Yes, you are right – the old adage “cash is king” pops up almost every decade year, when the next “financial crisis” or recession hits us.
So, before we hit the next financial crisis, it’s important to prepare your organization to withstand things like lower demand, tougher competition and increased regulatory requirements. The way you can prepare your business for unforeseen circumstance is by upgrading your reporting and analytical capabilities
. This kind of decision will help your company to avoid bankruptcy!
By the end of the day, it’s always the CFO and their team, which realizes, that liquidity has become a scarce resource, and the organization must react immediately. – While this may be the typical approach, it often leads to business leaders making wrong decisions. Why are these the wrong decisions? Because the underlying information they are using to inform their conclusions is not based on accurate, detailed data and it takes too long to get the information necessary to adjust and make the right choices.
Understanding Customer Probability
However, as a CFO, you can actually do something about this. If your organization understands customer profitability in detail, then your organization can easily navigate through a recession, because your company already knows your business and market and can adjust based on facts in real-time.
When I talk about customer profitability, I’m talking about a full Profit & Loss per customer, it’s not ‘just’ a profit margin view, which is based on revenue and costs of goods sold (COGS) per customer. Because this approach only provides you with a marginal point of view. Instead, decision makers need a lot more information, if they want to understand how customer profitability impacts liquidity!
Customer profitability done the right way, is about developing a profit and loss per customer model based on EBITDA
. We all know, this is not trivial, because it involves both ERP
and non-ERP data at the most granular level, as well as common definitions and business rules.
Getting Value from Data
All organizations have humongous volumes of data, but sadly in most cases -organizations don’t have a clue about how to extract all the value from the data. The reason for the value loss is because the majority of all organizations view data itself from a functional point of view instead of gathering, storing and preparing a rich data set where it’s possible to also analyze data across processes (i.e. along the value chain of your organization).
If CFOs and their finance team – don’t start establishing a solid and high performing data foundation (based on both ERP and non-ERP data), your organization will be at risk of not having enough cash to withstand the next “downturn”. It’s critical for your business to understand in detail the value and cost drivers behind your organization’s profit in the context of per customer, product, activity and more.
The most visionary CFOs and their finance teams have realized the benefits and importance of utilizing all of the data they generate and gather along the value chain. They do this by utilizing Teradata’s high performing analytical platform, Vantage
, to automate data management and to deliver the answers. The overall benefit is that their organization can make faster decisions and adjust their business models accordingly based on data driven facts. In addition, these organizations now have a high-quality data foundation based on ERP and non-ERP data, which is ready to use as input to forecast and model the future with unparalleled accuracy and much less effort.
Data as the Differentiator
In summary, across all industries organizations are focused on differentiating themselves from their competitors. One way your organization has a chance to distinguish yourself amongst your peers is by really taking advantage of your data
. The use of data not only enhances your reporting and analytical capabilities but also significantly improves your business’ decision-making processes. When you understand your profits per customer, then you also have full insight into the impact on liquidity/current cash flow, as well as how lifetime value per customer will evolve over time.
Michael Ingemann is the Practice Partner of CFO Analytics across Industries at Teradata EMEA. Michael has more than 30 years of experience working in the CFO space. He started out as an Auditor and then moved into Finance Director positions (Airline and Oil and Gas industries). For the past 20 years Michael, has acted as a senior advisor for many CFO’s and Finance departments across industries.
Below are samples of the projects and experiences Michael has delivered throughout his career;
- SAP and Oracle ERP implementations
- Enterprise Performance Management solutions (e.g. Financial Consolidation and Reporting, Budget & Planning and Forecasting)
- Activity Based Costing Solutions
- Customer and Product Profitability solutions
- Finance Transformation projects
Michael holds a BSc in Financial management and a Executive MBA in General mgt & business development – both obtained CBS in Copenhagen.
View all posts by Michael Ingemann