The CFO Toolkit for 2014
As we say goodbye to 2013, we are all very excited here at 3Pillar to usher in 2014 with a new set of goals and renewed aspirations. As the CFO of 3Pillar Global, I realize that my role and that of the business and talent management team will be instrumental in helping us achieve our company objectives. This post covers some of the most important things any CFO should be thinking about this time of year.
Budget and Financial Transparency
Today, most CFOs that you talk to will tell you that the most important thing on their agenda early in the year is the budget, if they didn’t finish it by the end of the calendar year. To achieve this, you need to have a firm grasp on the company’s goals, its plans for the future and an understanding of where the economy and your markets will be and where you think they are going. Budgeting requires you to successfully work in tandem with individuals from numerous different departments to understand what their priorities are and the direction each of them is poised to take in the upcoming year. It also requires deliberate discussions and analysis on where to place investment bets in the new year.
Transparency with numbers is also vital to successfully managing the business. We need to ensure that we know not only where we have been, but also what do our trends and current business insights tell us about where we are going. Collecting business insights from all areas of the company is key to this objective. By being proactive and looking at various business levers, such as reviewing the sales pipeline or client activity with the Market and Client Services team, we are able to make strategic and proactive decisions about our resource management and future expenses.
Creating an annual roadmap with the budget should be complimented with a quarterly updated forecast, so that you know exactly where you are headed in your journey and have information ready at your fingertips to make informed, timely business decisions regarding investments, risks and expenditures as the year progresses. These forecasts are a key tool to ensure that we are geared up to prevent issues that could adversely affect the bottom line. By staying in tune with the business and having a tight collaboration with all areas of the business, we can keep our eyes on changes that occur and then if needed go into a re-forecasting mode to see what our options are, what levels can be pulled and what the impact will be to the business. We might need, for example, to look at how many people we need to hire, whether we need to invest more into recruiting or dial back on variable expenses.
3Pillar historically has had double-digit growth and we are forecasting this to continue for the foreseeable future. To prepare for this growth, we need to invest in scalable platforms that allow for consistency and efficiency in our systems, providing us time to be creative solution providers for our clients.
As we enter 2014, one of my top priorities is to bring in more scalable business systems throughout the company. We will be investing more in automation systems, as we believe that this will not just impact our Finance team but will also impact the entire company in some way, shape, or form. We want to, for instance, introduce systems that allow us to manage and monitor our client profitability on a real time basis. We also want to expand our business systems around talent and performance management, providing managers tools to focus on growing and developing our teams and less time on administrative tasks.
Investing back into Your Teams
In 2014, we will continue to focus on our talent management lifecycle that starts from the moment someone hears about 3Pillar and continues through to on-boarding, training, performance reviews, mentoring, charting career paths, job rotations, rewards, and recognitions. We believe that investing back into our people to help them with their development, happiness and growth, leads to delivering great, innovative solutions to our customers. The beginning of a new year is a great time to analyze team potential, set business and career goals, and explore ways to invest in skill-building activities, creating top talent and helping teams to be their best.