So, how did the mid-year review go? Wait, you didn’t do one? Oh, you didn’t have the time… or perhaps you believe the end-of-year review is quite enough, thank you very much! Well, at Beyond we are strong advocates of the mid-year review so hear us out for a minute. Accountants are often criticised for dealing with the historical data, and the question put to us is what’s the benefit of looking at last year, or the year before? It is true that obsessing over old data can induce a state of paralysis by analysis, which helps no one. But, the mid-year review is different because the data is still fresh. This is your opportunity to be really proactive because you can make timely changes that will impact the current financial year.
4 things to check off the mid-year review list
The mid-year review gives you a sneak preview of whether the business is performing or not, so you have the time to make the necessary changes to get the best out of the current year. Here are some key areas to focus on so you can capitalise on your mid-year review:
1. Check up on your KPIs
In our blog, Keeping key performance indicators simple, we explained how focusing on a few key metrics that strongly influence the success of your business is the best way to get the most value out of your data. These are the drivers behind your business, so it could be the number of deals your sales team are closing or the number of leads hitting the website or your customer service satisfaction rating. During the mid-year review, you should check how your chosen KPIs are performing and use your insights to make the necessary tweaks and adjustments. This is the perfect time to show your management team where they need to put their attention.
2. One project per quarter
At Beyond, we manage our business here the way a lot of our clients do, in quarters. We have quarter 1, quarter 2, right now we are coming to the end of quarter 3, and then there’s a full quarter 4. We find that setting up projects for each quarter means we always have our eyes on a goal with a tight time constraint. Projects are to make something happen, whether it is to implement something new, start a new behaviour or exploit a new opportunity. The result is that we’re evolving the business on a quarterly cycle. The mid-year review is a great time to look back on the projects from quarter 1 and 2 to ensure we are setting realistic targets and, of course, to look forward to what the next projects will be.
3. File accounts for last year and prepare for next year
This is the time when people usually file accounts for the previous year, tying up those loose ends and finishing their taxes. This helps you have a stronger influence over what the current year will look like. Ideally, you’ll have updated your three-year plan in the September-October period. That way you know where you’re going for 2019, 2020, 2021. This preparation is important if stakeholders need to be communicated to in advance of projects. Once you have the go-ahead, it can take three to six months to raise money for a particular purpose. You might require a management team along with the necessary incentives to make everyone reliant. Now is the time to be thinking about the strategy for next year, and possibly even starting some projects now that will be taking root in 2019.
4. Most importantly, learn!
You’re doing your mid-year review, and you’re not happy with what you find. Six months ago, or a year ago, you decided this was an achievable target, and it hasn’t happened. Why hasn’t it happened? Was it something you believed to be possible and now it’s clear that you had it wrong? Or was it something external, that just came in, and you know it couldn’t be helped? The mid-year review is not about putting yourself or anyone else down, but instead learning from what has just happened and making proactive changes to turn things around before the year is out. That’s the great thing about the mid-year review, what you learn can be immediately acted upon because it is still relevant. The mid-year review is all about having a one-step ahead of the game plan ready to go! At Beyond, we always recommend that businesses have a plan. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail as they say. We understand that business owners and managers are busy, but the mid-year review shouldn’t take long once you get into the swing of it. It is it worth the time in the end because the evidence is clear, people who write down their plans achieve better results than those who don’t. So get to it!