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Financial Forecasting 101

Financial Forecasting 101

If you’re a business owner or been thinking about opening up a new venture, the thought of improving its performance must have crossed your mind. And that’s where financial forecasting comes into play. 

It’s simply the process of looking into the future of your business based on historical data and trends. In this post, you’re going to learn the basics of financial forecasting and how it can help you.  

What is Financial Forecasting?

The definition is literally in the name. Financial forecasting is forecasting a business’s financial status. 

More specifically, this is the processing, predicting, and estimating the future performance of a business based on current data at hand. Company revenue is used as the benchmark in most basic cases. 

The sales figure can say a lot more than how much profit your business made. Those data sheets are effectively a portal to your business’s future. But it takes a different set of capable eyes to capture the essence. 

Apart from the current sales figures, historical data is also used in financial forecasting. It helps analyze the performance with regards to the past, present, and hopefully a better future. This method is widely used by successful CEOs and entrepreneurs around the world for its accuracy. 

Why is Financial Forecasting Important?

Any business with long-term objectives can definitely benefit from this process. It also helps to set new standards for the business as well as guide the decision-making process. 

Another very important reason why entrepreneurs use this process is to convince investors. 

Suppose, you own a winery and you wish to expand across different states. You know it will be a successful venture. But how do you attract more investors? 

That’s where financial forecasting comes to play. You can accurately determine the future of your winery by considering all the variables in your current model and projecting them into a future scenario. 

CEOs love this model because it can bring important insights such as how to spend business resources, what the industry holds for the future, how long the debts will hover over the business, how to pay the shareholders, etc. to light. 

And when you have at least an idea of what you’re diving into, making the right decisions at the right time becomes a lot less burdening to your shoulders. 

Types of Financial Forecasting

When venturing into the dynamic world of forecasting, you should know about the types as well. There are two major branches of forecasts. One is Qualitative while the other one is Quantitative. 

Qualitative Forecasts 

Qualitative financial forecasting does not rely on computers to analyze large data sets. It’s quite an unorthodox way of finding out the connection between events. Rather than following the sales figures, Qualitative Forecasts focus on decisions taken from experience and intuition. 

It starts with gathering opinions from major positions in each department. Analyzing their insights might be crucial for forecasting.

The next step might be taking a similar scenario from a different environment and projecting it onto the subject scenario. 

The Delphi Method is another important aspect of financial forecasting. It indicates that company professionals fill out a questionnaire. Based on it, another questionnaire is created and filled. Now, these are combined and presented to the participants to re-evaluate their answers. 

Scenario forecasting is another great method. The person tasked with the forecasting will project different results based on the consequence of scenarios. Your management team has the freedom to select any result you want. 

Quantitative Forecasts 

Unlike qualitative forecasts, quantitative financial forecasts solely depend on large historical data sets. These are used to find patterns and trends in the business space. These forecasts are more accurate in sectors where numbers speak louder than legacy. 

Pro-Forma Financial Statements is a great method used in this forecast where the sales data from the previous years are used to make the prediction. 

Another method is Time Series Analysis. For short-term goals and objectives, this the perfect method to use. It involves collecting data for a certain period and analyze it to find trends. 

Lastly, the Cause-Effect method dictates that every effect on the business is related to the cause. The consumer’s income, their confidence in the business, unemployment rate, etc. directly influences the sales figures. The goal of this method is to find the connection.

Tax Preparation Enablement

We provide your organization a true end to end solution to all of your tax needs. Tax season is year round to Protea – if you aren’t preparing daily, it’s too easy to get behind. We are always working with your organization to streamline your businesses tax management.

Protea Conversations – Rachel Martin

Protea Conversations – Rachel Martin

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high quality out-sourced accounting at an affordable price.  Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the work force after taking time off to start a family. This allowed Protea to attract extremely talented individuals who were overlooked.  Over 80% of both Protea’s leadership and accounting teams are women.

We selected the name Protea because is the national flower of South Africa and is a symbol of our connection. The Protea flower has become an ornamental flower because of this striking beauty and is included in arrangements and bouquets as a symbol of courage or daring to be better or a sign of positive transformation.

