This is a copy of an article published on CFO Tech Outlook and can be accessed at:
Usually, business owners tend to involve emotions into the cash flow and even cut their pay in order to make payroll. However, the lack of a well-defined financial management strategy can wither away the motivation, energy and enthusiasm needed to manage the business. “Most business leaders ‘believe’ they are on top of their cash flow management, and by the time they realize the gaps in their planning, the damage is often already done,” says Debra Robinson, President of Centennial Revenue Management. “For good cash flow, the owner needs to look [at least] 90 days into the future to know what their cash flow requirements are likely to be.” An expert who can assess the financial health of a company in no time, Debra spends quality time educating CEOs and their teams about the art of modelling, forecasting, and crafting proactive cash flow strategies.
Many years of Debra’s meticulous understanding of cash flow have gone into founding Centennial Revenue and building her Total Cash Clarity service. In her erstwhile company’s role as CEO, Debra had an unpleasant experience of having been embezzled by her own CFO. Few months into her next company, she again hit the roadblock for failing to manage cash flow. These personal experiences have propelled Debra to found the company that today stands at the forefront of revenue management consulting. The differentiator for Centennial Revenue is in Debra’s ability to analyze the business and the cash flow from the perspective of a CEO and a CFO; and not from a CPA’s perspective, who strives to reduce the bottom line to mitigate the tax liability.
When formulating strategies around cash flow, many companies fail to realize that the strategy for the current month bears no fruit. Why? The cash is already at play.
Since cash flow storms take several months to form, it takes proactive strategies to keep a cash crisis at bay
To that end, Debra and her team take a deep dive into the clients’ accounting books at the outset of the engagement, and develop robust strategies to limit liability, offset the debt, boost profit without disturbing the cash flow. Following the financial review, the client’s leadership is provided with the tools and the knowledge for making informed business decisions. Debra’s proactive strategy involves leveraging the last four month’s trends, combining the balance sheet and P&L statements and then looking eight months into the future. This gives client CEOs a 360-degree view of their financials, and a secure window of operation.
Spanning more than four months, the engagement process involves working in conjunction with the client’s CPA and a bookkeeper entrusted with controlling and maintaining the integrity of the financials. “Optimizing cash flow is to know what Cash on Hand Balance you should have on a monthly basis,” says Debra.
Debra cites the case of owners of a medical practice who had trouble paying themselves. From the investigation, she found that the accounting activities were managed inaccurately and the attitude was such that they agreed to buy whatever the vendor offered them. As usual, the client’s CPA filed the tax returns based on the inaccurate accounting information presented and executed the common financial strategy, as CPAs do, of minimizing the bottom line to mitigate the tax liability. In April, the owners were surprised to find a huge tax liability bill, as they didn’t have a proactive strategy in place. Serving as an outsourced CFO, Debra solved the puzzle in just 90 days by implementing her signature modelling and forecasting strategy and simultaneously educating the owners and their team on the best practices.
Debra is passionate about enabling CEOs and their teams with the power to plan, model, and forecast through the recent launch of her custom cash flow service including an online forecasting app, Total Cash ClarityTM, available on a subscription basis.