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Flash Reports, a Peek Inside Your Financials by Georgianne

Oh my.... Is it possible I'm taking the time to not only write a business blog today but I'm writing a blog about a topic that has to do with numbers? Wow, that's almost unheard of here at Monday Morning Flowers where the accounting is usually left up to Kevin and not me.

The last few weeks had Kevin and I traveling up to New England for the East Coast Floral Expo and then back down to Washington, DC for the Society of American Florist volunteer meetings and in both weekends, we spent lots of quality time with other florists. At the NEFE we were able to sit in on quite a few wonderful business seminars and we always take away so much from those events.

So, to the topic of this blog. About 3 years ago, we had a business consultant come into the operation to helps us with the "issues" we were having. Let's face it, it was during the recession and the environment at the shop was very stressful. I expressed a desire to understand what was going on with the company from a financial point of view being my responsibility at the store involves the buying, pricing, designing and marketing side of the operation. With all that on plate and not really being "numbers" person, I felt like I could not get the information quickly enough to make changes in those areas when needed. I was being told to watch my budget, buy, price and design correctly all while building sales. It seemed like I was always behind on information and never knew until after it was "over" if I had failed or succeeded in doing a good job. Needless to say, I was stressed out and there was tension between Kevin and I because he controlled one part and I the other.
An idea the consultant had was for Kevin, as the accountant, to provide me with a weekly "flash report".  This report would be a way of comparing the past week, with the same week the year before. Showing me things like total sales, average order, number of transactions, total dollars for walk in sales (for both shops), wire ins and outs (being we are trying to increase outs and decrease ins) and website order, I could really see how we were doing compared to the previous year.  Given to me by Monday afternoon, each one would show me the percentage of increase or decrease over the last year during the same exact week. I now had very current and easy to understand figures.

As time went on we saw how useful the information was so Kevin began giving me other details such as percentage of fresh and supply budgets used. Now I can see if I was on track to keep to my purchase budgets (this could be a whole other blog for sure). At the end of each month, he does a monthly synopsis for me which includes designer productivity (again, another blog post) and sales averages/totals by each of the order taking employee. Wow, talk about having really great information in a timely fashion!

I know not every shop has a Kevin but the reason for this blog, is that these reports are super easy for anyone to compile once you know what to include. For someone who knows excel and what the spreadsheet needs to do, building it and plugging in the figures is all it takes.  If you have a bookkeeper and use an accounting package such as Quicken or Quickbooks, this information is not that hard to come by.

You may have dreamed of opening your flower shop and working with flowers all day but it is a business and it is down right hard to run a profitable flower shop. Changing how you think and how you do business, is all part of surviving.


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