The Questions

  1. What are the key drivers to drive the profitability of our business?
  2. What products are the most profitable?
  3. What are the main reasons for quarterly Gross Margin & Net Margin movements over the last 12 months?
  4. What are out most successful distribution channels?
  5. What are the 10 key reasons reconciling last year’s pre tax profit with this years forecast?
  6. How accurate are our weighted pipeline sales forecasts throughout the quarter compared to the final result?
  7. Taking all cost lines as a % of sales, which % have grown the fastest and why?
  8. Which ratios would you use to measure productivity and illustrate your point using 3 years worth of data?
  9.  What changes to our pricing model could improve our sales and profits?
  10. Where are the greatest risks to our planned profit target for this year and what actions could be taken to reduce that risk?
Specific industries will generate more detailed, very parochial, relevant questions e.g. in software SaaS, oil and gas, niche manufacturing, financial services and service industries. However your CFO may still be in shock from the first 10 before she can answer more detailed questions!