Added Value Tools
1. Goals, Business Plans, Forecasts and budgets
Business is a means to an end. It has a purpose, an objective, a goal
Do you want to identify, articulate and understand where you want your business to go?
Using the latest strategic planning software and years of experience and expertise, we can help you produce a clear articulation of what you really want from your business.
Need help developing and writing a powerful business plan?
We can help you with this. Using our knowledge of your business, experience of working with hundreds of other businesses and using strategic planning tools, we can provide your business with a blueprint for how your business is going to get to where you want it to go.
Want to produce robust forecasts and budgets tailored to suit the exact needs of your business?
We use the latest and best available financial modeling software to help you do this.
2. Actual Performance
- Want to systematically measure your actual performance and compare it to your targets, previous months and years and others in your industry?
- Want to really understand what is happening while there is still time to do something about it?
- Could you benefit from monthly or quarterly meetings to discuss the key issues raised by your performance problems?
We can measure all the things that really matter. Using tools such as Success Driver Mapping we will identify, measure and evaluate every single Key Success Driver/Key Performance Indicators in your business. This will highlight the gaps between your actual performance and your targets and help you create an ACTION PLAN for closing those gaps. Often described as the “ultimate performance tool”, our professional advice is that you simply must use this tool in your business.
We can meet with you monthly or quarterly to discuss your performance measures. Our BoardView service is designed to help you solve problems, seize opportunities and create your action plan to drive your business forward.
We can also produce accurate and timely management accounts – complete with graphs, analysis and commentary – within a few days of the end of each month or quarter.
3. Annual Accounts
What the most successful businesses do.
Like all businesses you are required by law to produce annual accounts. Those annual accounts must be ‘true and fair’ and comply with all relevant rules and regulations. The most successful businesses produce their accounts quickly, have them independently checked, share them with their team and make them freely available to suppliers, customers, investors and all other interested parties.
How Ashleys can help you replicate their success
As fully qualified accountants, it goes without saying that we can:
- Produce fully compliant accounts quickly – ensuring that you stay within all the rules and meet all the deadlines.
- Audit your accounts to make sure they are true and fair – giving you peace of mind that you have discharged your accounts responsibilities properly.
- Make it all really easy – since, if you are not already using our year-end accounting service, our AVN ChangeEasy package will make the transition smooth and painless.
Many businesses have become even more successful by giving their key team members ‘Finance for non accountants’ training – which explains why John Cleese’s ‘The Balance Sheet Barrier’ is one of the most frequently watched business training videos of all time. If this is an area that you feel would also benefit your business, you will be pleased to know that we can:
Train your key team members in how to be even better at interpreting and using the numbers in your accounts – so that they make better decisions and generate better results.
4. Performance against previous years
Performance is always relative. How ‘good’ for example is a profit of £100,000? It could be really good for a business with a target of £20,000. But it would be bad for a business that achieved £500,000 last year. And it would be appalling for a business where everyone else in its industry achieved £5 million.
In other words, you can only really judge performance by comparing it to:
- Previous months and years, and
- Others in your industry
We can help you identify and analyse the underlying trends in your business over the past 5 years and produce a report that:
- Identifies the trends in all your key numbers and ratios
- Presents the findings as colourful graphs
- Contains a Plain English explanation of what it all means, and
- Does sensitivity analysis to calculate how much more successful and profitable you could be
That analysis can be produced for you as either:
- A comprehensive ‘Full report’ (typically 30-40 insightful pages)
- A short ‘Summary report’ (typically 8-10 pages)
The choice of report length is yours, but whichever you choose is guaranteed to give you new insights into what is really happening in your business and where you should be concentrating your efforts.
5. Performance against others in your industry
Benchmarking is one of the most widely used management tools in the world, and it is not difficult to see why.
