Why Your Business Needs a 2019 Financial Year ‘Exit Interview’

Why Your Business Needs a 2019 Financial Year ‘Exit Interview’

By David Edmunds, Financial Analyst

The 2019 financial year is quickly coming to an end. It has been a challenging year for the Australian economy, with some of the leading industries of 2018 cooling off. Combine that with the recent disruption of the Easter / ANZAC period and the federal election, you may have found the last couple of months to have been particularly testing for your business.

From our previous articles you may know by now we are big believers in taking a structured approach to business planning. Day to day business operations can be all consuming, and without some structure around performance and implementing business improvement initiatives, it is all too easy for these important processes to be pushed to the side.

We want the 2020 financial year to be your best on record, and as part of that will be rolling around a short article series to help you position your business to achieve this. We outline our processes when working with clients, focusing mainly on planning, which we have seen some fantastic outcomes.

To start this series, we need to begin with reflecting on the year that will soon be over. To do this we have we’ve pulled together around 20 questions, an “2019 exit interview”, for your business. We hope that by working through the questions you will have a pretty good understanding of what has been successful in your business in the last 12 months, what hasn’t been, and the factors contributing to both.

Below are all the questions you should ask, with a downloadable version available here.

  1. In what ways did the year evolve as you expected it to and what were the big surprises?
  2. How has your vision for the business evolved over the year? Is this direction still where you want to take the business?
  3. How have your key markets changed over the year, and are you still strongly positioned within them?
  4. Has there been any notable change amongst your competitors, how they are positioning themselves, their market share etc
  5. How have the primary risk factors in your business/industry changed and are you adequately protected?
  6. Was there any excess or insufficient capacity in the business during the year (think space, staffing, plant and equipment etc)?
  7. Have you communicated to your best staff how valuable they are to you and is there a clear plan to get your underperformers to the level expected of them?
  8. What were the areas within your business that consumed large amounts of time but added little value?
  9. Did you achieve the level of revenue growth you were looking for? What were the key contributors to this happening or not happening?
  10. What challenges did your management team most struggle with during the year?
  11. Were there any recurring issues with business’s systems and processes during the year?
  12. What were your most successful marketing initiatives? Are you judging that from marketing data or intuition?
  13. Have debtors, stock and work in progress grown as a percentage of turnover?
  14. Are your margins/prices under more pressure than they were a year ago?