Protea Conversations focuses on successful woman in business and their achievements.  The hope is that these conversations will create a forum to discuss the experiences, opportunities, and challenges women face, and how we can build a more diverse, inclusive, and successful environment for everyone.

In April 2021 we spend time with Rachel Martin. A unique combination of education and experience brought Rachel Martin to launch Oceano Wines with husband and co-proprietor, Kurt Deutsch in 2016. A Virginia native, Martin was present at the inception of what is now considered one of that state’s premier wine producers, Boxwood Estate Winery, in 2005. As Executive Vice President of Winery Operations, Martin’s job was to oversee all facets of production, sales and marketing of Boxwood’s award-winning whites, rosés and Bordeaux-style red blends.

Appreciating the distinctiveness of Middleburg’s terroir, Rachel spearheaded the move toward securing a coveted American Viticultural Area designation from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the federal agency charged with evaluating the merits of all such applications. The petition she authored on behalf of the region was approved in 2012, making Middleburg Virginia the state’s seventh AVA.

Rachel’s forward thinking led directly to Middleburg having its own wine identity separate from the more generic Virginia designation, making her well suited to again start from scratch with Oceano Wines. None other than the esteemed author Jancis Robinson noted Rachel’s marketing savvy in her book “American Wine.”

Rachel is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International New York and Washington, D.C chapters and was the first woman to be inducted into the District of Columbia chapter of the International Wine & Food Society. Rachel was a founding board member of the Middleburg Film Festival where she was closely involved with the beverage/culinary. 

How did you get into the wine industry and why did you decide to start Oceano Wines?

My path to the wine industry began in 2002. It was my step-father’s awesome and somewhat crazy idea to plant a world class vineyard and build a state of the art winery in Middleburg, Virginia- Boxwood Estate Winery. My position would be Executive VP in charge of all operations, so in advance I attended the Diploma program at the University of Bordeaux’s School in Enology in Bordeaux, France and studied Enology and Viticulture at Napa Valley College in Napa, California.

In 2016, while still a Boxwood, I visited Spanish Springs Vineyard just east of Pismo Beach on the extreme coast of San Luis Obispo County, California. I was so intensely struck by the vineyard terroir to produce unforgettable Burgundian varieties, I immediately contracted for 6 tons of Chardonnay. We hired industry veteran winemaker Marbue Marke to craft our first vintage in 2016. That was the first step in establishing Oceano Wines with my husband and business partner, Kurt Deutsch. And in 2018 we added Pinot Noir to our offerings. Our wines are made by Marbue in Napa.

 

What has been the biggest challenge you have experienced in reaching your current success (personally and professionally)?

Since I feel like I have had two lives professionally in wine, I can speak to both challenges in each life. At Boxwood Winery, my biggest challenge, personally was working for my step-father. He is very old-school when it comes to business, and it could be soul crushing at times. That said, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity that he gave to me as Executive VP of his promising winery. That was the start of my life in wine. Professionally, I was challenged at every level. I had been responsible for logistics and creative projects in the past, but nothing of this magnitude. I had to learn all facets of the business by the seat of my pants. The only industry mentor that I had was our viticultural consultant, Lucie Morton. That was amazing, but I was responsible for much more than that. I had to grow in every direction to meet the requirements to run winery operations, sales and marketing. It was a huge job, but very satisfying!

With Oceano Wines, there are not any personal challenges. It is like breathing, because I am literally living my best life. I am at my happiest when I am creating. We are sourcing from an incredible vineyard site, Spanish Springs, which is owned by our family friend Henry Warshaw. I am privileged to work with our winemaker, Marbue Marke. He is highly experienced, down to earth, professional and most importantly, expertly skilled as a winemaker and a viticulturist.

Professionally, since we are sourcing fruit from the extreme coast of San Luis Obispo County, making our wines in Napa as a client and I am based in New York City, we have not yet been able to establish a tasting room. This is the greatest challenge. We are looking into options on the east coast. Hopefully we will find the right opportunity in 2021. Right now, our wines can be purchased from our website and at restaurants and retailers in California, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., North Carolina and Florida.

 

What are your short term goals of your career/business and yourself?

