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Up In Your Business Home PageAbout Kerry McCoy

CFO Net

Nov 18, 2016

CFO Network is led by Allen Engstrom, Managing Director. Allen has an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and previously worked for Motorola Semiconductor as well as Intel Corporation in a variety of roles within Finance, Strategy and Business Development. For years prior to joining CFO Allen has been involved in small business development and mentoring, serving on the Planning Committees of both the Arizona Venture Capital Conference and the Arkansas Venture Forum. 

Allen has also been involved in working with universities such as Arizona State on developing technology into growing companies. 

Allen’s last role at Intel was an Alliance Manager where he worked directly with small companies to form partnerships with Intel. Prior to that, Allen spent 2.5 years working for Intel Capital executing mergers and acquisitions for Intel’s Communications Group

 

Kerry’s guest was Allen Engstrom of CFO Net. CFO Network is a leading provider of outsourced accounting, analysis and consulting to businesses of all types. Up In Your Business is a Radio Show by FlagandBanner.com

 

UP IN  YOUR BUSINESS WITH KERRY MCCOY - EPISODE 10 TRANSCRIPT- ALLEN ENGSTROM

 

[INTRODUCTION]

 

[0:00:03.2] TB: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. Be sure to stay tuned till the end of the show to hear how you can get a copy of this program and other helpful documents.

 

Now, it's time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.

 

[INTERVIEW]

 

[0:00:19.4] KM: Hello. You’re listening to KABF in Little Rock, Arkansas. I’m Kerry McCoy and it’s time for me to get up into your business. You may be asking yourself, “What makes this lady qualified to do this?” I’ll tell you, experience. 40 years ago with just $400, I started Arkansas Flag & Banner. Since then it’s morphed into simply flagandbanner.com with sales nearing 4 million. That’s worth saying again. I started Arkansas Flag & Banner with just $400, and today we have sales nearing 4 million.

 

I started by selling flags door-to-door, then went to telemarketing, next, mail order and catalog sales, and today we rely heavily on the internet. In addition, over the last 40 years, I’ve navigated Flag & Banner through two recessions and two wars. When people find out I’m that woman who owns Arkansas Flag & Banner, they often say, “Oh! I’ve heard about you,” and begin asking me business advice. I amaze even myself with all the knowledge I’ve gained.

 

If you call me for advice or my guest, you will not be given textbook answers or theory, but you will be given candid advice from real-world experience, so be prepared to hear the truth. It’s not always easy to hear. For instance, you may not want to hear this; in business, there are very few overnight successes. Starting and owning a business takes persistence, perseverance and patience.

 

When I started Arkansas Flag & Banner, I supplemented my income by waitressing all while I pedaled my flags door-to-door. After nine years — Did you hear me? Nine years of working a part-time job, the company began to grow and solely support me.

 

My first hire was a bookkeeper to handle the clerical side of the business. My expansion was to begin the manufacturing of custom flags, so a sewing department was developed. The next decade ushered in Desert Storm War, flags were scarce, so a screen printing department was hardly built to meet consumer demands.

 

In addition to sales and manufacturing, Flag & Banner now has a purchasing department, a shipping department, technology department, marketing department, call center, and a retail store, and I spearheaded the development of every one of these departments. My experience is deep and wide and my advice is free. I hope you’ll use it.

 

Before we start taking calls, I want to introduce you to the people at the table. We have Tin Bowen, our technician who will be taking your calls and pushing the button. Say hello, Tim.

 

[0:02:57.7] TB: Hello, Tim.

 

[0:02:59.0] KM: My guest today is Allen Engstrom. He’s the founder and managing director of CFO Network. Allen received his MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. Before starting his company, CFO Network, he held impressive finance positions for both Motorola Semiconductor and Intel Corporation where he was promoted again and again until finally deciding in 2004 to move home to North Little Rock and start his own business.

 

CFO Network offers the most creative accounting solutions I’ve ever heard of or seen. I love their business model. I’m thrilled for him to talk to me about it. In addition, they are consultants and business advisors to both small and medium size companies alike.

 

Today, Allen is going to share his big business experience with us. Welcome to the table, Allen Engstrom, managing director and founder of CFO Network.

 

[0:03:59.3] AE: Thank you very much, Kerry. I really appreciate you having me here today.

 

[0:04:03.2] KM: I love having you here today.

 

[0:04:04.1] AE: We’re going to have a lot of fun. I hope we answer a lot of questions.

 

[0:04:06.9] KM: I hope so too. I hope people aren’t shy about calling in. First, Allen, can you describe to our listeners what CFO network is and what it does?

 

[0:04:15.8] AE: Sure. We’re just a better alternative to hiring your own internal people, accounting people, ranging from bookkeepers, to accountants, controllers, financial analysts, even chief financial officers. We put together a team. We understand what the company needs. We go in and we create solutions that help companies perform better, grow better, provide better reporting, analysis, advice that’s just a superior value compared to the typical alternative that small businesses face when they hire internal people. 

 

[0:04:51.1] KM: I think superior value is the correct word, because most of us small business people, like me, shoot from the hip. Finally, after 20 or 30 years, I was kind of like, “You know, I should probably look at my income statement and financial statement and use some data.” I think this is wonderful that you offer these to people.

 

I want to talk about three things about you today. I want to talk about your experience, what makes you qualify to analyze and consult small business owners and startups. I want to talk about your decision to come back home and open your own consulting firm which makes you an entrepreneur too. Then I want to talk about the services that CFO Network provides and how you can help our listeners.

 

Let’s start with your first job at Motorola Semiconductor. I don’t even know what that is and I don’t even really know what you did there. Tell us.

 

[0:05:39.6] AE: I was a cost analyst, which is a lot of people that would be boring work, but for me it was fascinating. It was going in and analyzing just the billion dollar, multi-billion dollar factories they had and trying to help them understand their cost and how to do things more efficiently. They had a lot of situations where they were sending work overseas and the internal cost that they were reporting appear to be too high, but it was only because they weren’t fully utilizing their capacity, and so I did an analysis that showed if they sent all the work that was going overseas back internally that the actual unit cost would come down in line with that they were paying other people.

 

[0:06:24.3] KM: You’re kidding me.

 

[0:06:24.8] AE: That ended up saving —

 

[0:06:25.9] KM: You mean sending it overseas was costing more than hiring American workers and doing it right here.

 

[0:06:30.5] AE: Yeah, exactly.

 

[0:06:31.8] KM: They’re just buying into the BS and thinking this is the way to do it?

 

[0:06:35.3] AE: If you have a $3 billion factory and you only run one unit through that factory, the unit cost, you can imagine would — 

 

[0:06:41.3] KM: What’s one unit mean? One product?

