Startup Professionals Musings: 5 Ways Writing a Book Will Kick-Start Business Growth


via Startup Professionals Musings: 5 Ways Writing a Book Will Kick-Start Business Growth

Did you know…


Did you know…

… that today is National Trail Mix Day? Today we celebrate this delicious snack that has been popular with hikers for years. Trail mix usually consists of a mixture of nuts and dried fruits such as raisins or cranberries. Other ingredients such as chocolate chips may also be included. Trivia buffs: Trail mix is known as scroggin in New Zealand and Australia, and Studentenfutter in German-speaking countries.

~~~

Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”

— John Muir

Did you know…


Did you know…

… that today is Mary Poppins’ Birthday? In 1964, Walt Disney’s movie “Mary Poppins” premiered. Mary Poppins was famous for her ability to fly and her sunny attitude. Be like Mary! (The sunny attitude part, not the flying around with an umbrella part… <g>)

~~~

Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.”

— Dalai Lama

WORD OF THE DAY


WORD OF THE DAY
Patulous
pa-CHə-ləs
Part of speech: adjective
Origin: Latin, early 17th century
1

Open or expanded

2

Spreading out from a center, as the branches of a tree

Examples of Patulous in a sentence

“The patulous branches of the mighty oak tree extended 10 feet from its trunk.”

“I spread the icing on the cake in a patulous, petal-like design, starting in the center.”

Under the Jokowi administration, a visionary five-year plan is propelling Indonesia’s ambitions as a maritime superpower that rivals the position of its neighbor, Singapore. | DHL Logistics of Things


via Under the Jokowi administration, a visionary five-year plan is propelling Indonesia’s ambitions as a maritime superpower that rivals the position of its neighbor, Singapore. | DHL Logistics of Things

Lok sabha elections 2019: The man who was tasked with rigging India’s first national elections


https://m-economictimes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/m.economictimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/the-man-who-was-tasked-with-rigging-indias-first-national-elections/amp_articleshow/68773878.cms?amp_js_v=a2&amp_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQEKAFwAQ%3D%3D#aoh=15671717170552&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fm.economictimes.com%2Fnews%2Fpolitics-and-nation%2Fthe-man-who-was-tasked-with-rigging-indias-first-national-elections%2Farticleshow%2F68773878.cms

