There are many ways to become a more profitable business. Revenue growth is essential and updating processes to increase productivity is important. My favorite way to add value and increase profit is just simply reviewing expenses.
It doesn’t matter if you are small business, solo-preneur, or large enterprise, a regular review of expenses is essential to success.
As a fractional CFO, my job gets much easier when I can save my clients money quickly. As I have mentioned before, my value is either monetary (increase revenue, decrease expenses), save time, or increase impact. It does take some time to review expenses, but it can seriously add up over time.
Below are my top 5 areas to focus when reviewing expenses.
1. Credit Card Processing Fees
One client of mine was paying interchange (fee paid between banks for the acceptance of card-based transactions) plus 1.25% for all credit/debit charges. Over time, the bank had increased fees slowly. After a little shopping around, we switched credit card processors, and the fees dropped to interchange plus 0.10%, which saved them $15,000 annually.
There are so many credit card processors, so review your options. More and more transactions are paid via credit card so savings can add up over time.
2. Business Insurance
Property, General Liability, Workers Compensation, and Auto insurance should be shopped around on a regular basis. Sometimes, it even helps to have another broker shop the insurance every couple years. I have seen some cases where the property was over insured, which resulted in thousands of extra money spent on premiums. Workers Compensation can be too high if forms are completed incorrectly by employee classification. There are so many people that can help in this area that it is not hard to shop this around.
3. Software Subscription Costs
Since software has become more cloud-based, almost all software is charged as a recurring monthly fee. The problem comes when you stop using a particular software for various reasons. The software vendor has your card information and will keep charging you until eternity. In larger businesses, the accounting department is not aware that the software is no longer used, but the charge is recurring so it isn’t out of the ordinary. It is common to pay for extra months for software. Recently, I came across at least $6,000 in annual savings in a $3 million business.
4. Employee Insurance
We all know that insurance costs have been rising faster than inflation for at least a decade or more. In most cases, employers have had to cut insurance benefits and push more burden onto the employees. There are many ways to shop for insurance. Of course, you can use a broker that shops the common carriers each year. You could join PEO (Professional Employer Organization) which will pool all employees, manage payroll and HR, and save on Workers Compensation. This is a great solution for employers from 5-100 employees.
5. Interest Expense / Income
Treasury and Debt Management should be reviewed regularly. Some businesses get stuck in hard money lending or factoring at 15-20% and it is hard to get out of it. There are many different banks that can offer different solutions to help lower your interest rate. I am not a fan of much debt. If you have it or need a line of credit, it is important to get the best rate you can.
Don’t overlook interest income. It has been extremely low for years, but in some cases, you can get nearly 1% interest if you know where to look. With one client of mine that is stockpiling cash and wanted a low-risk solution, we increased the interest income rate by about 0.75% which will produce $30,000-$40,000 in additional interest income over the next 3 years.
We all know that saving money will increase profits. We get busy and time passes by and everything gets more expensive. A regular review of expenses can be quite profitable.
Consider the following scenario of a small business.
- A $3 million business that grows on average by 10% each year for 20 years.
- The company reviews expenses each year to save on average 1% each year.
- They reinvested the savings back into the business which is an average of a 8% cost of capital.
- Over 20 years, the business would have total profits during this time of an additional $3.1 million.
I am sure anyone would like those results and with some intentional effort each year, it is very possible.
Curious how your business or agency can save money? Bender CFO Services can help you gain command over your finances. Contact us today to learn more.