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The benefit of benchmarking is that it measures performance and progress.
Internal benchmarking allows you to monitor various operational aspects over a period of time. External benchmarking gives you a more holistic view by painting a picture of where you stand in relation to competitors and similar organizations.
Financial benchmarking not only serves as a performance metric, it shines a light into dark corners and magnifies small issues that could be improved upon or corrected before they snowball into big issues.
For example, the primary measures of business success are revenue and profitability, yet those numbers can tell very different stories. For example, you and a competitor could bring in the same revenue, and since revenue is arguably the leading indicator of business success, you might think that you are on essentially equal footing.
Once you discover discrepancies, you will better understand your strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your competitors. You will be positioned to identify opportunities for change. Common financial metrics worth benchmarking include: Financial benchmarking challenges While benchmarking delivers many advantages, it also comes with challenges.
Financial ratios must be calculated and evaluated correctly.
Data access and discovery can be time-consuming and costly for external benchmarking and even internal benchmarking can be constrained by resource and data limitations.
One data resource worth exploring is the federal government. Another valuable data resource is your industry group. Most professional and trade associations conduct surveys and provide other helpful benchmarking data to their members. Data is available through and may be downloaded for viewing and manipulation in Excel.
Some reports are available, such as the Statistics on Income — Corporation Income Tax Returns pdf for benchmarking federal tax data like income subject to tax and income tax before and after credits.
Department of Labor For labor-related statistics like output per hour, unit labor costs by industry and compensation by geography and occupation, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Census Bureau The Census Bureau tracks more than population data.
Some helpful resources for business benchmarking include: Business Expenses for various sectors Home > Blog > Why financial benchmarking matters Posted in Blog, Spend management by Natalya Berdzeni Running a business without comparing it to other businesses is like an athlete tracking only his/her personal best—useful to some degree, but not very challenging.
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