elements of how brand value is can be so easily squandered when mixed into a larger corporate portfolio, or under the watch of an executive team lacking the proper motivation. This is obviously a pretty complex issue and can’t be contained in a single blog entry, which is why I have chosen to take the approach of outlining the issue in a series of entries. Keep in mind, that while my approach might be directed at an entity that rolls up into a corporate parent, it can easily apply to a stand-alone entity. My experience in seeing brands fail to reach their true potential has typically been linked to a corporate parent. Ultimately, it’s an inequality of brand level performance, a lack of consistent accountability, a lack of proper resource allocation, as well as a highly political environment.

The walk we will go through on this case study will be a top down overview of the company’s P&L. Starting with revenue, progressing down through cost management, expense management, and ultimately addressing key issues such as personnel, accountability, and communication.  A company and its employees can always work through certain levels of resistance. Resistance is a natural part of the growth process. However, when each one of these potential resistance levels are compounded on each other it develops into a strong headwind where forward progress is minimal and the amount of energy needed to overcome ends up becoming, in some cases, more than the team can tolerate and key team members opt out. It’s not the hard work that turns them off, but the extreme efforts and frustration it takes for small incremental gains. Gains that could be much larger in the face of a cohesive effort and proper support.

In particular, we’ll dive into the following areas;

  • Corporate Influence. Are the brands financial goals clear and aligned with the expectations of corporate? Are the resources being deployed enough to support the achievement of those goals? Will the brand goals remain unchanged in the event of under performance by another brand or division?
  • Revenues. Is there a defined revenue plan in place that has been developed in the spirit of longer term sustainable and healthy growth for the brand? Is the brand constantly being challenged with pushing last-minute & unplanned revenue to offset a lack of performance by another brand or division. Is the revenue plan supported by the proper product initiatives and investment to see the plan realized? Is the revenue plan properly detailed by channel, product line, key customers, or similar detail? Macro level plans are only hope in disguise.
  • Cost Management. Are the projected margins for the product offerings, as well as the channel strategies, aligned with the expected outcome? Do you have the proper contingencies in place should there be a disruption in costs or supply chain? Are suppliers being paid as negotiated by corporate or are late payments affecting what might potentially be the optimum product costing?
  • Inventory Management. Is the brand being given the latitude to make the proper inventory investments to fund the planned growth? Are inventory resources constrained due to the lack of performance by another brand or division? Are you managing the brands inventory levels so as to maximize margin performance, avoid potential brand dilution in the market, as well as optimize cash flows?
  • Expense Management. What is the trend of operating expenses for the brand relative to historicals, as well as against expectations for the current plan? Is the brand continually seeing an improvement as a percentage of revenues or do they continue to grow disproportionately? Are you being denied the proper resources by corporate in order to offset non-performance by other brands or divisions? Do you have the proper staffing to execute on the original plan? Is a current lack of proper headcount creating risk that may not be seen for a few more Quarters but is allowing corporate to show more favorable results in the current results?
  • Quality of staffing and accountability.  Is the brand employing the right talent to deliver on what the brand has promised to corporate? Is the brand being given the latitude by corporate to execute on the plan that was delivered, and possible communicated in a public manner, or was it an exercise in futility? Are the levels of accountability the same across all brands or divisions? Does the same commitment to top talent extend across all brands or divisions or do results tend to be overlooked in favor of tenure? Is there a consistent level of communication across the brand relative to goals, progress, and commending the team for what has been accomplished?

Each one of these areas will be looked at in more detail. What is interesting to watch unfold is how each of these areas, even by themselves, can have a material impact on profitability. Take a combination of these and you then see how the effect is millions of dollars that are lost throughout the year. Not lost in a theoretical sense, but realistically lost and are NEVER regained. It’s not just the potential loss that might happen over a few Quarters, but that loss combined with the opportunity cost in the time spent rebuilding. Add to this the loss of key players who leave to align themselves with better performance and you lose some of that core brand knowledge that is so critical for the rebuild.

