The role of the CEO Part 1: Keeping On Top of KPIs

The other day, I was talking to a fellow CEO of a small business. Our conversation went something like this:

“Some days, there’s so much to do that I am not sure where to start,” she said.

“I know what you mean,” I replied. “I’ve had to do some hard thinking about my role as the CEO. I try really hard to make sure the work I do ties to the goals I have for the company.”

“Easier said than done!” she said.

She’s right; it is easier said than done. From experience, I know that if I don’t keep on top of our overall company goals, they just won’t get met.

While continuing to provide great service, growth sits at the top of our list of goals, so perhaps the most important thing I do is to keep on top of our key performance indicators (KPIs). As a head of a company with an accounting background, I’m all about the numbers. I’ve seen many of our customers make financial decisions based on hearsay or hunch, without thoroughly analyzing the financials.

Some of the KPIs I look at are the ratio of employees we need to process the number of online orders. Similarly, how many people do we need on our services team? What volume do we expect them to meet? Where do our sales need to be in order to hire more people?

One lesser-emphasized KPI is the time it takes us to convert a sale to a lead. While this is not overtly financial, it has financial implications in staff time and marketing expenditures. Tracking this KPI impacts our budget and allows us to put better sales processes in place, as well as provide more accurate training for the sales team. It also helps us to make staffing decisions. Overall, tracking this KPI decreased our sales time and improved customer satisfaction.

We also look at are number of new clients, number of clients we lose, cash on hand, sales numbers for the same time period during the prior year, percent of billable hours and accounts payable.

To get this information, we take advantage of the reporting tools in QuickBooks Enterprise and our CRM system. The standard reports provide a lot of this information with the click of the button, but QuickBooks Enterprise also has custom reports that we’ve built to keep track of those KPIs.

Setting up the right KPIs for your business takes insight; you need to know what things to measure to stay on track with your goals. Our CFO services can help you determine the KPIs that will inform your decisions and set up the reporting tools so that you have the information you need when you need it. Let us now if we can help!

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