As transactions in mergers and acquisitions become more commonplace, the pressure mounts for finance professionals on teams to ensure that a company’s financials are not undervalued or overvalued. This can be tricky when the possibility exists that the target company might be worth significantly less in the future than it is today. That’s where budget monitoring comes in handy. Budget monitoring is a process which warns of any potential overvaluation or undervaluation of a company’s assets and liabilities. While the process itself is clear enough, its interpretation and implementation are not so clear cut and often require the engagement of seasoned professionals to run relevant analysis and implement identified processes. Fintalent offers clients the opportunity to hire some of the best budget monitoring experts with minimal fuss on its platform.
The management of a company or other organization’s finances is crucial to its operation as well as to its owners, members and investors. In the world of M&A, knowing the financial situation of a company often begets more deals with that company. This is where budget monitoring can come in handy. Depending on the nature of companies involved, there are a number of processes and steps that can help you monitor and control your expenditures against benchmarks.
An M&A deal is a significant commitment, with significant risk of failure. When an acquisition is completed, there are a variety of consequences to consider, including the loss of value in the company being acquired and losses to prior shareholders. In these circumstances, it’s essential for management teams to have in place effective monitoring mechanisms that can identify potential risks before they turn into actual problems. This article will provide examples of some risk-monitoring tools that should capture your attention
This article looks at how good budget monitoring tools can be and what you should look for in them so you don’t get caught underestimating IPO losses or revenue impacts from falling sales numbers.
There are a number of tools available to help you monitor your company’s budget and assess how effective it is likely to be. The two common types that we’ll look at here are:
- Benchmarking tools
- Budget variance analysis tools
Being aware of the risks and taking steps to mitigate them can make a huge difference to the overall performance of your business.
Here are three fantastic key performance indicators (KPIs) recommended by Fintalent’s Budget Monitoring Consultants for budget monitoring.
- EBITDA: Operating income minus interest expenses, depreciation and amortization
- Free Cash Flow: (cash flow from operations minus capital expenditures)
- Leverage Ratios: Gross debt divided by total assets or by equity plus gross debt. These ratios measure what percentage of assets are being financed with borrowed money. For example, if a company has a ratio of 1.5, that means that total assets are being financed with debt equal to one and a half times the amount of equity (owners equity)
KPIs are helpful in determining the overall financial health of a company and its potential value to investors. When these three key performance indicators are analyzed, it’s easy to determine the company’s financial status if you don’t know how much cash flow is generated, whether there is any interest cost associated with debt or if there is no net interest expense. Analysis of the leverage ratios is a great way to determine if debt is being used appropriately. In the M&A world, a company’s debt often doesn’t make it any more valuable to an investor, so managers must use debt wisely. For example, if a company can generate enough cash flow to cover interest payments and pay down the principal of the loan by selling their product or service well below market price, there may not be much risk involved with financing their assets with debt.
What is a benchmark?
A benchmark, also known as a “baseline”, is a standard against which you can compare your own performance. Benchmarks are normally set by an independent body such as an accounting firm or market research company. When you start up your M&A company, it’s important to have a clear idea of what your business will be and what costs to expect once it’s up and running in the future. You’ll normally get this information from a “comprehensive competitive analysis” (CPA) report. The report will look at many factors such as the past performance of your industry and other businesses that might be able to help you predict how well your business will do in the future. A comprehensive competitive analysis can also be a great way to identify your business’s future performance.
One of the most common ways of estimating future performance is to look at other companies that are similar to yours in the same sector, and compare their performance with their expenditure over a given period. One way to do this is by running an historical trend analysis on your business’ financials, which will show you how it has progressed over time.
Trend analysis can be useful when monitoring a company’s budget because it captures the changes that have occurred in the past, allowing you to estimate future performance. This is important because if you understand how your business has performed historically, then you can monitor and influence trends to make sure that future performance meets your expectations.
Understanding how your business has progressed over time will help shape the strategy for its future growth.
The types of software used for benchmarking budgets will vary depending on different companies’ needs. For example, one company might not need sophisticated budget monitoring capabilities and instead may find more benefit in simpler spreadsheet-based tools to track progress against predictions and benchmarks. Others might be interested in more sophisticated budget monitoring capabilities, in which case they may look at tools that allow them to analyse time and budgets.