Did you know…


… that today is The Duchess Who Wasn’t Day? On this day, take every opportunity to use the well-known phrase: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” The famous phrase is used to describe how various things and people may seem differently beautiful from one person to the next. But you may not know that these words of wisdom came from the pen of 19th century Irish novelist Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, who went by The Duchess, the name she often used to remain anonymous.

~~~

Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“Peace is the beauty of life. It is sunshine. It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother, the joy of a father, the togetherness of a family. It is the advancement of man, the victory of a just cause, the triumph of truth.”

— Menachem Begin

Ecosystem businesses are changing the rules of strategy | UPS – United States


via Ecosystem businesses are changing the rules of strategy | UPS – United States

  1. Keep customers flowing in

Most sectors have competing ecosystems — think Android versus iOS — so you need to give people a reason to participate in yours.

Consider WeChat, China’s dominant lifestyle and social networking app. For its first few years, WeChat was all about coming up with novel offerings, such as its Moments and Red Packets features, which drew people in.

Once it was established, the app could have chosen to monetize its user base through advertising, as Facebook did. But it choose not to: Even today, users see only two ads a day, and WeChat makes its money in other ways, primarily commissions on transactions.

WeChat prefers to keep the turnstiles moving by emphasizing the quality of its user experience. And it has continued to grow, with over 1 billion active daily users.

  1. Give people a reason to stick around

A vibrant ecosystem is one where participants gain value in multiple ways. WeWork rents out office space to corporations, startups and individuals in prime city locations. It could use moat-based thinking to enforce tight contracts that lock its tenants in.

But it prefers to create flexible contracts that give people the option to leave, and it provides a raft of ancillaryservices — networking events, advice for startups, lifestyle services — that make people want to stick around. WeWork has increased its number of locations tenfold over the last five years; its current valuation is around $47 billion.

  1. Don’t steal your partners’ business

There is a delicate balance here: Certain e-commerce platforms would like to prioritize the sales of its own products, but if it pushes those products too hard, it scares away third-party vendors and loses its attractiveness as a one-stop shop.

Consider the alternative case of Alibaba. Alibaba doesn’t make its own products, and therefore it doesn’t compete with its suppliers.

As the company’s website says, “We operate an ecosystem where all participants have an opportunity to prosper.”

Alibaba deliberately passes up some short-term money-making opportunities in pursuit of longer-term growth. The results speak for themselves.

  1. Keep evolving

One huge benefit of being an ecosystem orchestrator is privileged access to information about the entire ecosystem. You see what’s selling well, and you see how the market is evolving before others.

While it might be tempting, again, to use this information to make more money in the short term, the smarter approach is to keep things moving — to open up new markets, and to do this quicker than your competitors.

Google illustrates this point, with its steady stream of new analytics services, as does Alibaba, with its traffic aggregation platform, Taobao Ke. WeWork isn’t standing still either; in recent years it has created WeGrow, WeLive, and WeWork Labs.

“A good first step is to understand that the traditional moat-based logic of strategy doesn’t work well in a world of platforms and ecosystems.”

 

Interesting updates


An exclusive daily alert
Ø  India is targeting companies including Apple, Foxconn and Wistron Corp with a charm offensive aimed at encouraging them to shift business out of trade war-hit China. Several Indian officials met on August 14 and discussed a list of “target companies” that also include Taiwan-headquartered contract manufacturer Pegatron Corp. The dispute between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies, has led to higher tariffs on goods worth billions of dollars and disrupted global supply chains, prompting companies to look at other investment avenues to escape higher tariffs.

Ø  Apple told that it is “eager” to open a retail store in India, but it may not happen immediately. The announcement comes after Apple has spent years trying to make a dent in India’s smartphone market. Apple didn’t crack the list of the top five smartphone makers in India by market share in 2018 due in part to its expensive prices.

 

Ø  In the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) annual report 2019, the apex bank said that frauds reported by banks increased by 15 per cent on a year-on-year basis in 2018-19. The amount involved increased by a significant 73.8 per cent to Rs 52,200 crore – although most of this amount related to erstwhile occurrences.  The report further highlighted that the average lag between the date of occurrence and its detection by the banks was 22 months. It also added that for large frauds of Rs 100 crore and above, the average lag was 55 months.

Ø  The balance sheet size of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) increased by 13.42 per cent to Rs 41.03 lakh crore for the year ended June 30, 2019 from Rs 36.18 lakh crore in the same period last year. The increase was due to rise in domestic and foreign investments by 57.19 per cent and 5.70 per cent, respectively and increase in gold by 16.30 per cent. The central bank’s income zoomed by 146.59 per cent to Rs 1.93 lakh crore during the year 2018-19, as compared to Rs 0.78 lakh crore in the previous year’s period, RBI said in its Annual Report released on August 29.

Ø  Gold prices yesterday jumped Rs 250 to breach the record Rs 40,000 per 10 gram level for the first time at the bullion market here on strong demand from investors amid growing fears of global economic slowdown. Maintaining its record-breaking run for the second day, gold spurted by Rs 250 to a fresh life-time high Rs 40,220 per 10 grams, according to the All India Sarafa Association.

Ø  The Reserve Bank of India announced that the volume of currency notes in circulation increased by 6.2 per cent during 2018-19. In its annual report, the central bank stated that 108,759 million currency notes were in circulation during the past financial year. Meanwhile, the value of currency notes in circulation increased by 17 per cent to Rs 21.11 lakh crore during 2018-19. In value terms, the share of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 banknotes increased to 82.2 per cent at end-March 2019. At the beginning of last fiscal, these two denominations had together accounted for 80.2 per cent of the total value of banknotes in circulation.

Ø  The rollback of the tax surcharge on foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) has failed to curb their selling spree, and they have offloaded equities worth more than Rs 4,000 crore since Monday. Experts say concerns about a slowdown in the domestic economy, combined with fears of a global recession, have eclipsed the move to withdraw the surcharge.

 

Ø  Despite recent recession fears and yield curve inversions, the bull market should live on until early 2021, analyst Tom McClellan said. “Everyone needs to just keep their pants on for now and realize that the yield curve gives a really long early warning about trouble,” said McClellan, editor of the McClellan Markets Report.”  It doesn’t say that trouble is upon us now. It takes several months to over a year before we get the final price high after a yield curve inversion.”

Ø  President Donald Trump on Thursday is slated to announce the formal establishment of the newest division of the Department of Defense: the United States Space Command. The Space Command is responsible for deploying military troops to “accomplish directed missions in the space domain,” the White House said to a media house. The new space division is not to be confused with the proposed Space Force, which Trump has often touted at rallies as the next branch of the U.S. military.

Ø  Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke releases a trade policy plan. The Democratic presidential candidate proposes to end President Donald Trump’s trade war with China and crack down on Beijing’s anti-competitive practices without tariffs. Democrats have called Trump’s trade policy reckless as they push to challenge him for the White House.

Ø  Only 10 Democrats will take the stage in next month’s 2020 presidential primary debate as the jammed field starts to shrink. ABC News unveiled the names of presidential candidates for the debate set for Sept. 12 in Houston. Unlike the past two debates that featured 20 Democrats over two nights, the next event will see all qualified candidates on one stage. The names of  presidential aspirants for the debate are Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and  Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

Ø  Apple is launching a new program that will give independent repair shops access to parts for common out-of-warranty repairs. The move represents an about-face for Apple, which typically encourages any repairs to be made by its authorized service providers. The program is launching in the U.S. before rolling out to more countries.

 

 

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WEB: WWW.IACCINDIA.COM

Did you know…


Did you know…

Did you know…

… that today is the birthday of United Parcel Service (UPS)? UPS was started in 1907 by teenagers Jim Casey and Claude Ryan in Seattle, Washington. The company, originally named American Messenger Company, was a messenger and delivery service. Trivia fans: On an average day, UPS handles 15.8 million packages!

