Chief Financial Officer Sue Savat has over 25 years of banking experience. For 20 of those years, she has been assessing our financial health and keeping the business numbers straight. She has a familiarity with business finances like few others. Sue took some time to share with us her financial management essentials.
Q: What financial numbers would you recommend a business owner review to assess the health of their business?
Sue Savat: Every business is different, but the important thing is for each business owner to understand their key performance measures and have efficient ways to review those frequently. For some businesses, the balance sheet drives the earnings and for others it may be the cost of goods sold or cost to service each customer.
I would recommend you reach out to your industry association and compare your numbers to your peers and then work to improve those key drivers of performance.
Q: Which financial experts/advisors are an essential to helping a business thrive?
Sue: Your business will need:
- A Commercial Banker, and maybe a Treasury Management Expert
- An Attorney
- An Accountant
- A Tax Advisor
Your commercial banker and treasury management officer can help ensure you’re managing your finances and cash flow efficiently. An attorney, accountant and tax advisor can help you make sure you run a “clean” business and can focus on growing your business rather than addressing litigation or examinations.
If you are an expert in your business but not an expert in taxes or finances, it is key to have good employees with that expertise, if you are at a size to afford those, or key partners if you are small and it doesn’t make sense to have that expertise on staff.
Q: What do you like best about working in finance and why?
Sue: I love numbers and I love people, so working in finance and banking is a perfect fit!
While in my role I don’t work with our customers on a daily basis, it is really fun to hear of the ways we have helped customers grow their business or use technology to help them run the day to day better, faster and less costly.
Q: Who/what are some of your favorite financial resources to follow?
Sue: As CFO for Merchants, the health of the economy and our communities is critical to our success as well as our customers.
I follow a lot of different individual economists (because they all have a different viewpoint!) and also Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.
Our industry associations also are a great resource and I would recommend to any business owner to get involved with their industry association as a resource and support tool.
Q: What’s your number one tip for business owners who don’t feel managing finances is a personal strength?
Sue: If you’re a large business: If it makes sense for the size of your business, I would advise having an accountant or finance person as an employee.
If you’re a small business: If you have a very small business, maybe just starting out, then I would suggest you use the services of an accountant that also has some tax knowledge so they can help get your systems set up right from the beginning.
How are you with numbers? If you have a good comfort with numbers, there are online courses that can help further educate, but if you are just not a numbers person and still want to run your sales or operations-side of the business, then you should hire someone to help with the numbers.
The important thing is: surround yourself with people that have different skill sets but follow the same vision and you will succeed!
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Our commitment to community banking starts with our Executive Leadership Team. The Team pursues continued company success by focusing on our foundation of building community through banking and our Merchants Bank mission and core values. Our Executive Team, which includes our Regional Presidents, works with our Market Presidents, Managers and all branch staff every day to ensure our customers come first.
Watch our video series to get to know our Executive Team.