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7 Financial KPIs The Board Expects Every CEO To Know

As a CEO, it’s important to monitor the progress of your business. Outlining and focusing on financial key performance indicators (KPIs) helps you benchmark progress and gives you tangible information to present to your board members.

Explore the seven financial KPIs every CEO should be monitoring and striving to improve.

1. Burn Rate

If your company is still striving to turn a profit, your monthly burn rate is a key indicator of your company’s performance. Burn rate is the amount of negative cash flow each month, or the amount of your capital being spent each month prior to generating positive cash flow.

While your board understands that there are sunk costs to doing business, especially with start-ups, they want to ensure that funds are utilized in the most prudent ways possible. If your burn rate is exceeding forecasts or you’re failing to turn a profit as quickly as anticipated, reductions to your spending should be made.


2. Amount of Cash on Hand

More specifically, you should be paying attention to the number of months your cash on hand would cover. In recent blogs, we’ve discussed how to increase your short-term cash flow and how to make accurate cash flow projections for the future. Focusing on your cash flow is one of the essential ways to gauge the state of your business, and it gives you the insight to trim excess spending where needed.

3. Customer Retention Rate

To demonstrate the importance of customer retention, let’s look at a few statistics on the topic.

  • It costs 6 to 7 times more to sign a new customer than to retain a current customer.
  • Lowering your customer churn rate by 5% can boost your profitability anywhere from 25% to 125%. 

When your customers are loyal to your company, you reap immense financial benefits. If you want to decrease your customer churn rate, focus your company’s efforts on customer service and delivering what customers want.

4. Customer Acquisition Cost

Your customer acquisitions cost (CAC) goes hand-in-hand with the impact of your customer retention rate. You should inform your investor about the amount of time it takes to sign new clients, how much manpower and other costs are devoted to customer acquisition and the amount of time it takes to recover your CAC.

Propose ideas you have for reducing your acquisition costs and closing the gap between your CAC and the profit a customer generates.

5. Days Sales Outstanding

What is your average collection period? Your days sales outstanding metric essentially quantifies the number of days between a sale and collection of payment. The lower your DSO is, the more cash you have on hand. Present this ratio to show how quickly your customers are paying you. 


6. Growth Rate

How fast is your company growing? And, is your growth rate meeting or exceeding what has been projected for your company? Your board wants to be able to visualize where your company will be in the next year, five years and beyond. In addition to measuring the growth of your entire company, measure the growth of individual departments, as well. Use these measurements to determine how to invest resources into areas of your company that are growing.

Read More: Drive Business Growth by Developing a Business Budget


7. Gross Margins

Your gross margins tell you more than just the percentage of total sales revenue left over after you deduct the costs of good sold. (See equation below.) It tells you whether or not your pricing model is working. It also tells you if you’re spending too much on goods or resources to generate your product.

Gross Margin Percentage = (Revenue – Cost of goods sold) /Revenue

Is your gross margin percentage as high as it should be? The higher this percentage is, the healthier your business and the happier your investors will be.

CEOs are constantly working to improve the data represented by their financial KPIs. Finding the right financial advisor for your company can help you meet and exceed expectations for your KPIs.

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