By Kevin Price, Editor in Chief of US Daily Review and Host on the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 (Bloomberg’s Home in Houston)
When it comes to new or established businesses, the economic climate has changed a great deal over the past five years; and not always in ways that make doing business easier. With the ongoing changes to healthcare, tax, accounting standards, information technology security and regulations; business owners will continue to have more to do and less time to do it in.
Sullivan and Moira Alexander are the co-founders of Conture Business Advisors, PS, (Conture). They are media recognized authorities on business, financial and technology issues, and can be seen and heard on the Price of Business 1110AM Talk Radio in Houston, Texas, Home of Bloomberg Radio, as regular contributors. They also produce regular business and technology related articles for Forward Metrics and the US Daily Review.
Conture is a business advisory firm for small to mid-market companies who are looking for innovative business, financial, and information technology advice and services. They help business owners grow and manage their business, regardless of economic conditions. Based on their expertise, they saw small to mid-market businesses having similar challenges to those of their larger competitors. Some of the key differences are, many of these businesses do not have access to external specialized knowledge in business, accounting, and information technology to deal with the ever changing economy, and increased regulations.
In response, Conture’s mission is to help small to mid-market businesses grow, improve financial decision-making, and make better use of information technology while leveling the playing field, and creating a competitive advantage.
In the current economy, many business owners are having difficulty managing, or growing their business for various reasons. Often they see the current problems as either minor, or not connected to other issues that will catch up down the road. Because they are so busy, these issues get put on hold until they become a crisis, requiring even greater effort and higher cost.
Conture takes a PACT (Planning–Accounting–Cash flow–Technology) approach to solving business issues. Some of the common challenges they see when meeting with business owners are PACT related:
1) Not enough time to plan for growth of the business
Since the recovery, many owners have been operating with fewer employees in a leaner business and in some respects with increased productivity. The downside to this is some owners find themselves continually reacting to crisis after crisis, leaving little precious time to look ahead and plan for the future in a meaningful way. Time, once a friend, is often the one thing many owners crave. What is worse; technology has increased the speed of business.
2) Accounting functions not providing information to help run the business
One area Sullivan sees often is many business owners are not experts in finance and accounting, and in going into business they are required to maintain a general ledger, sub-ledgers, payroll and prepare financial statements. For some, they farm it out to a bookkeeper, in other cases a close family member or friend reluctantly agrees to maintain the books.
He also notes the downside for many businesses is the accounting functions are performed after the fact, and does provide the business owners with timely and useful information to make decisions. “Nearly every decision has a financial impact, so lack financial insights often results in a disadvantage for small to mid-size businesses”.
3) Cash flow management difficulty & accessing capital
Conture management identifies cash flow as the lifeblood of any business, without it the business simply does not exist. Sullivan has seen CEO`s and Presidents of companies completely unprepared for current bills and tax payments, due to inadequate cash flow planning. Recently, he met with a business owner who reluctantly admitted the frequency of the situation.
4) Not knowing what technology to adopt for today and tomorrow
In her many years of working with, and implementing various systems, Moira says “small to mid-market business owners need to be able to rely fully on their systems and the information they get from it. With business owners and management being on the go more than ever, it is critical to be able to get up-to-the-minute information, and access anywhere, anytime”. Another issue she notes of equal importance is the security and privacy of business and client data, especially with the advent of BYOD.
They note that many of these challenges can be fixed, or the affects reduced by first recognizing that PACT (planning-accounting-cash flow-technology) affects a business, and can be solved by taking two simple steps. Step one: Give your business a check-up, like your doctor always says “early detection and treatment is everything”. Step two: Get outside professional advice before it is too late. Business owners are not expected to know everything, but knowing when and where to engage outside professional help can make all the difference, saving unnecessary sleepless nights.
According to Sullivan “based on innovation and support, I believe small-mid market businesses can significantly increase their potential and deal with challenges like never before. “
Conture Business Advisors is a trusted business advisory firm located in Washington State. As trusted business advisors, they use a world class accounting technology partnership, to delivery CFO services, and accounting & bookkeeping services for small to mid-size businesses anywhere in the country. And what’s more, they provide advice for clients to help run their business, and information technology advice to make sure systems are integrated and working together to support the owner’s vision.
Conture Advisors makes doing business simpler for business owners, allowing them to get what they truly need. To learn more about Conture Business Advisors visit www.contureadvisors.com.
Sponsored by the Price of Business, on Bloomberg’s home in Houston, TX