 

[0:06:42.7] AE: One semiconductor, yeah. This is an extreme example obviously, but they had low volume, and so the cost per unit when you have that kind of overhead just showed that their unit cost was so high, and so these business managers within Motorola were saying, “It’s too expensive to do it ourselves, so let’s just send it overseas.”

 

When I did this analysis it showed that if everybody got their volume together and put it through their existing capacity, that the unit cost would come way down.

 

[0:07:11.9] KM: I think you’re saying that by sending it overseas, they couldn’t manufacture to a larger scale as they were capable of, and so they had this large scale operation but they weren’t putting enough products through the operation over there.

 

[0:07:26.8] AE: It was a death spiral because the lower and lower volume that you run through your $3 billion factory, the more it shows that your unit cost goes up because your overhead —

 

[0:07:36.0] KM: You’ve got a big old factor.

 

[0:07:37.3] AE: Yeah, and managers were getting these reports that just showed, “Here is our unit cost this quarter,” and that kept going up. 

 

[0:07:42.7] KM: How many jobs did you create in America by doing that?

 

[0:07:44.8] AE: It was hundreds of millions of dollars of savings for Motorola, so it —

 

[0:07:49.2] KM: How old were you when you did that?

 

[0:07:51.0] AE: I was — I don’t know, in my mid-20s probably.

 

[0:07:53.9] KM: You are so smart. I love that. What happened after that? You decided to — They didn’t need you anymore, probably, after you did that.

 

[0:08:03.5] AE: It was a great experience, but Intel Corporation came calling and it was just an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. I interviewed for them. I actually did terrible on the interviews. I was actually trying to get a higher salary at Motorola because I really like Motorola. I just got out of the MBA program, but they didn’t have a salary structure for MBA students. My boss actually suggested that I go interview with other companies and get some offers from some other companies and then bring it back to Motorola and use that as a way to get a higher salary. That was my plan. I went to interview with Intel and I hadn’t done a whole lot of research on Intel and I think the second question they asked me is; if you got an offer from Intel, where would you want to be? I didn’t even know where they were and so I had to ask the interviewer, like, “Look, where are you guys?” He said, “Phoenix, California, or Oregon?”

 

It was horribly embarrassing for me because I hadn’t even taken the time to know where they were and so I just assumed that I’d bombed the interview and so I just thought, “Well, I’m just going to stumble through this and get done with it.” I thought to myself, “Well, Oregon is too wet, California is too expensive.” By default, I said Phoenix. Long story short, I ended up spending six years of my life in Phoenix, Arizona.

 

[0:09:15.7] KM: You ask  for just so much money, you thought they wouldn’t give it to you, and they gave it to you and you couldn’t say no.

 

[0:09:19.9] AE: Right. Needless to say, the rest of the interview went okay and they asked me back for a second round of interview and things really went well and they made me an offer and I ended up living in Phoenix working for Intel.

 

[0:09:32.2] KM: Did you go back and tell Motorola was the offer was and they said, “See you later.”

 

[0:09:35.7] AE: Yeah, but it’s one of those things that Intel just impressed me so much to the process that I decided that —

 

[0:09:41.4] KM: You weren’t expecting to be impressed, but you were.

 

[0:09:43.1] AE: Yeah, it was a great company. I had to work for the tremendously —

 

[0:09:46.4] KM: I want to hear what your job was there, but before we move on to that, I want to tell the listeners that you’re listening to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy on KABF and this is a mentoring show for small business owners, so there’s no stupid questions, or for those who dream of owning a small business. My guest today is Allen Engstrom from CFO Network in downtown North Little Rock. If you’ve got questions or comments for either of us, call —

 

[0:10:09.4] TB: 501-433-0088.

 

[0:10:13.5] KM: Or you can email questions to —

 

[0:10:15.8] TB: Questions@upyourbusiness.org.

 

[0:10:18.5] KM: Give them that phone number one more time in case someone’s driving down the road, although they shouldn’t be.

 

[0:10:23.1] TB: 501-433-0088.

 

[0:10:26.0] KM: You took this job, you went back, they said, “All right. See you later.” Were you going to do cost for this company too?

 

[0:10:32.5] AE: No. At that point I became a senior financial analyst which is —

 

[0:10:35.6] KM: Sounds good.

 

[0:10:36.1] AE: Yeah, it sounded good to me too. I would partner up with general managers of divisions within Intel and help them do business plans, budgeting. I was on several product development teams which is really interesting. We were designing semiconductors and I knew nothing about semiconductors, but I was the guy at the table that was kind of in between the marketing people who are trying to sell a bunch of stuff to people like Dell Computer or IBM and then the engineers that were actually designing these incredible semiconductor products. They would always — You know how it is. The sales guys always want a whole bunch of stuff, the engineers say, “We can’t do that,” or “It’s going to cost too much.” I was the guy kind of in between that was helping them analyze the different kinds of tradeoffs between offering more features on a semiconductor versus the cost to actually do it in terms of time and capital. It was very interesting.

 

[0:11:29.4] KM: I would love that job.

 

[0:11:30.3] AE: Yeah, it was incredible.

 

[0:11:31.2] KM: You’re kind of like the negotiator. They both were semiconductor. Intel was — You were still in the same industry because they were both semiconductors, but you went from analyzing cost and working with numbers to now you’re actually able to learn about the product and how to cut corners on the product to save money to meet, what I know, sales people always want is a cheap price.

 

[0:11:51.2] AE: Right. Yeah. It was trying to find the right combination of features and costs. For every tradeoff, I would do a return on investment analysis or there would be what we call time to market tradeoffs. You have to design this extra feature into semiconductor and take longer time. You might miss a market window. All these stuff. I had a giant spreadsheet, a market model and a cost model and a capital and all the stuff would get kind of baked into this giant spreadsheet and it would help us make better decisions.

 

[0:12:20.5] KM: I love that. If you go to think about those two jobs, because right after this you went and started your company. It sounds like you like both jobs. What made you decide, “I’m going to quit doing this and I’m going to move back to home to Little Rock.”

 

[0:12:32.7] AE: You know, they say you can take the boy out of Arkansas, but you can’t take Arkansas out of the boy. It’s totally true. I’m Mr. Arkansas, but when the light really came on was later in my career in my Intel. We started acquiring companies and I moved into Intel capital where we were doing mergers and acquisitions. Then through the .com recession and the early 2000s, we were making private equity investments and smaller businesses.

 

[0:12:59.3] KM: That’s not as much fun, was it?

 

[0:13:00.9] AE: The upside when things were going up, it was fun. When we’re buying things, it was fun for a while. What I really became interested in is the small business. I had a unique perspective, because I was sitting at Intel. We had $10 billion in cash in the bank. We had every process and resource you would ever need to be success, and that was great. What I really got a view into is these small businesses that were doing so many wonderful things with limited resources, and that’s where I really found that interesting. It’s just a challenge.

 

[0:13:34.1] KM: Why did Intel want to sell them? What was the partnership they were trying to create?