~~~

Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“The more generous we are, the more joyous we become. The more cooperative we are, the more valuable we become. The more enthusiastic we are, the more productive we become. The more serving we are, the more prosperous we become.”

— William Arthur Ward

Agtech Disruptors: 10 European startups innovating in agricultural technology | EU-Startups


via Agtech Disruptors: 10 European startups innovating in agricultural technology | EU-Startups

By 2050, 10 billion people would require a 70% increase in global food production. In order to satisfy the global food demand, there is a strong need for sustainable agriculture solutions. For that reason, agricultural technology is one of the most interesting sectors right now and the latest favorite investment area of many international VCs. From precision farming to farm drones, AgTech is simplifying agriculture around the globe. Here are 10 European AgTech startups to watch in 2019 and in the years to come.

EAgronom – For Robin Saluoks, farming is part of his DNA. Growing up he saw his father struggling with papers, excel files and reports on their farm, so he decided to simplify his life, and the lives of other farmers. His solution was eAgronom, a farm management software that keeps a field log, manages storage, organizes logistics, runs complicated calculations etc. Accessible via web and mobile platform, Estonia-based eAgronom allows farmers to manage and oversee their farm in real-time and bring informed decisions.

Augmenta – Augmenta helps farmers understand the health and quality of their crops via a plug and play device that scans and analyzes crops as a tractor moves across the field capturing 4K video data of every inch of the field, but also automates tasks such as fertilizer application, through crop-calibrated software. A conducted study demonstrated that the “Field Analyzer” brings 12% increase in yield, using 13% fewer chemicals and producing a 15% improvement in protein levels.

Eden Advanced Technologies – This Dutch startup is designing and manufacturing fully automated urban farms. For a start, they have developed an aeroponics farming module capable of growing up to 35 different types of crops, starting with leafy greens and herbs and then going on to tomatoes, paprika, strawberries and beans. More importantly, the crops grow in fully controlled environments, independent of season and weather, without the use of pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.

Sencrop – The Lille-based startup is a pioneer in the field of connected agriculture, offering sensors, a data platform and a service marketplace. For a subscription-based service, Sencrop’s devices will track air temperature, hygrometry, rainfall, leaf wetness, and wind speed, providing users with live readings of their sensors, and predictions about next steps. In January 2019 the startup raised $10 million Series A funding to further simplify crop monitoring and encourage precise, efficient, and eco-friendly agriculture.

Faromatics – Faromatics is a Spanish startup which makes robots that help chicken farmers monitor their flocks. Their ChickenBoy, armed with a series of sensors and cameras, zooms around the chicken barn and measures things like air quality, humidity and temperature, as well as equipment operation. In addition, it can detect dead birds, analyze the chicken feces and can detect intestinal disease. Farmers get better information and cost savings while providing optimal conditions for the chickens.

Gamaya – The Swiss crop intelligence AgTech startup Gamaya uses drones and artificial intelligence to provide farmers insights into changes in water and fertilizer use, crop yield, and the emergence of pests and offer predictions. Consequently, crops can be grown more efficiently and cost-effectively. The startup has so far been backed by investors such as former Nestlé boss Peter Brabeck and Philip Morris, and since July 2019 by Mahindra & Mahindra’s Farm Equipment Sector which led a Series B funding of 7.5 million Swiss francs.

AgroSustain – The spin-off from the University of Lausanne has developed a technology that prevents the development of fungal pathogens in fruits and vegetables by up to 80%. Their product, AgroShelf+, is an efficient, non-toxic, plant-inspired solution, which is sprayed onto the crop and is able to extend the life of fruit and vegetables by a minimum of one week. Founded in 2018, the AgTech startup has already won numerous awards and grants in Switzerland and Europe for its solution to fight food waste.

Karnott – Founded in 2016, Karnott offers a tracking software coupled with a connected device that tracks agricultural equipment. Karnott places an automatic, autonomous, mobile, real-time device in tractors, trailers, or seeders to collect data, and then their software automatically calculates, analyzes, and archives it. Offering considerable time savings for farmers and reduction of the costs linked to mechanization, Karnott won a Sima Innovation Award in 2018 for meeting the performance needs of the agricultural world.

LettUs Grow – The Bristol-based startup is a developer of innovative aeroponic technology for efficiently growing plants in completely controlled environments. Instead of using soil, plant roots are suspended in a nutrient-dense mist, resulting in growth rate increases of over 70% compared to existing solutions for leafy greens, salads and herb production, consistent and predictable yields, and a 95% reduction in water usage. As global food demand rises, sustainable solutions like LettUs Grow are well-positioned to become the farms of the future.

