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ProfitCents is accountants’ “User Favorite” for business intelligence

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

ProfitCents, the Sageworks solution that helps accountants easily translate financial statements into actionable insights for client businesses, has been recognized by Accountex USA as the “User Favorite” for business intelligence. Accountex USA, the only independent accounting technology expo and conference in the U.S., announced the award this week in Boston…...

CECL model: Build or buy?

David Kistler
Posted by David Kistler

Compared to existing ALLL requirements, Accounting Standards Update 2016-13 (CECL) will require more inputs, assumptions, analysis and documentation, making the option to automate the process significantly more attractive for many institutions. Regardless of an institution’s approach, key consideration areas for a CECL-ready model include data management, contractual life, segmentation, methodologies,…...

Error-free work – Is it time to move past the spreadsheet?

David Kistler
Posted by David Kistler

What do we do with all of these spreadsheets?  The above question is being asked by financial managers at banks and credit unions as the implementation of the FASB’s current expected credit loss model (CECL) approaches. So, where did the use of all of these spreadsheets (and the dependence on…...

5 Cash flow management best practices for business owners

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

By Alison Nailor, Sageworks As a business owner, you understand it’s important to be aware of your company’s cash flow and manage it well. In the rush of day to day business management, however, this can be difficult. According to a recent Crowe Horwath survey of manufacturing companies and distributors,…...

How much cash should a company have?

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Just as oxygen keeps humans alive and moving, cash keeps businesses surviving and thriving. How much cash is enough to meet the vital needs of a business? Is the same amount of cash sufficient for a two-owner hair salon as for a restaurant with two partners or for a builder…...

In a sea of tech companies, Sageworks rises to top award

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Over the past few years, the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, where Sageworks is headquartered, has been named among the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., the best places to live, the top boomtowns and the best places to start a business (among many other accolades). It’s also home to…...

New guide focuses on improving cash flow to grow the business

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Small businesses in the U.S. face cash flow challenges on a monthly basis, but are business owners and their advisors asking the right questions and addressing the critical areas to change course?  Recent research by JPMorgan Chase Institute showed that the median small business has an average of only $7…...

3 Ways you may be ruining your financial presentations

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

For accountants, valuation professionals and other business advisory professionals, financial presentations are a fact of life. Even if you are among the many people who fear public speaking more than they fear death, chances are that you will be required to present financials to clients or managers at some point…...

8 fundamentals for increasing the value of your client’s business

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As a business owner it is easy to get stuck in the weeds. The day-to-day commitments that a business deals with can prevent owners from thinking about the big picture. This reality is what hinders many companies from developing long-term plans for how to grow the value of their business.…...

Infographic: How do landscaping businesses increase cash?

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

any business owners have trouble managing the line between business and personal expenses. To increase cash for your business without hurting your personal finances, it is important to understand your cash flow situation.  These situations make it hard for business owners to gauge the cash flow of the business. The…...

Watch for these errors on intangible assets

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Auditors face numerous challenges when it comes to helping clients understand financial reporting issues related to accounting for intangible assets acquired in a business combination. Some challenges are a function of management’s attempts to prepare the purchase price allocation with insufficient expertise, according to Rachel Flaskey, vice president at Chartwell,…...

Business valuation: In defense of simplicity

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

By Erik Kobayashi-Solomon, Principal and Founder, IOI Investor Services Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations. Which is more likely true about Linda?…...

The state of U.S. small businesses

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Given their roles, accountants have unique insight into trends among their own small business clients, and they can probably provide an idea of how firms generally fared in 2015 based on conversations and recent engagements. But a recent financial statement analysis by Sageworks, a financial information company, provides a look…...

Why business owners can fail, even during growth

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

By Bakley Smith, CFA Most business owners - especially those in the startup space - have an eye fixed on valuation. At what level does the market value the company? The media, of course, feeds the frenzy with television shows, articles, podcasts and a steady stream of click bait, aimed…...

Want answers on CECL? Fed webinar aimed at non-bankers

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

**The FASB issued the final CECL standard on June 16, 2016. For up-to-date information and resources, access the updated CECL Prep Kit. The Federal Reserve announced it will hold a special information session later this month for accountants, consultants, auditors and others to learn more about the FASB’s forthcoming current expected…...

Lessons to apply to business valuations

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

By Bakley Smith, CFA Most business owners - especially those in the startup space - have an eye on valuation. At what level does the market value the company? The media, of course, feeds the frenzy with television shows, articles, podcasts and a steady stream of click bait, aimed at…...

Top cash flow forecasting mistakes

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

By Bakley Smith, CFA Strong businesses have a solid handle on their financial reality, and the cash flow statement is an excellent, if not the best, measure of a company’s ability to generate cash in excess of cash invested. Over a sufficiently long period of time, all businesses have to…...

Why it’s time you give up spreadsheets in the ALLL calculation

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It’s time for a foundational shift in the resources bankers use to calculate the ALLL. Years ago, using spreadsheets was by far and away the preferred option – primarily because it was the only option. To those in the early 20th century, the typewriter was the most efficient way to…...

Lending, net income soar to new heights, so why not profitability?

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The American Bankers Association released a statement on the FDIC’s second quarter bank earnings report last week, and results were very promising for the health of the economy. Bank lending hit a new milestone of $8 trillion, and net income soared to near-record highs; however, profitability continues to lag for…...

Take your relationship with your accountant to the next level

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

By Diana Mackie, Chief Content Officer at Funding Gates How well do you and your company’s accountant know one another? Do you hand him or her a pile of papers come tax time and go about your day, or do you appreciate and make use of the wide range of…...

How to stress your CRE portfolio

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Many banks are familiar with top down stress tests, as these tests may not necessarily require the use of a sophisticated model and there is an accepted way to implement the tests. Bottom up stress testing, however, is not as clearly defined by guidance and is often left up to…...

Justifying your ALLL in a period of low historical losses

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A common concern among banks recently is how to correctly implement loss methodologies in a period of low historical losses. While it’s a relatively good problem to have, it nonetheless imposes challenges in the calculation of the ALLL. If there are few reference points, how then, does a bank go…...

How to use stress testing as a tool for risk management

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By now, we should all be familiar with the term “stress testing.” And while stress testing is not a new concept – it is an important part of the risk management process for every institution. Recent mandates from regulatory bodies have placed a renewed emphasis on it. Most institutions perform…...

What are examiners’ most frequent concerns?

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In the most recent issue of Supervisory Insights, the FDIC included an article highlighting evolving risks in banking.  The findings from this report are derived from of a culmination of FDIC exams, in which repeated Matters Requiring Board Attention (MRBAs) have surfaced. These MRBAs are deemed as issues uncovered by…...

Why yesterday was huge for banking: IFRS 9

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Despite much deliberation and an initial desire to converge ideologies, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and its American counterpart, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) were unable to draft uniform revisions to the current incurred loss model for the ALLL. Due to fundamental disagreements on how impairments should be…...

Why technology is needed for stress testing

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Shifting regulatory demands often have direct impact on banks and their use of technology and innovative processes. The next shift is around stress testing, according to a recent article by American Banker’s Penny Crosman.  A general theme coming from bankers and consultants that attended the American Banker Stress Testing 2014…...

Determining the right measure of loss

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Chief financial officers at financial institutions have enough to worry about without the historical loss measure for FAS 5 loans. Unfortunately, key parties—from the Board of Directors to auditors to regulators—worry about it each time an ALLL calculation is performed. What measure is right? Does the loss period cover too…...

Breakeven analysis – when can you start making money

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

For a Chief Financial Officer of a company, profitability is sure to be front-of-mind. Even if you have a great product and are generating consistent sales, many business owners and key decision makers can find themselves surprised that their business is still not making them any money.  According to the US…...

Private equity’s “dry powder” pushing buyout valuations higher

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Private equity firms ended 2013 with a record $1.07 trillion in “dry powder,” or capital committed but yet to be invested. But some deal makers have indicated that tough competition among buyers and high prices for sellers are creating some challenges, including lofty valuations. The Wall Street Journal and The…...

How to develop valuations with Sageworks Valuation Solution precision

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Sageworks, the leader in the financial analysis of privately held companies and maker of ProfitCents, today unveiled a business valuation platform that helps CPA firms, private equity firms and valuation firms determine an accurate and legally defensible value for private companies. Sageworks Valuation Solution, a commercial grade, web-based solution, will…...

How to make your business stand out

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Most businesses face steep competition. According to the US Small Business Administration, to be successful and break away from the pack, one of the first steps in your business development plan should be to determine your market and identify why they should give their business to you.  Make sure that…...

