Category Archives: income statement

Oh no – not again!

Mindy Barker | Barker Associates

Many entrepreneurs who launch a business are focused on selling and bringing in revenue so much they are not thinking about the type of infrastructure needed to efficiently operate their business. I have to admit that some of this even happened to me when I first began my consulting practice. All of the support I received in my role as a corporate CFO was nonexistent. That saying about building the airplane while flying it applies here.

Infrastructure refers to all of the pieces behind the scenes that are capturing your business’s daily transactions. It is one of the Seven Essential Tools I discuss in my book, Pitching to Win: Strategies for Success.

Are you thinking, “Oh no – Mindy’s going on about Essential Infrastructure – again!”

You bet I am – because it’s that important to the success of your business.

In an ideal world, your infrastructure can be represented by this graphic:

Mindy Barker | Barker Associates


(* ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning – is the conductor that manages all of your business’s processes to integrate them into a cohesive database for reporting purposes).

Small businesses starting out often prioritize going after the work to generate revenue while building a “just-in-time” infrastructure. No thought is behind how all of the pieces should work together with the end result in mind. With a computer and a phone, you can run many types of businesses by the seat of your pants in the beginning.

For a business to grow to the next level, a business owner needs a vision and a roadmap that includes the evolution of their company infrastructure.

Understanding the basics of what your infrastructure should be able to do for you is critical when selecting the right tools to operate. Here are two of the most fundamental components: Cash and your General Ledger.

Knowing your cash burn rate – the rate at which you spend cash over time – is the most basic component for a business owner to know. Without cash you cannot operate. Maintaining a cash ledger, even if it’s in Excel or a tool such as QuickBooks, is critical. Select a tool that provides download capabilities for future integration needs. Forecasting cash needs over the next few weeks or months will help you decide the timing of critical versus discretionary spending. I advise my clients to know at least a 12-week forecast of cash needs.

You may be saying at this point that you already have a tool – your online banking site. Anyone who has heard me speak on this topic knows my position on this – you MUST have a checkbook that is reconciled each month to maintain history. The information gained from this piece of your infrastructure can be used to diagnose issues and strategically to plan for future growth. The online account is only a moment in time and does not serve your future.

Setting up your general ledger with the end goal of financial reporting in mind provides you with the insights you will need to answer questions such as, “How much did I spend in Marketing last year?” and “Am I making or losing money in my Hoboken location?”

Whether or not your future includes seeking investment funding, you must have the infrastructure in place to answer these types of questions when planning for the future. Potential investors will require you have data to back up projections for future sales. If you cannot rely on your general ledger and reporting tools to produce answers, perhaps it’s time to revisit your current infrastructure to support future needs.

Wondering where to start to build the right infrastructure? Let’s start with your General Ledger. Structuring your GL in order to generate reports from various perspectives is critical to daily decisions, budgeting, and financial reporting.

Note this example:

Mindy Barker | Barker Associates

When a GL is structured with these various categories you can examine your business from multiple angles to determine if a location, product, or department are serving the business as needed. If you cannot produce financial reports to support tactical and strategic decision-making, perhaps the GL structure is the problem.

Mindy’s Money Tips contains in-depth, free advice for new entrepreneurs and mature business owners, alike. Find out when new articles are published by following me on your favorite social media platform – the links are shown at the end of this article.

If you would like to discuss how to structure your general ledger to work for you or other specific areas of concern, I would love to speak with you. Click here to schedule a 30-minute free consultation to discuss your unique situation.

Why is Preparing a Budget Without a Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Like Driving a Car in a New City with an Old GPS?

Cars built in the early 2000s that had a built-n GPS required periodic updates using a CD with new roads and street addresses. If you are still driving around with a GPS of that era, you already know that when you get to a new construction area, the GPS will confuse you more than help you get to your destination. This analogy is similar to preparing an annual income statement for a budget without updated information. iStock_000019083488_LargeThe annual income statement will show the projected revenue and expenses – but will leave out critical pieces of information vital to the day-to-day planning of a business. Here’s an example of what I mean: revenue is highly seasonal but expenses are spread throughout the year, causing issues with covering expenses month to month. Actual cash flow and the ability to cover debt service payments are not analyzed solely with an income statement. Another example: internally developed software can cost a lot of money; the cash required for the development is maintained on the Balance Sheet and not the Income Statement.

Lack of proper planning and analysis, and failure to prepare a projected-by-month Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow can lead to an unplanned cash crisis. Please contact Mindy Barker & Associates if you would like to have your budget process reviewed to determine how you can avoid such crises each month.