 

[0:13:37.7] AE: There was a lot of software companies, so Intel wanted to —

 

[0:13:40.8] KM: You were out of semiconductors.

 

[0:13:42.4] AE: I was still on semiconductors, but Intel was trying to get into things like cellphones and tablets. They were strong in PCs. They were designing microprocessors for what we call different platforms, like cellphones for example. If you have a microprocessor and you don’t have any software, it’s useless. We had to make investments in a lot of software companies. As part of that, they would write software to run on our new microprocessors. 

 

[0:14:08.2] KM: You were partnering with small software companies?

 

[0:14:09.7] AE: Yes. I would go in and when we’re buying them, I would go in and analyze them and determine how much we should pay.

 

[0:14:15.0] KM: I know those software companies love that. That’s like a software programmer’s dream come true is come buy my software.

 

[0:14:20.0] AE: Oh, yeah. We would walk in there and I would sit down with the chief financial officer of that company and I would know how many stocks option he had and I was like, “We’re about to make him worth more than $10 million.” We walk into these companies. It was an amazing time, crazy time.

 

[0:14:38.3] KM: How did the .com play into that at all? Were they making software for — I don’t know how the .com really — Because they were —

 

[0:14:44.6] AE: It was just a lot of craziness quite frankly.

 

[0:14:47.3] KM: I guess they just put the software on the website and everybody thought, “You put the software on the website and everybody is going to come.”

 

[0:14:53.0] AE: It was kind of an inflation in terms of what all the companies were worth, what other companies were paying for companies, would kind of set the value for the other companies, and venture capitalists would come in and invest in these companies. It’s kind of a snowball type of a spiral. Then, of course, the music stopped and everybody had to grab a chair.

 

[0:15:13.8] KM: Reality hit.

 

[0:15:15.5] AE: Reality hit, and that happened in the early 2000s. We stopped making acquisitions, but we still had the strategic needs. I was the valuation guy. They still wanted to buy these companies. The valuations were all under water. I was kind of Dr. No around Intel. I was the guy that would go around saying, “Sorry. It doesn’t make sense.” They got really frustrated with me, which is not a great aspect of my job.

 

I started learning not only to say no but to say; no, but why don’t you consider partnering with these companies instead of just writing a giant check? 

 

[0:15:47.9] KM: How would that be different?

 

[0:15:49.9] AE: Instead of just paying, say, $600 million for a software company, we would maybe invest 20 million as a minority equity investor. As part of that, we would have a negotiated service agreement or something like that that would say, “You guys are going to do these things for us, write software for our platform,” that sort of thing.

 

Finally, after I kept saying no to all these general managers, they finally said, “Come over here and help us do what you’re talking about, which is really minority investments, equity investments, and partnerships. That was really where the light went on for me is we would have to go into these companies and work with them as a partner instead of just going in there and buying them. That’s where the light really came on for me in terms of what I wanted to do with the rest of my career, is work with these small companies.

 

[0:16:43.3] KM: I love that. You’re listening to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy on KABF. This is a mentoring show for small business owners or for those who dream of owning a small business. My guest today is Allen Engstrom from CFO Network in downtown North Little Rock, Arkansas. If you’ve got questions for either of us, call —

 

[0:17:01.0] TB: 501-433-0088.

 

[0:17:04.6] KM: Or emails your questions to —

 

[0:17:07.1] TB: Questions@upyourbusiness.org. 

 

[0:17:10.3] KM: I need to look and see if I’ve gotten an email. I keep forgetting to look over there. You decided to move home. You went home and told your wife; Ashley, she said, “Yey!” Where’s Ashley from?

 

[0:17:20.4] AE: She’s from Little Rock.

 

[0:17:21.0] KM: Good. She was happy. You’ve decided to move because your heart, your passion was helping small businesses. Are you going to use some of the software that you currently have today? Is that some of the software that you learned and used from Intel?

 

[0:17:36.9] AE: No. I think I learned enough about software companies, but a lot of the software we were investing in is stuff —

 

[0:17:44.4] KM: Too big.

 

[0:17:44.6] AE: Yeah.

 

[0:17:44.6] KM: Giant stuff. That’s how the idea came about. I don’t understand your name though. CFO. What does that stand for?

 

[0:17:51.8] AE: It technically stands for Corporate Financial Outsourcing Network, but it’s kind of a play on chief financial officer.

 

[0:17:58.5] KM: Oh my gosh! I can’t believe I never put that together. You picked North Little Rock.

 

[0:18:06.0] AE: It’s my hometown, but I really just — From my perspective at Intel, we had all the world’s greatest resources and processes, and then I saw these small businesses that we’re doing great things with limited resources. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could come up with a way to sort of provide these world-class processes and tools and resources to these smaller businesses?” I knew enough about these small guys that you can’t afford to have full-time CFO and multiple bookkeepers and accountants and analysts and all that stuff like we had at Intel. The challenge became how can we provide these services in a way that was affordable for small business? As it turns out, going through kind of the accounting function is a great way to do it. We can go in and offer world-class advice, consulting, coaching, analysis, reporting, just like if you were as big as Intel. Enterprise that’s affordable. 

 

[0:19:03.9] KM: You use such big words. I’m going to dumb it down for everybody. Okay. Everybody out there listening, you know how you’re always complaining or at least I was when I a new entrepreneur about how my accountant never really helped me. They just took the numbers at the end of the year and paid my taxes, but they never really gave me business advice. I always thought that accountants were like that, but that’s not really what accountants are. I tell people that when they ask me, “Why can’t I get a good CPA that can help me with my business?” I’m like, “Because that’s not really their job.”

 

[0:19:34.9] AE: Right. Accountants are wonderful.

 

[0:19:37.1] KM: They are.

 

[0:19:37.2] AE: Wonderful. They’re great at documenting your history and where you are now.

 

[0:19:42.5] KM: Following the rules, keeping you out of jail.

 

[0:19:43.5] AE: Taking care of all the detail that’s got to be taken care of.

 

[0:19:46.1] KM: Paying your taxes.

 

[0:19:47.1] AE: Paying your taxes, keeping you out of jail. Small business owner also has other needs, like looking into the future, like helping you make better decisions going forward. There’s always a tradeoff. Always a tradeoff. Helping you set goals, benchmarking yourself, putting in cash flow analysis.

 

[0:20:07.6] KM: Yeah. A good one is you want to make an equipment expenditure. You want to buy a piece of equipment, and so you’re trying to do the cost analysis with the benefit analysis. 

 

[0:20:21.5] AE: Should you buy it? Should you lease it? Should you outsource it to somebody else?

 

[0:20:26.0] KM: That’s where you come in great.

 

[0:20:27.2] AE: Yeah. That’s a classic example.

 

[0:20:29.6] KM: That’s the one that I’ve made a mistake on more than once.