5 Things you need to do to make your business better this new year

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

By Bailey McCann, Funding Gates Bailey McCann A new year offers many reasons to get excited about your business once again.  The possibility of new clients and customers is one reason to celebrate.  The launch of a new line of product or services very well could be what keeps you working…...

How to develop cash flow analysis

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

There's nothing quite like cash. It is necessary to start, maintain and grow business operations. However, many small business owners struggle with managing and sustaining their cash reserves. Flawed cash flow analysis or insufficient capital can drastically and negatively affect daily business operations, as well as loan eligibility. Cash flow,…...

Valuations: 4 things that make private companies different

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

While Wall Street firms get a lot of publicity (especially when it comes to mergers and acquisitions), most of the 27 million U.S. businesses are privately held. For accountants and others in financial services, that means a multitude of opportunities can arise to use valuations in planning for succession, evaluating…...

Pass-throughs to get more IRS scrutiny

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

The IRS plans to shift more resources and attention to audits of pass-through entities in 2014 and beyond, according to published reports of comments by Faris Fink, head of the IRS Small Business/Self-Employed division. Accounting Web and CFO.com both reported recently that Fink (yes, the Fink who played Spock in a…...

5 Resources for accountants helping clients with health-care questions

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Are you getting calls from self-employed clients and small business owners who are trying to investigate the options for health care plans on healthcare.gov? It wouldn’t be surprising, considering CPAs have historically been among the top resources for human resource compliance issues. You and your clients may have run into…...

Auditor switching tied more to relationship woes than to pricing

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Why do clients change audit firms? For years, accounting firms have lamented that audits have become commoditized, with clients leaving multi-year relationships because they were able to get a lower price. Indeed, some studies have found that a major reason clients switch is that they decide audit fees are too…...

4 recommendations for better forecasts

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Business owners or financial officers know the value of accurate forecasts. Whether the objective is determining revenue for the month, the year or the next few years, a company’s revenue forecast, for example, often impacts or dictates spending levels, hiring, sales promotions and a million other business decisions.  If the…...

The best online trading platforms for small business investors

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

By Bailey McCann, Funding Gates Bailey McCann Small business owners may consider investing as a means of growing capital for their business or providing an additional layer of financial security for themselves. Self-directed investments can be an excellent choice for these small business owners, as they give business owners complete control…...

Did you raise your audit fees last year?

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Sageworks has a real-time application that benchmarks accounting industry pricing, and it shows that audit-billing rates for sole proprietors, partners, managers and senior accountants range from $91 an hour to $224 an hour. Meanwhile, a recent survey of financial executives showed that private companies on average experienced minor increases in…...

Smart retirement investments for small business owners

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

By Bailey McCann, Funding Gates Bailey McCann If you run a small business, retirement can be tricky. You can’t exactly just tell the HR department to pull 10 percent out and put it in the company 401(k). However, there are several options for small business owners and independent contractors.  Even though…...

Risk management and compliance spending rising – survey

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

More financial institutions are boosting spending on risk management and compliance than a few years ago, but how firms are spending also varies by size of firm, according to a new survey by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL). About two-thirds of financial institutions surveyed reported higher spending on risk management…...

Looking for a loan? Research your options first

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Applying for a business loan can be an intimidating and arduous process, and it can be confusing to have an application rejected with very little explanation. Mark Swanson, acting president and CEO of Northside Bank in Adairsville, Georgia, sees this frequently when he meets with business owners who have been…...

5 Traits of the ideal credit manager

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Credit Today, a website providing information to trade credit professionals, recently featured a list of attributes for the “ideal” credit manager. While some of them were geared specifically to collections professionals, many of these traits are important for lenders, credit analysts and other credit staff at financial institutions as well.…...

In good times, review business practices

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Lawrence Barger, CPA with Alpern Rosenthal recently wrote an article in a newsletter describing practices that manufacturing business owners should observe, now that the industry's recovery has proven to be sustainable. These practices can be helpful for companies in all industries, as they reassess business strategies. 1. Renegotiate loans and…...

A good time to be an accountant?

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

CPA firms hired a record 40,350 new accounting graduates last year, and hiring demand continues to remain strong, according to a recent survey by the American Institute of CPAs, or AICPA. The previous hiring peak recorded by the survey on supply and demand trends in accounting was in 2007, before…...

Here is why you should consider continuous budgets

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

An article recently featured on CFO.com, written by Jon Louvar, explains why corporate planning on a monthly or quarterly basis instead of annually can improve the accuracy of the numbers and the efficiency of the process. Continuous budgeting, when the budgeting process is more frequent than once a year, means that…...

Regulatory changes: Top of mind for bankers

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Spending a lot of time at your financial institution on regulatory issues? You’re not alone. A recent survey of bank executives by KPMG LLP found that regulatory issues are top of mind for many in the industry. Thirty-five percent of respondents expect bank management to spend most of its time…...

CPAs are top compliance resources

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

As regulations have increased, businesses are less confident in their ability to manage compliance, a top executive with ADP’s small business services unit said recently. For CPAs, that can mean an opportunity to deepen client relationships and provide additional services related to tracking and meeting various regulations.  Certified Public Accountants…...

4 Reasons private companies matter

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Wall Street may get the headlines, but did you know that of the 27 million businesses in the U.S., less than 1 percent are publicly traded on the major exchanges? The rest are privately held, and these private companies represent a vital segment of the U.S. economy. Few private firms…...

Preparing financial presentations for board meetings, shareholders

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Board meeting presentations can cause a CFO, consultant or business owner headaches, both in the preparation and in the actual presentation. For the financial portion of the presentation, knowing what to include can be a big source of frustration: too much financial detail can be overwhelming or completely uninteresting to…...

CEIS: Credit quality at banks improving

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Credit quality continues to improve for most banks, according to the new 2012 Q4 Client Survey conducted by CEIS Review. The overall level of criticized and classified loans has declined and in general, non-accruals have not been increasing further, CEIS said in its report. The pace of new loan growth…...

The Private Company Outlook: Sageworks, ADP discuss recent trends

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Privately held companies continue to have strong fundamental performance in general, but hiring by them remains weak, especially considering how much economic activity has occurred since the recession, Sageworks Chairman Brian Hamilton said Tuesday. “There’s no question the economy is perking along, but [the weak hiring] is one thing we…...

Sageworks hosts Private Company Outlook event in NYC

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Due to the limited data available about their performance, private companies are rarely the focus of national news. But, private companies will have their time in the spotlight at an upcoming, New York City event. On April 30th, members of the media, business executives and other financial professionals will gather…...

Benchmark your business & win the horse race

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Maybe it’s an inherent competitiveness or just the pursuit of improvement, but it’s commonplace for people to seek out benchmarks they can use to assess their relative position or performance. It interests people to know how they compare to their peers. Benchmarks have a place in business, too, and can…...

Adding more value to the role of Chief Audit Executive

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Chief audit executives (CAEs) face countless challenges with the various regulations they must meet and with ensuring that investors have faith in the company’s numbers. Many CAEs have focused most, if not all, of their time on regulatory compliance. That focus is now shifting over to value-added services intended to…...

Five factors that affect your business credit score

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Managing business credit is one of the most important and challenging acts for small business owners. From using personal credit cards for business, to missing out on opportunities in small business tax credit, there are several ways to get entangled which can harm your business's creditworthiness. Business 2 Community, an…...

Need a Bank Loan? Fuhgeddaboutit!

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Guest post by John Calia CEO Coach, Vistage Chair and Partner, The McCracken Alliance Well, you’ve survived the Great Recession and your outlook isn’t quite as glum as it once was.  The economy doesn’t look great but it doesn’t look like it’s going to get worse right now.  Maybe –…...

Four companies that need a credit check

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

More than three years after the official end to the recession, U.S. businesses are recovering but not recovered.  Uncertainty remains the mood of the day, with surveys showing that a sizable portion of private companies are worried that a potential lack of demand is a barrier to growth. Companies must…...

Commercial lending bears watching

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Will the current growth in loans to businesses be good for the business of banks in the long run? As financial institutions diversify their loan portfolios with increased commercial and industrial (C&I) loans, qualified business borrowers may be finding the climate advantageous. But regulators and banking risk management experts are…...

Private companies ‘in pretty good shape’

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

As the deadline for averting major government spending cuts came and went, several reports noted the so-called sequester could result in cuts to U.S. Small Business Administration loan guarantees for businesses. On the bright side heading into the sequester, data from Sageworks, a financial information company, shows that private companies…...