Sabi Agri – Sabi Agri is a French startup which designs and manufactures electric tractors. Their flagship product, ALPO, is a robotable electric tractor which performs the same operations as a thermal tractor of comparable power, lasting up to eight hours, with operating costs 6 times cheaper than thermal tractor. Created in 2017, Sabi Agri currently offers three versions: Basic, 4×4 and Enjambeur to market gardeners, grape growers, arboriculturists, to simplify their daily operations.

 

Ethical Alliance Daily News 


Ethical Alliance Daily News 

United States: Federal probe into union corruption expands to General Motors
Aug 28, 2019 08:00 pm

A federal investigation into misuse of millions of dollars in training center funds by Fiat Chrysler executives and United Auto Workers leaders has expanded to General Motors. Michael Grimes, a retired senior official with the union’s GM division, has been…
Read More   

France: French investigators focus on Dentsu partner in sports corruption probe
Aug 28, 2019 07:30 pm

French authorities investigating corruption in international sports believe a Swiss partner of Japanese advertising giant Dentsu Inc played a “central and essential role” in deals used to embezzle sponsorship money and have asked Switzerland to raid its office and seize…
Read More   

China: Bank Executive Walks Free FromBribery Charges
Aug 28, 2019 07:00 pm

A former executive of the world’s largest bank by assets was released Tuesday after 26 months in detention as prosecutors dropped corruption charges, citing “changes in evidence.” Xu Zhihong, a former general manager of Hong Kong-based CMB Wing Lung Bank…
Read More   

Argentina: Argentine court rejects Kirchner bid to throw out corruption case
Aug 28, 2019 06:30 pm

An Argentine court rejected a request from lawyers to throw out a corruption case against former president and current vice-presidential candidate Cristina Kirchner. The 66-year-old Kirchner is accused of having favoured companies owned bybusinessman Lazaro Baez in the award…
Read More   

South Africa: S. African Parliament requested to draft rules for removal of anti-graftombudsman
Aug 28, 2019 06:00 pm

South Africa’s Parliament’s Justice Committee requested on Tuesday that the National Assembly urgently draft rules for the removal of the Public Protector, an anti-graftombudsman. Committee chairperson Bulelani Magwanishe said the committee unanimously agreed to refer the matter to Parliament’s…
Read More   

Liberia: Liberia ex-central bank staff plead not guilty to corruption
Aug 28, 2019 05:30 pm

Five former Liberian central bank officials, including an ex-president’s son, have pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering and “economic sabotage” in a scandal over millions of dollars of newly printed cash. A court in Monrovia, the capital of…
Read More   
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9 points to have in mind when preparing your startup to be sold | EU-Startups


via 9 points to have in mind when preparing your startup to be sold | EU-Startups

9 points to have in mind when preparing your startup to be sold

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company-sale

A common question that I get asked every now and then is about the value somebody’s company has. People show me classic formulas, theoretical models, market multiples and historical deal values. This is all very good when you are in a market where capital and buyers are abundant.

For 99.9% of the startups in the world, this is not quite the case. So, what are the important points to observe when you begin thinking about selling your business? And how you can improve your chances of getting sold by a fair value that will cover your incorporation costs and will still compensate you for all the time and effort invested in the operation?

Price agreement is something very hard to achieve between an interested and qualified buyer and a seller. It will be more difficult to an extent when you have your documentation and track record less organized than if you have all of it nicely structured in your files.

Also, different visions about the near future and the long-term industry sector performance affect the perceived values for both parties, besides internal metrics and numbers and the two sides perspectives.

If you want to optimize your valuable time building up momentum and negotiating a fair deal, pay attention to these value drivers:

  1. Accomplished and ambitious founders

Many buyers or investors see in the management and founder teams one of the key assets of any potential acquisition. If those teams are not ambitious and methodical, the probability any buyer will make you an offer will be low.

Would you consider buying a business or part of a company that would take 10 years to return your investment? Or would you rather buy a company that in 3 to 5 years will have repaid your investment?

  1. Income Predictability

Here we are considering income quality and income visibility. Income quality has to do with how recurring and mitigated your income is. Example: if you have 2 clients generating 70% of your revenue in one company and 200 clients generating the same 70% income in a second company, the business with more income quality will be the second one.

Income visibility refers to the recurring contractual revenue that your company has. This usually attracts buyers as they know that the minute that they get the company, there is some guaranteed cashflow happening and this will certainly give your valuation a few multiples.

  1. Barriers to entry

A barrier to entry will always protect your company from competition and from market oscillations. Contrary to popular belief, getting into a highly regulated market is good, as only few manage to insert their companies in those kinds of market – regulation working as a barrier to entry.

First mover or pioneer advantage is a too often underrated barrier to entry. Nobody can take from you the title of first in the market and usually this gives your brand a special place in the pantheon of options that a more mature market will offer its audience.

Long term contracts also play an important role as they give your startup more visible income, as well as a broader user base gives you a more qualified income.

  1. Strategic synergies

Strategically speaking, when you sell your startup to another company that already has a distribution network that carries more capillarity than yours, you are willing to give away part of your control in the company in order to get accelerated sales and revenues.

