Source: Teri Lammers, The Weekly Cash-Flow Planner, Inc, June 1992, p 99
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based on the terms of the invoices and the aging of the corresponding receivables The terms were net 30, which means that the payment was due 30 days following the invoice date But the entrepreneur who completed this projection did not simply project October 29 because that was 30 days after invoicing To do this would be too theoretical and quite frankly na ve on the entrepreneur s part Instead, she used common sense and factored in the extra 7 days that Customer 1 typically takes before paying the bills Thus, the product was invoiced on September 22, and the entrepreneur is forecasting the actual receipt of payment on October 29
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This section also includes the cash payments expected each week throughout the month These are expected to be actual cash payments that customers make when they pick up their merchandise In these cases, the entrepreneur is not supplying any credit to the customer By doing this kind of projection each month, the entrepreneur can schedule her payments to suppliers to match her expected cash receipts This planner allows her to be proactive, as all entrepreneurs should be, with regard to the money owed to her suppliers It enables her to let specific vendors know in advance that her payment will probably be late The cash flow ledger and planner are simple and very useful tools that the entrepreneur should use to manage cash flow successfully
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1 Jamie Pratt, Financial Accounting, 2nd ed (Cincinnati, Ohio: SouthWestern Publishing Co, 1994), pp 396 397 2 Kathleen Morris, No Laughing Gas Matter A Dental-Tech Startup May Have Hyped Its Numbers, BusinessWeek, June 9, 1998, p 44 3 Stanford Law School, Securities Class Action Clearinghouse, http://securitiesstanfordedu/1012/PLSIA98/ 4 Martha Brannigan, Sunbeam Concedes 1997 Statements May Be Off, Wall Street Journal, July 1, 1998, p A4 5 US Business Journal, February 2001 6 Crain s Chicago Business, July 10, 2000
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INTRODUCTION Sadly, it is common to hear entrepreneurs say, I do not know any thing about finance, because I was never good with numbers Therefore, I focus on my product and let someone else worry about the numbers Someone with such an attitude can never achieve successful high-growth entrepreneurship Financial statement analysis is not brain surgery! Everyone can understand it In fact, no matter how distasteful or uncomfortable it might be to the highgrowth entrepreneur, he must learn and use financial statement analysis Finance is like medicine No one likes it because it usually tastes awful, but everyone knows that it is good for you PROACTIVE ANALYSIS Entrepreneurs must engage in proactive analysis of their financial statements to better manage their company and influence the business decisions of the company s managers, as well as attract capital from investors and creditors1 Financial statements must be used as tangible management tools, not simply as reporting documents While it is not required that the entrepreneur be able to develop these statements herself a job that is done by the CFO she must be able to completely understand every line item The entrepreneur who cannot do this will have a much more difficult time growing the company and raising capital
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For example, one of the fundamentals of finance says that accounts receivable (A/R) and inventory should not grow at an annual rate faster than revenue growth If they do, it is a sign that the company s working capital is being depleted because the accounts receivable and inventory represent a drag on a company s cash A case in point: The management team at Lucent Technologies failed to do a proactive analysis of this relationship The result The stock price declined 30 percent shortly after the company reported its 1999 financial results The results showed that compared with the previous year, revenues grew an impressive 20 percent Unfortunately, A/R and inventory grew 41 percent and 54 percent, respectively! Another problem for entrepreneurs who do not analyze their financial statements proactively is that these entrepreneurs also risk being taken advantage of or exploited There are numerous accounts of companies losing money to employees who were stealing products and cash In many instances, the theft was not identified immediately because the owners excluded themselves from all financial statement analysis Not surprisingly, many of the thieves are bookkeepers, accountants, accounts receivable and payable clerks, and CFOs All of the aforementioned are positions intimately involved in the company s financings There s a lesson here: thieves do not always look like scumbags! Heck, if they did, you would not have hired that person in the first place Automated Equipment Inc is a family-run manufacturing business in Niles, Illinois The company s bookkeeper was a friendly 35-year-old woman who was inflating payouts to vendors and then altering the names on the checks and depositing them in accounts under her control It took the company four years to discover the embezzlement, and by then the woman had stolen nearly $610,000, leaving the company in near financial ruin Among other things, the bookkeeper purchased a Cadillac sport-utility vehicle, expensive clothing, and fine meats Oh, she also put a $30,000 addition on her home The theft forced the company to lay off 4 of its 11 employees, including the owner s wife and a 27-year worker By the way, the bookkeeper had a separate federal student loan conviction from her previous job Bette Wildermuth, a longtime business broker in Richmond, Virginia, has 25 years worth of stories of business owners getting