Manager: I’m sorry, but the external accounts don’t help me much. Doesn’t matter if they’re in English or Chinese. I need information from you which will help me run this department.
CFO: What exactly would you like?
Manager: Well, for example, I need something which tells me about the profit we make on our customers, with some sort of breakdown based on the size of the company. I want to compare the money we make to the size of the customer.
CFO: Sure. We can do that. And how about the costs per customer?
Manager: Exactly. How much we spend on each customer, compared to the size of their orders.
CFO: That should be possible.
Manager: Great. Also, the profit made per employee. I would like to know where we are profitable and with which employees we make our money.
CFO: You realize that this is going to be a lot of work for my department.
Manager: Yes, I know. But It’s very important for me. Can I also have a complete breakdown of our overhead expenses, and the allocation of them to each of the products that we sell?
CFO: OK. How would you like all this information to be presented?
Manager: In plain English, please. So that even I can understand it.
Beatrice: So, we’ve agreed that Sally’s team will produce those figures by the end of the month. Got that? Good.
Beatrice: OK, I’d like to move to the next item on the agenda, which is the budget for the upcoming year. Peter, would you please give a short overview of your research into the market, and your conclusions?
Peter: Sure. As you all know, my department has been extensively researching the market and the economic conditions we’ll be facing in the short term.
Peter: It’s quite clear that events of recent years have unsettled the market greatly.
Peter: Both investors and consumers are convinced that it won’t get better, probably for a long time.
Peter: Investors are looking for solid companies, and consumers don’t just throw their cash around like they used to.
Peter: We think that the situation will remain like it is in the middle term. This is a time for consolidation, not expansion.
Beatrice: Simon, what does R&D think about this?
Simon: It’s a pretty negative outlook. We’ve been working really hard to come up with some great ideas, and maybe now’s the time to launch some of our new products.
Gavin: And our investment programme has been ready to go for months. We can’t just wait and hope that things get better. Our strategy has always been to lead the market, not sit back and cruise along.
Peter: Ideas and investments don’t mean cash in the bank. Consumers simply don’t have the confidence to spend their money on fancy new products. And as for expansion, I think the good old days are long gone. We should be cutting back.
Beatrice: Sally, how do you feel about all this?
Sally: We’re talking about budgets for the upcoming year. Everybody’s forecasts seem to indicate hard times ahead. And we don’t even have the money to spend. How are we going to serve more debt, or raise more cash in the capital markets?
Beatrice: So, despite our great ideas and investment plans, it seems the reality is that our budgets for this year will have to be tight.