Short term goals for business is getting our tasting room situation figured out and open in 2021. For myself, my goal is to continue my role as a leader and mentor in the alcohol beverage industry, by bring valuable content and support to my member associations: Women of the Vines & Spirits and Les Dames d’Escoffier.

 

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received that has helped you in your success?

Not everyone is going to like you, and that is okay.

 

What is the piece of advice that you wished you had gotten when you were starting out?

Approach people by what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.

 

What advice you give to others to help them be better leaders?

Cultivate and nourish your employees, they are your greatest asset.

 

As a thank you to our interview and Protea’s commitment to more diverse and inclusive leaders, Protea will make a donation to Vital Voices (https://www.vitalvoices.org/). Vital Voices Global Partnership is a global movement that invests in women leaders who are solving the world’s greatest challenges. They are “venture catalysts,” identifying those with a daring vision for change and partnering with them to make that vision a reality. They scale and accelerate impact through long term investments to expand skills, connections, capacity, and visibility. Over the last 22 years, we have built a network of 18,000 change-makers across 182 countries who are collectively daring to reimagine a more equitable world for all.

5 Financial Reports You Should be Running

5 Financial Reports You Should be Running

There’s an assortment of financial reports involved in business accounting and bookkeeping. Each one contains the information you need to form an accurate and holistic view of your company’s financial health. There are five reports you should be running on a consistent schedule when you own any small business, especially wineries. Keep reading to learn why these reports are crucial to the success of your company.

 

Profit and loss

A profit and loss report, also called a statement of operations, provides an overview of your winery’s key performance factors. The frequency of P&L reporting varies – monthly, quarterly, and annual statements all have their place. The goal of P&L reporting is to track sale trends and profit ratios over time.

To complete the report, an accountant compares the income of your business against all sorts of expenses. These include how much it costs to sell your products, admin expenses, taxes, interest on loans, marketing budgets, and so on. The sum of your business expenses is then deducted from the sales revenue to determine your company’s net income.

It’s important to collect and review these reports over time. On report is a snapshot in time. Several forms a dynamic assessment of how well a business is doing. This data is invaluable if you want your small business to thrive for years to come.

 

Balance sheet

The process of fermenting, bottling, and selling wins is lengthy. Every winery depends on a mix of liquid accounts and long-term investments to support such time-consuming operations. A winery is also likely to have short-term and long-term liabilities and financial backing from shareholders.

These factors are tabulated and compared when your accountant prepares a balance sheet. You’ll find that there are two sections to any balance sheet: one, a summary and breakdown of all company assets, and two, a summary and breakdown of all company liabilities.

The assets section will include the cash you have to spend, the value of your inventory, the equipment you own, and any accounts receivable on your books. The liability section includes accounts payable, unearned revenue, and long-term debts. The final calculations reveal your company’s net worth. Reviewing yearly balance sheets is an excellent tool to track the growth of your winery.

 

Tax Preparation Enablement

We provide your organization a true end to end solution to all of your tax needs. Tax season is year round to Protea – if you aren’t preparing daily, it’s too easy to get behind. We are always working with your organization to streamline your businesses tax management.

Statement of cash flow

The revenues and expenses of a business fluctuate frequently. And while P&L reports and balance sheets provide immense data sets, they don’t always offer the precision you need. A statement of cash flow allows you to record, track, and predict the actual amount of cash your business has on hand during a given time period.

For example, a winery needs to invest money in multiple pieces of bottling equipment. The cost of the initial purchase, interest owed, and the depreciation of value are all accounted for in monthly expense reports. However, the depreciating value of machinery doesn’t actually remove money from your account.

Instead, a cash flow statement only tracks your liquid assets. Regular cash flow reporting will show you the amount of cash you have on hand throughout each week, month, or quarter. Wineries can use these reports to predict how much cash they’ll have at a future point and enables them to make long-term plans.

 

Net profit margin over time

The net profit margin of your company is crucial to seeing and developing success in the long term. The basis for this type of report is the net profit margin ratio. The ratio divides your business’s net profit by the amount of revenue earned. To phrase it another way, this report explains how much your net worth grows with every dollar of revenue you earn.