This is also the case when different acquirers get in the operation in the same or in different moments, bringing each one advantage. Classical examples are distribution networks, infrastructure or platforms, cashflow and user/client base.

  1. Avoid under-valuations – don’t sell it too early

It is always better to have your business model fully validated and with one to three years of repeatable operations before you sell your startup partially or entirely. The more you stay on the road successfully on your own – as long as you can and a strategic alliance would not accelerate your growth – the better your valuation will be when you prepare for sale.

  1. Organize your track record files

All your files should be in order: accountancy, human resources, legal records, financial demonstrations, product development roadmaps, CRM systems and so on. This helps sustaining your side of the negotiation and must be the factual base for your convincing arguments after the main thematic discussions.

Proper acquisition preparation can help even on your daily routine and is never too much.

  1. Manage possible post-acquisition expectations before you sell

What will be the responsibilities and expectations of each one in the acquired company? What are the operational roles that will suffer cuts or that will have the burdens increased? Will your team and employees remain all in the company or some may be going to the buyer company? What about your services and products portfolio: does it get shut off or does it continue with same brand and offer? Do your products get integrated in the buyer company portfolio?

What if the acquirer gets acquired? Do you have a compensation clause in your sale contract? You should pay attention to this, as it happens earlier and more often than we would have imagined 5 years ago.

  1. More cash in the bank will help your valuation grow

One of the most frequent reasons that early-stage exits fail is the fact that traditional due diligence concentrates on the startup financials. Cash in the bank account, some reserves to burn in emergencies and low debt are basic points that may be demanded by your buyer and may make your valuation higher.

Obviously low debt history and good cash reserves demonstrate a startup that is healthy financially and which management is prudent. This will reflect on the multiple you can get over your annual turnover.

  1. Exercise due diligence systematically

Last but not least, practice due diligence systematically in your company. This will give you a flavor of the current status and insights on points that must be stronger for a buyer to consider acquiring your business.

Make sure to clean up and correct mistakes that keep being repeated for one reason or another and never tolerate good enough practices, as buyers are always looking for best in their classes and not just another moderately good startup.

 

The basics of financial planning & analysis for startups | EU-Startups


via The basics of financial planning & analysis for startups | EU-Startups

The basics of financial planning & analysis for startups

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Financial-Planning

So you’ve heard of bookkeeping and accounting, but what is financial planning and analysis (FP&A), and why is it important?

This is the second article of a three-part article series on how to think about entrepreneurial finance. This article will provide you with the basics and principles of FP&A.

What is financial planning and analysis?

Simply put, FP&A is the process of determining how your company will afford to achieve its vision, strategic goals, and objectives. While accounting is about looking backwards, FP&A is about looking forward.

In the world of startups, you can tell just how important planning is by looking at some of the companies with no revenue and huge valuations – much of the company’s value comes from its projected future earnings. It’s safe to say that no matter the size of your company, you are going to need to engage in budgeting, forecasting, and analysis that supports major decisions of its executives.

Building the financial talent you need in a startup or small company is a gradual process. In a new venture, the FP&A function is often handled by the founders with outsourced assistance. As the company grows, the controller or CFO will often be in charge of FP&A. And as the company becomes larger, a full-time FP&A team will most likely be a valuable investment.

The increasing magnitude of financial complexity, employee count, revenue, and outside funding are the drivers of the evolution of the financial infrastructure in the startup. Generally speaking, with venture funding in hand, more than 30 employees, and/or generating solid revenues (€5-20 million), it’s time to think about formally instituting a FP&A department within your company.

FP&A will be an integral part of finance and accounting, whether in-house or outsourced. The FP&A manager will assist with the preparation of internal and external reports, materials for the board of directors, monthly financial analysis material and provide ad-hoc planning and analysis for the organization.

In a well structured company, the controller will manage financial accounting, and the FP&A person(s) will be in charge of management accounting (article coming soon).

The workflow of an FP&A manager includes:

  • Creating systems and processes on a daily basis
  • Short-term cash flow analysis and forecasts
  • Routine analysis of internal controls
  • Creating and analyzing financial models and simulations
  • Anticipating scenarios about the company’s cash flow and financial projections
  • Implementing monthly, quarterly, and annual growth strategies

Generally speaking, the FP&A manager will be in charge of the processes that support an organization’s business health and strategy, and ensure basic financial survival.

And make no mistake, while being very good with numbers, the FP&A function requires a surprising amount of communication skills. FP&A is also part of the professional approach used when searching for debt or equity capital, and when presenting your ventures to investors and lenders.

The modern finance function

The bad news about FP&A is that the work can be boring. The good news is that it’s quickly becoming more interesting. FP&A professionals are in essence storytellers. Using numbers as their language, they provide insights into the future by connecting the dots, thus unlocking value.

In other words, FP&A is about anticipation – making sure you get answers to questions that link planning and analysis to choices and strategic business decisions. FP&A answers strategic questions, ensures good accounting, analyzes product profitability, and of course, it’s used to determine how much money your venture needs, when is it needed, and how long will it last.