Thanks for reading…

Jeffrey Ishmael

Take It As An Opportunity To Learn…

April 11th, 2013 Comments off

It never fails that you have those conversations with somebody in your network that talks about how much they dislike the company there are working with, how bad things are, how severe the silos are, and how bad the political climate is. All of this in consideration to the fact that they are working at an industry leading company or within a company that most would aspire to hire into. I’ve certainly experienced that in my own career history, and while frustrating at the time, has always left me with a fantastic perspective that I could take with me to a new company and use it to improve the environment and financial performance. Or consequently, you have that experience to draw on in your considerations to joining a new company and ensure you don’t repeat the “sins” of the past. The analogy that I like to use with my friends is to take it all in and put yourself in the position that you’re living a day-today case study and it’s up to you to process the experience in a beneficial manner.
From a Finance perspective, one of the more frustrating perspectives is that these situations have a tremendous impact on the ability of the company to truly perform to its financial possibilities. The presence of deep silos and highly political environments ultimately focus energy on all the wrong areas, thus diverting from achieving top performance. If you’re prepping for a hard race are you going to divert your energy towards activities or diet that will ultimately hinder your performance on race day? I know…a rhetorical question, but the same dynamic. If you continue to perpetuate a bad diet or deviate from your training regiment, your simply not going to perform to your best potential. Period.
While most of my posts have usually been single entry topics, I’m drafting a multi-part series that is focused on how easy it is for a company, or brand, to squander value on such negative contributors like silos, politics, and the tolerance of hiring sub-par talent, and working in an environment without accountability. I’ll speak to not only the financial implications of these issues, but also the impact it has on staff and their ability to stay motivated. That in the face of a lack of motivation, it becomes not just a productivity issue within the office, but a diversion of productivity as they channel their efforts into a job search to leave behind a situation they feel will never change. Looking forward to sharing these perspectives.
Thanks for reading…
Jeffrey Ishmael

Are You Part Of The Solution or Part Of The 62% Non-Operators?

March 28th, 2013 Comments off

If you have read my blog over the years, you know how much I have advocated the involvement of CFO’s in the day-to-day operations of a company. Maybe not necessarily leading the charge with the assumed role of COO or VP of Operations, but collaborative involvement with other members of the Executive team who oversee this area. When it comes to developing the budgets and forecasts of a company, it needs to be more than just a spreadsheet exercise. It needs to be based on a solid knowledge of the flow of resources through a company and what levers can be pulled to improve the operating results of the company.

This is why I was a bit surprised by a recent poll posted on CFO.com, which perceived most CFO’s to be poor operators and having very little involvement in that area of their company. A surprisingly high 62% were only “somewhat involved” or “had little or no involvement”. Regardless of whether you are overseeing a services-based firm and your operations involve labor productivity metrics & similar KPI’s, or you’re part of a manufacturing entity with a dynamic flow of resources, it’s your obligation as a CFO to be involved and have an intimate knowledge. If you have a COO or VP of Operations on your team, it’s your obligation to work EXTREMELY closely with that individual and not only ensure they have every level of support they need to perform to plan, but they are transparent in their results with you so that you can accurately forecast the results of the business.

With the companies that I have worked with, it has not been the home run sales contracts that have typically allowed me to report stellar annual results, but more the sustainable changes in operations that have led to an improved bottom line. Those changes will obviously be different for every company, but it’s diving in and analyzing all of the individual contributors and how they can be improved. If you’ve assumed the CFO role within your company, you are not in a position where you can just sit back and wait for the results to post. You have a team that you should be working with, supporting, and identifying the areas that can be improved, thus influencing the bottom line. If you’re part of that 62%, expect an eventual lesson in Darwinism and don’t be surprised if you’re no longer part of the herd.

Thanks for reading…

Jeffrey Ishmael

There Is No Immunity From Accountability…

March 1st, 2013 Comments off

Idealistic and possible or just a pipe dream? I’ve never started off one of my blog entries with a question, but I started thinking about this statement while out on one of my training rides. I started thinking about some of the past companies I had worked with and some of my “peers” that were responsible for specific divisions or line offerings, who Quarter after Quarter, continued to report results that were not only below an original Budget, but below what they had previously made a commitment to achieve. Not at just a revenue level, but at every level of the P&L. Dare I say “promised” to deliver? Ultimately, what led to the continued support of these individuals was either their relationship with a key executive, or in other cases, a lack of motivation and performance by their Director to make the necessary change. Without an inherent drive for results and improved performance there emerged a tolerance for mediocrity, which ultimately, affected the overall performance of the company.

Don’t get me wrong, it would be a pretty challenging situation to have a company full of relentless Type-A, performance driven individuals. There does need to be a balance in the composition of the staff, but there are also key positions, that in the absence of delivering on key initiatives have much broader implications to the performance of the company.