A net profit margin report should be completed frequently. It provides an inside look at how effective your investments in inventory and labor are at producing money from your company. Knowing the profit margins for your company is the first step to course correction when you start losing money.

 

Accounts receivable versus accounts payable

Reporting accounts receivable versus payable is vital for daily operations and long-term financial planning. These types of reports document either your liabilities or your assets in real time. This information is needed to pay debts on time, budget for upcoming expenses, and ensure your books are accurate as well.

Accounts receivable reports detail outstanding money that your business is owed. In a winery setting, you might have receivable assets because a local market purchased several cases of wine to stock their shelves. Payable accounts are liabilities you are expected to pay. This includes expenses like rental space and raw goods inventory.

 

Conclusion

These five reports are the pillars of your business’s financial health. They require the utmost accuracy and need to be completed on a frequent basis, which is why Protea Financial can help. As a small business owner, it’s difficult to find time to manage all accounting and bookkeeping. Compiling and reviewing reports on a regular schedule is a challenge.

Additionally, few business owners have the training and expertise required to prepare reports correctly. Protea’s certified accountants and bookkeepers are ready to help. Your dedicated team will ensure that every transaction, asset, and liability is accurately reported. This means you can focus your attention on reviewing the big picture and deciding how best to grow your business.

7 thoughts for 7 years

7 thoughts for 7 years

In the month of March we as a company, Protea Financial, are celebrating seven years of guiding small businesses with high quality and cost-effective accounting. This is truly a surreal moment for us here at Protea Financial, as we celebrate our success. What started out as a mere extension of a business has since morphed and grown into something much bigger – the dream of better accounting for everyone. With this milestone front of mind, I have been taking time to reflect on the journey and I want to share my seven key/favorite/most important moments in the journey so far.

Getting our first real client

We had been operating for a couple of weeks focusing on a couple of entities run by my business partners, then we received a call from a winery in the Napa Valley. It was a really high profile, well-known winery.

Though the client did not last very long, it did provide me with insight into who we should be. The experience with this client made it clear that we would focus on bookkeeping for the wine industry and that we were going to operate remotely. The time with the client was not a success but the learning on the client set us up for who we are today.

Setting up our subsidiary in South Africa

After nine months of working with contractors and paying them hourly we made the move to open a company in South Africa and hire some “real” employees.

This was massive! One, it meant we have a real business, with a real concept but mostly importantly it also meant that I was no longer able to worry about just myself. Every decision I make, every action I take, did not just affect my life but it had an effect on other people’s lives and livelihood.

This really was the moment that I realized it would not be enough to just be a good accountant but I needed to step up and be a manager and a leader.

As a 30 year old in a new country, it set a fire inside me to bring my beliefs in what good accounting is to life!

Making a hire in US

Honestly one of the scariest moments in the journey to date!

We had been in business for a few years and I needed help. We had grown beyond my ability to provide the quality of service we wanted to be known for to our clients by myself. In the tricky and competitive hiring market of the North Bay we not only needed to find someone who wanted to provide bookkeeping services but also work at home by themselves with a Team in a different country.

We went through a couple of options that just did not work out. This was less than ideal, but we learned from these trials who we are, and what we can offer. Today we have four fantastic Team members in the North Bay. Hiring them would not have been possible without the learnings from the first few attempts.

Hiring a new manager in South Africa

There was a major learning curve when we started out. I had managed teams in high pressure environments, but nothing I had learnt prepared me for managing a high performing Team on a different continent in a fluid business.

In a tough decision I needed to hire in above the Team I had in place. This is something I never wanted to do, I’m a believer in development of your own talent, but it needed to be done. What made this decision even tougher was my current manager was a great friend. I had no choice though. I needed help. I needed someone who could manage the Team and deal with admin to allow me to concentrate on strategy, client experience and growth. I needed someone that would be tough, direct and could execute on my vision.

I was lucky enough to stumble onto Sonja. Coming in from a less than traditional background, Sonja was exactly what we needed. Sonja quickly became my right-hand person, allowing me and the business to thrive. The right person at the right time!

