Revenue/Operations Support

  1. One of the key functions that a financial person can provide is support to the revenue and operations areas.  Creating that link between finance and operations is one of the ways to ensure a keen understanding of the revenue and cost of sales entries you are booking to the financials.  Proper revenue recognition depends on you knowing what the underlying business drivers are in your company’s sales of products or services and informing the business people of what revenue recognition rules apply to your company’s sales.
  2. If your company’s sales depend on client contracts, you must put in place standard order forms and contracts.  This is one area when getting peer examples and running them by outside attorneys is very helpful.
  3. During contract negotiations, project budgets and timeframes need to be reviewed against the overall financial plan to make sure that the company is only committing resources to projects that support the financial goals of the company.  There can be exceptions made to this for strategic purposes but those exceptions need to be discussed and documented.
  4. You need to adhere to the Approvals Matrix (Exhibit #1) authorization levels as to who can sign contracts for the company and maintain contract files by customer.
  5. Whenever possible, finance personnel should attend sales meetings where sales forecasting, bookings and backlog are discussed.  They can support the sales forecasting process by helping to implement a contacts, forecasting and opportunity tracking solutions such as SFDC (salesforce.com).  By being involved in this process, they will gain an understanding of probability weighting and close stage of various opportunities and how real these are for financial forecasting.
  6. If you are a services based company, you need to set up a system of assigning personnel to jobs and time submission which can easily be done similar to expense reporting by requiring a simple spreadsheet be submitted each week by all revenue producing employees listing the clients they worked for and description of the phase of the project worked on.  If employees incur any rebillable expenses, they need to indicate that on their expense reports and follow not only your company’s expense policy but also that of the client company to ensure reimbursement by your client.
  7. You should report on the profitability of sales of products and services by using your inventory subledgeror project accounting system information.  For services based companies, utilization percentages of services personnel should also be tracked.
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