It will help you:
- Discover where to focus your efforts
- Create an action plan for reclaiming your missing profits and your business will
- Become more successful, profitable and valuable
As co-funders of the UK’s leading financial benchmarking database, we can produce an AVN Confidential Performance Report for you:
Comparing your business to others in your industry, across 19 key performance measures
Presenting those comparisons as both numbers and as colourful graphs
Explaining what each of your 19 key performance measures means
Analysing where your strengths and weaknesses are compared to the rest of your industry
Suggesting an initial action plan for improving your performance in each of those key areas
Calculating precisely how much extra in sales, profits and cash those improvements could generate for you over the next 12 months.
That analysis can be produced for you as either:
- A full report (20-30 insightful pages)
- A summary report (8-10 pages)
- An AVN OnePage Performance Improvement Plan – which uses the benchmarking findings to help you set appropriate targets and create an action plan to help you achieve those targets
6. Business Valuation
What the most successful businesses do
For most business owners, one of the main reasons they own a business is to create value for themselves. In other words, to build a business that is actually worth something when they want to sell it or retire. And to build a business that becomes more and more valuable over time.
So measuring how much their business is actually worth – and how that value is changing year by year – is something all successful entrepreneurs, investors and managers do.
They can ensure that:
- The business is focused on the things that create rather than destroy value
- The business is on track to be worth the amount the owners want it to be worth when they come to ‘cash in their chips’ and that
- Where necessary, they take corrective action to make sure that the value of the business lives up to their hopes and expectations.
How we can help you:
- We can take account of your latest performance, along with the most up-to-date market information and insights, to value your business.
- We can do this for you every year – so that you always have your fingers on the pulse. Or we can do it for you less often if you prefer.
As always, the choice is yours.
7. Improvement Potential
One of the biggest causes of business under-performance is managers who say:
“That’s just the way it is in our industry – and we can’t do anything about it”.
So, for example, instead of pre-judging with “We can’t increase prices in our industry”, look at the evidence. And if the benchmarking evidence shows that some of your competitors are earning higher gross profits than you, then there are only two possible explanations: either their prices are higher or their costs are lower. So how can you learn from them to increase your prices or reduce your costs?
And instead of pre-judging with “Customers always take 90 days credit in our industry”, look at the facts. And if the evidence shows that some of your competitors only have 40 days of sales tied up in debtors, work out how to get yours down from 90 days to 40 days too!
Never fall into the trap of pre-judging what may or may not be possible. Instead of guessing… look at the evidence, think creatively, and use an open mind to look for a better way.
How Ashleys can help you:
We can produce a simple one page AVN Profit Review – giving an indication of what might be possible in your business.
8. Improvement Plan
Nothing changes unless something changes. The final step taken by all successful businesses is to develop and implement an action plan.
The action plan must be based on everything that has been learned. It will therefore include actions inspired by:
- Your goals, objectives and targets
- How well the business is achieving those targets
- The trends in your performance
- Your strengths and weaknesses compared to your competitors
- How effectively wealth and value is being created for the owners
- And with priorities influenced by the likely payback
Effective action planning requires you to combine analysis with creativity. It requires you to resist knee-jerk reactions. To study the facts. And to explore all the possibilities.
Effective planning also requires discipline. The discipline to make sure there is clarity over who is going to do what, and by which date. And the discipline to make people accountable for actually taking the decisions they are responsible for.
And having done all of that, successful businesses start again…setting new targets, monitoring their actual performance against those targets… and starting again... because performance measurement and improvement is a never-ending cycle.
How Ashleys can help you:
Developed, in conjunction with some of the UK’s leading business thinkers and achievers, the AVN Business Builder Review is a highly effective business improvement process. Taking only 2-3 hours of your time, it has been specifically designed to help identify ‘quick wins’ – actions that will have the maximum impact with the minimum effort.
You will also receive a simple AVN OnePage Performance Improvement Plan automatically, as a standard part of any benchmarking analysis we do, comparing you to the rest of your industry.