Whenever I have made a hire that comes from my direct network it’s a direct reflection on not only my responsibility as part of the executive team, but also a reflection on my reputation should that person not work out. Unfortunately for that person, they’ll actually have an even higher level of accountability to perform as I don’t want to have to walk out a hire that I was responsible for. I know it will happen eventually, but I’d like to delay that situation as long as possible. Regardless of whether they are part of my network, or I’ve grown up with them, or ride with them, they need to deliver on the roles and responsibilities for the position that they are being hired into. Without their delivery, they risk impacting the results of the company. There’s obviously an inherent responsibility on my part to ensure their skills are a match for the position, they possess the appropriate motivation, and if there are any deficiencies discovered in certain areas, it’s my responsibility to develop a development plan.

Moving forward, what happens when a hire is made and you’ve realized that the either the skills have been misrepresented or they are simply lacking the proper motivation to deliver what is expected. Very simply, it’s time to make a change before more resources are squandered and you’ve potentially jeopardized timelines or the commitment you’ve made to others. The situation is seldom black & white and easily interpreted. Is it a smaller start-up, as I’m currently working, or a multi-divisional corporation, as I’ve experienced in the past.

In the case of the start-up, there is little room to hide. There are no firewalls. Your deficiencies will quickly be seen if you fail to deliver. Make no mistake about it. You better be taking an honest look in the mirror before committing to a start-up.

A larger company? There’s certainly plenty of room to hide and work under the radar. In fact, if you’re a “friend of” someone, you can usually exploit that situation to do only what is needed to get by and likely sustain a stellar level of mediocrity. The other damage done here is that the skills shortfall is recognized sooner by surrounding colleagues and usually results in a lack of peripheral support in accomplishing departmental goals, which then further erodes morale. More often than not it either isn’t addressed or can take years to play out before a new catalyst is present to make the necessary changes.

I can only hope that in the future that I would promote an environment that allows a colleague to speak openly with me if one of my hires or a recommended candidate was not performing. My responsibility is to delivering the results that I have promised and not to create a de facto subsidy for colleagues who don’t have the skills or motivation to find a job on their own. I want to hire motivated, resourceful and performance driven individuals. What about you? Are you promoting immunity from accountability?

Thanks for reading…

Jeffrey Ishmael

When Finance Management Styles Collide….

February 5th, 2010 Comments off

            I’ve just finished an intense 3-day offsite Leadership & Strategic planning meeting for my company. Over the 3-days there was no shortage of topics that we tabled, dissected as a group, and determined what the necessary courses of action were. Kicking off the 3-day event, I presented a business overview discussing our 2010 results thus far, discussions regarding our 2011 plan, as well as what my personal financial planning philosophy is. I was given some great and supportive feedback by the group. I have always realized success through my approach and my style, which is the same that I carry with me into my engagement with DC Shoes.

 

            However, I heard from many folks that after the departure of the last management team, including another CFO that remains in the industry, that there was a consultant engaged to cut costs, “rightsize” the organization, and move it back into profitability. I heard about a “consultant” that, while classified as intelligent, was a complete ass, managed through intimidation, and was under marching orders to move the company back into profitability. While he did indeed make cuts, it appears that he was not able to distinguish between fat, muscle, or bone. I cannot second guess what directives he may have been under, but it does appear that his style was not collaborative in any way, alienated all functional areas, and thus, did not have the necessary support for his directive.

 

            Conversely, I have always pursued financial directives in a collaborative way so that all Directors, VP’s, and other key stakeholders are aware of the end goal. While the actions necessary to get there may not be the most pleasurable, they are participants and drivers in the process. What’s even more interesting to me are the consultants that feel the only way to achieve certain financials improvements is to cut headcount. I can’t emphasize enough the need to look at critical processes and determine where costs can be reduced through a reconfiguration of those processes and working with vendors. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I was involved with one project where EBITDA results increased by over 30% with only a single-digit increase in revenues and no reduction in headcount. While some people were reassigned to other areas, our results were not achieved through across the board headcount reductions.