Any size company can benefit from engaging in FP&A activities, even if you have to outsource them at first. The “F” in FP&A speaks for itself; the finance function is just part of a broader company responsibility to plan, acquire, and manage capital to efficiently run the business.

Finance professionals can serve a wide variety of areas within an organization. Below, I’ll go over the process that financial planning (“P”) and analysis (“A”) encompasses, and highlight its key parts.

The “P” in FP&A

Accountants record the historical results, and then the FP&A professionals take this information and analyze it and explain the historical performance (the “A” in FP&A). Then they forecast future period results using the insights learned from the analysis (the “P” in FP&A).

The core of the FP&A role really lies in the ‘planning’ aspect of it, because it not only involves forecasting how the bottomline will change over time, but also includes contributing to a solution on how to close the financing gap.

The purpose of financial planning is to indicate the venture’s potential and to present a timetable for financial viability. The financial plan is basic to the evaluation of project, and it needs to represent your best estimates of financial requirements.

To make sure the value chain, the cash cycle and the other economic fundamentals make sense in terms of the business opportunity and overall company strategies, try to get answers to the following questions:

  • What are your gross and operating margins?
  • What is your profit potential?
  • How durable is the stream of profits?
  • What are the variables that go into determining pricing and produce profits?
  • What are your fixed, variable and semi-variable costs?
  • What assets are used and will be used in the business?
  • How many months to break even given your proposed financing?
  • How many months to reach positive cash flow?
  • When will you run out of cash?
  • Can you foresee any significant changes in cash flow as you grow?

Important note: always document all assumptions supporting the pro-forma (projected) numbers and financials, such as the assumptions made in timing of collections and receivables, terms of payments to vendors, planned salaries and wage increases, anticipated increases in any operating expenses, seasonality characteristics of the business, and so forth.

Also, in high-growth environments, organizational development is often a key factor, so don’t forget to include staff assumptions as well. More employees will bring about more complexity and the need for more financing.

Keep in mind that to estimate cash flow needs, always use cash-based rather than accrual-based accounting, that is, use real time cash analysis of expected receipts and disbursements.

And finally, you should update your capitalization table showing ownership and invested equity based on the external funding requirements needed to drive transformation and growth.

The “A” in FP&A

The analysis part of FP&A is about understanding the financials of your business, both quantitatively and qualitatively – sometimes finance is not about money. These are some of the basic questions you should be asking yourself and that financial analysis can help you answer:

  • How long does it take to get a customer to buy your product?
  • How much cash do you need to get to the next milestone?
  • How much do we spend on marketing in order to generate the revenues we’re looking for?
  • How long will it take to convert a prospect into a paying customer?

Here are the basic activities involved in financial analysis that you need to know:

Analysis standards. The analysis needs to cover three years, including current and prior year income statement and balance sheets, if applicable; and profit and loss forecasts for three years ahead, including pro forma income statements and balance sheets, and a break-even chart.

Cash flow analysis. During the start up years, usually the level of profits will not cover operating needs financially, and the cash inflows often do not match the actual cash outflows on short term basis. Detail the amount and timing of expected cash inflows and outflows. Determine the need for and timing for additional financing and indicate peak requirements for working capital.

Break even chart. A chart showing the level of sales and production that will cover all costs, including those costs that vary with production, highlighting opportunities to take advantage of scale costs and those that do not.

Specify assumptions. Along with the schedules, you must specify the assumptions behind such items as sales levels and growth, collections and payables periods, cash balances, or cost operations.

Sensitivity analysis. It’s also standard to perform a sensitivity analysis, such as for example what would be the effect of a 20% reduction in sales from those projected or 20% higher level of productivity costs, and which could prevent the venture’s sales and profit goals from being attained.

Also, describe how you will report costs and how often, who will be responsible for the control of the various cost-elements, and how you will take actions on budget overruns.

And finally, highlight the important conclusions, including but not limited to maximum amount and timing of cash required, the amount of debt and equity needed, and how fast any debt can be repaid.

10 of the best FP&A principles to keep in mind

  1. A good plan. Easy to understand and simple to execute financial planning often determines whether a venture will succeed or fail – a good plan is a very powerful tool. (1) First define the core of the business opportunity and the strategy for seizing it, (2) then begin to examine financial requirements in terms of -assets needed and -operating needs, and (3) finally identify the details.
  1. Business opportunity always leads and drives the business strategy, which in turn drives the financial requirements, the sources and deal structures, and the financial strategy.
  2. Creativity plays a very important role in financial planning.  As an entrepreneur, you need to look creatively at your venture and consider alternative ways of launching and financing it.
  3. FP&A is continuous cycle, and unless the company ceases to exist, the FP&A process never stops. The financial life cycle determines the capital available over time for different types of firms at different stages of development.
  4. The financing strategy is ultimately determined by the available alternatives  –so the principle is obvious: ideally, raise money when you do not need it.
  5. Cash is King, and cash-flow is Queen, referring to the immense importance of cash in the overall health of a startup or new business – cash is the lifeblood of a new venture. Lack of cash management is one of the most cited causes of company trouble.
  6. Building a brain trust of the right mentors, advisors and coaches is one of the entrepreneur’s most valuable secret weapons, so reach out.
  7. Use other people’s resources (OPR), it can be as simple as anyone or anything available that will help promote your project. Control of resources rather than ownership of resources is the key to a ‘less is more’ resource strategy. Bootstrapping is about relying on the minimum possible to proof that you can bring cash into the business.
  8. Spreadsheets (a double-edged sword) are nothing more than pieces of accounting paper adapted for use with a computer. While computer-based analysis is a great resource, it’s also a source of problems for entrepreneurs who have the impulse to get carried away with schedules and calculations before applying facts based on an understanding of the business.
  9. Analysis should be grounded in sound perceptions about an opportunity, if not, it’s almost always inaccurate. If the business opportunity is not well defined, ‘playing with the numbers’ is just that – playing.

