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Helping Canadian businesses beat the odds!
Helping Canadian businesses beat the odds!
Hi will, thanks for tuning in for another episode of ask Spurl CPA and in today’s episode we’re covering, you know, why a spurling associates business plans work and to help me here today, I have a terry from our office. Terry, thanks for. Thanks for being here. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Terry and I think it was Berlin associates for five years now. Edmonton Accountant I’m currently part of the CPA prep program to work towards my CPA designation.
Excellent. Excellent. So the quote that comes to mind when we talk about business plans is the Benjamin Franklin quote, Edmonton Accountant, you know, if you plan, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. And that’s what I would say to business owners who don’t have a business plan. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Um, then the statistic that we throw up pretty regularly when it comes to this is business owners to complete a business plan are 50 percent more likely to grow revenue. Um, with, of course, revenue growth being one of the key success factors in a business surviving so busy in order to complete a business plan, 50 percent more likely to grow revenue in the story that we get as busy as they come into our office and they don’t know, you know, why their business is not growing and they don’t really have an answer of why it’s, you know, what to do and how to grow the business. And almost invariably they don’t have a plan. They’re just hoping that it will grow. So, so terri, what are the key questions that you think these business owners should be asking when the tour make you know, why, you know, why use a spurling associates business plan?
Do you have a template that you start with when doing your business plans?
Yeah, we absolutely do have a template and that template is designed to make the business plan a scalable exercise. You know, Edmonton Accountant we don’t want to have business owners coming in and we can’t be charging the iris small business or $10,000 or $5,000 new business plan. It has to be a number that they can afford it and having that template with the, you know, the common items on there that are useful for that business owner know, helps us do it in an efficient manner for sure.
Why don’t you use one of the bank templates or a template from another organization? Yeah, it’s,
that’s a really good question. You know, so the, the, the banks often they’ll have their own templates or you know, the BDC has their own template. Edmonton Accountant, you know, I found that those templates are very finance specific. They have the indicators on there that the bank wants to see on if they qualify for a loan, but our business plan templates are not just to qualify for financing on the lid is one use of them. It’s to actually help the business owner succeed, help them grow their business, help them make good decisions and it just employees, you know, all of the things that we learned about our clients and the common pain points and making sure that we’re addressing those potential missteps before they actually happen. So, um, so we’ve been developing our business planning template over the last seven years and you know, it started out as a, a, a, you know, we’re in an excel document and it’s moved onto some, some software that we, that we have it hosted on now. So yeah, we definitely do have a template. Yeah.
So as Berlin associates, folks is on your round accounting and consulting services, how does ms dot polk put the firm in a unique position to develop superior business planning processes?
So the, you know, most firms, they’re, they’re centered around compliance so they’re, they’re doing a year in financials and tax returns and that’s good, but you’re, you’re only going to see some of the picture. Um, you know, we do a considerable amount of outsource work so we’re seeing, you know, what’s working day to day, month to month, week to week with these clients is a with these clients and that sort of a experience that we have with those clients. In doing that, uh, you know, day to day CFO type style work, it helps us establish, you know, what’s going to work, what’s not going to work when we’re looking at items other than the, you know, Edmonton Accountant the ratios other than the income statement and the balance sheet, you know, what sort of schedule they’re going to have to maintain, you know, what sort of recruiting and retention strategies that they’re gonna have to have for the employees, what sort of marketing initiatives that they’re going to have to deploy. You know, we’re seeing this on a day by day basis with the clients that we’re managing. So
how did the cash flows look on business plans from non CPAS?
Oh a cashflows are, you know, lots of business owners. They want to see their cashflow. And to be truthful, when you give a cashflow to even a rookie CPA, sometimes it can be a little bit of an adventure on seeing what it turns out. So, you know, having a non CPA try to attempt to casual, it’s kind of a recipe for an inaccurate statement. And you know, if the business runs out of cash, Edmonton Accountant that’s the second most common reason that a business is going to fail is they’re going to run out of cash. So it’s not an exercise where you want to make a mistake on, um, you to, you know, be planning your business with a cashflow. It’s actually going to work a one that you can actually execute. So I think it’s paramount to have a CPA tackle a cashflow forecast and your business plan.
What is missing from most marketing sections on business plans?
Um, I would say most marketing sections in your clients often come to us and they have some decent marketing initiatives. Like they can actually think through some marketing issues for the most part, you know, some of them are just completely stuck, but lots of them come through with some, you know, I’m going to do this, this and this. But what they tend to forget is they don’t quantify any of the marketing initiatives. So they say they’re going to drop flyers. I’m going to drop flyers. Okay, great. How many flyers are you going to drop? Are you going to drop a thousand or 10,000 or 100,000 flyers? And I’m going to do networking break. Edmonton Accountant Are you going to do one networking event per week or two networking events per week? Um, you know, you just go down the list. I’m going to spend some money on some cost per, per click advertising. Well, how much are you gonna? Spend 100 bucks a week or thousand a week. And you invariably, in order to get an accurate forecast, you have to start quantifying those marketing initiatives. So what most business plans are missing when clients come to us is they’re actually not quantifying those marketing initiatives. And if you don’t quantify the marketing issues, you can’t quantify a forecast for them.
