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So, how are you with figures? Happy? Comfortable? Uncomfortable? Baffled? Scared Stiff? Worry not. If you’re nodding at any one of the last three, you’re by far and away in the majority. After all, as one client said to me recently. ‘If I’d have been great at figures, I might have been doing what you do. As it happens, I’m not, but I am a good graphic designer.’ And in those couple of sentences she’s very neatly summed up the difference between running a successful business and not running a successful business. The key, in all cases, I believe, is knowing where your strengths lie, knowing where you need to make improvements and knowing when to stop wasting your valuable time and call in an expert.

By now it may very well be that you have in front of you, your financial reports for the year, but unless you can analyse and understand clearly what they’re showing you, they’re not going to be a lot of help in moving your business forward. You do need to be absolutely clear what financial reports are saying and what they’re telling you about how the business is doing. If you’re clear, you’re in a great position to make wise decisions, if the reports are so much double Dutch to you, then your decisions won’t be on the wise side at all. So if you don’t understand them, find someone who does. Rest assured that what might seem as clear as mud to you will be as clear as day to someone whose area of expertise this is.

It obviously also goes without saying
that figures are only as good as they are up to date. If they’re months old then that’s akin to looking out your car’s rear window. You’ll be able to see where you were but you’ll have no idea at all in which direction you need to go now - and that doesn’t make any kind of sense, business or otherwise.

It may well be that you’re reading this with a song in your heart and a confident smile on your lips because you know your accounts are completely ship-shape. And, not only are they in tip top order but you understand absolutely what they’re telling you. That’s fantastic and well done. If however you’re reading this and cringing slightly, then it’s quite likely you know all isn’t as it should be and measures need to be taken. After all, what better time than the start of a new year to start off as you mean to go on.