 

            In my opinion and experience, the Finance function is not one that should be directed through that of force or intimidation. I have seen the approach with far too many individuals in my profession. Finance is an area that most of the other functional areas don’t fully understand, and in some cases, are usually either intimidated or frustrated. I have been in situations where difficult decisions needed to be made, but were done so in collaboration with the key stakeholders. Whether those situations were with companies that were still profitable or those in the midst of a turnaround, the end goal was achieved and the cohesiveness of the team was not compromised.  Regardless of the situation, Finance is an area that needs the support of each area in order to drive the highest level of bottom line performance. In the end, clear communication and collaboration will yield the desired consequence….

 

Thanks for reading . . . .

 

Jeffrey Ishmael

Book Review: Lencioni’s Four Obsessions . . . .

June 8th, 2009 Comments off

     Over the weekend I was able to finish up another one of Patrick Lencioni’s books, who also happens to be one of my favorite authors. The latest book I chose was “The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive”.  The premise of the book is the parallel profile of two classmates who subsequently started their own consulting firms after college and different levels of success both had achieved. The book detailed the different approaches that each CEO had taken in the management of their company, which ranged from the evaluation of M&A opportunities to the hiring of new talent within their respective firms. The story really started to evolve when one of the CEO’s stepped back from his standard involvement and allowed his staff the final decision making authority on a new HR candidate, Jamie Bender.

fourobsessions-full

      For those that have a true disdain for politics and less than forthright daily dealings, it’s very easy to despise Jamie Bender’s character. Not sure how often, but I lost count of how many times I wanted to have his character taken out. He was exactly the type of colleague I cannot tolerate working with.  However, without spoiling the end, I will say that his character “get’s his” in the end and there’s a conclusion that brings the story full-circle, when at times it seems to be going nowhere. In fact, when the book launches into a discussion of what exactly the four obsessions are it’s easy to reach the conclusion that the appropriate title might be The Four Obsessions of an Ordinary Executive.  Although I believe it was a worthwhile read, I have gotten more out of some of Lencioni’s other books such as Death by Meeting and Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Regardless of whether I enjoyed this as much as some of those mentioned reads, Patrick Lencioni is an author that is worth committing time to his books.

Thanks for reading. . . .

Jeffrey Ishmael

Finance is from Mars…all others are from Venus.

May 6th, 2009 Comments off

     If you work on the Finance side of the table, how often have you been trying to explain certain strategic planning elements or changes to the Forecast and all you seem to get is a slight tilt of the head from your audience as if they’ve just adopted that dear-in-the-headlights look? I have learned enough from earlier situations that I’ve been able to effectively cater my discussions to the audience that I’m presenting to. The key comes down to understanding who you’re audience is and communicating technical data in a way that they can relate it to their function area.

     Recently we revamped our compensation and bonus plans for the 2009 fiscal year to be split between personal performance goals and corporate financial goals. It’s one thing to explain the achievement of personal goals to staff, regardless of their function. However, try taking that broad-based staff group and tell them their going to be incentivized on Revenue, Gross Margin, Operating Expenses, and Operating Income. Ok, the Revenue part is a slam dunk….that’s the easy one. Once you move on to Gross Margins or Operating Expenses, well….that’s a whole different story. It really comes down to not explaining the formulas or discussing the percentage goals, but discussing the different elements that make up that portion of the income statement. The same approach goes for the Operating Expenses.  Especially when it takes a little more commentary on explaining how you purchase new software or a trade show both but the expenses are amortized over a multi-year period!

     As frustrating as the process can be sometimes, or as many times as you might need to review the data with staff, the effort is entirely worth iftso that Finance and the rest of the company are on the same page.  It’s worthwhile for all members of the company to truly understand the financial results that are being presented to them and what their bonus is being calculated against. Did I say BONUS? As a matter of fact…I did!  Yes, we pulled all employees together at the close of Q1 and paid out bonuses based on both personal and corporate performance. As discussed with our employees when the Budget was presented, we communicated the expectations, and while I don’t believe fully understood, the new plan was embraced and pursued with vigor by our team. That made it all the more gratifying to pay out a bonus when revenue goals were surpassed and operating expenses were under plan.

     More often than not, it’s just a common fact that Finance will be speaking a different “language” when working with the other areas within a company. It’s that same “language” that will prompt staff to seek you out for clarification or guidance.  The cooperation and support you will get by keeping the conversation straightforward will be noticeable and it will eliminate any of the expected contention points between Finance and “everyone else”.  It’s probably worth your time to establish contact with new planets 🙂

Thanks for reading . . . .

Jeffrey Ishmael