Are You On Track? Why Measuring Mid-Year Matters

Written by Carol Coughlin. Posted in Financial Strategy

A few weeks ago, our community helped us prepare for our Mid-Year Check-In edition of Summit by filling out a short survey about how they were measuring progress toward 2013 goals, and whether or not they were on track towards them.

This week, we’re thrilled to share the results, as well as a few tips for conducting your own Mid-Year Check-In:

 BottomLine’s Mid-Year Check-In Survey Results & Tips for Measuring Progress Successfully

Do most CEOs measure their company’s progress?

Based on the way we positioned this survey, we fully expected only those CEOs who did perform a mid-year check-in to respond our request. After all, why would someone complete a survey about a mid-year check-in if they haven’t yet performed one? So, while we were definitely heartened by the fact that at least a handful of our total sample have, indeed, conducted their mid-year progress assessment, we also can make the assumption that there’s still room for improvement in terms of getting more CEOs to take this vital step. Which brings us to our first tip:

Mid-Year Check-In Tip #1 – You Can’t Get Where You’re Going if You Don’t Know Where You Are: Measuring progress is an absolute must for business growth and success. Setting goals and tracking movement at the midpoint is the only way a CEO can make accurate adjustments and smart decisions for the second half of the year.

What are CEOs measuring?

We also wanted to find out what type of data CEOs collected mid-year. While all survey respondents reported that they collect financial data and 86% of respondents track revenue specifically, less than half collected operational data and only 30% looked at departmental data. This is especially eye opening in light of the fact that all respondents said they had a clear and accurate picture of whether or not their companies were on track in achieving 2013 objectives.

Mid-Year Check-In Tip #2 – Measure Everything that Matters: Collecting and accessing financial data (including revenue) enables the CEO to see the company’s larger financial picture, as well as a good bit of detail. But if that’s the only data that gets measured, you miss gaining deeper insight as to why the financial data is what it is. If you want to understand your company’s financials fully and make more informed course corrections, be sure to collect operational data, as well as data from all departments.

How’s Your Company Doing?

Now, here’s where things get really interesting.

Just over half of survey respondents (approx. 57%) reported that their companies were either ahead or about where they expected to be in achieving their 2013 revenue and net profit goals, while 42.8% indicated they were behind.

At the same time, approximately 57% of respondents reported that their revenue and net profits were greater than compared to last year.

Mid-Year Check-In Tip #3: – Use Accurate Input for Accurate Output: While we don’t want to draw too many conclusions (because, clearly, we don’t have the whole story), we do know that if a company is behind in attaining its goals for the current year, but ahead of where it was last year at the same time, it may be indicative of either inaccuracy in goal setting (meaning goals may have been set based on incomplete data or less than accurate assumptions) or that unexpected external factors or forces may be involved. Again, we can’t say this for certain, but it brings up an important consideration: An accurate mid-year check actually begins during end-of-year planning the previous year – as you are setting goals and strategies for your company’s future success. Use this time to gather good data about your company and the environment (market, customers, economy, etc) and you’ll be far ahead of the game come June.

Carol Coughlin

Carol Coughlin founded BottomLine Growth Strategies, Inc., in 2006 as a way for small and medium-sized businesses to access the same high-level financial and operational expertise that gives large companies a distinct advantage. Using her own extensive corporate experience and willingness to sit in the hot seat as a catalyst, Carol helps BottomLine Growth clients climb to the summit of their success.
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