Read more about the article Business Finance | The Big River | Chapter 3 – What if our loan collateral doesn’t cut it?
The Big River series is a 12 part installment about a company desperately seeking cash to fuel their growth and the struggles they face trying to find it.

Business Finance | The Big River | Chapter 3 – What if our loan collateral doesn’t cut it?

The Big River series
The Big River series is a 12 part installment about a company desperately seeking cash to fuel their growth and the struggles they face trying to find it.

Tom Sampson, the controller for Ace Business Stuff, was in his office considering how to explain to John Wilson, the Company’s CEO, the issues related to the Company’s borrowing capacity and the weaknesses in the Company’s Balance Sheet.

Tom pulled together several schedules for his meeting with his CEO that afternoon, but was still struggling with how to get across some of the subtleties that he knew John would want to understand.

Tom knew that his CEO was absolutely committed to the Company’s success, although he became very frustrated when his convictions about future performance collided with the bank’s concerns about current performance.

What factors will the bank consider?

Tom knew that the bank considered many factors when judging an asset-based loan.

Having enough collateral to support the Company’s borrowing request was only part of it.

How do they measure the strength of the collateral?

One key ingredient is the quality of the collateral. (more…)

Continue ReadingBusiness Finance | The Big River | Chapter 3 – What if our loan collateral doesn’t cut it?
Read more about the article Business Finance | The Big River | Chapter 1 – We’re Making Money. Why Are We Broke?
The Big River series is a 12 part installment about a company desperately seeking cash to fuel their growth and the struggles they face trying to find it.

Business Finance | The Big River | Chapter 1 – We’re Making Money. Why Are We Broke?

The Big River series
The Big River series is a 12 part installment about a company desperately seeking cash to fuel their growth and the struggles they face trying to find it.

“We’re broke,” Tom mumbled to himself. Tom Sampson is the controller of Ace Business Stuff and was reviewing his latest calculations about their cash flow.

“What do you mean, we’re broke?” Tom looked up sheepishly to see John Wilson standing in his doorway. He fingered his collar and turned to address the company’s CEO. “We can’t be broke because business has never been better,” John said. (more…)

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Business Finance | Warren Buffett | Should We Depreciate Our People?

A Weekly Business Finance series for Non-Finance Executives!

“Financial Adrenaline” is a term we love around here because it reflects our commitment to help you turbocharge your business with practical tips and techniques to improve free cash flow, the lifeblood of business. As a further extension of our Financial Adrenaline program, we’re going to share a new Business Finance Tidbit every Wednesday specifically for those business executives who don’t have a finance background.

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Depreciation = Cash? Why do we care?

We’ve kinda been on a Warren Buffett tear lately, and last week I encouraged you to read his recent 2010 Annual Report to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.

I want to plant another seed this week about an often misunderstood concept: DEPRECIATIONIn accounting, an expense recorded to allocate a tangible asset's cost over its useful life. Because depreciation is a non-cash expense, it increases free cash flow while decreasing reported earning. It is used in accounting to try to match the expense of an asset to the income that the asset helps the company earn. For example, if a company buys a piece of equipment for $1 million and expects it to have a useful life of 10 years, it will be depreciated over 10 years. Every accounting year, the company will expense $100,000 (assuming straight-line depreciation), which will be matched with the money that the equipment helps to make each year.. (You can see the definition by placing your cursor over the term.)

How is Depreciation Relevant to EBITDA?

Today, let’s just think about it in terms of EBITDA. In Does EBITDA Bury Its Own Dead?, I wrote about the perils of treating EBITDA as a placeholder for cash flow, and Buffett couldn’t agree more.

In his Annual Letter to Shareholders, 2002, Buffet describes (more…)

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Business Finance | Why you should read Warren Buffett’s Letter

Continue ReadingBusiness Finance | Why you should read Warren Buffett’s Letter

Leadership Styles: The Smartest Guys in the Room can kill you!

When a fellow says it hain’t the money but the principle o’ the thing, it’s th’ money.” — Frank McKinney

‘Always ask why.  Dig deeper.  Get the facts.’ Avoid the crowd mentality

“Ask Why” was their motto.

“Wheel Out,” “Fat Boy” “Death Star” and “Get Shorty” were some of the nicknames applied to their strategies.

Confirmation letters of successful trades were addressed to names like “Mr. M. Yass and “Mr. M. Smart” … and I think you can parse the underlying contempt.

“Rank & Yank” described their people performance system, “Pump and Dump” their trading strategy.

About $70 billion of market value was destroyed, more than 20,000 employees lost their jobs and pension funds worth $3.2 billion were destroyed, more than two thirds of which belonged to retirees with little chance to rebuild.

I had always intended to watch “The Smartest Guys in the Room,” the 2005 movie based on a book by the same name from co-authors Peter Elking and Bethany McLean, but it got lost in the shuffle until last week.

It chronicles the Enron cataclysm, whose meteoric ascent was violently terminated with its bankruptcy on Dec. 3, 2001.

“Be like Enron” is still an ignominious curse

It’s hard to believe this happened almost 10 years ago since to be “like Enron” still reverberates as an ignominious curse. It’s really more like a viral infection, though, because so many of the forces that drove its destruction have cleaved similar fissures in scandals from (more…)

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