For example, you could use a tool that provides trend analyses of actual and predicted figures against a benchmark. This will allow you to compare your actual expenditure against the previous or expected performance of your business through statistical comparison. This will show you how your spending is performing in relation to forecasts, and can help you understand how effective your budget monitoring tool will be in helping you predict the performance of your business going forward.
Budget variance analysis tools
These are best for companies that want to do more in-depth budget monitoring and control with the ability to drill down and analyse different aspects of their business.
These tools can be a good way to monitor budget performance. In particular, they can help you identify where your business is going wrong, which areas need more attention or investment and where you need to make changes in order to keep your business on track. For example, if you have subscribed to a service that gives you access to historical data from the previous five years, then you should be able to analyse this data more effectively than with an Excel spreadsheet.
Some analysts recommend regular budget monitoring as a way to ensure that your business is performing at an appropriate level. This is particularly useful if you are trying to grow your business, as it will highlight any areas where your spending is too high or low, allowing you to take steps to correct them before they become actual problems. For example, if you find that you need to increase your spending on advertising and marketing, then this will help you decide whether to invest the additional funds or not.
Advantages of budget variance analysis tools
Budget variance analysis tools are more powerful than simple benchmarking tools because they give users more control over their budgets and allow for far more in-depth analysis of performance with associated metrics. You can use these tools to:
a) Identify trends in your budget performance (actual versus expected figures)
b) Understand the impact of these trends on the performance of your business
Some budget variance analysis tools are listed below:
Budgeting forecasting software – these tools help you create a range of different budgets, and calculate the difference between actual and estimated results. This allows you to pinpoint exactly where your budget’s weaknesses lie. For example, this might be because you’ve underestimated the cost of your services, or you are spending more time at work than anticipated. Another useful feature is an ability to flag areas that are spending too much money. In this way, you can see what areas should be monitored more closely to ensure that the budget is not exceeded.
These tools can also help you monitor your budget with respect to time. This will allow you to understand where there are any problems with your spending and potentially why that is. For example, if your actual spend on salaries is higher than expected, it may be due to a specific problem such as a particularly busy period in the company’s history.
Budget variance analysis tools can also help you analyse how well you’re performing against your individual employees. If a particular employee is performing particularly well, then you can reward them appropriately.
Budgeting forecasting software is highly useful for businesses looking to control their spending. Whether it’s too much or too little, budget variance analysis software is able to flag any issues that may be affecting your business and help you address them before they become actual problems.
This tool is designed to provide more control over budget performance. For example, you can view performance information in relation to a specific department or division within your business so that you can see how they are performing in relation to the rest of your company or division.
Advantages of budget variance analysis tools
Most budget variance analysis software will allow you to drill into different aspects of your budgeting for better analysis and control. You’ll find these tools very useful for identifying areas where your budget should be higher or lower than it is at present.
For example, with the help of these tools, you can identify where your budget is too low and adjust it accordingly. It will be particularly helpful if you find that your budget has been consistently over- or under-estimated in relation to what was expected. For example, if you find that your actual spend on advertising is significantly lower than expected, this could be worth investigating further as there may be underlying reasons for this – perhaps the new advertising campaign has stalled or there have been significant changes in the industry that have affected your spend.
Budget variance analysis tools are also useful in identifying areas that are spending too much money. This can help you to identify areas where you are overspending, and will give you the information that you need to make the necessary changes.
These tools are useful for spotting trends in your budget performance against expected figures. These figures can be from historical data, or from forecasts that have been provided by your budget variance analysis software.
When using these tools, it’s important to understand how results can be affected by different factors and variances in each of the variables involved. For example, if your advertising spend is consistently too low when compared to the amount that was forecasted, then it may be worth reviewing what assumptions were made about this part of your budget.
Alternatively, it could be that your budget variance analysis software has been set up to calculate figures based on historical data and isn’t taking into account any new trends or developments in your company. If this is the case, then you should adjust the software so that it better reflects your business’s situation.