What numbers should I be getting from my financial controller?

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Dear Norm,
I’ve reached a stage where I need to graduate from using two part-time accountants to having a full-time controller. As I get ready to make the change, I’m wondering what numbers I should be watching on a day-to-day basis.
Gary

Dear Gary,
Every business has its own critical numbers, and my guess is that you already know what yours are. How do you tell whether you’re having a good week or a good month? What happens when your sales drop? How long does it take you to collect your receivables? Those are all simple, commonsense things. Your financial person should be helping you figure out the numbers you need to be looking at and then providing them to you on a regular basis. When you’re interviewing for your new controller, make sure that he or she is up to the task. If you feel as though you’re a little weak on the numbers, don’t be afraid to say so. Put your questions to the candidates themselves. If they can’t give you answers that make sense, don’t hire them.
Yours truly, Norm

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