When it comes to cash, who you gonna listen to? Me or Warren Buffett?

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Guest post by John Calia, partner, The SCA Group No sooner than I said it, Warren Buffett made a liar out of me. I wrote an article for CFO Magazine at the end of last year titled, “Three New Year’s Resolutions Every CFO Must Make in 2013.” Top of the…...

Sageworks’ private company report released for January

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Sageworks’ monthly report on the state of privately held companies in America, released today, shows that private companies in the United States continued to increase sales and improve their net profit margins in the period ending in January 2013. Overall, sales are strong, though growing at a slower rate than…...

Profit margins for private gas stations below average

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

See more updated data on the gas station industry here and here. Gas prices continue to rise, but interestingly enough, only a small portion of the profit is actually going into the pockets of gas station owners. According to industry data from Sageworks, private gas stations have lower net profit margins…...

Spotlight on manufacturing trends

Manufacturing has been a relative bright spot in the economy since the recession, and President Obama in his annual address earlier this month called for new efforts to boost manufacturing. So what is the “State of the Union” for privately held manufacturing companies? After all, nearly all employer firms in…...

Private companies see higher per-worker sales, profits

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

By one measure, private-company employees in the U.S. are the most efficient they’ve been in years, according to new data from Sageworks, Inc., a financial information company. Preliminary estimates for 2012 show that U.S. companies generated the highest levels of sales per employee and profit per employee in years. But…...

Streamline your writing using the 9-step process

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

In a recent post, AccountingWEB discusses how to simplify your report writing using nine easy steps.   3-8-1 Streamline Your Writing Using the Nine-Step Process How long does it take you to get your reports out? And how painful is it? No one knows better than an auditor that most…...

Private-company credit risk is lower

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Private U.S. companies have a slightly lower risk of defaulting this year than a year ago, according to a new financial statement analysis by Sageworks Inc., a financial information company. On average, the probability that a private company would default in the next year was 4.40 percent, based on data…...

On list of slowest-growing industries, housing-related businesses find a home

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Four of the 10 slowest-growing industries over the last 12 months were tied to the housing market, according to preliminary estimates released recently by Sageworks Inc., a financial information company. That’s not surprising, considering housing has continued to claw its way back from the depths of the housing bubble’s burst,…...

Compensation trends in commercial lending

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Want to achieve higher growth and returns on investment from your commercial lending operations? Results from the 2012 Crowe Financial Institutions Compensation Survey suggest that one important tool for doing so may be better use of incentive compensation. The ABA Banking Journal recently published a summary of the survey’s findings…...

Private companies are in better shape to borrow

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

The Federal Reserve’s latest “Beige Book” report on economic activity indicated that a third of the 12 Fed districts are seeing stronger loan demand from consumers and businesses. And recent data from Sageworks, a financial information company, shows that privately held companies have improved two financial metrics that are often…...

Watch these fast-growing industries in 2013

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Sageworks, a financial information company, is out with a list of fast-growing industries that bear watching in 2013. A financial statement analysis of privately held companies in Sageworks’ database shows that over the last 12 months, many of the fastest growing industries are tied to manufacturing and construction. That’s not…...

Does “Fiscal Cliff” deal address businesses’ concerns?

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Congress has approved a temporary fix for at least part of the “Fiscal Cliff,” but with many questions remaining about future legislative action, it’s unclear whether it will be enough to address concerns of many U.S. business owners.  In fact, a recent survey by Sageworks, a financial information company, found…...

Private companies boost margins despite modest inflation

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Private companies in the U.S. this year are more profitable now than at any point in the last decade despite slowing sales growth, according to a preliminary analysis of data from Sageworks. Their increasing profitability is impressive given the modest inflation seen at the producer level in recent years, as…...

Retailers managing inventories

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

A one-week strike at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach ended last week, bringing a sigh of relief to retailers in the thick of replenishing goods for the holiday shopping season. News reports had indicated the work stoppage had some retailers worried about their ability to replenish hot-selling…...

Professional skepticism in the audit process

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

In the Staff Audit Practice Alert Number 10, issued on December 4th, 2012, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) recognized and emphasized the need for all audit firms to apply professional skepticism. They define professional skepticism as “an attitude that includes a questioning mind and a critical assessment of…...

Dry cleaners’ margins improving despite tariff rulings on hangers

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Privately held dry cleaners and launderers, which have expected anti-dumping tariffs to raise hanger costs, either aren’t seeing a major impact yet, or owners are finding ways to offset them, based on a preliminary analysis of industry data by Sageworks Inc., a financial information company. Privately held dry cleaners and…...

5 Year-end business tax tips to consider now

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

  Guest column by Lauren Prosser, Director of Professional Services, Sageworks Inc.   A recent Gallup survey found eight in 10 Americans consider it extremely or very important that Congress and President Obama agree on a plan to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff -- automatic budget cuts and the expiration…...

Smaller retailers could use a holiday boost

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Holiday shopping is off to a solid start -- good news for small retail companies, which have been experiencing weaker sales so far this year, according to preliminary data from Sageworks. A recent financial analysis by Sageworks shows that among privately held retail companies, it’s the larger stores that have…...

What is a probability of default model?

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Since 2009, more than 400 financial institutions have become insolvent. Each institution was determined by examiners to be ill-equipped to cover the unforeseen level of borrower defaults and resulting losses they had to recognize. The common sentiment amongst these banks – “if only we had seen this coming or had…...

GDP, private-company trends among economy’s mixed signals

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

In the last general report card on the economy before the Nov. 6 election, the Commerce Department recently reported that gross domestic product increased 2 percent during the third quarter, showing some improvement from the second quarter. Still, the report was consistent with some of the mixed signals affecting privately…...

Factors that affect small business credit

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Many small private businesses are finding it challenging to access financial resources for growth at a time when lenders are still cautious and facing pressure to avoid risky loans. Many businesses already know this, because they have seen their borrowing requests rejected by a lender. Others may be considering starting a…...

Bankruptcies’ pressure on lenders and borrowers

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

It has become critical for businesses of all types and for lending institutions to spot signs of financial sickness before they are fatal. “If you have a business relationship with another firm and that firm goes under, that can have an adverse impact on your business and your ability to…...

Accounting pros: Clients can do more to check creditworthiness

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Businesses can do more to protect themselves against credit risks, accounting professionals said in a recent survey by Sageworks Inc., a financial information company. Sixty-five percent of accounting professionals responding to the online survey said business clients don’t do enough before extending credit, while 35 percent said clients sufficiently ensure…...

Gas prices higher, but station-owner profits slim

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

High gasoline prices got you down? Gasoline prices in California have been so high recently that some gas station owners have closed up shop rather than lose money, according to published reports. And industry data from Sageworks, a financial information company, sheds light on why things might be tough for…...

Business credit: Making informed credit decisions

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Private companies pose unique challenges for banks and others trying to quantify the credit risk associated with those companies in an automated and standardized manner. Since privately held firms aren’t required to share financial information with outsiders, the number of parties with access to accurate, detailed information about the business…...

Who should look at business credit?

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

In today’s uncertain economic times, businesses have to be more cautious about who they do business with. Businesses have countless suppliers and moving parts, how is a business owner supposed to identify a singular high-risk area? To help business owners, Sageworks has identified multiple scenarios where a business should conduct…...

Thinly sliced supermarket margins leave little room for cost increases

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

  Privately held U.S. supermarkets and grocers (NAICS 445110) have seen their already slim profit margins slowly narrow since 2010, according to data from Sageworks, a financial information company.  Preliminary estimates from a financial statement analysis of private supermarkets and grocers shows that net profit margin, on average, has gone…...

Businesses reducing credit risk in tough economic times

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Recent challenges in the U.S. have bolstered the need for examining credit risk. The financial and operational risks to business owners are evident in several statistics. Business bankruptcies peaked at nearly 61,000 in 2009, and they have declined to around 47,000 in 2011. However, the 44,435 business bankruptcies that have…...

Study using Sageworks data: Private cos. out-invest publicly traded cos.

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

  Privately held companies invest substantially more than do publicly traded companies matched for industry and size, according to a recent study by researchers at New York University and Harvard University that used Sageworks’ data. The findings are consistent with theories linking conservative investing to public firm executives’ worries over…...

Economic data consistent with private-company trends

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Thursday’s surprise downward revision to second-quarter GDP and the worst durable goods report since the recession were consistent with some of the trends Sageworks, a financial information company, has been seeing recently. Average annual sales growth for private companies has slowed to around 5.5 percent currently from nearly 11 percent in January…...