 

[0:20:33.7] AE: Should you get into a new line of business? Should you hire a sales guy?

 

[0:20:36.5] KM: I’m the worst at believing my own BS. I get an idea and then I’d put it on paper and try to — Get it on paper to match my idea all the time.

 

[0:20:45.2] AE: Or, say, you hired that extra sales guy and you make an assumption, “If I hire this sales guy, he or she should be able to bring in whatever it is, maybe $250,000 a year in sales.” You go ahead and hire the sales person, but then you sort of forget about that goal you had or that assumption you’ve made. You need to have budgets in place and you need to do analysis so that as you move forward, you can say, “Wait a minute, that person needs to be bringing in $250,000.” 

 

[0:21:13.7] KM: How is your benchmark for that? What would it be? You’d be like, “If he doesn’t reach his goal in three months,” or is it because my training program is not good?

 

[0:21:21.6] AE: My point is most business owners, they sort of make an assumption. They pull the trigger and then they sort of forget about the assumption.

 

[0:21:27.1] KM: Then they just keep them on a payroll forever even though they never meet their goals, because they’ve got hears.

 

[0:21:32.8] AE: Yeah, exactly.

 

[0:21:33.6] KM: Yeah, I do that.

 

[0:21:34.7] AE: A lot of tough decisions. But there’s assumptions you make on the front end on every decision. It’s important to write down, “Why am I doing this?”

 

[0:21:44.2] KM: And have someone like you hold them accountable.

 

[0:21:45.6] AE: Yeah. You could do it yourself, but a lot of people need help a lot of times. It’s just helpful.

 

[0:21:52.0] KM: Your father is an accountant, ain’t he?

 

[0:21:53.3] AE: Yes.

 

[0:21:54.4] KM: Do you work together?

 

[0:21:56.0] AE: We do, yeah. He’s an expert witness.

 

[0:21:59.2] KM: What does that mean?

 

[0:21:59.4] AE: People pay him a lot of money for having to sit around and tell them what he thinks. It’s a great line of work.

 

[0:22:05.6] KM: An expert witness. That sounds like he’s goes to court.

 

[0:22:11.6] AE: He works on an hourly basis, and that’s kind of his — He make a decision every day, “Should I go fishing at Lake Ouachita or should I work?” He’s got this magic number. If it’s below that number for his hourly rate, then he goes fishing. 

 

[0:22:28.2] KM: Boy! Is that not just like an accountant?

 

[0:22:29.9] AE: Yeah, it’s perfect. I love it. 

 

[0:22:31.8] KM: He worked on at CFO Network? He had his own accounting firm; Ensgtrom — What was it?

 

[0:22:36.3] AE: Yes. It’s called EGP. He’s the E in EGP.

 

[0:22:38.7] KM: What is it with y’all and acronyms? 

 

[0:22:40.9] AE: I know. Yeah, the letters.  I don’t know.

 

[0:22:42.7] KM: Just want everybody to guess who you are?

 

[0:22:44.2] AE: Right.

 

[0:22:45.8] KM: Did you father pay influence on you becoming an MBA? Getting an MBA?

 

[0:22:52.1] AE: We come from a line of engineers and he was the rebel in the family. He didn’t become an engineer, and I think that’s screwed me up. I realized belatedly that I probably should have been engineer, but the cool part is I think the way that I get to use those engineering aptitudes is by building businesses. That’s really my passion. I love, of course, to build my own business, but what really gets us out of bed every day is helping our clients drive their business.

 

[0:23:19.8] KM: Everybody says that.

 

[0:23:20.8] AE: It’s really cool.

 

[0:23:22.1] KM: Everybody says that. I think you really mean it though.

 

[0:23:24.2] AE: Oh, yeah.

 

[0:23:24.7] KM: You like the problem solving of figuring it out. You started in 2004, it’s 12 years later. What was the hardest part about getting started?

 

[0:23:34.3] AE: Probably the stress. I did some great things at Intel, but I’ve never even managed anybody, not even one person, much less multiple people, much less ran my own company.

 

[0:23:45.6] KM: How many employees do you have?

 

[0:23:46.8] AE: We have 35 now.

 

[0:23:48.5] KM: You have 35 employees?

 

[0:23:51.2] AE: Yes. Yes we do.

 

[0:23:55.5] KM: After you tell me this, I’ve got the next question for you. Okay, go ahead. 

 

[0:23:59.2] AE: It was probably — When you kind of cut the umbilical cord with the big company with all the great benefits and everything and you saved up some money, you borrowed some money, you take the plunge, you move your family back, you open your business. Immediately, cash starts going out of the bank and it’s a lot like what you said about jumping off the building at the front of the show.

 

I use the analogy building a plane at 30,000 feet. You start putting the plane together, but you’re losing altitude fast. You got to get it all together and you got to flip those engines and those jets have to fire up and you have to start gaining altitude before you hit that ground.

 

[0:24:37.6] KM: That’s a good one.

 

[0:24:38.9] AE: There’s nights when you’re just lying there and looking up at the ceiling, worrying about every little thing. I think over the years, you just learn to really just focus on the things that you can control and it’s just a mental discipline that sometimes I wonder, “How does the CEO of General Electric sleep at night?”

 

[0:25:00.0] KM: I think about that too. 

 

[0:25:01.5] AE: I think the answer is after many years of staring at the ceiling in my little nook of the world is you just have to get some mental discipline around only focusing on the things you can control.

 

[0:25:13.4] KM: because nobody gets an extra hour in the day. We all work in 24 hour. You’re thinking this person does all these stuff and you’re like, “How do they do that? They don’t get an extra hour.”

 

[0:25:24.5] AE: Yeah. Probably the hardest thing is just learning to deal with stress. A lot of it was just me worrying too much about every little detail. Overtime, a lot of effort — It probably took me a lot longer than most people, but you just learn the easy way or the hard way. 

 

[0:25:41.8] KM: How long did it take you? It took me nine years. It didn’t take you that long. Nobody takes that long.

 

[0:25:45.8] AE: They say for firms like ours, it’s like a three-year process.

 

[0:25:50.1] KM: Well, and you’re an accountant. You’re probably better at cut and bait when you need to.

 

[0:25:56.3] AE: You just get critical mass. I knew that I had to hire some people to where I could focus on growing the business instead of working in the business, so you make that transition — 

 

[0:26:06.7] KM: My favorite book. You know what I’m fixing to say, don’t you?

 

[0:26:08.9] AE: Yeah.

 

[0:26:09.3] KM: What? The E-Myth.

 

[0:26:10.1] AE: Yeah, The E-Myth.

 

[0:26:11.1] KM: My favorite book.

 

[0:26:11.7] AE: Yeah. You’ve got to get past that threshold where you can focus more on the business instead of getting bogged down in the business. That’s a big deal. You’ve got to learn to trust people to do their jobs. You’ve got to hire good people. You always hear that.