5 year celebrations

What a special time! I was able to go down to South Africa with my family and business partners and enjoy a wonderful celebration. If you follow us on Facebook you will know we love to celebrate and this one was the best. It was nice to celebrate a great milestone and take the time to connect and think about the future.

It was also an opportunity to thank so many people involved in our success. It was wonderful to take time to say thank you.

Giving back

Giving back is core to who we are at Protea. As part of the business plan it was really important to me to find time and resources to be able to give back to those in the community and especially to help those that they are unable to help themselves.

Over the years, we have helped out at animal shelters, supported sterilization of animals, supported children’s homes, supported women’s shelters and supported people who need food.

Giving back motivates me to work harder every single day to be able to help. Looking back at how we have been able to support others over the last seven years makes me happy.

This very moment

This month. This day. This very moment.

The idea that I have even have this opportunity to celebrate success of seven years in business seemed like something of someone else’s dreams on day one.

I am so fortunate for this opportunity. The opportunity to lead. The opportunity to help. The opportunity to add value and be a part of many journeys of success. I am so proud of the way we have been able to help so many people, especially in the last 12 months that have been crazy difficult.

Thank you to our supporters. Thank you to our clients. Thank you to the Team! You are all amazing and none of this would be possible without you.

We will continue to strive to be better every single day. We will continue to focus on better accounting for everyone.

The Basics of Financial Statements

The Basics of Financial Statements

A key aspect and skill in managing a company is the ability to understand financial statements. Because we operate in a competitive business environment, it is important to be able to identify a company’s financial position/health, business trends and risks at an early stage. The ability to analyze your company’s financial statements forms a key part in cultivating overall growth.

 

Let us dig into the basics of financial statements:

 

The Balance Sheet

The foundation of the balance sheet reflects the “book value” of a company at a specific date, also known as the reporting date. The balance sheet provides a clear overview of the company and can be divided into three components namely, assets, liabilities, and owners’ equity.

Assets: Anything that the company owns or is owed, and represents an accurate quantifiable value can be attributed to this asset.

Liabilities: Any legal obligations owed by the company to third parties. In a simplistic term, liability can be seen as the opposite of an asset.

Owners’ Equity: this refers to amounts invested by or owed to shareholders. If you had to subtract all the liabilities from all the assets you should effectively arrive at the owners’ equity value. The amount reflects the net worth of the company that belongs to the shareholders.

The term “balance sheet” is indicative of one important accounting principle which is that it should always balance according to the well-known formula: Assets = Liabilities + Owners’ Equity.

 

The Income Statement

The income statement (also referred to as the profit & loss statement) is an accurate record summary of revenue, expenses and other transactions over a given period. This is a particularly important document that allows you to analyze the progress and performance of your company. You can easily determine if your company is making a profit or loss, analyze expenditure/costing, identify business trends, etc.

The Income statement typically includes the following basic information:

Revenue: The amount that the company earned from sales.

Costs of goods sold (COGS): This figure is the cost of what it took to produce your goods. A simple way to put it, for each product that you sold, how much did it cost to make and get it into the hands of the customer.

Gross profit: This is the total revenue less the cost of goods sold.

Operating expenses: These are costs incurred to keep your company operating but aren’t direct materials or labor related to producing your goods or services. Examples of operating expenses include property insurance and taxes, building repairs and maintenance, utilities, administrative staff wages, etc.

Operating income: This is the income amount that reflects the gross profit less the operating expenses (other than COGS).

Net income: This is the company’s profit after all expenses and taxes.

The income statement provides you with a good indication of how well your company is performing. You will also be able to analyze financial trends on profitability, excess expenditure, cost-saving and if there is any excess cash to invest back into your company.

 

The Cashflow Statement

This cash flow statement provides a detailed overall view of what has happened to the company’s cash and the movement of cash over a given period. It is vital that a company has enough cash on hand to meet its obligations. A cash flow statement is typically broken into three sections namely, operating activities, investing activities, and financing activities. This allows for the reader to determine the following:

  • Operating activities indicate whether a company can generate cash from their normal operating activities (selling their goods or services).
  • Investing activities indicate the cash earned or spent from investments. This can include buying/selling physical property, vehicles, fixed deposits, patent rights, etc.
  • Financing activities indicate the cash raised/spent to settle debt and/or equity financing.

