Metric of the Month

An ongoing series authored by Perry D. Wiggins, who is CFO, treasurer, and secretary for APQC, a nonprofit benchmarking and best practices research organization.


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    Days sales outstanding: A critical lever for managing cash flow — Metric of the Month

    Get cash more quickly by reducing the time between invoice processing and customer payment.  

    By June 5, 2024
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    Manage days payable outstanding to improve cash flow: Metric of the Month

    A high DPO can sabotage strategic supplier relationships and a too-low DPO constrains liquidity, CFO Perry Wiggins says.  

    By May 8, 2024
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    Finance Team Collaboration Drives Lower Process Costs: Metric of the Month

    Getting people to work together more effectively will help drive costs down sustainably.    

    By April 3, 2024
  • Operating cash flow management. Manage business liquidities.
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    3 CFO Strategies for Getting Paid Faster: Metric of the Month

    Leading organizations use these three strategies to get faster payments from customers. 

    By March 6, 2024
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    3 CFO Strategies for Better Annual Reporting Performance: Metric of the Month

    Reporting work doesn’t stop with the completion of the annual close.

    By Feb. 7, 2024
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    Eliminate Billing Adjustment Bottlenecks: Metric of the Month

    A lengthy cycle time for adjustments can cause ripple effects for key finance processes.

    By Nov. 15, 2023
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    A CFO’s Metrics

    An ongoing series on corporate finance authored by Perry D. Wiggins — CFO, treasurer, and secretary for APQC, a nonprofit benchmarking and best practices research organization. 

    By Updated June 5, 2024
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    4 Tips for a Faster and More Effective Budgeting Process: Metric of the Month

    These practices help organizations complete their budget quicker and with a better final product.

    By Sept. 6, 2023
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    Why a Smaller IT Headcount is Not Necessarily Better: Metric of the Month

    Use this guidance to make well-informed, data-driven decisions about your IT workforce.

    By Aug. 2, 2023
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    3 Ways to Accelerate Travel Expense Approval and Reimbursement: Metric of the Month

    Companies that reimburse employees more quickly save time and money, while reducing finance teams' and employees' frustrations.

    By July 5, 2023
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    3 Ways to Control Uncollectible Balances: Metric of the Month

    Challenging and chaotic business environments teach us important lessons — if we are willing to learn them. For example, in 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic taught us that humans crave social interaction, parents generally don’t make very good math teachers, and your household should always have an amp...

    By June 7, 2023
  • CFOs should work to make their COA as small and streamlined as possible to avoid unnecessary accounting problems down the road.
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    Is Your Chart of Accounts Too Long? Metric of the Month

    The chart of accounts (COA) is a listing of the general ledger account names and identification numbers arranged in the order in which they customarily appear in financial statements. It can also include a description of what should be included in each account. The COA is a key accounting tool us...

    By May 3, 2023
  • Dedicated learning time is essential for developing a strong pipeline of future finance leaders.
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    How Many Learning Days Should You Offer Employees? Metric of the Month

    There is a certain complacency that many organizations start to develop once employees move beyond their onboarding and initial probationary period. Now that these employees are settling into their roles, the thinking goes, they do not require further learning or training. This is not the right w...

    By April 5, 2023
  • Standardized and digitized processes are important to keep your full-time equivalent employee headcount as low as reasonably possible.
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    Number of Finance FTEs Benchmarks AR Efficiency: Metric of the Month

    Accounts receivable (AR) is one of the most critical and high-volume processes that organizations carry out. Delays in this process mean less working capital and liquidity, making AR one area where improving efficiency can pay off exponentially.  One good way to measure the efficiency of your AR ...

    By March 1, 2023
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    5 Ways to Speed Up the Year-End Close: Metric of the Month

    The annual close comes during one of the heaviest workloads of the year for accountants. Month-end, quarter-end, and year-end closing processes converge in a perfect storm that takes time and energy away from operations-supporting daily activities. However, the best accounting teams don’t wait un...

    By Feb. 8, 2023
  • An efficient short-term forecasting process helps CFOs save time and make better decisions when disruption hits.
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    Cycle Time for Short-Term Cash Forecasting: Metric of the Month

    In moments of disruption — whether from a global pandemic, geopolitical conflict, a recession, or something else — the need to prepare an accurate short-term cash flow forecast becomes critical. The ability to create and adjust these forecasts quickly allows management to make better and more inf...

    By Jan. 3, 2023
  • CFOs should look holistically across their people, processes, and technology for small improvements that can add up to big wins for invoicing processes.
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    How Much Does It Cost to Process an Invoice? Metric of the Month

    The total cost to invoice customers is an important key performance indicator that measures the efficiency of your sales and accounting teams and the health of the invoicing process. After reviewing cross-industry data on the cost of invoicing, we’ll explore three areas where you can look deeper ...

    By Dec. 7, 2022
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    Too Many ERP Systems Are a Bad Thing: Metric of the Month

    Finance shared service centers (SSCs) provide a centralized team that carries out high-volume, repeatable finance processes on behalf of business units or areas across an enterprise. Organizations commonly choose this model to achieve process standardization and improvement, reduce errors, and br...

    By Nov. 2, 2022
  • More than ever, organizations are counting on the people they bring on board to be well worth the investment.
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    How Much Revenue Should Each Employee Generate? Metric of the Month

    A competitive labor market has placed enormous wage pressures on employers over the last few years. The result has been a material increase in labor costs for employers looking to backfill vacant positions, retain key personnel, or grow their business with added human resources. More than ever, o...

    By Oct. 5, 2022
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    Top Performers Automate 40% of Primary Controls: Metric of the Month

    If you’re not already automating your internal controls, you should be. The cost of controls technology has come way down while its capabilities have increased. Advanced controls automation is now accessible even to smaller organizations, and the return on investment is high. Automation not only ...

    By Sept. 7, 2022
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    Top Organizations Record Accounts Payable Cycle Time in 2.8 Days: Metric of the Month

    An optimized accounts payable (AP) process not only helps organizations take advantage of early pay discounts and favorable payment terms but is vital for cash flow management more broadly. But AP teams do not work in a vacuum — process excellence is partly a product of collaboration with other a...

    By Aug. 3, 2022
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    Best Organizations Report Consolidated Financials in 4 Days: Metric of the Month

    Consolidated financial statements enable organizations with a parent company and subordinate reporting units (e.g., subsidiaries, regional operations, or multiple locations) to report their finances as a single enterprise for creditors, investors, operational leaders, and other stakeholders. Prep...

    By July 6, 2022
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    Fixing Invoice Errors Shouldn’t Take a Week: Metric of the Month

    Invoicing errors are a waste of time for all parties. The customer not only has to contact you (the supplier) to resolve the error, but your employees need to investigate its cause. Then, ideally, an employee has to take action to make sure the problem doesn’t recur.  Invoicing errors happen for ...

    By June 1, 2022
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    Metric of the Month: The Right Mix of New and Long-Serving Employees

    Highly-trained, knowledgeable, and well-tenured staff are some of the most critical assets of a business. Long-serving employees know their job inside and out, know processes intimately, and often have deep inter-company relationships that break down silos and foster collaboration.     Perry D. ...

    By May 5, 2022
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    Metric of the Month: The Cost of a Shared Services Center

    Imagine a grocery store chain with numerous stores across the country. Each store needs someone to process payroll, pay vendors, and carry out other key finance processes. Rather than hiring staff for accounts payable or payroll at every store, the business is likely to be part of a growing numbe...

    By April 4, 2022