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BUSINESS ADVICE •  23 JULY 2021 • 7 MIN READ

What drives your business?

What drives your business?

It has been said that in business, it pays to know your numbers.  But what does that mean?

“The Numbers” are the critical drivers of your business.  The pieces of information which can make or break you, particularly when times are difficult.

It is hard to identify them as every business is different and even if you have the theoretical knowledge, how do you actually get those numbers out of your accounting system in a way that is easy, regular and accurate? Below, we’ve put together a quick guide on how business drivers work together, and how this affects you and your profit.

Money in

This is called all sorts of things, turnover, sales, revenue or income, It’s all the same.  There can be a difference in when you receive the money, but it is usually about how much stuff you are selling.  If you sell a beer, you get paid immediately.  If you are building a house, the money typically comes in in chunks through the project. Debtors can pay on the 20th of the month following.

When looking at money coming in, you need to consider what are drivers you can measure. These could be:

  • Units sold
  • Amount invoiced
  • Money coming into the bank
  • Number of customers
  • Average spend

Next, work out which is the most meaningful driver for you, or which has the biggest impact on the wellbeing of your business.

  • You need this information at least weekly
  • It needs to be easy to find – preferably automated
  • It needs to be accurate and quick to generate

Don’t worry if you can’t work out how to calculate the number, just identify it and then ask our Support team for help.

Money out – direct costs

In most businesses, there are two main types of cost.  The first type is a direct cost, which is a cost that is directly related to the sale.  In other words, you cannot make a sale without this cost and every time you sell something, you have to pay this cost.  Examples are the cost of the beer if you own a bar, the materials if you’re a builder, or labour if you are selling time.

Direct costs are super important as they are usually a significant part of your business cost and reducing them, even slightly, can make a big difference to your life.

For example, Bob the retailer changed his key supplier of his stock to an equal quality but more competitive supplier which meant he was paying $2 per item instead of $2.50.  He sold $500,000 worth of stock each year.  His average sale price was $5.

This means he had an extra $50,000 at the end of the year and went to Las Vegas on a huge trip with his 10 best friends, or something similar.

$0.50 cents doesn’t sound like a lot, but with direct costs, even a small change can make a big difference.

Not all businesses will have a cost of sales section. It’s usually only applicable when you’re selling goods or performing work that involves raw materials (e.g. construction). Those in the service industry are likely to exclude this section and only have indirect costs.

Money In Less Direct Costs = Gross Profit

Measuring Gross Profit is absolutely essential for most businesses. Because it is that gross profit that will pay to cover your…

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Money out – indirect costs

These are the costs that aren’t directly linked to each thing you sell, and are often known as overheads. Things like your rent, electricity and cost to pay wages for office staff. Your indirect costs are usually pretty static from year to year, unless you make a significant change to your business. The aim is to sell enough of your product/service to produce enough gross margin to cover these indirect costs/overheads, and then have some money left over to pay yourself.

Who are Beany?

We’re an online accounting firm that is always right here for you, your accounting pain relief. The most advanced technology lets us work way more closely with you than a normal accountant would. 

We have a dedicated team of remote accountants to take care of your business no matter where you are, so you can focus on growing your business. We take out the ‘fluff’, break down the barriers and get things done. Looking out for you is what we are all about. Get started for free today. 

Sue de Bièvre

Beany Founder

Beany CEO and Chartered Account. An intrepid entrepreneur and feminist with a penchant for disruption; spotting problems and rolling her sleeves up to fix them makes Sue tick.

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