 

[0:26:25.7] KM: Trust is important.

 

[0:26:26.3] AE: Trust is so important. There’s a lot of people that we work with that they’re small and they will always be small because they can never get past that trust threshold with their employees.

 

[0:26:40.0] KM: Right. They can’t let go. You can’t grow if you don’t know let go.

 

[0:26:43.5] AE: You have to learn to trust people to do that.

 

[0:26:45.3] KM: I tell my department heads that, “You’ve got to learn to let go or your department cannot grow.”

 

[0:26:51.0] AE: Yeah, that’s right. It’s so true, and it’s hard for a lot of people.

 

[0:26:54.3] KM: You’re listening to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy on KABF. This is a mentoring show for small business owners and for those who dream of owning a small business. My guest today is Allen Engstrom from CFO Network in downtown North Little Rock, Arkansas. If you’ve got questions or comments for either of us, call —

 

[0:27:13.4] TB: 501-433-0088.

 

[0:27:16.8] KM: Or you can email us questions to — 

 

[0:27:19.3] TB: Questions@upyourbusiness.org.

 

[0:27:22.3] KM: You have 35 employees.

 

[0:27:23.6] AE: Yeah, it’s crazy.

 

[0:27:24.3] KM: I think you had four when I first did business with you.

 

[0:27:27.7] AE: Yeah, that’s right, and you’re now a client. 

 

[0:27:31.5] KM: I know. Tell everybody what you mean by that.

 

[0:27:35.0] AE: We just acquired — We did our first acquisition in our company history. We acquired a wonderful business called Winchester Business Services. They do payroll. We’d always avoided doing payroll. We referred to a partner. Kerry’s business, Arkansas Flag & Banner, was a long-time employee of Winchester Business services.

 

[0:27:54.5] KM: Long-time. I hate doing payroll.

 

[0:27:57.4] AE: Yeah. I’ve been chasing Kerry for a long time. We’ve done work together, numerous projects.

 

[0:28:01.0] KM: Yes, your great. I think if our listeners want to maybe not hire you monthly every month but just want to come in and they have a project they want to bounce off you before they go to the bank. Do you help people with their business plans?

 

[0:28:17.3] AE: Absolutely . Assistance with bank loans. We have former bankers on staff, so we’d put together all the things that a banker will want to see. We understand the ratios that they look at and all the stuff that they’re going to look at and help companies restructure their debt or get new loans or other types of financing. Yeah, absolutely. 

 

[0:28:36.0] KM: You, for me, ran a bunch of reports. I just came in and you run my accounts receivable report, my accounts payable report, my cash flow report, and all these ratio reports like debt —

 

[0:28:52.0] AE: Debt to equity.

 

[0:28:55.1] KM: Something I think called a quick asset.

 

[0:28:56.9] AE: Quick ratio, yeah.

 

[0:28:58.1] KM: Quick ratio, which is my favorite one, which if our listeners are listening, tell them what it is. I think they should run this every single solitary month at the end of every month when they get their financials.

 

[0:29:09.3] AE: Yeah, it’s just looking at your sort of your short term liquidity, which liquidity is a fancy word for cash, obviously. It’s very liquid. Accounts receivable. Things —

 

[0:29:22.0] KM: You add up your accounts receivable and your money and your checking account.

 

[0:29:25.5] AE: Then you subtract off your short-term liabilities which is typically accounts payable.

 

[0:29:30.6] KM: You divide your accounts payables into your accounts receivable and your cash, and that tells you your debt to —

 

[0:29:41.8] AE: Your short-term liquid position, essentially, because in the near term you’re going to have to settle up all of these, all your receivables, people are going to be paying you, so you got cash coming in, but then you’ve got to pay out all of your accounts payable, all your bills. If your accounts payable is greater than your accounts receivable, then you could be in trouble because you’re going to have to —

 

[0:30:02.1] KM: Well, it can’t even get that far. If it gets to one to one —

 

[0:30:06.3] AE: One to one, that means. —

 

[0:30:07.3] KM: You better be at the bank already. If it even starts to get to two to one — If it drops below, you have two assets to every one debt. We’re talking about current liquid. If your cash and accounts receivable are 100 and your payable is $50, and your now at two to one. That’s fine, but the minute it starts getting to one to one, $50 of income, $50 of money in the bank and accounts receivable and $50 that you owe, you are almost too late to go to the bank already.

 

[0:30:49.6] AE: That’s right. A lot of people hire us to do what I call CRM corners.

 

[0:30:55.2] KM: That’s a great way to put it.

 

[0:30:56.1] AE: It is. The analogy of flying a plane is I think relevant.

 

[0:31:02.1] KM: Again?

 

[0:31:03.4] AE: Yeah. This time —

 

[0:31:04.7] KM: Are you a pilot or want to be pilot?

 

[0:31:08.2] AE: Let’s say now your plane is built. Okay, you’re flying, but you’re flying through the mountains, let’s say, at night. The objective is to get through the mountains without running into it.

 

[0:31:19.1] KM: You’re blind.

 

[0:31:19.7] AE: You got to navigate. The point is you’ve got to have good instrumentation. You’ve got to know where you’re going. You got to know when you’re going to need to turn here. You need to correct over here and you have to use your instrumentation. That’s the point. Your financials is, if not, the most important. It’s one of the most important sort of instruments that you have in your cockpit.

 

[0:31:44.3] KM: Yes. I think an entrepreneurs ability to motivate people, ability to dissect a problem, inability to accept failure, and then you’ve got to learn to learn to use your instruments at hand.

 

[0:32:00.4] AE: It’s hard for a lot of people. That’s another issue. You go through these stages when you start a company. You can succeed by what I call just walking around, managing by walking around. That’s a valid approach to manage.

 

[0:32:11.2] KM: That’s what I did for 20 years.

 

[0:32:12.7] AE: It works if your small. You can have one on one ties with every employee and, typically, all your clients, but at some point you get so big, you lose those connections and you lose that intuitive feel. What good managers do is they recognize that. At some point, you have to shift to managing by the numbers instead of managing by just walking around. 

 

[0:32:35.8] KM: I cannot tell you how many times that has happened to me, that my intuition was wrong once I looked at the actual numbers. Of all your favorite reports, which one — I’ve already told you my favorite report. It’s the quick ratio, because I look at it. What’s your favorite one? When a new customer comes in and says, “Help. I need some guidance.” 

 

[0:32:57.3] AE: It’s got to be two. It’s got to be the balance sheet and the income statement.

 

[0:33:00.7] KM: That’s not a report. That’s just your report, but that’s not — Okay.

 

[0:33:03.4] AE: You mean a ratio.

 

[0:33:03.9] KM: Okay. Ratio. I’m sorry.

