Smart Business Solutions
“Profitable growth does not happen by itself”
Do you also sometimes feel that everyone in your company is working all-out, but that the results are not there accordingly? Or that your control over a process or technology could be better whereby there is a risk that you miss out on opportunities? Don’t worry, all entrepreneurs struggle with such issues on occasion. These are characteristic of companies in growth mode. However… you can do something about them!
Existing, successful services, products or processes cannot last forever. Faster than you’d think, an application or technology that served you very well before may prove incapable of meeting current needs. Alternatively, ideas that are rich in potential may end up going nowhere through a series of avoidable mistakes.
In short, profitable growth does not happen by itself. This statement holds particularly true in a world that is moving and changing continuously. New growth opportunities and challenges require innovative, creative solutions. “We gathered them under the name Smart Business Solutions,” says Philip Lodewyckx, Partner within BDO’s Smart Business Solutions team. “Solutions that are accessible to suit every type of company, regardless of the scale. In other words: know-how and experience in the fields of business operations and strategy, automation, financial management, margin analysis and ‘dashboarding’ are from now on no longer reserved for large multinationals exclusively.”
Every company or organisation can find improvement opportunities where more efficient and therefore more cost-effective use can be made of your available people and resources. The question is how to make this a reality. Philip explains: “Smart Business Solutions are built around the SMART principle. This is because we want to offer entrepreneurs solutions that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant & Time-bound.” They also rely on three axes that are often linked to each other, but each of them individually has a major impact on the strength of your business:
Financial management offers a deeper insight into your company’s ‘overall’ capabilities. Measuring and predicting performance in just one domain isn’t all that difficult. The hard part is to determine the short, medium and long-term effects of all sub-domains collectively, in an integrated manner.
Business Intelligence refines the financial and operational reporting and ‘dashboarding’ and tests them with your company’s strategy.
An ERP system streamlines the financial and operational information from your accounting processes with the bigger picture, ensures that you have a good view of your profit and loss situation and helps you to run your entire business.
“Every company can find improvement opportunities where more efficient use can be made of your available people and resources.”
“When entrepreneurs approach us with problems, they all too often have an incomplete picture of the cause of the problem,” says Philip Lodewyckx from experience. “It’s our job to do that analysis within all business links, both financial and operational.” Based on this analysis, you determine the extent to which you can translate the strategy of your business into measurable operational and financial indicators, and whether other working methods can offer a better outcome. After that, it comes down to putting the changes into clear processes and training your team(s). “In a continuous manner,” Philip stresses, “because just like your business, the tools and methods are constantly changing.”
Business Intelligence solutions
In recent years, the world has been increasingly driven by big data. All companies, regardless of their size, are confronted with vast amounts of internal and external data. This leads to many new challenges, but also creates opportunities. After all, data form a lever for steering the company’s activities in the right direction. “Thanks to Business Intelligence (BI) solutions, we can mine the available data and turn it into usable insights,” explains Philip Lodewyckx. “These insights must help directors, managers and employees to make informed strategic and tactical business decisions.”
Financial data are generally made available in companies in a structured form. But making informed strategic and tactical business decisions requires more than just financial data. The data must be made insightful to some degree in order to identify the information needs of the different decision-makers within a company and to translate the available data into understandable visual language. A multidisciplinary approach is therefore crucial for a successful implementation of a BI solution.
Philip Lodewyckx and his team note that, especially in growth businesses, the operational and financial processes are insufficiently aligned. “They operate from different systems, perform operations twice with the risk of errors and cannot adequately guarantee the follow-up.” In some cases, an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution can offer an answer.
What is an ERP solution?
ERP solutions cover all the necessary processes in order to enable efficient management within your organisation. What are the various components of such efficient management?
In order to gain a clear view of all accounting processes, you must first have the basic aspects in order and automate financial processes by using scanning tools and e‑invoicing in combination with CODA (coded statements of account) files for financial transactions.
By adding information about employees, subcontractors or machine hours among others, in combination with the follow-up of your production and inventory in the ERP system, you can plan and intervene when you need extra resources.
Another element of efficient management is the timely renewal of business-critical contracts and the follow-up of the maintenance of company cars and machinery.
Every production, service or lead must be properly followed up in the CRM part to make sure that quotations are converted into orders and that all orders are invoiced after performance.
By gathering all these data together in a solid database, you can analyse in real time where you can achieve quick wins or where something might go wrong.
Avoid cash drains
SMEs and scale-ups typically focus more on the day-to-day business than spending time on their administrative flows and processes. They usually entrust their accounting processes to their local accountant without connecting these processes (and their results) to the follow-up of the business activities.
By ‘disconnecting’ their business operations and their administrative processes, they lose sight of important cash drains, such as unusable stock, excessive purchases of certain products or bad follow-up. By linking efficiently managed administrative processes to day-to-day activities and by automating particular tasks, you save time and resources, and you can find important documents in just a few clicks.
Philip explains: “A well-integrated system in which financial information from your accounting processes is part of the bigger picture ensures that you have a good view of your profit and loss situation and helps you to run your entire business.”