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Financial Discipline Creates Strategic Opportunities

Posted on: April 19th, 2021

After those meetings, the MLA Team got down to work.  The FAR report is due July 1, and the previous year’s books had to be closed before the report could be compiled.  That meant there was limited time to work out the processes needed before the clock started running toward the filing deadline.  Doug needed financial discipline to capitalize on these strategic opportunities.

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Doing the Work

The first challenge was developing a method for categorizing payroll.  Doug had created excel sheets in the past that tried to calculate the categorized hours by each employee. But there was always something that just didn’t add up.  “There were too many contingencies and different types of projects,” Doug recalls.  “The excel formulas were getting ridiculous.”

MLA took a different approach. Gary Wilkins worked with the MLA Accounting Support team to take the payroll detail from each two-week pay period and categorized each entry.  They then created a pivot table to give the category totals as we incrementally built the report throughout the year.

Uncertainty opportunityAs a result, Doug was able to check the process against his sense of where his team’s time was being spent.  “It helped a great deal to see the categorization real-time while the work was still fresh in my mind,” Doug said.

Meanwhile, Bob Lynch began to work through the chart of accounts.  This included recategorizing expenses, and correcting debt and loan accounts.  That work culminated in a new numbering system that addressed the need for new payroll and expense accounts while preserving the structure Doug needed to complete the ODOT report.

All this work had an unexpected benefit as well.  When COVID hit in 2020, Doug was quickly able to assess whether to apply for a PPP loan based on his confidence in his payroll and other expense categories and determine whether it was viable for BCS or not.

“It was a huge help to know someone else knew my books and could verify my view of things,” Doug said.  Doug has a bookkeeper and CPA, but their limited perspective couldn’t give him the assurance he was looking for.  

Financial Discipline Creates Strategic Opportunities

The additional time MLA had created for Doug allowed him to manage his team during COVID, and even see an increase in revenue over 2019. 

“A lot of projects went ahead, even while things were shut down,” Doug says.  “We were able to stay busy and safe and MLA’s help was invaluable in our decision making.”

Now Doug was beginning to experience the benefits of the work MLA had done.  Instead of dreading the upcoming ODOT report, he was looking forward to getting it done and focusing on serving clients who needed his specific expertise.

“I estimate I was spending 30% of my time managing the financials,” Doug reflects.  “Now that time has been cut way down.  I’m just checking it’s right, and sending it along.”  

The discipline brought by MLA had created new growth opportunities for BCS.

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