 

[0:33:05.2] AE: Ratios are good, but they only tell a very narrow slice of the story. The real value is looking at your financials, your balance sheet and your income statement. Even then, you need to compare it to something else. We like to look at, say, current month to the previous month and look at what’s changing. We’d like to look at year to date compared to the same period last year and look at what’s changing.

 

Sort of one column of numbers doesn’t really tell you as much. What really helps is a picture based on having a base of comparison, it could be actual to budget. It could be — Like I said before, it could be some benchmark that you have from your industry.

 

[0:33:44.5] KM: Do you think budgets are worth it?

 

[0:33:46.1] AE: I do. There’s two different schools of thought. Some people say, “You know, it’s just like crystal ball, predicting the future.” Everybody knows what the future is going to be, why do it? I kind of thought that when I went into Intel, but what I really discovered was it’s the process that really is the value.

 

[0:34:03.2] KM: Oh, forcing you to think it through.

 

[0:34:04.3] AE: Forcing you to think through, “Okay, if I want to grow my revenues by 20%, what do I really need to have in terms of resources, spending, investments, etc., etc., so that I can do that. Then, again, once I do that, how do I hold myself accountable. How do I hold my team accountable so that we can actually achieve that 20% growth?”

 

[0:34:27.1] KM: do you look at it every month if you put that budget in place? Do you do a monthly budget? 

 

[0:34:29.9] AE: Absolutely. With all of our clients, we have budgets.

 

[0:34:34.0] KM: You know, I’d like to have you do a budget for me. I try to do it in my software, and I can’t figure it out. It’s too hard.

 

[0:34:39.7] AE: Yeah, you need to do that.

 

[0:34:41.1] KM: I should have you do that.

 

[0:34:42.7] AE: The journey and the process is very valuable and the way that you do it matters, the way that you enlist your team, getting their inputs so they have buy-in. It allows you to hold them accountable.

 

[0:34:54.2] KM: Do you look back two years or five years? I do four-year projections.

 

[0:34:57.0] AE: Yeah. We’ll do a five-year long range plan, which is fun, because you can dream about your business and you probably have some ideas about what the potential of your business is. You take the extra step of kind of quantifying what that looks like and thinking through, again, all the different investments you need to have in place; people, facilities, whatever it may be. Then you kind of work backwards to where you are today and you connect the dots. You make sure that it makes sense. 

 

[0:35:23.7] KM: Yeah, you don’t believe your own BS like I like to do.

 

[0:35:25.7] AE: Right. Then you kind of take year one and that’s your monthly budget. You break that out by month and you look at, again, “What am I doing now? What do in need to be doing about this year?”

 

[0:35:35.5] KM: You look backwards. How far back do you look?

 

[0:35:37.6] AE: Just a couple of years, two or three years would be fun.

 

[0:35:40.4] KM: I think I said that backwards. I look backwards four years. I look forward two years.

 

[0:35:46.2] AE: Yeah, that’s probably reasonable.

 

[0:35:48.4] KM: Because in the flag business, we can have major spikes. You can have a confederate flag hullabaloo and everything goes crazy. You can have a war and everything goes crazy. You can have a gay pride weddings and everything goes crazy.

 

[0:36:01.2] AE: Then, you’d probably have to look back in history and look at kind of how often does that happen and what kind of capacity do I need to have on hand so that you can take advantage of those spikes, right?

 

[0:36:13.1] KM: Yes.

 

[0:36:14.9] AE: You probably want to look back on history to understand kind of how your company has behaved in the past and make sure that you have the ability to capture that upside when it comes.

 

[0:36:24.2] KM: How do you handle all these growth? You went to 35 employees. That’s like the kiss of death.

 

[0:36:29.5] AE: Yeah, definitely not overnight. It’s been 12 years. I think for our business, it’s just keeping things in balance. We try to kind of regulate our growth and pace ourselves and we work really hard to bring on good people at the right time. We try to kind of keep the hiring and the growth kind of in balance. That’s kind of the secret for us. 

 

[0:36:51.9] KM: You’re listening to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy on KABF. This is a mentoring show for small business owners or for those people who dream of owning a small business. My guest today is Allen Engstrom from CFO Network in downtown North Little Rock. If you’ve got questions or comments for either of us, call —

 

[0:37:07.0] TB: 501-433-0088. 

 

[0:37:10.2] KM: Or if you’re a private person, you can email me.

 

[0:37:14.5] TB: At questions@upyourbusiness.org. 

 

[0:37:16.8] KM: Talk about your software. How do you do it? Because I think if I know this right, what I love about your business is you connect directly to them. You download — If I was doing this with you, of course I’m kind of my own CFO, but I’m not as experienced or as good as you are by any means. If I was to give you my financials, I don’t print them out or send to you necessarily in an Excel spreadsheet or export them to you. You come and get them electronically and have it — It goes over the internet to you, doesn’t it?

 

[0:37:49.0] AE: Yeah.

 

[0:37:50.2] KM: You download my stuff straight to your computer.

 

[0:37:52.3] AE: Yeah. I would say that’s the magic sauce. Most companies have sheet-fed scanners, and that’s really how we get the information.

 

[0:37:59.4] KM: What? Say that again.

 

[0:38:00.2] AE: Sheet-fed scanners. Just multi-function printers and you just drop your bills into the sheet-fed scanner and you hit a button that comes to us. We enter everything for you, pay your bills, we do your financial statements every month. Then the cool part is this is where — The magic is really having great accounting, which is fine, but you’ve also got to be in position to leverage that hard and wonderful work that the accountants were doing. We have financial analysts who, when the accountants are done, the analyst take the numbers and we analyze them. We lay them out on the table.

 

A really cool thing happens for us is we can actually — We’re looking at a bunch of numbers but they tell us a story, but that’s where we get excited.

 

[0:38:44.2] KM: You’re such a nerd.

 

[0:38:45.7] AE: Yeah, totally. That’s the story of a company is you can see it in the numbers and how they’re changing and what happens when revenue goes up. What happens to their balance sheet? All that stuff. Yes, we geek out on it. To us, it’s a story and we leverage our experience. We’ve been doing this for a long time. We work with hundreds of companies. We’ve seen all the mistakes they’ve made. We’ve seen how they’ve responded amazingly and adapted and grown and done wonderful things.

 

[0:39:11.9] KM: Then what do you do with that information? You call them? You send them an email?

 

[0:39:14.3] AE: We sit down with the clients if they’re local. If they’re not, we get on a GoToMeeting or something like that or a video conference and we show them our screen. We show them what we’re seeing. We talk to them about the story. They talk to us about what’s going on qualitatively in the business, and it is the coolest conversation.

 

[0:39:34.8] KM: I love those conversations. I really do.

 

[0:39:37.1] AE: It’s people out there on the frontlines fighting every day.

 

[0:39:40.8] KM: Do they argue with you? Because every time someone ask me a business advice and then I’d give it to them, they argue with me. Do they argue with you?