 

A positive cash flow figure reflects more money coming in than going out. A negative cash flow figure reflects more money flowing out (being spent) than flowing in. A negative cash flow figure is not necessarily a bad indication and this can relate to various strategic cash flow expenditure by management. The cash flow statement is vital when it comes to decision-making pertaining to the company’s cash position. It portrays the ability of a company to operate in the long term and short term based on the in and outflow of cash. Knowing this not only allows you to plan and budget in the long term, but also allows for better short-term strategical decision making.

 

Bringing it all together can provide meaningful information

 

Whilst accountants work with financial statements on a daily basis and for them it is second nature, the same cannot be said for all business professionals and it sometimes becomes difficult to understand the financial jargon. You can however learn the basics of understanding financial statements and the benefits it can yield when it comes to analyzing the statements. Financial analysis of the balance sheet, income, and cash flow statements can provide useful information such as:

 

  • The financial health of the company
  • Assist with financial forecasting, budgeting, and cash flow planning
  • Maximizing gains or minimizing losses
  • Identifying trends and new opportunities to grow the company
  • Identifying and avoiding undue risk
  • Improving and visualizing strategic business decisions
  • Allows investors to analyze the profitability and market value of the company and decide whether they would like to invest

 

The possibilities of financial analysis and the usefulness of metrics are endless. It is important to have accurate financial statements prepared by experts that will provide you with invaluable data to analyze. The data itself won’t save your businesses – only you can.

 

Protea Financial is Your Outsourced Bookkeeping and Management Accounting Services:

 

The good news is that you can learn how to interpret financial statements even if you do not have a financial background. At Protea Financial we match our solutions to the needs of the customer. Protea Financial can support you with everything from bookkeeping services, preparing financial statements, order processing, inventory tracking, handling management accounts, and tax schedules in order to support your tax accountant. Protea’s goal is to provide timely, accurate, and high-quality financial information on which a business can act. We can work with you to provide an evaluation and find the best solution for your business.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Key Elements Influencing the Accounting and Finance Hiring Environment in 2021

5 Key Elements Influencing the Accounting and Finance Hiring Environment in 2021

 

In my first 19 years of recruiting Accounting and Finance Talent, the number 1 job benefit Professionals wanted was the flexibility to work from home- at least partially.  This was always desired more than it was available.  Employers cited security, teamwork, synergy, oversight, systems limitations, and a whole host of reasons for resisting the coveted work from home arrangement.

Enter the most significant Public Health Crisis of many of our lifetimes: COVID-19. Suddenly, many people were forcefully shoved into remote working due to Shelter in Place orders.  This dramatic shift has given many people the opportunity to fully live the work-from-home life and has offered us many new gifts, including terms like “Suit Mullet” referring to professional attire on top for Zoom meetings and pajama pants and slippers on the bottom.  Some people love it, and some people can’t wait to return to the office.  Most people are somewhere in between. 

Despite a nosedive in employment rates in March, April and May of 2020, Accounting and Finance professionals generally maintained their positions and salaries with the exception of industries tied closely with hospitality, travel, or other government shut down businesses.  With vaccines being more widely available and economic recovery underway, we find ourselves stepping into a changed work force and way of operating as business owners, managers, and employees.  The way we work has changed, the way we hire and onboard has changed. 

The entire job market that is emerging out of 2020 is different from before.  These are the Top 5 Key Elements Influencing the Accounting and Finance Hiring Environment today.

 

 guy with paper fanning

 

Resignations are abundant.

The most recent JOLTS Report (Job Opening and Labor Turn over Summary Report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) Shows that there were 3.3 Million Voluntary Resignations compared with 1.8 Million Layoffs and Discharges.

There are 4 main reasons why resignations are outpacing terminations and layoffs at nearly a 2 to 1 ratio.

