Do You have a Coach or a Scorekeeper?

It’s finally getting to my favorite time of year – football season!   At the College and NFL level, there are teams that are consistently good every year, despite the turning over of 5 – 10 key players each year.   So how do these teams stay consistently good?   It’s the coaching!   Well, and maybe the front office in the NFL.

 In business, there are also a lot of companies that are consistently good.  Business is no different than sports; its good coaching that makes a business successful.  In business the CEO is the head coach.    Any good coach will surround himself with great assistant coaches to make the team more successful.   In business, one of the key assistant coaches is the CFO.    In some companies, the CFO is a key part of the management team that prepares future growth plans, budgets, and projections to help the CEO / Head Coach achieve the team / Company goals.   In other companies, the head accountant (don’t want to call them a CFO) just walks around with a clip board and records the results of each play.  In this case, the accountant is just functioning as a scorekeeper, recording historical data after it happens.

After the game is over the scorekeeper will summarize the data and give it to the coach.  The coach expects this data same day or the next day.   Accounting for a business isn’t as easy as football statistics, but a good business scorekeeper should be able to have monthly financial results within 5 – 10 after the end of each month.  It’s interesting that a lot of businesses with a poor won /loss record don’t even bother to keep score each month.    They just wait until the tax return is due on an annual basis and then compile their financial information as a matter of compliance.

The CEO at each of my clients had a projection / game plan for 2011 in January 2011.   Each business knew how much revenue they had to bring in each month to make the plan.   They also knew the level of expenses that could be incurred to achieve their December 2011 goals.  These numbers are adjusted and reviewed each month.  At this point, my client’s know with at least an 80% certainty as to what their yearend results will be.

What about the Companies that have scorekeepers instead of CFO’s?   They have no idea what their yearend results will be because the transactions haven’t occurred yet.  

Do you remember when they interviewed the scoreboard operator after last year’s Super Bowl?   Didn’t happen.

If you or anybody you know needs a good game plan for their business, please have them call me.

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