 

[0:39:47.1] AE: No. They don’t, usually.

 

[0:39:49.1] KM: What?

 

[0:39:49.5] AE: No.

 

[0:39:50.1] KM: You are one of those numbers guy that’s really personable.

 

[0:39:53.7] AE: I would say people that are drawn to us and that stay with us are people that are coachable and they really care about their business.

 

[0:40:00.6] KM: You’re also a bunch of techy guys.

 

[0:40:04.1] AE: Yeah.

 

[0:40:05.2] KM: I’m amazed at how many people come out of college with an accounting degree and don’t have a computer science degree with it. I don’t even think you should be able to get an accounting degree without a computer science degree.

 

[0:40:15.7] AE: There’s so much great technology out there that you can — Instead of developing yourself, we always look for buying or licensing it instead of developing it ourselves. There’s just so much great stuff out there.

 

[0:40:27.8] KM: What did you say? You want to make your own software?

 

[0:40:30.0] AE: No.

 

[0:40:30.3] KM: No. What did you say?

 

[0:40:31.0] AE: We don’t want to make any software.

 

[0:40:32.0] KM: Oh, okay. Good. I was about to say that’s sounds awful.

 

[0:40:33.6] AE: There’s so much good stuff out there.

 

[0:40:35.0] KM: Yes.

 

[0:40:36.3] AE: We integrate stuff.

 

[0:40:38.3] KM: Are you open to say what your favorite software is?

 

[0:40:40.8] AE: QuickGooks is the best.

 

[0:40:41.8] KM: Everybody likes it.

 

[0:40:43.4] AE: We started out agnostic —

 

[0:40:45.6] KM: That’s way too small for me, and then it jumps up to —

 

[0:40:47.9] AE: You would be surprised.

 

[0:40:49.1] KM: No, I would not. I use QuickBooks at home. I use it.

 

[0:40:52.3] AE: A lot of people use it at home.

 

[0:40:52.9] KM: I use QuickBooks forever; Peachtree, QuickBooks.

 

[0:40:54.4] AE: Kerry, we have a $50 million company running on QuickBooks.

 

[0:40:57.6] KM: With 20 million products?

 

[0:40:59.6] AE: Not quite that many.

 

[0:41:01.0] KM: I have 22 — Not million. 22,000 products.

 

[0:41:02.6] AE: Where do you find the best software for managing 20 million products?

 

[0:41:07.6] KM: Not million. I said — Wrong. 22,000.

 

[0:41:09.7] AE: Whatever. That many. A lot.

 

[0:41:13.1] KM: A lot.

 

[0:41:13.5] AE: You find the best software for managing your business and then you pair it up with QuickBooks. That’s where we do have some expertise is at the end of the day, these companies are just databases and we can teach the databases to talk together. Find the best of breed for accounting, which is QuickBooks, and then find the best of breed for what you need to run your business and then pair them up.

 

[0:41:33.5] KM: How does QuickBook interface with the internet?

 

[0:41:36.1] AE: That’s an online version, but we host — Typically, we host QuickBooks Enterprise, which is the highest in-version of QuickBooks, and that works out great.

 

[0:41:44.3] KM: It’s got a shipping, and you can do all kinds of shipping module.

 

[0:41:47.1] AE: No. Whatever — I call it best of breed software. Whatever is the best software for running your business. For all another, it could be a Flag & Banner software. 

 

[0:41:57.0] KM: No. We should make one. There’s only 50 flag and banner companies in the United States, it’s like one in every —

 

[0:42:02.4] AE: Right. It’s something like Fishbowl, or I don’t know what you use, but there’s —

 

[0:42:05.6] KM: Mass 200. I use Mass 200. 

 

[0:42:07.1] AE: See, that — Okay.

 

[0:42:08.2] KM: What? Say what? What were you going to say?

 

[0:42:11.2] AE: You’re in the stone age a little bit.

 

[0:42:13.4] KM: What? I just spent a fortune on the stone age.

 

[0:42:16.9] AE: Yeah ,it’s a common issue we see.

 

[0:42:19.7] KM: What’s the other stone age? Adpack?

 

[0:42:20.6] AE: The problem that you’re having is you’re trying to combine great accounting with great at what you do, and usually there’s hundreds of software applications out there that were developed for managing every type of business and they try to bold on an accounting package to that software and they suck at that. The idea is go find the best accounting software, which is QuickBooks, and then go find the best software for running your business.

 

[0:42:48.3] KM: How do you integrate them together? That’s the issue.

 

[0:42:51.1] AE: That’s the thing. You integrate them through the backend as a database.

 

[0:42:54.8] KM: Right. I know. Yeah.

 

[0:42:56.4] AE: You do transfers.

 

[0:42:58.5] KM: Yeah, but now you’ve got third-part — See? Now you’ve got a third-party — 

 

[0:43:02.1] AE: No. It’s a lot easier than that. There’s a lot people —

 

[0:43:04.2] KM: Wow! I need to hire him.

 

[0:43:05.7] AE: Yeah, right? There’s a lot of people that make a lot of money selling software. 

 

[0:43:10.7] KM: You have no idea how much money I spent on that.

 

[0:43:12.3] AE: These guys, all these business owners are at the mercy of these people and it is the biggest shame that I see when I go out and talk to business owners is they’ve spent $90,000 on software and it doesn’t work, because they haven’t also spent $40,000 more on training and integration and all of those stuff.

 

[0:43:30.5] KM: You know what else is getting really big for me? Payables, and you know, that is not good for small business people to be doing payables, because that’s a waste of your time to sit around and push paperwork around.

 

If you’re doing payables for people, how do you know that you’re not paying the wrong person? How do you know it’s the right vendor? Does the owner of the company — Does your customer have to approve every invoice and then mail it to you? How do you do payables for people?

 

[0:44:00.7] AE: Yeah, that’s where the scanning comes in. It’s a weekly cycle. All the weekly — Or all the bookkeeping stuff is done on a weekly cycle. You gather up all your bills. You scan it to us once a week. We have an accounts payable specialist. She enters everything into QuickBooks. We generate a report.

 

We also have a banking specialist that’s reconciling your bank account, and we send you two things, one is a nice organized report that says, “Here’s all your bills. Here’s what you need to pay this week.” Then the second thing we send you is a reconciled bank balance so you can quickly verify that you have more than enough funds to pay these bills. All you have to do is reply with approved, and we take care of the rest. All the checks go out the door from us.

 

[0:44:44.6] KM: I wonder how many checks I write each month.

 

[0:44:46.0] AE: There’s probably a lot.

 

[0:44:46.8] KM: A lot.

 

[0:44:47.9] AE: Yeah. It works really well. We save the scanned batches. Every entry we make in the QuickBooks, we use the memo field.

 

[0:44:53.9] KM: What if I want to access that information?

