We are pleased to announce that Favour Ozordi, a junior at Minot State University, is the winner of our 7th annual $1,000 scholarship. There were over 100 applicants this year, and it was extremely difficult picking a winner. What gave Favuour’s essay the nod is that she used her own initiative to create a cash flow report and forecast in excel for the company she was working for. Essays submitted by Hanna Hitichcock and Cindy Chen were also very impressive, so we decided to award them a scholarship for $200 each.
Favour, who is studying economics and finance, wrote the essay below in response to this prompt: In 600 words, please tell us about a past business you have worked for and which financial statement you think is the most important to their business and why.
Financial statement analysis is a collection of statements that processes the cash, liquidity, and debt position of a business. A lot of small businesses do not make use of financial statements because they cannot afford the cost of an accountant or a financial auditor. From my sophomore to my junior year of college, I worked as a Brand Visualization and Creation Intern for Belau Hair Boutique. The business was created by a woman of color, and it started in her bedroom. When I was hired, I was originally in charge of marketing and system management. Over time, I asked about the financial position of the business. The owner let me know that there were no financial documents for the business. I took it upon myself to create a statement of cash flows. Belau Hair Boutique sells hair extensions through Instagram, Facebook, and their website. The boutique usually has to make bulk purchases of hair and sells the hair in bits over time. This means that there is a possibility for a bottleneck when paying for business costs.
To resolve this potential issue, I created a simulated excel document of costs coming in and going out. Every three months, a huge shipment of hair comes in. From January to May there are approximately five orders daily, while from May to December there are ten orders daily. I calculated the mean revenue from each order and the average cost of an order. Using this information, I created an excel sheet that can simulate monthly cost data. Expected orders for the next month and upcoming costs would be put in and the cash flows statement would alert the business owner of potential bottlenecks. Additionally, the amount of potential revenue for the upcoming months, quarter or year can be generated easily.
The three top reasons why the statement of cash flows is the most important business document is that firstly the statement of cash flows allows businesses to plan for costs ahead of time. A small business can take out loans to cover huge costs that are coming up. Instead of taking last-minute loans with high-interest rates, a small business can plan with short term loans that can improve the credit position of the business long-term. Secondly, a statement of cash flows can help show the financial sustainability of a small business when securing expansion loans. Most small businesses find it difficult to get financing for expansion. By showing that the business costs are planned for, a small business will be in a better position to obtain financing for expansion and large business expenses.
Lastly, a business cannot operate if it does not have the money to cover the costs of operations. If a business runs out of money and must take on an emergency loan to cover costs, this can ruin the credit of a business, especially if it is a small business. It is always important to make sure that all the costs can be covered on time.
In conclusion, my time as an unpaid intern for Belau Hair Boutique helped me practice the skills I learnt in the classroom. It also allowed me to transform her business and enabled her to win a
local grant for new start-ups. Most importantly, a cashflow plan is dear to me for personal reasons. With the help of a local program, my mum, who raised five of siblings alone, was able to run her farm which supported us in our early years. For this reason alone, the importance of cash flows and other financial statements can never be lived down.
We awarded our first scholarship in 2014. Our intent is to encourage personal financial knowledge and expose students to the opportunities in the credit industry. The scholarship is open to all undergraduate and graduate students attending an accredited 2 or 4 year university or college who have an interest money or law related fields.