7 Common Financial Missteps

7 Common Financial Missteps

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Featured in American Funeral Director, Financial Touch Point: February 2018

By: Steve Calloway, president

Everybody makes mistakes from time to time. However, with every mistake there is a chance to learn, grow and improve. Finances are undoubtedly a crucial aspect of business and one misstep could be costly.  The funeral industry, while it is unique in practice is much like any other business, sharing the same principles and practices. If you can avoid these seven common financial missteps your funeral home/cemetery will be on a path to financial success.

1. Not Developing a Strategic Business Plan and Annual Operating Budget

As a business owner you want to be proactive not reactive.  A strategic business plan is a multi-year view providing focus and direction.  It identifies actions necessary to move your organization from where you are to where you want be. Each year set specific goals, objectives, and priorities and make sure to communicate them with your staff. I recommend using an annual operating budget with a monthly comparison of actual performance to make sure you are on track.  Review actual results against budgeted performance with your staff.  My staff often hears me say, “What gets measured, gets done.”

2. Not Properly Managing Your Cash Flow

You need money to run a business and managing your cash flow is essential. You should continually look for opportunities to increase revenues, reduce costs and for ways to speed up collection of payment for services.  In situations where life insurance is used for payment, funeral professionals should consider partnering with an insurance assignment funding company to receive immediate payment, which increases cash flow and reduces administrative cost.  Adequate cash flow enables you take advantage of trade discounts and protect your credit by avoiding late payments.

3. Not Having an Emergency Cash Reserve

Monthly revenues can fluctuate considerably in the funeral industry; therefore, having an emergency cash reserve is necessary. Maintain at least a two to three months cash reserve for normal operations as well as the inevitable unexpected expenses.

4. Not Separating Business & Personal Finances

Too often in the funeral industry there occurs a co-mingling of business and personal expenses. This makes it difficult for an owner to separate business performance and profitability from possible poor management of personal finances. You should pay yourself a salary which was determined when you developed the operating budget, and maintain separate business and personal checking accounts. Your accountant will thank you!  Additionally, protect your personal assets with a proper business classification, such as an LLC.

5. Being a Jack Of All Trades

As funeral professionals you are directors, grief counselors, event planners, and more to the families you serve. Time is money, and you should spend your time doing what you do best with the families you serve. Outsourcing certain tasks can save you valuable time and actually improve your bottom line.  One example of outsourcing that can save you time and money is an insurance assignment funding company.  Do not spend hours on the phone with insurance companies and hours completing insurance claim forms, outsource to a fast and easy insurance assignment company!

6. Not Hiring the Best Talent

With over 80 percent of funeral homes being family owned, it is common for family members and relatives to be employed in your business, but are they really the best for your business? Your employees are your greatest asset and have the biggest impact on the success of your business.  Take time to find and hire the right staff.  You may have to pay a higher salary but as the age old saying goes; you get what you pay for.

7. Not Developing a Succession Plan

Do not neglect retirement planning. At some point you will want to retire and fully enjoy the fruits of your labor. Start developing a succession plan and exit strategy now so you can comfortably enjoy retirement in the future.

2017 NFDA International Convention & Expo

2017 NFDA International Convention & Expo

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The Express Funeral Funding sales and marketing team traveled to Boston this October for the 2017 National Funeral Director Association (NFDA) International Convention and Expo ! The team began the week, at Stow Acres Country Club in Stow, MA for the Funeral Service Foundation Annual Golf Scramble. Express Funeral Funding was proud to sponsor the 12th hole as an Eagle-level sponsor, donating $3,000 to the event. While the day was scattered with cold winds and rain showers, this did not slow the foursome down! Andy Buckman, Adam Setty, Deanna Dydynski, and Jay Tiesing, brought home the trophy, winning the golf tournament with the best gross score of the day, 16 under! Later that evening the entire team had a chance to catch-up with fellow colleagues and old friends at the NFDA college-alumni-themed welcome party.

The next three days were jam-packed with motivational key-note speakers, educational seminars and NFDA campfire sessions! With the NFDA convention falling on Halloween, the Express team brought out their best for the October holiday. Suited, in khaki and neon orange-striped jumpsuits,  black boots, elbow pads and the necessary proton-pack, the team made sure the convention center was “all clear” in their Ghostbuster costumes! Not to go unnoticed, Adam Setty, customer relations manager completed the Ghostbuster group with his Stay Puft Marshmallow Man suit.

The remaining time at the national convention gave Express Funeral Funding a chance to thank funeral homes and cemeteries nationwide with amazing Express giveaways! The team gave away hundreds of gifts, from custom designed Boston t-shirts, and EFF Ozark koozies, to Apple Watches, Yeti coolers and much more! Now home in Clarksville, IN the Express team is gearing up for next year’s National Funeral Director Association convention in Salt Lake City!

Take a look below at some of the memories from the NFDA Convention & Expo!

      

      

      

      

    

The A-Team Takes Over At The Independent Funeral Group Fall Festival

The A-Team Takes Over At The Independent Funeral Group Fall Festival

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Fun Times In Chattanooga!

Aaron  Calloway, Express Funeral Funding’s vice president, along with director of sales, Andy Buckman and customer relations manager, Adam Setty traveled to Chattanooga, Tennessee late September for the Independent Funeral Group’s Fall Festival.

Proudly serving as the Independent Funeral Group’s sole endorsed insurance assignment funding provider, Express Funeral Funding was thrilled to support the organization’s conference along with sponsoring the festival’s closing-event river boat cruise. From the opening golf tournament to the educational seminars and amazing presenters, Lacy Robinson and Doug Gober, the conference was a complete success!

Express Funeral Funding is the largest privately held insurance assignment funding company in the industry! Since 2002 we have been providing funeral homes and cemeteries nationwide the FASTEST. EASIEST.® administration of life insurance assignments. We eliminate the challenges of working with insurance companies by limiting administration, providing immediate payment and advancing complete policy funds. All of these services can be provided at no cost to funeral homes and cemeteries.

As the sole endorsed insurance assignment funding provider for the Independent Funeral Group we offer competitive processing rates for members and are continuously improving our services to provide you and your families the FASTEST. EASIEST.® services. We want you to know we are here whenever you need us! Providing open communication through our newly designed website, our Facebook page and our personal cell phone numbers, we encourage you to reach out to us regarding any matter.

Check Out Some Of The Memories…