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How do you measure your business performance? Ideas for small businesses


Measuring performance of any kind means a target, plan or standard must be in place to measure against. Any business, large or small needs some kind of a plan. In the accounting world plans equals budgets – yes those annoying things!  A budget is plan expressed in money terms. Usually budgets for incomes and expenditures are set for a year and each month the business performance is measured against the budget. This is common practice in many businesses but how useful the comparison of results versus budget is depends on how good the budget was in the first place. Should a business complement measuring against budgets with other types of performance indicators? Yes is the answer. Larger businesses use many indicators of performance other than comparing to budgets or profits. For example, a key performance indicator for an airline is”bums on seats”. This is something that can be measured by flight, day etc and related to the costs of running the airline. Could a small business do something similar? Sure it can. Here’s an example for a business I know, Priority Engineering (www.priorityengineering.ie), who automate entrances gates for residential and business customers. This business both offers both installation and maintenance services. As a small business, the owner does not have time to do detailed plans and compare these to actual performance. But, he does know the costs of running the business. So he equates these costs to a number or service calls or installations needed per week. This is much easier to track and relates the work done to performance in terms of covering costs. So what performance indicator would you use for your business?

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About martinjquinn

I am an accounting academic, accountant and author based near Dublin, Ireland.

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