Update on the health of private U.S. companies

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

When the Census Bureau releases the August report on durable goods manufacturing Thursday, it’s a fair bet that privately held companies will have played a key role in the numbers. After all, recent research out of Harvard University and New York University estimates that private U.S. firms account for 54.5…...

Retailers’ margins explain swipe-fees spat

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

The National Retail Federation this week said it would go to court to block a proposed court settlement over credit-card fees. Recent data from Sageworks Inc, a financial information company, shows why some retailers might be more inclined than others to balk at the deal, which the group says doesn’t go far enough…...

How do private companies stack up against public companies?

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Sageworks, a financial information company, recently released data showing that private companies’ profitability has lagged that of public companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-Stock Index through the recession and recovery.  On the other hand, private companies took a less drastic hit to sales, on a percentage basis, than did…...

U.S. auto dealer trends

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Privately owned U.S. auto dealers have continued to see double-digit sales gains over the last 12 months, growth that has outpaced other industries, according to recent data from Sageworks Inc., a financial information company. New- and used-auto dealers are in their third year of double-digit sales growth, though growth has…...

The ‘Dog Days’ for jobs

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Dog days bright and clear Indicate a happy year; But when accompanied by rain, For better times our hopes are vain - Traditional English proverb   Friday’s jobs report for July was neither decidedly sunny nor gloomy, even though stocks on Wall Street rallied to three-month highs. U.S. employers added…...

(Temporary) Help wanted, apparently – SageworksStats on Forbes.com

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

June unemployment in the U.S. was flat, and nearly a third of jobs added were in the temporary-help services industry, a field that has shown strong growth over the last 12 months, according to data from Sageworks Inc., a financial information company. “During the last 12 months, privately held employment…...

The health care ruling’s upside for private companies

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling is reviving impassioned discussions about whether President Obama's health care law will be positive or negative for businesses, especially smaller ones.  And while those debates will continue for months or maybe years, one immediate, positive impact on owners of privately held businesses is that they…...

Private companies’ current business trends still positive – SageworksStats @ Forbes.com

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

President Obama’s statement earlier this month that the private sector “is doing fine” prompted a wave of criticism, and there are certainly signs that economic confidence among consumers and businesses has weakened recently. But a new real-time measure of key financial metrics for privately held companies in the U.S. shows…...

Health care ruling reactions

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Posted by sageworks

Quick reads on the Supreme Court’s health care ruling and what it means for businesses: From the Journal of Accountancy: ”Several health-care-related elements of the legislation are already in effect, and the Court’s decision will allow them to continue. These include a temporary high-risk pool for individuals with preexisting health…...

Companies’ cash tied up in inventory, slow payers

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Later customer payments and slower moving inventory have combined to tie up private companies’ cash 16 percent longer than just three years ago, according to recent data from Sageworks Inc., a financial information company. That’s money companies don’t have in the bank to hire or buy new equipment, even though…...

How to use financial statements to improve cash flow

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Posted by sageworks

In business, as in most endeavors, passion is a key ingredient to success. Entrepreneurs who genuinely enjoy sales, operations, and customer service are much more likely to build profitable firms than individuals who are simply “going through the motions” of business in the name of making money. But even the…...

Why aren’t companies hiring? Sageworks Stats @ Forbes.com

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

The U.S. economy’s paltry addition of 69,000 jobs in May has intensified the political finger-pointing, but the truth is that no one really knows for sure why the economy is growing yet too few jobs are being created, said Sageworks CEO Brian Hamilton.  “The jobs report is disappointing because, at…...

What should you cover in a financial checkup?

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After working with accountants for years, a best practice that we have seen is for accountants to meet with business clients for an annual, 30-minute checkup. This meeting shouldn't require more than half an hour and isn't meant to be exhaustive. Instead it opens the door for more consistent communication and gives your…...

Private-company sales, margin growth continue – Sageworks Stats @ Forbes.com

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Privately held U.S. companies – the millions of businesses that drive job creation and GDP –are growing sales so far this year at about the same rate as they did for all of 2011, according to new data from Sageworks Inc., a financial information company. Companies across all industries, on…...

“Hot-button” issues in lending: Documentation

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Posted by sageworks

Guest post by John Baptista, Impact Training & Consulting As memberships in U.S. credit unions have grown, many institutions are expanding their offerings to include member business loans. Whether it’s a credit union making this move for the first time, or a bank diving deeper into commercial lending, I find…...

Why your clients need a financial checkup once a year

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The best business people I know are always ahead of the financial data they possess. That is, the shrewdest people who run businesses have an inherent understanding that good management decisions are always based upon what is going to happen rather than on what has already happened. I have worked…...

Concerns cause private companies to delay hiring

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Private companies are too nervous about the future to ramp up hiring, according to a new Sageworks Inc. survey of accountants, bankers and other financial professionals who work closely with these firms. About 32 percent of financial professionals in the survey said their clients aren’t hiring because they are concerned…...

April unemployment ticks down to 8.1 percent

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

The U.S. unemployment rate dipped in April to 8.1 percent from 8.2 percent in March, but fewer-than-expected jobs were added. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that the number of unemployed people was little changed at 12.5 million, and the number of long-term unemployed people in April was also…...

Private company sales, GDP continue to grow, but what about unemployment?

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Posted by sageworks

New data from Sageworks, a financial information company, shows that privately held companies in the United States saw average sales growth of 8.3 percent in the 12-month period ending in April 2012. That’s up slightly from the 2011 growth rate of around 8.2 percent, and up significantly from the low…...

Avoid cash flow catastrophes: Part V – 7 tips for better forecasts

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Cash flow forecasts, the vital estimates of how much cash your business will have in order to continuing operating, are notoriously tricky because of the many variables involved. Even so, accountants and other financial experts say there are several steps you can take to improve their accuracy. 1. Be conservative.…...

Does size matter? Sales growth, margins by company size

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Privately held companies have a huge impact on the U.S. economy, and new data from Sageworks, a financial information company, shows that sales and margin performance through the recession and so far in the recovery has varied, depending on the size of the company. Through its cooperative data model, Sageworks…...

It wasn’t overnight, but private hotels have turned around

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Privately owned hotels have weathered a difficult recession and are back on a profitable path. The industry posted positive net profit margins in 2011 for the first time in three years, and sales increased about 8 percent, according to a financial statement analysis of privately owned hotels by Sageworks, a…...

Avoid cash flow catastrophes: Part IV-10 ways cash flow forecasts go wrong

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Experts say cash flow forecasts can be tripped up by several common items that business owners and financial managers might overlook.  Generally, these can be blamed on two factors: omission or over-optimism. We’ll discuss over-optimism later, but let’s start with common items left out of cash flow forecasts that can…...

Why are private companies important?

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Sageworks collects data on the financial performance of private companies, but why do private companies matter? Out of the 27 million businesses in America, only about 6,200 are publicly traded on the major exchanges. The rest are privately held. --Small businesses drive over 50 percent of GDP. --Small businesses create approximately…...

Who’s hiring?

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Last week's jobs report showed that fewer-than-expected positions were added in March, stoking concern that the economy isn’t growing fast enough. But several industries that have driven a lot of the hiring over the last year continued to add workers last month. Who’s been hiring, and which industries have the kind…...

Signs that business banking is back

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Business banking is back – well, mostly. Commercial lending has been growing, according to Federal Reserve data. And recent research by Sageworks, a financial information company, shows that businesses’ borrowing-related financial ratios have improved, making access to credit more likely. Based on Federal Reserve data, commercial and industrial (C&I) lending…...

CFO Corner: Managing the chaos of growth

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Posted by sageworks

Hartman King, CFO of Nashville restaurant developer MStreet Entertainment Group, discusses managing the chaos of growth and the benefit of evolving financial processes. What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? Our company’s footprint…...

Avoid cash flow catastrophes: Part III – Frequency

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

  Cash flow forecast frequency: How often should you update? As with many things in finance, how often you perform or update your cash flow forecast depends on the business and your circumstances, according to Lauren Prosser, manager of advisory services at Sageworks. A retailer that sells many products of…...

19 banks stress tested, but what about the rest?

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Only 19 of the nation’s roughly 7,400 commercial banks were involved earlier this year in the Federal Reserve’s test of whether the banks could weather a severe recession that included 13 percent unemployment, a 50 percent drop in stock markets and a 21 percent decline in housing prices. Customers of…...

