A few years ago, I was on hold with the Michigan Department of Revenue when they fed me this captivating commercial:
25,000 mornings, give or take, is all we humans get. We spend them on tread mills, in traffic … or, if we are lucky … very lucky, it dawns on us to spend them at a place where a simple sunrise is more than an imagination. 25,000 mornings . . . Make sure some of them are pure Michigan. Your trip begins at Michigan.org.
This is NOT an article about finding happiness in Michigan, although it is a great state. My wife is from Traverse City. At least once a year we pack up the family and trek over the majestic Mackinac Bridge to Grandpa and Grandma’s place. Sometimes we take scenic US 31 down through Charlevoix, past the vineyards and orchards that make Traverse Bay famous. …
Back in April, as the economy swirled toward the drain, many American companies received forgive-able “PPP” loans. I wrote about these loans in several articles, including Free Money for Your Business? and How PPP Loans Work for Sole Proprietors and Freelancers.
From my perspective as a contract CFO, I’d say the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) was a smashing success. Sure, a few bad actors might be driving around in new Lamborghinis, but overall, the funds met a legitimate need.
I’ve seen several cases where PPP loan funds almost perfectly offset a company’s decline in profits. Even at companies where profits didn’t drop drastically, PPP money still provided a critical confidence boost during those uncertain days in April. …
The balance sheet and income statement are the two foundational financial reports for any business.
That means most entrepreneurs and business managers could explain the difference between the two, right?
Unfortunately, no. I’ve worked for over a decade as a contract CFO for a diverse group of entrepreneurs spread over many industries and geographies. By my estimation, 90% of small business owners would do well if they could put a name to each report, much less definitively explain them. Even some bookkeepers and accountants struggle to fully grasp the difference.
Part of the problem is most entrepreneurs and managers care so much about the income statement (aka “profit and loss report” or “P&L”) they barely know any other reports exist. When I present a packet of financial reports, it’s not uncommon to see people flip straight to the income statement to see the bottom line for the month. …
It’s frustrating (and extremely beneficial) to compete with someone who is “sought after.”
What I mean by that is someone who has clients beating a path to their door without even trying.
An ordinary professional can show up on time, answer emails promptly, bend over backward, meet deadlines, do everything — but still get sidelined while the sought-after professional is turning away work.
What is the secret? What sets sought-after professionals apart?
Before you fling this article to the digital floor in disgust, I encourage you to read I Tried to Sell to a Customer Who Was Secretly a Master Salesman. …
In our painfully sensitive world, it’s still completely fine to stereotype and mock accountants. The Washington Redskins could re-brand as the Washington Bean Counters and probably get away with it.
There’s even a list on the internet of 77 accountant jokes that includes these shameless highlights:
Tom works in the estimating department of a mid-sized plumbing contractor. As he walks in the door Tuesday morning, he gets hit with the following:
Boss: “Hey Tom, can you check with the sign company to see how our new outdoor sign is coming?”
Receptionist: “Hey Tom, I can’t get this quote to print. Can you help me with that today?”
Salesperson: “Hey Tom, will the Peterson quote be done by 4:00 this afternoon? The bid opening is tomorrow.”
When Tom gets to his computer, he finds three random emails from his boss that contain a total of four questions.
Let’s say you are Tom. Would your colleagues (sorry, your opinion doesn’t count!) …
What is the key to being a star employee?
I live in Central Wisconsin. My friends and neighbors are hard-working farmers. I get tired just listening to the stories of working 36 hours, sleeping a few hours, and climbing back in the tractor or combine. In my neighborhood, it’s a high honor to get to Friday and say you slept 12 hours the whole week.
Is working like a farmer the key to being a great employee?
Not really. High-octane workaholic employees can be hard-to-please time bombs who eventually blow up and leave. Even if they’re not that way, they usually operate in an atmosphere of stress and pressure. …
Today I’m going to work as a CFO. There are hundreds, probably thousands of savvier CFOs who know better than me how to be a financial innovator.
Today I’m managing the team at our small financial company. There are thousands, maybe millions of better bosses than me.
Today I am father to my five sons and two daughters. There are countless dads who are better fathers than I am.
Today I am the husband to my lovely wife. I’m sure there are millions of men more understanding, sensitive and kind, who would be more worthy of love.
Today I’m helping lead a non-profit organization. When I think of all the qualified people in the world who could guide the organization more effectively, it almost disables me. …
I work with several CFOs who have almost as many years of experience as I am old.
For a recent company meeting, I asked one of them to share his “opinion on the long-term impact (positive or negative) of COVID-19 on business.”
Here is (a liberally edited blog version of) what he said:
Will there be any?
The anecdotal evidence is positive. The stock market is down 6% from when this started, and still up substantially from just a few years ago.
I have a CPA neighbor who works with 80 companies. He’s thinking one of those will fold. …
After waiting for 49 days, the big moment has arrived!
I’m not talking about my 6-year-old twin’s birthday, although that’s been important too. While they counted the days until gifts and birthday cake, I silently wondered how many days until PPP forgiveness rules.
Bring out the balloons, the wait is over. PPP presents have arrived!
Quick, let’s open them:
The day you receive your PPP loan is the first day of the 56-day (8-week) forgiveness period. This is referred to as the “Covered Period”. Payroll costs paid or incurred during those 56 days generally qualify for forgiveness.
If that exact 56-day period doesn’t line up with your payroll cycle, you are generally allowed to start counting at the beginning of the first payroll cycle after receiving your loan. …