SCORE Success Vault

Words of Wisdom: Finance & Accounting

SCORE chapters across the nation recruit experienced, passionate business experts to provide volunteer advice and mentoring to small business owners in the community.

Read below for expert tips from just a few of the thousands of SCORE volunteer mentors helping entrepreneurs realize their business goals and dreams.

Have a question? Need advice? Get in touch with a SCORE mentor near you today!

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  • Manage operating expenses tightly.
  • Remember that your customers are the lifeline of your cash flow...treat them accordingly.
  • Consider buying used, rather than new, equipment for your enterprise. The savings can be substantial.
  • Assume that for the first six months your business will not generate sufficient cash for you to take a salary, and plan accordingly.
  • Develop a detailed plan of exactly how you will attract customers to your store, and follow the plan accordingly.

Dennis Newnham
Newark SCORE (#15)
Newark, NJ

You should always measure and report production and successes. Each project must now have a cost model and a quantification of each step of the project, so a P&L statement can be produced to demonstrate how positive cash flow was generated for the continuity and lifeblood of the agency.

John Hollett
Jacksonville SCORE (#86)
Jacksonville, FL

  • Keep a very close eye on cash flow – Follow weekly and monthly financial reporting.
  • Use low budget, high impact marketing.
  • Learn how to give powerful business presentations.
  • Exercise careful judgment in determining what expenses to cut.
  • Expand your marketing focus.
  • Use low budget marketing.

Kenneth “Roger” Teel, Jr.
Alabama Capitol SCORE (#598)
Montgomery, AL

Many businesses fail to maintain sufficient cash to smooth out variations in the conversion of other assets into cash, relative to current liabilities. It is best to carry cash balances to cover liabilities of three months. As a SCORE counselor, I usually surprise clients by recommending that they consider such an allocation as part of their working capital requirements as an INVESTMENT IN CASH. They should also understand that such businesses are afforded higher levels of respect at their bank. On the negative side, overdrafts or heavy reliance on uncollected funds is a red flag to bankers of a business in financial difficulty (or an imprudent management).

Martin Leibowitz
Nassau County SCORE (#1001)
Long Island, NY

A key person in your company is the one with accounting knowledge. The individual having product knowledge and the accountant must cooperate when the business plan is developed and in fact the accountant must be the more dominant of the two. This fact cannot be underestimated because the marketing person is the more optimistic of the two. The skilled accountant by his nature will look at the business plan most pessimistically. Under no circumstance should a startup company be considered without the benefit of a business plan.

Robert Perry
SCORE Birmingham (#84)
Birmingham, AL

  • Refinance expensive debt now while rates are attractive.
  • As tired as it sounds: Know your numbers and manage cash.
  • Debt kills businesses - get rid of it now.
  • Be frugal.

Scott Loggins
East Central Iowa SCORE (#736)
Cedar Rapids, IA

Minimizing reliance on bank financing is a prudent policy for all businesses, although the banks will usually enforce that balance. Heavy short term debt will often sink an otherwise healthy business because the funds raised did not benefit the business, or it enabled the business to expand as indicated above.

Martin Leibowitz
Nassau County SCORE (#1001)
Long Island, NY

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