The U.S. Unemployment Rate vs. Private Company Revenue Growth Last 12 Months

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Posted by sageworks

National unemployment numbers were released today by the United State Labor Department and showed the unemployment rate falling from 8.3 percent to 8.2 percent. Sageworks found that private companies are seeing healthy sales growth, around 8 percent annually with net profit margins remaining over or close to 6 percent for…...

Avoid cash flow catastrophes: Part II

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Cash flow forecasting 101 Forecasting a business’ cash flow is critical to ensuring operations can continue without major disruptions. But one way you can tell that cash flow forecasting is a pain point for many people is the number of templates and software solutions that are available online.  Nevertheless, David…...

Key cost metrics for hot industries

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Last year, three out of every 1,000 American adults chose to start their own businesses, according to a study out this month by the Kauffman Foundation. And while that’s slightly below the entrepreneurship rate of 2010, it’s still among the highest levels of entrepreneurship over the past 16 years – a…...

Better economy, better hair?

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

John Paul DeJoria, a billionaire who co-founded the Paul Mitchell hair care company and the Patron tequila brand, recently called beauty salons the best economic indicator. In an interview with Business Insider, DeJoria said that during a downturn, customers will stretch their salon visits to eight weeks, but will resume a schedule…...

Avoid cash flow catastrophes: Improve your forecasts

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Remember Borders books?  Or Circuit City? How about Pan Am Airlines?  Each of these once-highflying brands is now gone or radically changed because their companies eventually ran out of cash to pay bills. But it’s not just big companies with declining sales that run into problems with cash flow. Talk…...

CFO Corner: Top-down approach to cash flow forecasting

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Posted by sageworks

L. Heath Sampson, CFO at asset management and recovery company SquareTwo Financial, discusses talent and a top-down approach to cash flow forecasting. What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? One of the things…...

5 Reasons to improve your cash flow forecasting

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

At its most basic level, cash flow forecasting helps a business survive. By knowing exactly what cash you have coming in and going out and when those transfers occur, you ensure you have enough cash to continue operating from day to day. But there are other, often related, reasons to…...

Positive economic signs, but confidence lags

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Private companies, those millions of businesses that drive job creation and the U.S. GDP, are seeing margins and profits that are higher than they were before the recession, as Sageworks data has shown. The Dow Jones Industrial Average a week ago had its highest close since late 2007.  But as…...

CFO Corner: Sensitivity analyses for working capital

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Posted by sageworks

Bob Pinkerton, CFO of contact center solutions provider Alpine Access of Denver, discusses streamlining the deal-review process and running sensitivities around working capital for cash flow forecasts. What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it with financial…...

Private-company profit margins recover

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Posted by sageworks

Privately held companies in most major economic sectors have returned their profit margins to pre-recession levels or better, according to a new analysis from Sageworks Inc., a financial information company. Sectors including manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation/warehousing, health care and retailing each generated net profit margins in 2011 that were higher…...

Data Release: U.S. Unemployment Rate vs. Private Company Revenue Growth

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Posted by sageworks

According to data released today by Sageworks, privately held companies in the United States saw average sales growth of over 8.5 percent in the 3 month period ending February 29, 2012. That’s up from an average sales growth rate of just under 8 percent in 2011, a growth rate of…...

CFO Corner: Expansions; Weighing new opportunities and the budget

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Posted by sageworks

Sheila Buska, CFO for the Monarch School, a public K-12 school in downtown San Diego that is exclusively for homeless students, discusses challenges during an expansion and weighing budgets and cash-flow forecasts against unexpected opportunities that arise.  What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months…...

More like a lamb than a lion, but economy’s improving

As March begins, the U.S. economy seems to be running more like a lamb than a lion, despite last week's upward revision of fourth-quarter GDP. Most economists expect slower growth in the current and coming quarters than the 3 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter (vs. an earlier estimate…...

Machinery gets economic gears moving – Sageworks Stats @ Forbes.com

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

The share of small-business owners planning to boost spending on machinery, equipment and other physical capital is the highest in four years and has improved since October, a recent survey by Wells Fargo and Gallup found. That’s good news considering the role business investment has played so far in rebuilding…...

CFO Corner: Helping new owners; common cash-forecasting mistake

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Posted by sageworks

David Douglass, a partner with Atlanta-based professional services firm Tatum, recently shared with Sageworks Inc. how he met the needs of new owners and the importance of “owning” cash flow. What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it…...

Wholesalers balance inventory with sales

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

U.S. businesses are keeping their inventories in line with demand, with wholesalers, in particular, balancing their stockpiles from manufacturers and their sales to retailers, according to data from Sageworks Inc., a financial information company. Balancing inventories is key to managing profitability and to avoiding fresh production cutbacks if demand continues…...

CFO Corner: Dealing with a revenue drop; monthly financial reviews

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Posted by sageworks

Craig Handley, CEO of Spanish-language communications center Listen Up Español, discusses dealing with a short-term drop in revenue and the importance of monthly financial review meetings. What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership?…...

Do I need business interruption insurance? A two-step decision

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Natural disasters in 2011 caused a record $350 billion in damages –the equivalent of wiping out the entire market value of General Electric (GE), Ford Motor Co. (F), Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) and Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) combined. But on top of the insured property losses, companies affected by the Midwest…...

Private grocers’ margins unspoiled by higher food prices

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Higher food prices couldn’t spoil the profit margins of privately held grocers and convenience stores in 2011. That’s good news, considering the USDA projects continued, albeit moderating, food inflation this year. New data from Sageworks, a financial information company, shows that private companies in the grocery and convenience stores industry…...

Fumbling financials (continued)-Avoiding the pitfalls of presenting numbers

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Part IV. Five tips for a financial presentation Last week, we continued the topic of how to present financial information to various audiences by addressing the importance of providing perspective and drawing connections between the numbers you provide.  In earlier posts, we reviewed keeping your data simple and focused, and…...

Get your money faster: Four steps to minimize late payments

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Imagine having more than 1 out of every 3 dollars in your business tied up and inaccessible. That’s money you can’t use to advertise, to develop new products and services, or to hire employees. For many business owners, that scenario is a day-to-day reality as they sit with 35 percent…...

CFO Corner: Challenging cash-flow forecasts

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Posted by sageworks

Paula Griffo, CFO of VoIP Supply, an Amherst, N.Y., provider of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solutions, discusses reducing operating expenses and the challenge of developing accurate cash-flow forecasts. What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it…...

Jobs report tracks with private-company trends

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

January’s jobs report on Friday showed widespread employment growth in the private sector, a trend that’s consistent with improved revenue and profit trends that financial information company Sageworks Inc. has seen among private companies over the past 18 months. The Labor Department said U.S. unemployment fell to 8.3 percent in…...

Residential construction companies built ’11 sales – Sageworks Stats @ Forbes.com

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

As recent economic reports have indicated, residential construction ended 2011 on a positive note, according to a new review of private company data by Sageworks. The data was recently published on Forbes.com. Private residential construction companies (NAICS code 2361) tallied a 5.3 percent increase in sales in 2011, according to…...

Fumbling financials (continued) – Avoiding the pitfalls of presenting numbers

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Part II. Meaningless minutiae Last week, we began the topic of how to present financial information to various audiences by discussing the importance of keeping the data you use simple and focused. Remember that a presentation is about conveying information, not just numbers. Whether you’re seeking a bank loan, board…...

CFO Corner: Tempering assumptions for receivables

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Posted by sageworks

  John Kogan, president, CEO and CFO of online community Proformative, discusses raising capital and having realistic assumptions about your receivables collection. What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months, and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? Our biggest challenge was…...

Is access to credit improving for businesses?

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Results of the Federal Reserve’s December survey of loan officers could be released today, perhaps providing insight as to whether banks have eased standards on commercial and industrial loans recently. President Obama in his State of the Union address last week urged Congress to help “tear down regulations that prevent…...

Huffington Post: “Private businesses are improving, but a big unknown lurks”

Brian Hamilton
Posted by Brian Hamilton

Like a glacier, once the U.S. economy starts moving in one direction, it tends to keep moving that way. It takes many events to move it in another direction, and this usually takes some time. For months, we have reported that privately held companies have higher revenues, better margins and…...

Fumbling financials: How to avoid the pitfalls of presenting numbers

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Part I: Numb from numbers Plato said, “A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.”  But the reality of business is that numbers are the starting point for most decisions.  Financial information is typically the central building block for seeking a bank loan to start or expand…...

Companies’ sights on controlling costs

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Private companies in the U.S. have kept a tight rein on overhead expenses, even as sales have risen, an analysis of companies’ financial statements by Sageworks shows.  Meanwhile, recent layoff announcements and a jump in jobless claims for the first week of January suggest companies are continuing efforts to control…...