  1. The first being economic drivers. For many years now Professionals stand to earn a larger pay increase by taking on a new role at another company rather than getting promoted at their current firm. Studies show that a change in Employer offers an average pay increase of 14% versus the average Promotion offering an 11% increase in compensation.
  2. Secondly, remote work makes it much easier to look for and interview for new positions. Gone are the days of making up a fake Doctor’s Appointment in order to meet with a potential employer. Zoom interviews and lack of oversight create a ripe environment for job seeking!
  3. Thirdly, with the demands of working from home and in many cases homeschooling, parenting or caring for other family members, many people are bowing out of the workforce to have more balance and support their families where hired support may be unavailable or unsafe.
  4. Finally, the Baby Boomer Generation has reached retirement age, and with the Stock Market’s strong performance, many people have financially recovered enough to retire.

 

bunny slippers

 

There is a rub between Remote Work expectations and Post Pandemic Plans.

 

Some people can’t wait to get back into the office. Some people never want to go back. There is a rainbow in between. Whatever your position is, does it match that of your Employer or employees? Many people have changed their view on how often they desire to commute to work even when it is totally safe to do so. The trend seems to be that employees wish to continue working from home 3-4 days a week or entirely, where employers remain hopeful that a more regular in office working style will return. This poses challenges in employee retention as well as gaining long-term commitment from potential new hires.

 Pent Up Demand.

According to a recent staffing industry survey, 45% of CFOs plan on bringing back laid-off or furloughed employees. 42% plan on hiring for new roles that they didn’t have on staff before the pandemic hit. This combined with the increased demand for Accounting support and financial analysis to navigate new market conditions, Paycheck Protection applications and forgiveness, and compensating for the resignations; there is Pent Up Demand for hiring. In short, COVID threw us all for a loop! We had to adjust to working from home. For many people this was for the very first time and meant many organizations needed to learn how to onboard staff remotely. It took us awhile to get this down, while emotionally managing fear, uncertainty, and in some cases personal stress and loss as a result of COVID and the resulting life changes. Now we have mostly adjusted, and although “#zoomlife” is not perfectly smooth, hiring managers feel ready to hire and confident enough or short-staffed enough to give it a go.

 

 

Compensation Divide.

Never before have I seen such a swing in compensation from company to company. I’ve seen industry Salary insights that quote the Bay Area as offering Salaries at 25%, 28%, and even 40% above the national average. What is true?! The truth is there are absolutely people working in downtown San Francisco using the same skills working for roughly the same size company making salaries that differ by more than $40,000/year.

Why is this? There has always been a variance between what different employers offer to attract and retain employees. However, today the divide is greater for several reasons. One, the Paycheck Protection Program stepped in and protected the compensation of many employees, but not all. Additionally, with some companies embracing remote and hiring workers in less expensive areas and others limiting their hires to their local region, pay rates have SWUNG! Another ingredient in the new comp divide is we are no longer asking candidates what they earned in their previous jobs. It’s been illegal since 2017 according to California Labor Code 432.3! Based on candidates’ pay desires, positions that have changed employee seats may have had to move up in comp faster than those roles that had retained talent since before before that employment law changed.

 

 

Burn Out.

Hiring Managers and Jobseekers alike have all just survived 2020, and it was a trying time for most people. Burnout is rampant! Many Accounting and Finance professionals that I have spoken with have cited that they have worked more consecutive hours thru the pandemic than ever before. With no natural coming and going flow of life, lack of commute, lunch breaks and water cooler conversations, the constant screen and zoom time- people are fried. Who would ever think we would look back on our commute time with nostalgia?? The other huge element contributing to burnout is the lack of novelty in our lives. Vacations to look forward to, parties, concerts, hugs from a loved one, going to the spa or salon, or a sporting event- even coaching your kid’s soccer team are all things that tend to offer a re-charge to many people, and those are all activities that in many areas have not yet returned. This is affecting the hiring environment in the way of diminished optimism and confidence in searching, hiring and overall zest for and zeal in our business lives and certainly for taking on new opportunities.

In summary, employers who can express to potential hires and existing staff how they help their employees conquer burnout, maintain a flexible working arrangement, and receive highly competitive compensation are winning the battle on talent. It truly is a battle out there, and with more Accounting and Finance professionals leaving the job market every day than entering, the companies who win this battle will also win the war.