If there’s one thing that is wrong with most business plans,
I think if there’s, if there’s one thing that’s wrong with, with a lot of business plans is the don’t look at the schedule of the business owner. Um, and a lot of banks will often say he just, why do you have the schedule for the business owner in, in your business plan? And we don’t need that to lend them money. And I said, well, the business owners time is probably the single biggest constraint in any business. Edmonton Accountant this is a business that has no money or a business that has $10,000,000, that business owner only has 168 hours in a week. So let’s take, for example, if your, um, let’s say you’re an electrical contractor and you want to grow your business from $250,000 a year to $500,000 a year. Um, that sounds great. And we can have the marketing initiatives, you know, quantified marketing initiatives to actually generate that number of leads.
But then when does that contractor actually do twice as many estimates and twice as many jobs, site visits. So if you don’t start quantifying, you know, when these tasks are going to be done, you can just come up with an impossible dream that only works if the business owner is available to work 37 hours in the day. Uh, so it really has to be sensitive to the business owner’s time of, of what they can actually do versus the things that they’re going to have to delegate and how much it’s gonna cost them to delegate those tasks
Why is it efficient to have the same CPA who did or will do the same? The financial statements, do the business plan. Yeah.
In order to do an effective business plan, you need to understand the business, right? So any opportunity that you can have to interact with the business, you know, if you’re doing the financial statements for the business, that’s going to give you a deeper understanding of the business. If you were to come in cold and you weren’t involved in the preparation of the financial statements, it just, it, it increases the amount of time you have to spend to be familiar with the business or b, sometimes you’re just guessing because you don’t have the background on doing the business. So you’re doing both the financial statements and the business plan. It just has those efficiencies where you gain that familiarity with the client, you, you, you’re familiar with some things that are working, some things that are not working, and you can start tackling them from the outset and you’re not having to try to, Edmonton Accountant you know, pick them out from the outside. You’ve been involved with them, you know, from, from day one, so to speak.
Right. Do you think all CPAS are equally skilled when it comes to doing business plans?
No, I do not think they’re all equally skilled and it’s the same reason why, you know, there’s things in our firm we don’t do particularly well. You know, we don’t do a assurance work. We don’t do work with a, a IAF or asked her international financial reporting standards. You’re good at what you do a lot of. Um, so if you’re a CPA and you do one or two business plans a year, guess what? You’re not going to be as good as a CPA who does 100 business plans a year. You’re just beginning to gain that extra knowledge, you know, the practice makes perfect type of thing. Um, so what you’re good at, what you specialize in, and you’ll hear we, you know, we do business plans for Edmonton Accountant you know, majority of our clients. So we’re doing 100 plus business plans a year as opposed to other firms. You’re only doing a couple of year. So it’s that specialization, uh, that frequency of what they do then that makes them better at it.
If you gave a business owner your template, do you think that’s all that you need?
Um, no, I don’t think that, uh, you know, just a template is going to make the, the answer. It’s that collaborative process that uh, you know, makes it work. So it’s, you know, putting your ideas on the template, the template to a great start. It prioritizes the items that we see as the common pain points for businesses failing or businesses struggling and the owner can, you know, flush out their vision for the company. But then it’s bouncing it off of someone else who has the experience of seeing multiple businesses. Most business owners are in the scenario where they see one, two, three, maybe a half dozen businesses that most, right where your accountant is in a position where they’d seen hundreds if not thousands of businesses so they can relate your vision to know other practices that they’ve actually seen put in use and you know, give you a realistic, um, you know, opinion on is this going to work or is this not work? Edmonton Accountant Because they might’ve seen someone actually already tried that before. Right? Um, so, you know, it’s not just the template, it’s the experience and seeing, you know, will this likely work and you know, what Cpas in a good position to actually have already seen it in practice as opposed to just starting it for the first time. Right.
Does anyone on this girl and associates team do business plans on their own as a one person project?
No. And, and that’s, you know, even like further reinforces why is a template just not good enough? Because you know, even myself, and I’ve done hundreds of business plans, I still don’t want to be the only set of eyes on it because what you want is someone to scrutinize that plan. The business owners put their vision in it, you know, we have a member of our team goal and complete the business plan and then we have someone else from the team. We would try to poke holes in it because we want to poke holes on it before there’s money on the line. Um, you know, it, you put the egos aside and say, hey look, this could go wrong with this plan. How do we make it even better? So having multiple people, the business owner, Edmonton Accountant you know, when two people from our, at least two people from our team look at the plant, that’s what increases the chance of success for the business owner rather than just having one set of idea. You know, we want to get the best ideas out in the open. We want to be able to, to poke holes in the plan before there’s money on the line. Right? So I think that’s what we have for today. Um, you know, if you have any questions you don’t, feel free to leave a comment below, we’d be happy to address it in a future video. Thanks very much.