Sageworks app now available for Android and iPhone Users

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Posted by sageworks

Sageworks, Inc., a financial information company, today announced the availability of its ProfitCents/Sageworks Industry Data & Analysis (SIDA) app for phones with an Android™ operating system, giving Sageworks subscribers convenient access to financial ratios, industry averages as well as industry specific KPIs and recommendations. The release of the Android app this…...

CFO Corner: Why a dynamic cash-flow forecast is critical

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Posted by sageworks

Wayne Spivak, president of CFO consulting services firm SBA * Consulting, talks about the importance of delegating and of dynamic cash-flow forecasts. What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? For both our company and…...

What if my bank fails?

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Nearly twice a week last year on average, banking regulators closed a bank deemed unable to meet obligations to depositors and others. And while the number of bank failures was down from a year earlier, (92 vs. 154), that’s little consolation if you’re a business owner caught up in your…...

5 tips for creating a successful business in 2012

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Privately held companies historically create 80% of new jobs in the U.S., and many of the 27 million private companies are one-person shows. They’re sole proprietors with an idea, striking out on their own or creating a business out of difficult circumstances, such as a layoff or a life-changing event. …...

Trucking sales have picked up

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

While other parts of the U.S. economy stagger along the road to recovery, the trucking industry is cruising along, performing better than the economy at large. Sales at privately owned general freight and specialized freight trucking companies are up  more than 14 percent over the last 12 months, according to…...

Private companies paying bills later – Sageworks Stats @ Forbes.com

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

U.S. companies continued to guard their cash flows despite increasing sales in 2011, reflecting continued uncertainty in the economic recovery and slower paying customers. Privately held businesses, which account for up to 70 percent of GDP and generate 80 percent of new jobs, stretched their average time for making payments to…...

What hiring will 2012 bring?

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

First-time claims for unemployment benefits are at their lowest level in more than three years, according to the Labor Department’s most recent four-week average of initial jobless claims. But jobs remain the number one focus of most Americans and candidates running for president, so each Thursday’s update on employment is…...

Are things getting better for small business?

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

After months of understandable pessimism, small business owners caught a bit of holiday-time cheer. Big department, chain and apparel stores will report December sales results on Thursday. But by most measures, recent retail sales have been better than analysts expected going into the 2011 holiday season. Two recent surveys show…...

Slow payments hit some construction firms – Sageworks Stats @ Forbes.com

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

As if weak construction demand isn’t tough enough, it seems contractors who actually find work these days must wait longer to get paid, according to a financial statement analysis by Sageworks Inc. Sageworks analyzed accounts receivable days for privately held companies in various construction-related industries, including those tied to early-stage…...

Private auto dealers wrap up growth year – Sageworks Stats on Forbes.com

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Auto sales should keep on trucking into 2012, according to some industry experts. And that’s good news for privately owned auto dealers, which are in their second year of double-digit sales growth, according to an analysis of financial statements by Sageworks Inc. Edmunds.com, a car-shopping website, earlier this month said…...

The customer knows best: Juice your sales with customer insight

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Market research, customer insight – they both mean tapping into a business’s greatest resource: its customer base. Private U.S. businesses across all industries have seen an average sales increase of about 6 to 7 percent so far this year, according to a financial statement analysis by Sageworks Inc. But many…...

Five legal tips for a happy new year

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

The IRS audits a higher percentage of businesses with assets below $50 million than businesses above that level, according to data from Syracuse University.  With that in mind, and with 2012 fast approaching, now’s a good time for small businesses to consider an end-of-year legal review to pinpoint and improve areas…...

Advertising, public relations agencies grow – Sageworks Stats @ Forbes.com

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

  U.S. ad spending growth might be looking tepid this year and next, but private companies in the advertising services business are experiencing their second year of double-digit sales growth, according to an analysis of financial statements by Sageworks Inc. Ad agencies, public relations agencies, media buyers and other businesses…...

Forbes – Sageworks Stats: Where the jobs are

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

November’s job report Friday held positive news in the lower unemployment rate (to 8.6 percent from 9 percent last month), even though employers added fewer workers to their payrolls than had been forecast, and average hourly earnings ticked down by 0.1 percent. In all, the U.S. Labor Department’s news had…...

Pump up profitability

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Posted by sageworks

U.S. consumer confidence improved in November from last month. But with the failure of Congress’s supercommittee to reach an agreement on the deficit and unemployment still around 9 percent, consumers — who generate 70 percent of all economic activity — may remain uncertain about the future.  If sales volumes aren’t…...

Holiday retail sales off to solid start

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Online retail sales today are expected to set a record after Black Friday weekend sales surpassed even the rosiest outlooks and showed shoppers turned out and spent in record numbers. Market research firm ShopperTrak reported Black Friday sales jumped 6.6 percent from a year earlier to a record $11.4 billion…...

Sageworks announces its first iPhone app

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Recognizing that fewer financial professionals today access the internet from their computer alone, Sageworks recently released its first ever app for the iPhone. The app allows current Sageworks and ProfitCents customers to access SIDA, our industry data platform that provides real-time benchmarking data and trend analysis using all available (more than…...

3Q GDP revised downward; Small employers name growth impediments

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

The U.S. economy grew a bit more slowly in the third quarter than previously estimated as businesses cut inventories, which could mean they’ll boost production next year if consumer spending stays on track. Meanwhile, a new survey of small employers found that uncertainty and lack of market demand are the…...

Managing “indirect spend” can boost your bottom line

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Guest column by Joe Payne, Director of Strategic Sourcing for Source One Management Services LLC. Source One is a Willow Grove, Pa., procurement cost-reduction consulting firm, and Payne is co-author of “Managing Indirect Spend: Enhancing Profitability Through Strategic Sourcing,” which is available on Amazon. ********** As the economic downturn moves into…...

CFO Corner: Courting new investors in a trying environment

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Cynthia Jamison, CFO of Aquaspy Inc., shares her thoughts on courting investors and delivering bad news in a productive way. What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? Liquidity and fundraising issues. We are a…...

Hiring remained chilly in October

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

The latest signs of uncertainty in the U.S. hiring outlook came Friday as unemployment was largely unchanged in October and the addition of 80,000 jobs failed to keep up with adult population growth. The Labor Department said the unemployment rate dipped to 9.0 percent from 9.1 percent in September. Jobs…...

Risky business- Protecting your business with risk management

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Recent service outages for Sony Corp.’s (NYSE: SNE) PlaystationNetwork and for Research in Motion’s (NASDAQ: RIMM) Blackberry services highlight major risks companies face when it comes to their businesses. Both events have created tumult in the companies’ day-to-day operations and in their customer relations. While many business owners might think…...

Private Companies’ Results Hint at Economic Recovery – Sageworks CEO

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While stock market gyrations often influence consumers’ sentiment about the U.S. economy, don’t overlook results at private companies as an indicator, says Sageworks CEO Brian Hamilton.  And signs from privately held companies indicate we are seeing a recovery, Hamilton said recently during an appearance on CNBC. “The market’s up, it’s…...

Duke’s Global Entrepreneurship Program–Featuring Sageworks’ Brian Hamilton

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Posted by sageworks

Interviewed by Howie Rhee. Full article can be found here.  You went to Sacred Heart University for your undergraduate degree. What did you study and were you involved in anything entrepreneurial while you were there?When I was at Sacred Heart, I studied management and finance. My entrepreneurial experience started significantly…...

Five steps to take now to capture the most holiday sales

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

It’s Black Friday, and the crowds are lined up outside your store, just as you’d hoped. They’ve shrugged off the economic worries that dominate the news every day and just for a few days, are ready to spend.  But wait – eager shoppers are now getting frustrated because your checkout…...

Where to look for jobs: profitable industries may be a clue

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

With job growth so weak, a common question among people without jobs and even some who are currently employed is, “Where will the jobs be tomorrow?” One way to answer that question is to examine which industries are the most profitable, as money-making fields are likely to be attractive to…...

CFO Corner: Golde on Supporting Strategic Goals

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

As Chief Financial Officer of Integra Realty Resources, Michael Golde is responsible for establishing standard processes and systems and integrating financial operations. He also assists the Board of Directors in developing long-term strategic plans and identification of short, medium and long-term operational objectives in support of those plans. He recently…...

As Wall Street Kicks Off 3Q Reports, Main Street Still Kicking

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Alcoa this afternoon unofficially kicks off the third-quarter earnings reports for publicly traded companies, and investors no doubt await word on how demand across the U.S. economy is holding up. With talk of a double-dip recession flaring up recently and the all-important holiday retail season on the horizon, employers and suppliers…...