 

[0:44:55.2] AE: Yeah, you could log in to QuickBooks 24/7. You can look at every entry. We’ve got a reference name for every entry we make.

 

[0:45:02.0] KM: What is a customer call me up and says, “I just received this package and I’m invoiced incorrectly.”

 

[0:45:08.3] AE: It depends.

 

[0:45:08.5] KM: That’s not payables though. That’s receivables. I could keep that part.

 

[0:45:11.7] AE: Yeah, exactly. You can get in to QuickBooks anytime you want. If you wanted to actually look at the source document, you look at the reference name that we enter in the memo field and then you go over to your bills batch —

 

[0:45:21.4] KM: You could just take one module of my accounting. You don’t need the whole accounting thing. You could just do the payables part only and so that I could continue to manage my sales which is tied to my receivables which is tied to my shipping. Then when customers call me up — Because we ship a hundred packages a day. When customers call me up, I could say — I said, “I didn’t —”

 

[0:45:40.9] AE: Yeah, we can help you migrate to a different software. We can help you with pieces of your accounting.

 

[0:45:45.8] KM: You’re not even like an accounting firm. You’re like a software firm.

 

[0:45:49.3] AE: We’re more of a consulting company, yeah.

 

[0:45:50.8] KM: But you’re more like a software firm almost it sounds like. Wow! You’re so smart.

 

[0:45:56.6] AE: No. Not at all. We just love what we do, and I got great people.

 

[0:45:58.2] KM: You do. Man! You are passionate. You’re listening to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy on KABF. This is a mentoring show for small business owners. My guest today is Allen Engstrom from CFO Network in downtown North Little Rock. We’ve only got — Wow! It’s flown by again. We’ve only got about five more minutes. If you want to call and ask Allen something. I feel like I’m getting some great advice though.

 

[0:46:21.9] AE: What’s probably the best thing that you could ask me that I could help other people. One more question, right?

 

[0:46:27.6] KM: Yeah. I already asked you what your favorite ratios were and you told me.

 

[0:46:32.1] AE: I might make a comment if I could, because I get a lot of questions.

 

[0:46:35.1] KM: Okay.

 

[0:46:35.2] AE: I would say the number one thing is you need to expect more from your accounting and finance. I see it a lot. Just because you’re small, don’t think that you have to suffer quietly if you’re not getting your financials in a timely way. If they’re not accurate. If you don’t feel like you have the instrumentation that you need to run your business to help you make decisions. The accounting is actually for you. It’s not for your tax accountant. It’s not for your banker. It’s for you to run your business. I love helping small business. I would love to help you guys run your business better, help you leverage your accounting, your reporting. Help you understand what you’re looking at. I would just say you need to expert more from your accounting.

 

[0:47:25.2] KM: I think you filled the gap that people have between their accountant and their business be you know how to talk the language and tell the small business owner what they need to know. You ran my accounts receivables, my aged accounts receivables, which I don’t think people realize. If their accounts receivables get too old, they’re not any good. Al Hodge came on, I asked him. You know Al, from Arkansas Capital. I asked him what was his favorite thing. He said, “Aged accounts receivable.” He said, “Small businesses just let those dangle out there forever.”

 

[0:47:57.2] AE: Yeah, the banks won’t loan on those.

 

[0:47:59.2] KM: No. After — I don’t know how many days.

 

[0:48:00.9] AE: 90 days. Yeah.

 

[0:48:01.5] KM: I don’t even understand why aged accounts receivables are so important, but I know that that was one of the things you talked to me about also.

 

[0:48:07.8] AE: Another one is people are growing and they’re running out of cash and they don’t know why.

 

[0:48:12.2] KM: That’s every small business out there.

 

[0:48:12.7] AE: They try to grow even more, and that actually accelerates the problem. 

 

[0:48:17.5] KM: You managed to do it to grow from four employees to 35 employees. I won’t even ask you what your sales are. How many customers do you have?

 

[0:48:25.9] AE: Contracts clients, it’s got to be over 90 around the country.

 

[0:48:30.0] KM: Oh, wow! That’s a lot to manage as closely as you manage them all. You’ve managed to grow that much and managed your growth. You know firsthand what it’s like to give advice to a small business owner.

 

[0:48:43.4] AE: Absolutely. Yeah, it’s not easy. 

 

[0:48:44.8] KM: You’re awesome. You asked me what this cigar was for and you said that I can’t make you smoke it, so I’m not going to, but cigar is for you. It’s for birthing businesses, your own business and for all the other small businesses you birthed, so you can give it somebody else.

 

[0:49:01.6] AE: That’s wonderful.

 

[0:49:03.1] KM: If you smoke that, you’ll throw up.

 

[0:49:05.7] AE: I have been known to smoke a cigar occasionally.

 

[0:49:08.4] KM: It’s pretty, isn’t it?

 

[0:49:09.2] AE: Thank you very much. You’re welcome. Give everybody your information on how to get in touch with you one more time. Your phone number, slowly.

 

[0:49:15.5] KM: Yes, Allen Engstrom, CFO Network, and my phone number is 501-823-2363.

 

[0:49:25.9] AE: You did very good, Allen.

 

[0:49:26.1] KM: Thank you.

 

[0:49:27.0] AE: That cigar came from the Humidor Room at Colonial Wine & Spirits on Markham Street Little Rock. They have a lovely humidor room if you do like cigars.

 

Thank you today to my guest, the smart and very personable and passionate Allen Engstrom of CFO Network in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

 

Next week will be Thanksgiving, so my tech, Tim Bowen over there, and I will be playing excerpts from previous shows. It will be the first time we’ve ever done anything like that, so it ought to be really fun. I’m looking forward to that. The following week will be Margaret Ellibee, she’s the president of Pulaski Technical College, and her graduate; Sheryl Colclough, who recently started Be Blessed Bakery, and that should be interesting and a fresh perspective on a young person starting a business in today’s world. I look forward to hearing a young person talk about starting a business.

 

Also, if you have a great entrepreneurial story you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. Send a brief bio and your contact info to questions@upyourbusiness.org and someone will be in touch. Finally, to our listeners, thank you for spending time with me and my guest; Allen Engstrom. If you think this program has been about you, you’re right, but it’s also about me. Thank you for letting me fulfill my destiny. My hope today is that you’ve heard or learned something that’s been inspiring or enlightening and that it, whatever it is, will help you up your business, your independence, or your life.

 

I’m Kerry McCoy, be brave and keep it up.

 

[END OF INTERVIEW]

 

[0:50:57.3] TB: You’ve been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. Want to hear today’s program again or want someone else to benefit from it? Jot this down. Within 48 hours the podcast will be available at flagandbanner.com. Click the tab labeled “Radio Show”, there you’ll find today’s segments with links to resources you heard discussed on this program. Kerry’s goal: to help you live the American Dream.

 

[END]

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