The bottom line – performing FP&A is critical to the success of any business

Entrepreneurs in high-growth companies distinguish themselves with leading entrepreneurial practices in marketing, finance, management, and planning. But often in a new and emerging company, the finance function is nothing more than a bookkeeper or an outsourced accounting firm, and this leads to situations like lack of real cash management.

FP&A is a resource in itself, and it’s quickly becoming a source of competitive advantage for companies by increasing efficiencies in operations and use of capital, often leading to a huge potential boost – i.e.higher startup valuations and more access to talent. Good forecasting means good prediction of future outcomes and a better strategy-setting.

So, either founders learn the language of accounting & finance, or they have someone on the team who does. But generally speaking, founders will not get very far without a basic understanding of accounting (the language of business), FP&A (storytelling with numbers), and management accounting (the performance of operations).

A founder with a good understanding of the finance function will be in a much better position to drive their venture to success, no question about that.

I hope this article has been a helpful guide to understanding the role of financial planning and analysis at a startup company, and at any new business for that matter, and how the FP&A function plays a major role in supporting decisions made by a company’s CEO, CFO, and executive team.

 

Some loose thoughts this morning


Sometimes I think. Think of all that Singularity has done. To all our intellectuals. Going thru intelligence explosion stages leading to extinction. Like Pappy and his near extinct congress, like fake statisticians fudging stats of GDP and suppressing those of scams. Like the fake historians whose days are numbered. And, if I become FM SOME day I’d change CSR funding to R&D and take away as Tax all the idle reserves in listed companies reserves – as they tell me Singularity is here, intellectual bankruptcy of boards lies here, this prevents tech improvements, investment in people, research, development and technology. This leads to tax theft, flight of capital, and ugly display of personal wealth. This prevents Research, development. Such founders and boards must go extinct. I am a fan of leveraged buyouts. A good forward looking government must facilitate this and smooth takeover if stagnation, recurrent collapse are to be avoided. If progress must not reach abysmal l
Plateaus created by nincompoops in biz an politics. If we wish to prevent India from sure extinction and we wish a Takeoff stage to reach – we need to think and act different. Industrial revolution 4.0 came ahead of assumed/ predicted time. Are we ready? Physically, mentally? Intellectually? Technologically? Or allow these bankrupts and corrupts to continue rule us?

Find innovative solutions to problems: Guv


via Find innovative solutions to problems: Guv

The Governor of Uttarakhand Baby Rani Maurya has said that students should take interest in resolving the challenges and problems of disaster affected regions through scientific research. She was addressing students at Ma Ananandmayi Memorial School at Raiwalan Dehradun after inaugurating the Atal Tinkering Lab there.

Exhorting the students to work hard for finding innovative solutions for the issues related to the environment, water conservation, health, traffic management, farming and women, the Governor said that all the schools should create positive atmosphere to learn science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

She said that such labs are being established in country under the Atal Innovation Mission so that the students get a platform for research and prepare new scientific models with the help of their imagination. The Governor asked the parents to inspire their children to participate in activities related to science and innovation. It is worth mentioning that under the Atal Innovation Mission of NITI Ayog,  Atal Tinkering Labs are being set up in all the districts. Students of class VI to XII can experiment on their innovative ideas in these labs.

 

Ethical Alliance Daily News 


Ethical Alliance Daily News 

Hungary: Hungary investigating local angles of Microsoft bribery case
Aug 26, 2019 08:00 pm

Hungarian prosecutors say they have launched an investigation into a bribery scheme involving Microsoft’s Hungarian office. The Central Investigative Chief Prosecution Office said Friday that its probe is focusing on “fraud causing extraordinarily significant damages” and other crimes. Hungarian authorities…
Read More   

Brazil: Brazil’s federal police raids investment bank BTG Pactual, targets founder Andre Esteves
Aug 26, 2019 07:30 pm

Brazil’s federal police on Friday raided the headquarters of Latin America’s largest independent investment bank, Banco BTG Pactual SA, and addresses of its founder, Andre Esteves, federal prosecutors said in a statement. Maria das Gracas Foster, former chief executive of…
Read More   