Private Companies are Growing, but Unemployment is High For Now

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Good but not great news came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning, when analysts announced that 103,000 jobs were added in September. This addition was not enough, though, to change the unemployment rate, which continues to be elevated at 9.1 percent. Most of the jobs added during…...

CFO Corner: Private Bank of Buckhead’s Terry Freeman

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Terry Freeman, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at Private Bank of Buckhead, talks about the importance of discipline and clients. What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? Strategically building out additional…...

High gold prices took the shine off jewelry stores’ margins

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

All that glitters is not gold in jewelry retailing. Despite a nearly 11% drop this month, gold prices are more than five times 2002 levels. But net profit margins among privately owned jewelry stores (NAICS 44831) are actually lower than in 2002, according to an analysis of financial statements by…...

As auto sales improve, parts makers posting strong growth

Privately owned motor-vehicle parts manufacturers in the U.S. have posted one of the strongest sales growth rates among all U.S. industries in the past 12 months, according to a new analysis of financial statements by Sageworks, a financial information company. Motor-vehicle parts manufacturers have posted nearly 22 percent sales growth…...

CFO Corner: B2B CFO’s Karen Chin

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Posted by sageworks

What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? For one of my clients, the biggest challenge was to gain visibility on the actual financial performance of the enterprise. In reviewing how the accounting system…...

Forbes: Clues in capital spending

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

U.S. business leaders are more tightfisted than earlier this year, worrying some folks that a major growth driver of the shaky U.S. economy will screech to a halt if companies hoard cash instead of spending it on new plants, equipment and technology. But don’t push the “double-dip recession” panic button…...

Higher grocery prices ahead, though profits won’t necessarily follow

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

Grocery prices are expected to increase 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest food-price forecast shows. But higher prices aren’t showing up in the bottom lines of private grocers, which saw slower profit growth last year and have seen a decline in profits this…...

IMF, Manufacturers’ Gloomier Outlooks Support Financial Professionals’ View

Posted by Mary Ellen Biery

More pessimistic outlooks by The International Monetary Fund and the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI this week reinforce what financial professionals have been telling Sageworks in recent weeks: That most of them expect the economy to be about the same or worse a year from now. The IMF in its World Economic Outlook on…...

CFO Corner: Jon Engman & the Finances of SaaS

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What was the biggest challenge your organization faced over the last 12 months, and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? Like many companies, Sesame was affected by the downturn in the economy over the past couple years. As a SaaS company we also faced the opportunity to…...

CFO Corner: Gerard Perri, Profitable Despite Bank’s Environment

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What was the biggest challenge your organization faced over the last 12 months, and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? As a newly established bank (November 2008), our challenge has been to become profitable in as short a period of time as possible. A typical de novo…...

How an employer-side payroll tax reduction will affect small businesses

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Posted by sageworks

The question of when jobs will return has been a recurring topic of discussion– with everyone eagerly awaiting the next jobs report and hoping for a glimmer of positive economic outlook. Albeit minimal, one encouraging trend is the consistent GDP growth. Likewise, interest rates have continued to stay low, commercial…...

13 Ways Businesses Can Prepare for a Volatile Market

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Co-authored by Ken Elliott, a consultant at Wichita State University’s Kansas Small Business Development Center Stock market volatility is becoming the accepted "norm" for the business environment. And while most private businesses do not participate directly in the stock market, businesses could be affected by some of the repercussions of…...

5 Ways Business Intelligence Transforms Your Company by Amanda Harley, MBA–Part 5

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

  Over the last few weeks, we discussed how business intelligence (BI) could help you transform your business. The first four ways covered were: #5 Business Intelligence is based on real numbers and information and NOT on a gut feel #4 Measure the ROI of products, suppliers, salespeople, and customers…...

CFO Corner: Angie MacPhee’s Managing Finances and Operations

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Posted by sageworks

What was the biggest challenge your organization faced over the last 12 months, and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? Given the economic conditions globally, we needed a clear picture of what was driving our profitability. I created an operational snapshot that highlights the 5 main factors…...

Law Offices: Slow but Steady Top-Line Growth

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Sageworks previously reviewed which industries are recession-proof. Of special interest was the alcohol industry. But that was not the only sector of the economy that held its ground during the most recent recession. With businesses closing or merging and individuals fighting bankruptcies, legal offices continued to have plenty of business…...

Obtaining credit: Proven best practices

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Posted by sageworks

The recession left a significant and destructive mark on the lending environment—commercial and industrial loan volume in the United States fell a stark 23 percent in the course of only two years (October 2008 – October 2010), largely due to GDP decreases and the ensuing write offs.(1) During this two year…...

CFO Corner: Safeguard Scientifics’ Stephen Zarrilli

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Posted by sageworks

What was the biggest challenge your organization faced over the last 12 months, and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? The biggest challenge that Safeguard Scientifics faced was transforming our balance sheet. A little over a year ago, we had a substantial imbalance between the amount of…...

5 Ways Business Intelligence Transforms Your Company by Amanda Harley, MBA–Part 4

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Posted by sageworks

#2 – Using Business Intelligence to Forecast the Future In the last post on how Business Intelligence Transforms Your Business, I discussed using Business Intelligence to assess concentration risks within the business. Now, let’s assemble all of the previously discussed ways Business Intelligence Transforms Your Business and use these applications…...

CFO Corner: Datacert’s CFO and SVP, Alan Harding on Managing Success

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What was the biggest challenge your organization faced over the last 12 months, and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? Weakness and uncertainty in the economy continue to impact the global marketplace, creating an enormously challenging environment for companies in every industry. As events unfold in 2011,…...

Profits Per Employee Increase

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Posted by sageworks

Profit per employee figures have increased, meaning that companies are managing their employee counts efficiently now as jobs have tumbled and unemployment numbers remain high.  These businesses may find that the “new found efficiency” is cost effective, and that may deter them from bringing on new hires in the short…...

Furniture Sales Growth Despite Consumer Spending Sluggishness

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Posted by sageworks

  When the economy sinks, the big-ticket retail items are the hardest hit. That is why, for example, new car sales during the recession tanked and then rebounded after the recession. Furniture is another purchase that people delayed during the recession (“That chair isn’t too bad now that I think…...

5 Ways Business Intelligence Transforms Your Company by Amanda Harley, MBA–Part 3

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#3 – Business Intelligence Helps Assess Risk within an Organization In the #4 way Business Intelligence Transforms Your Business, I discussed measuring the ROI of each segment of your business. Measuring ROI is critical to implement the #3 way Business Intelligence Transforms Your Company: Mitigating Risk. I challenged you in…...

CFO Corner: Robert J. Wydra, Jr., CPA–Working Under the Radar

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Posted by sageworks

What was the biggest challenge your organization faced over the last 12 months, and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? Being a nonprofit reliant on state contracts, the biggest challenge has been continuing to provide a high level of service with decreased funding. Our funders want to pay less…...

In a Volatile Economy, What’s There to Do?

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The Philadelphia Inquirer's Erin Arvedlund spoke with analysts and entrepreneurs from around the country, including Sageworks CEO Brian Hamilton, for advice on how consumers and businesses should traverse the volatile economy. Their advice? "Don't let rallies soothe you." "Buy assets of countries with 'cleaner dirty shirts' and higher real interest rates."…...

4 Gray Areas: Cost of Capital Calculations and Impact on Investment Decisions

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Limited capital is a reality of business. But in order to stay competitive in the marketplace, a business generally has multiple, profitable investments on the table for consideration, and each investment requires exclusive use of the available capital. Whether you are the CFO, CEO, or an internal accountant, your investors…...

5 Ways Business Intelligence Transforms Your Company by Amanda Harley, MBA–Part 2

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Amanda Harley shares her insights into how business intelligence can vastly improve your company's performance. In the five-part post, her #5 was Business Intelligence is based on real numbers & information and NOT on a gut feel. This week, her next suggestion: #4 – Measure the ROI of products, suppliers,…...

Profit Margin Growth

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So much in the economy is changing. To keep their balance and prepare for any tumult ahead, business owners should focus on profitability. "If you produce an excellent product that fills a need or provide a service that consumers depend upon, your business is more likely to outlast a potential…...

CFO Corner: Alan Culbreath of Hound Comics

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Posted by sageworks

What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months, and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? The biggest challenge we faced was coming up with a realistic financial structure that would accommodate the product ideas that our creative team came up with during…...

