Are you spending 50 quid to save a fiver?

Any good Finance Director or CFO will have a keen eye on the running costs of the business. The last thing they’ll want to do is make it harder than it needs to be to create the profit the business depends on to survive and thrive.

But sometimes the need to control what people are doing to make sure costs are properly managed can be carried too far.

More often than you might think, the costs of control far outweigh any potential savings the control might bring you.

Is “How cheap can we make it?” always the right question?

A couple of years ago I helped judge a Dragon’s Den-type competition in a local school (you might know this as Shark Tank if you’re outside the UK). I still remember the boy who opened the pricing section of his group’s presentation with “Obviously, we wanted to make this as cheap as possible…”

Why thorough processes delivered to a high standard might account for all the problems in your business

The world is becoming more process-orientated. There are positive aspects to that – if you’re the pilot of a 747, the Operations Director of a nuclear power plant or a surgeon carrying out microsurgery on a vital organ, I’d feel a lot more comfortable knowing that what you did, and the order you do them in, had been arrived at in a reliable, dependable way.

But for most other activities, we’ve been led down a path of greater use of processes to govern every aspect of our lives. I’m not sure that’s a good thing

Too much love can kill you, sang Freddie Mercury. So can bad statistics…

Freddie Mercury sang “too much love will kill you”. That might be true, but as an accountant, I’ve got to say that love isn’t usually on anybody’s mind when they come to see me. But I do have stronger views on how businesses can end up doing crazy things just because people don’t understand basic statistics.

From Zero to Hero: How to be a Zero-Based Budgeting hero instead of a Zero-Based Budgeting villain

Zero-Based Budgeting has been in the press for all the wrong reasons lately. Kraft Heinz have reported a $15billion write-down after a focus on cost cutting, primarily using the Zero-Based Budgeting technique, resulted in the business taking its attention away from their customers.