Algeria: Algeria’s richest man held in jail in graft probe
Aug 26, 2019 07:00 pm

Algeria’s richest man Issad Rebrab has been detained in jail on the public prosecutor’s orders, state media reported Tuesday a day after his arrest as part of a corruption probe. The crackdown on alleged graft follows the resignation of veteran…
Read More   

Ukraine: Ukraine sports officials accused of corrupt medicine scheme
Aug 26, 2019 06:30 pm

Ukrainian security services have accused leading sports officials of buying sham medicine for athletes and misappropriating public funds. The SBU, Ukraine’s domestic security agency, says a top Sports Ministry doctor and others spent 8 million hryvnyas ($310,000) on allegedly deficient…
Read More   

Malaysia: Najib splurged RM3.3 million on jewellery for Qatar sheik’s wife
Aug 26, 2019 06:00 pm

The corruption trial against former premier Najib Razak, who allegedly misappropriated RM42 million from a unit of state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), is on the tail end of the prosecution’s case, with the defence expected to wrap up its…
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Sudan: Sudan’s ex-president Bashir’s corruption trial to seek bail
Aug 26, 2019 05:30 pm

The lawyer for Sudan’s ex-president Omar Hassan al-Bashir said on Saturday that he will request that Bashir be released on bail as his trial on corruption charges continues. Bashir is charged with illicit possession of foreign currency and accepting gifts…
Read More   
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Did you know…


… that today is Dog Appreciation Day? Today, we honor dogs for all that they do to enrich our lives. Dogs were the first animals to be domesticated by humans. Today, dogs are used as companions and are considered to be a member of the family in many parts of the world. Celebrate by giving your furry friend some treats or adopt one and give it a loving home!

~~~

Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“My fashion philosophy is, if you’re not covered in dog hair, your life is empty.”

— Elayne Boosler

WORD OF THE DAY


WORD OF THE DAY
Assiduous
ə-ˈsij-wəs
Part of speech: adjective
Origin: Latin, mid 16th century
1

Showing exceptional effort and perseverance

2

Meticulous and diligent

3

Constant or incessant

Examples of Assiduous in a sentence

“Her assiduous attention to detail in her work helped her land the big promotion.”

“He is an assiduous housecleaner—he doesn’t leave a single surface untouched.”

Did you know…


… that today is Dog Appreciation Day? Today, we honor dogs for all that they do to enrich our lives. Dogs were the first animals to be domesticated by humans. Today, dogs are used as companions and are considered to be a member of the family in many parts of the world. Celebrate by giving your furry friend some treats or adopt one and give it a loving home!

~~~

Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“My fashion philosophy is, if you’re not covered in dog hair, your life is empty.”

— Elayne Boosler

8 Years on WordPress – How time flies. Thank you.


I tried several Blogging platforms before I landed on WordPress.  Most of them were not sustainable and died away.

I was an almost dormant blogger here but continued posting on Blogger.com for a long time and received over 200,000 views.

Last year on `13th May, I began posting in real earnest.   It gave me

249655 Views

49501 Visitors Wonderful Fast Friends, Fans and Followers.

223208 LIkes

12958 is the number of Posts I shared with this wonderful audience in this short period.

I recently downgraded my account from Business to Personal and the help I receive from the . Happiness Engineers of WordPress is simply fabulous!  Hats off to their knowledge, speed of response, quick understanding of issue and friendly resolutions in agreed turnaround time.

Screenshot 2019-08-27 at 13.21.20Screenshot 2019-08-27 at 13.15.58

 

 

 

Meditation


Benefits Of Meditation…

There is no question about the benefits of meditation. The chief of them are the following:

  1. One who meditates with sincerity may sooner or later become free from the clutches of maya and be drawn to the truth of God.
  2. If, along with sincerity, meditation is practised with regularity, and for a sufficiently long time, it is capable of making one’s mind pure and permanently inclined to the divine path.

  3. The third advantage of meditation lies in the fact that if the meditation is very deep and intense, it is likely to produce the state of yoga samadhi. Though yoga samadhi has nothing to do with Nirvikalpa samadhi and must not be confused with spiritual Perfection, an aspirant is likely to derive some benefit from it.

  4. But the greatest advantage of meditation is that which lies in a chance for direct God-realisation. Yes, it is not impossible to get the Nirvikalpa samadhi, Hakikat, the complete realisation of the state ‘I am God,’ through meditation. But it is possible, provided that the meditator has come under the influence of a living Perfect Master, has a pure and spotless character, and is possessed of dogged determination that knows no defeat, even if it comes to the question of giving up one’s very life in the cause. With these qualities, one must meditate without any other object in view save that of becoming one with the Almighty.

Let it be borne in mind that there should be no limit to, or a particular fixed period only, for meditation. If meditation cannot be continued throughout the waking state without a break, it must be as long as possible. The intensity of meditation is in proportion to the longing for the goal.

Lord Meher 2,142-03
Photo Courtesy Of Sheriar Books