Best sources for capital infusion

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Many small business owners are still feeling the pain from the financial crisis of 2008 when it comes to securing a loan for their businesses. However, credit markets are showing signs of improvement and new micro-lending organizations are sprouting up to fill the demand for small business loans along with…...

“Five Takeaways from the Debt-Ceiling Debate”

Posted by Libby Bierman

Regina Lewis of DailyFinance gives her five lessons-learned from the recent US debt crisis; among them is Sageworks Chairman Brian Hamilton's take on private companies and stagnant hiring. Her five lessons (read the full article here): #1. Cash is king. #2. (Political charades are) ridiculous.  #3. Leave us alone: “Companies are looking for…...

Skyrocket the cash in your business

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Entrepreneur's Carol Tice and Sageworks came up with tips for how you can improve the cash flow in a business. See the full article and list. "When it comes to small-business money problems, it's often not the sales volume that's an issue -- it's the cash flow. Money simply isn't…...

Don’t blame privately held businesses…

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Privately held businesses are aggregately performing better now than at any point since the recession -- sales are growing across the board, and profit margins are increasing, too. With such objective evidence of success, privately held businesses should be celebrating. Instead, they are cautious. The National Federation of Independent Business…...

CFO Corner: Craig Storey, CFO Helping Heelys Get a Second Chance in the Market

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Posted by sageworks

What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months, and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? Our biggest challenge has been and continues to be reluctance of U.S. retail buyers to give Heelys a second chance. When Heelys was at its peak from…...

Cash Flow Management – Improve Collection of Accounts Receivable

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Effectively managing accounts receivable (A/R) can mean the difference between being cash flow positive or negative for a given period of time. Any company that extends credit to its customers is at risk with its cash flow management; in fact most companies should not accept purchases on account. Doing so…...

Housing on the Rise

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Yesterday, the US Census Bureau and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development released data on new residential sales in June 2011. Compared to June 2010 data, June 2011 sales of new single-family houses have increased 1.6 percent. To validate their data, Sageworks analyzed how the residential building construction…...

CFO Corner: Glenn L. Friedman, Managing Partner’s Advice to CFOs

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What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? The greatest challenges we have faced in this industry during the past few years include pricing competition, rising costs, and increased regulation. Strong leadership and timely information…...

Know How to Choose an Accountant?

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Katie Morell, a contributor at the American Express OPEN Forum, joined forces with Sageworks and other financial firms across the country to gather best practices about how to choose the right accountant for your business and then how to optimize your time with them. To learn how you can achieve…...

5 ways business intelligence transforms your company by Amanda Harley, MBA

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Over the next few weeks, we will be counting down 5 of the ways I believe Business Intelligence transforms your company.  Let’s first start with what business intelligence is.  I describe Business Intelligence as taking your company’s data and turning it into meaningful knowledge that you can immediately apply to…...

Four Steps to Evaluating Suppliers Before Signing a Contract

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Your company’s supply chain directly impacts your ability to function as a company and earn profits. If you are waiting on supplies or constantly searching for a new vendor, you lose valuable time and focus when it comes to running your company. And, if that vendor or supplier provides something…...

Bank loan applications: 5 Steps in preparing for the process

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Securing additional funding is one of the most difficult tasks a business owner will face, and the current economic situation has only made this process more difficult. While the current notion is that securing a business loan is near, but impossible in most cases, the truth is that there are…...

Cash Flow: Solid Defense Helps Create Easy Offense

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

The common sports clichés, “defense leads to offense” and “defense wins championships” carry plenty of weight on the fields and courts, but what relevance do they have in managing cash flow?  If one were to define “defense” as hoarding and holding cash, some would say that such a business is…...

Cash management excellence by cutting costs

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Whether in challenging or prosperous times, it is essential to manage your cash position through close monitoring of your costs and making appropriate cuts where necessary.  Below, we explore seven key things to review when managing costs. 1) Have a defined process in place to review all discretionary costs.  With…...

Forecasting cash flow: 5 Common errors

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Cash flow forecasting is one of the most difficult, yet important, aspects of financial management.  It’s an important tool in predicting how much capital investment is needed, and in making sure you have enough cash available throughout the year.  There are many ways this process can go wrong, and ultimately,…...

Lean manufacturing isn’t paying off, inventory days continue to rise

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Sageworks, the leader in the financial analysis of privately held companies, released data reporting a rise in inventory days, experienced by most major sectors in the United States.  The data shows numbers contrasting expectations usually associated with increasingly popular lean manufacturing strategies, such as “just-in-time," which have gained momentum in…...

CFO Corner: Albert Reese, Financial Beacon for ATP Oil & Gas through the Deepwater Moratorium

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1. What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? The Moratorium in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico – no question.  Over 90% of our revenues come from the Gulf of Mexico, and more than…...

Unemployment Lags Behind GDP Growth

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The formal recession ended some 23 months ago in June 2009 when real GDP and other economic factors began to improve according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, and since then real GDP has improved by nearly 5%. Why, then, is unemployment still elevated? Why is there a lag…...

CFO Corner: Financial Success as a Team Player with Gene Lynes

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1. What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? In the last 12 months we’ve been focused on becoming a full-service energy management firm which included a number of strategic acquisitions and an expansion…...

Companies hoarding cash as 2011 accounts payable rises three days

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

How long are companies taking to pay their suppliers? Sageworks, Inc. just released exclusive YTD averages for Accounts Payable Days in major industries including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, and real estate. All five of these industries are seeing increasing profits, but they are dragging when it comes to…...

CFO Corner: Tips for Successfully Managing Financials from Cathy Iconis

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

As an outsourced CFO, what was the biggest challenge your clients faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? A slowdown due to the economy.  My clients saw growth slow and even slip backwards. We spent a significant amount of time…...

3 Problems with Payment Stretching

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There are a few motives that explain why CFOs or Controllers may choose to stretch their payments by paying invoices past their due date.  The first explanation is that they simply want to enhance their cash flow and improve the appearance of their balance sheet to make their company more…...

Managing your cash position- 4 methods

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To optimize your company’s cash position, you must manage the relationship between current assets and current liabilities, so that at any point in time you have enough of the former to service the latter. Prudently managing accounts receivable (A/R), accounts payable (A/P), and inventory can produce invaluable long-term benefits.  Below,…...

Retail Industry Trends Snapshot: Retail Looks Rosy in 2011

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The weekly Industry Snapshot will highlight key metrics in a different industry each week. This week the Retail Trade industry is highlighted: In Q1 and Q2 this year, the average retail store experienced sales growth of almost 5% and long A/P days, suggesting that these businesses are bringing in more…...

CFO corner: Tips for cash flow management & financial success from Terry Conlon

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What was the biggest challenge your company faced while you were a controller and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership?Improving forecasting, especially cash flow.  We significantly improved our DRO by tightening up credit terms and aggressively following up with past due accounts. To do this, I…...

5 Common cash flow mistakes

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Effectively managing cash flow is one of the most integral parts of finance in a business environment. Any cash flow missteps can wreck havoc on an organization. In order to ensure effective cash flow management practices, avoid these 5 common cash flow mistakes:1. Poor monitoring of accounts receivables: One of…...

Improve Cash Flow Management through 5 Steps

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The financial health of any company is determined, in part, by the status of collections and aging accounts receivables. Cash flow management is an important part of any CFO’s job. Strong cash flow management practices often mean the difference between the success and failure of a company. In order to…...

Key performance indicators: Principles of selection for nonprofits

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Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a popular buzzword among the for-profit crowd, but they also have their appropriate place among NPOs. KPIs are quantifiable measurements of an organization’s health or success. Organizations may use KPIs to their advantage, allowing them to benchmark their progress against peer organizations for context about…...

The 10 most profitable industries

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This list has been updated. Learn more here: The Most Profitable Industries in the U.S. The most profitable industries over the last 12 months are highlighted below. Legal services top the list. Accountants, lawyers, and healthcare professionals (dentists, chiropractors, and physicians) remain highly profitable as well, all seeing double-digit profit margins…...

Where does your money go at the gas pump?

sageworks
Posted by sageworks

Our data shows that the net profit margin of gas stations has been increasing each year for the past four years.  The net profit margin was 0.96% in 2007, 1.24% in 2008, 1.63% in 2009, and 2.70% in 2010. A common misconception, however, is that the gas station owners receive…...

Is Your Business Healthy?

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Benchmarking the financial performance of your business against that of your peers is an important aspect of running and growing your business.  Comparing yourself to your competitors can help highlight trouble areas and can serve as red flags for you.  As Chad Parker, a Partner at Sink, Gillmore & Gordon…...