Most independent business owners are challenged by having to play multiple roles with limited time. They put on – and take off – many management hats, often wearing them simultaneously. But the one that can never be shed is that of financial manager and planner. With the responsibility of managing your company’s finances comes the requirement to understand them. When viewed together, the balance sheet and income statement represent a complete and, hopefully, accurate, financial picture of the company. Unfortunately, some businesses produce two or three sets of financial statements – one for the IRS, one for the banker, and one for themselves. Whatever the reasoning, it is important to remember that the worst possible person to kid is yourself. Every business owner needs clear, concise, decision-relevant information. There’s no time like the present to give the financial management of the company a little undivided attention. Start by carefully reviewing financial goals and trends then determine what action is needed. Implementing action is the hard part. Take the steps outlined below to be better prepared to face and make critical financial decisions. — Gather the last three years of your financial statements. — Put the data in a spreadsheet, placing consecutive years in side-by-side columns. — Calculate your financial ratios to focus on the relationship between the numbers as opposed to the raw data. — Compare financial performance to peers. — Look at the changes and trends comparing the business against prior years, industry standards, and future plans. — Analyze the data, identifying problems and developing solutions. — Take action! Formulate a plan, implement the plan, and monitor the results. Mission Valley Bank sponsors several business management-focused workshops annually. Plan to attend a no-cost breakfast seminar entitled “Crash Course on Managing Your Cash Flow,” presented by Robert Dyck, a bank consultant, loan portfolio management and credit training specialist on Thursday, May 31, at Angeles National Golf Club in Sunland/Tujunga. You’ll leave with practical tools and reminders on how to define, measure, monitor and get the most out of your cash flow. Reservations are required, and seating is limited. For details and to reserve a seat, call Anton Krotov at 818-394-2362. Mission Valley Bank is a locally-owned, full service, independent community business bank headquartered in Sun Valley, with a business banking office in Santa Clarita. Steve Nuñez is vice president, relationship manager for Mission Valley Bank.