EXPERT INTERVIEW| SEPT 19, 2022
Shahram Zarshenas breaks down his strategies to better optimize cashflow
NAME: Shahram Zarshenas
COMPANY: Financial Cents
About our professional
Laying the foundation to scale your firm is tough. You have to document your workflows, establish collaboration channels for your team, and implement the right tech to overcome the challenges you will face. Shahram Zarshenas has helped thousands of accounting firms overcome these challenges. He is the CEO of Financial Cents, an easy-to-use practice management software built to help accounting firms track the status of client work, collaborate with their team, and get work done.
Question: What one piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Shahram: “Execution is everything. You will learn much faster by actually doing instead of reading articles and over-preparing.”
Takeaway: While it’s important to gain a base understanding of knowledge for your occupation, the best way to learn is by actually doing. Immersing yourself in unfamiliar tasks will teach you significantly more practical, relevant knowledge than focusing solely on textbooks and articles.
Question: What would you do to address a decrease in revenue forecasts?
Shahram: “I would look at the data to see what changed. Once you know what changed, you can identify the problem and devise a plan to fix the problem.”
Takeaway: Checking the data is crucial, studying your company’s financial statements, such as a P&L statement, will show you where the data has changed and will set you on the right path to fix the problem for the following financial time periods.
Question: Which financial metrics do you prioritize to determine the state of your business? What determines a good state?
Shahram: “Given we are a SaaS company that focuses on recurring revenue, our most important metric is retention. This ensures that our customers continue to repurchase our product every single month. Typically for SMB B2B SaaS companies, you want to see less than 5% churn every month.”
Takeaway: Shahram said it best, focusing on retention is absolutely key in maintaining the success of an SaaS (Software as a Service) company. By creating strategies and structuring resources to focus strictly on customer satisfaction, a company is more likely to have a larger percentage of retention. If customers are unsatisfied with your product or service, create studies and organize surveys to understand these reasons so your company can learn from previous mistakes.
Question: How much effort should go into optimizing cash flow and why?
Steven: “Cash is king. The more cash you have, the more you can invest for growth. That is why we allow our customers to pay 12 months upfront for a 20% discount. This allows us to have more cash in the bank to invest in growth which compounds and generates a higher ROI than the 20% discount. “
Takeaway: Offering a discount to allow your customers to pay for 6 or 12 months of the service at a discounted rate is an excellent strategy to increase your company’s cash flow. It rewards customers who are already like your company’s service while also motivating non-customers to sign up for your service because of the discounted rate. The increase in cash flow gives your company the ability and funds to invest in other opportunities that could surpass the amount of money you lost by providing your customers with a discount.
Question: Which financial KPIs do you think the executive team should prioritize moving towards the end of 2022?
Shahram: “We will focus on driving better retention. For every percentage increase in retention, it will have a compounding effect on our revenue growth.”
Takeaway: As mentioned previously, for SaaS companies, developing strategies to drive better retention is key for customer satisfaction and revenue growth. Even just boosting customer retention a small percentage from one financial period to the other makes a substantial impact on revenue growth.
Question: What 3 places would you re-invest a surplus in revenue?
Shahram: “I would invest it in content marketing to drive growth, customer success to improve retention, and technology that will automate and scale operations.”
Takeaway: Investing in content marketing is crucial because brands that use content marketing bring in roughly 8 times more organic traffic than companies that fail to use content marketing. Shahram stresses the importance of retention, because higher retention suggests higher customer satisfaction. With the two metrics combined, your company is bound to have greater success with revenue growth.
The last part of Shahram’s answer is also key. Being able to continuously improve and keep up-to-date with your company’s technology is a determining factor on whether your company can keep up with increasing customer demand. If you’re not able to scale operations your company will likely be overrun with demand and will lose the attention on customer satisfaction.
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