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Why Key Performance Metrics Should Be a Top Priority for Your Organization

September 15, 2023
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Key Takeaways

  • Identifying and analyzing metrics that are important to your operation allows you to craft realistic goals, maintain team accountability, and navigate future growth.
  • A combination of meaningful KPIs tailored to your organization's needs is essential to fueling your decision-making and strategies.
  • Benchmarking involves measuring your organization against others, offering valuable insights into your current position and the best path for improvement.

Benchmarking is a fundamental practice for all types of organizations. It involves identifying and analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs) that are crucial to your operations and comparing them with those of your peers and industry counterparts.

This approach not only enables you to set realistic goals but also fosters team accountability and facilitates future planning.

Defining Success

Before delving into KPIs, it's essential to have a clear understanding of what success means for your organization. This clarity of purpose and mission is paramount in determining the metrics for success.

Without a solid grasp of your overarching goals, evaluating and refining your KPIs becomes challenging.

Success is also contingent on a deep understanding of your target market and addressing their pain points. Having a well-defined, reasonably sized target market allows your organization to allocate time and resources efficiently, especially when cost containment is a priority.

The Importance of KPIs

Once you've identified what success looks like and have a thorough understanding of your target market, it's time to identify your KPIs. KPIs provide quantifiable measurements of success for your business. And they're measurable, allowing you to monitor your current actions and make necessary adjustments.

  • Once you've identified what success looks like and have a thorough understanding of your target market, it's time to identify your KPIs. KPIs provide quantifiable measurements of success for your business. And they’re measurable, allowing you to monitor your current actions and make necessary adjustments.

They aid in determining the next steps for improvement or growth and help teams align with strategic objectives.

Benefits of KPIs for Your Business

A solid understanding of your KPIs informs decision-making and helps you objectively address your organization's health and areas needing adjustment.

The most important benefits of KPIs include:

  • Alignment: KPIs provide clarity on where your organization is headed, aligning everyone with the company's vision and direction. In uncertain times, communicating outcomes and measurements with your team is vital for your business strategy.
  • Accountability:Team members must understand how their daily activities impact KPIs. Each KPI should be linked to performance and functional team objectives, with someone directly responsible for achieving each KPI.
  • Guidance: KPIs represent critical factors for your company's success. By defining overarching goals, you can align daily activities with the success of your organization, making it easier to identify necessary strategy adjustments.

     

  • The Most Effective KPIs for Measurement

    Focusing solely on a single financial statement, such as accounts receivable aging or a balance sheet, doesn’t tell the whole story – it’s just a piece of the puzzle. A combination of meaningful KPIs tailored to your organization's needs is essential to fueling your decision-making and strategies.

    Financial Metrics to Track

    • Current Ratio: A measure of liquidity, calculated by dividing current assets by current liabilities. Higher ratios indicate better liquidity.
    • Total Asset Turnover: Reveals how efficiently your organization utilizes assets by dividing sales by total assets. Higher ratios indicate more effective asset utilization.
    • Days Sales Outstanding: Measures the average time to collect receivables from customers.
    • Days Payable Outstanding: Measures the average time to pay vendors.
    • Days Cash on Hand: Reflects how long your organization can survive without revenue while meeting operating expenses.

    Non-Financial Metrics to Track

    • Sales and Customer Metrics: Include metrics like new customers, repeat sales, customer retention, and collection effectiveness.
    • Marketing Metrics: Include metrics like website visits, social media engagement, and return on marketing investment.

    Some of the most effective metrics blend financial and non-financial data to fit industry-specific standards for success. These metrics are tailored to your industry, such as charge hours in accounting or sales per square foot in retail.

    Using KPIs to Benchmark Performance

    Once you measure your KPIs, benchmark them against past performance and other organizations to gauge whether your measurements are below, on par, or above industry standards.

    Watch this webinar on Key Performance Indicators, Benchmarking & Strategic Growth Strategies for more on how KPIs can impact your organization.

    Benchmarking involves measuring your organization against others, offering valuable insights into your current position and the best path for improvement.

    It's advisable to reference data from organizations within your industry and of similar size. Online databases, industry groups, and publications are excellent sources of financial and non-financial data for benchmarking.

    When selecting KPIs for benchmarking, consider the following best practices:

    • Start with your strategic objectives
    • Determine how you'll measure your KPIs
    • Focus on the most critical KPIs to avoid information overload
    • Foster a data-driven culture within your organization
    • Implement technology to track and visualize KPIs, ensuring it aligns with your organization's needs

    Benchmarking has always been a common best practice for successful organizations. Identifying and analyzing metrics that are important to your operation allows you to craft realistic goals, maintain team accountability, and navigate future growth.

    Advisors can be invaluable in this process, guiding your organization toward achieving its success metrics.

    Eide Bailly’s outsourced and managed services team can help you harness the power of KPIs and effective benchmarking to ensure your organization achieves its goals and successfully navigates the complexities of an ever-changing business landscape.

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About the Author

Jenni Huotari

Jenni M. HuotariCPA

Partner/Business Outsourcing Practice Leader