From the Chairman’s desk:

Tom JohnsonWelcome back! Our subscriber list is growing. We have now welcomed over 700 subscribers and we continue to get good responses on our format and more importantly our content.

In my years of operating funeral homes on a national scope, July was the month of our fiscal year that served as the benchmark and indicator for how well we were performing against our annual plan. The results of the first two quarters are usually a good indicator to how we would finish the year. When we were behind the curve, the good news was we had time to make adjustments where it was necessary and we were fortunate to have the financial reports to pinpoint our weak areas and take corrective action. Today, we employ the same successful processes, not only for our own locations, but also for our many valued accounting clients.

In this issue, we will share with you our thoughts on what we feel are the critical features of an accounting system. We have chosen to pose our “Top 10 Questions” to ask to evaluate your current account system. Immediate access to current financials is not only important; it is critical to managing a successful business. Receiving a summary analysis of the key financial drivers with industry benchmarks to compare, we feel, is a must have. Our philosophy here at Johnson Consulting is straightforward: you deserve more than a monthly financial report card, you need that, but in addition, a management tool to identify where you need to focus.

In addition to our focus on accounting, we have asked Glenn Gould, CEO of MKJ Marketing, to share his thoughts on another critical information source that a funeral home operation needs when contemplating an expansion or building a new facility. Doing your homework, asking the right questions are the wise first steps before starting to draw up the plans.

In closing, we leave you with this quote from Francis Bacon:

“A prudent question is one half of wisdom.”

At Johnson Consulting, we believe we have the other half  the answers. We hope you enjoy this issue and find it informative and helpful. If we can answer any questions or assist in any way, give us a call. We are here to help.

Regards,

Tom Johnson
Chairman


Best Practices: Accounting Program

Al AstaTop 10 Questions you should ask about your current accounting system:

10. Does your accountant know and understand the funeral business?

9. How detailed is your annual budget?

8. How detailed are your monthly reports showing your results against the budget?

7. Does your system break out each location and give you a consolidated report?

6. Does your accountant offer management services to improve your financial results?

5. Do you have to wade through rims of paper to get the monthly results?

4. What’s the average time it takes to get month end financials?

3. Do you have 24/7 access from anywhere to see your current financials?

2. Is your system constantly updated throughout the month?

1. Is your biggest resistance to change the perceived hassle and disruption?

~ Al Asta


Solutions to Common Problems: The Cost of Marketing

Glenn GouldThe cost of marketing-by-assumption can be enormously high, particularly when an organized market profile study can easily prevent mistakes. When people know rather than assume they will make significantly better decisions. Market research will pin-point consumer groups who may not be aware of your funeral firm or could be attracted to patronize a particular funeral home if they were made aware of the special services provided, such as on-site crematories, reception and children’s rooms. Creating advertising that will impact decision making is far easier once the consumer’s hot buttons have been identified.

Another benefit of a market analysis for existing facilities is to determine the importance of certain criteria in the selection of a funeral home. In some regions, consumers are very familiar with their funeral home options and are likely to refer to their own experience when selecting a funeral home. But, in a highly mobile society where as much as 20% of residents relocate annually, there are many consumers with no local funeral home experience upon which to base a decision. In these cases, it is important to have an understanding of the role the clergy, yellow pages, internet, print and broadcast media advertising play in funeral home selection.

You can read Glenn’s explanation about making better decisions based on having better information here >>>


Exceeding Your Expectations:

The Johnson Consulting Group has been extremely helpful and supportive in helping me to understand how to manage my business and to work within a budget.

The Johnson accounting system has provided me with the type of real time record keeping that I need to run my business. With a very specific funeral industry chart of accounts I am able to get important details that I would not get with any other accounting company. It is important to me to know where my cash balances are at all times and this system helps me to manage that as well.

The support staff at Johnsons is all outstanding. They are all very knowledgeable, industry trained people. We can call them any time and get instant answers to any questions we may have.

One of the big benefits they provide is a month end review and analysis of my financial statements. I am able to go line item by line item with an operations specialist and learn to use these statements to manage and make decisions for my business.

I know that my style of managing a company has been different to say the least. I can appreciate the fact that as owners and managers of Funeral Homes, the Johnson Consulting Group has seen and heard it all and has a solution to most of what I will encounter. I respect the Johnson Consulting Group.

– Linda Mitchell, Black and Clark Funeral Home, Dallas, Tx

After purchasing my funeral home in 2006 I chose Johnson Consulting to handle my funeral business accounting needs. I needed a partner that understood the funeral industry that would provide me with accurate and timely reporting and Johnson Consulting does just that. The monthly reports that I receive give me the proper information to help me make decisions and run my company. I am able to focus on growing and managing my funeral home and not be bogged down with paper work for accounting. The professional staff at Johnson Consulting has taken care of me and my funeral home and I look forward to a long partnership with them.

– Jason McDougal, McDougal’s Caldwell Chapel, Safford, AZ


Until Next Time:
We hope you found this edition to be interesting and informative. Any suggestions for future issues are always welcome.

If you wondering how a blog could help you connect with your community, Robin Heppell (the architect of JCG website / blog / newsletter), together with 3 other funeral bloggers are hosting a free Funeral Blogging 101 teleseminar on July 30.

We believe so strongly in the need to have an annual plan and an accounting system that ties to that plan. A system that provides ontime data, tracks the results and pinpoints the areas to focus.

Yogi may have said it best:

“If you don’t know where you are going you’ll end up some place else.”

Enjoy the days of summer.

Sincerely,

Jake and Tom Johnson

Jake & Tom Johnson