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Financial
Sep 1, 2015

Problem Solving Requires Valid Data

Sponsored Content provided by Adam Shay - Director of VCFO Services, Red Bike Advisors

I was recently listening to The Soul of Enterprise podcast during one of my morning runs and one of the hosts (a consultant) said: "Problem solving requires valid data." That statement is so true in many ways and resonated with me enough that I stopped my run and sent myself a note to revisit it. This statement can be applied in both personal and business life. What sort of valid data do you need to solve business problems? What about personal challenges? I'll walk through some experiences that I have had on both accounts.

On the business end, when we meet with a potential customer we often hear a comment along these lines: “Something is wrong with my business, but I don't know what.” A person may be working way too long and hard for a business that is having continual cash flow problems or their business may seem to be stuck in the same place. Once we start asking questions of the business owner in situations like these, we often find that they don't have the necessary valid data in the form of accurate and up-to-date financial and accounting data. Without accurate data the problem cannot generally be correctly solved for the long-term.

On the personal side, in July I had oral surgery to remove some damaged nerves from my mouth. It was not a fun experience even though it was a minor event. After the surgery, I still have a small ongoing issue with my mouth – in short, some foods don't taste like they should or used to. As my oral surgeon said, it's tough to troubleshoot a problem like that without appropriate data. He has had me create a daily log to list my symptoms for a given day and other various factors to notate. His hope is that he can use this data to help pinpoint if there is a continuing problem so that I can get back to enjoying the foods that I enjoy. I am a semi-foodie, so it's pretty important to my quality of life. The jury is still out on the results of this effort, but it's obvious that the doctor cannot solve the problem without valid data. 

As a result of this podcast, I have given more thought to what valid data means to me, my business and the businesses of our customers. Here are some things that I am going to continue to analyze and ponder in the months ahead:

  • Where am I missing valid data in both my personal and business life? What can I do to solve any gaps?

    On the business side, do I put our customer needs so far ahead of my business that I don't collect the data I need for myself? How do I get better at making my business higher up on the priority chain?

    On the personal side, I need to collect more data on why my 5- and 3-year-old boys occasionally misbehave (other than the fact that they are brothers and are ages 5 and 3). How can my wife and I collect data to know the impact that the changes our behavior as parents have upon on children?
     
  • Why am I missing valid data and what can I do to prevent that from happening with other situations?

    I intend to look for patterns when data is missing and to use that analysis to prevent recurrence in the future.
     
  • How can we help people solve more problems by helping them to collect and report valid data?

    I want to look for ways to make it easier for customers to collect and report valid data so that we can focus on helping them solve problems instead of data collection. There is more value-add to solving significant, impactful problems versus serving as a data collector or reporter. Cloud-based and automated accounting tools and systems are making this easier each and every day. This will only continue to get better with continued innovation.
My goal today was to cover the importance of valid data in order to make personal and business decisions.

Adam Shay, CPA (NC License Number 35961), MBA, is managing partner of Adam Shay CPA, PLLC. He focuses on minimizing taxes and improving the financial results of entrepreneurs, and is actively involved in supporting the Wilmington entrepreneurial and startup community. For more information, visit http://www.wilmingtontaxesandaccounting.com/ or email him at [email protected]. He can also be reached by phone at 910-256-3456.
 
 

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