Four Resolutions for CFOs in 2010

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media , December 28, 2009

The smartest resolution a CFO can make is to learn to always create a Plan A and a Plan B. Assume that reform will go forward and figure how you intend to deal with it. In some ways, your job has morphed—you are now CFO and strategic economist for your facility. That means your role is to make educated "guesses" as to what may happen and how to mitigate it.

I have spoken to numerous CFOs and one of the first statements they often make regarding anything from capital improvements to cost cutting is, "We'll have to wait and see what reform will do." Actually, you don't have to "wait and see"—in fact, it's bad business to do so. You need to anticipate all the likely financial ramifications that may take place from this legislation passing and then you need to keep your business moving in a steady course with an eye on the quick corrections you can make if and when legislation is enacted; that is when those monthly financial forecasts will come in handy.

So, while you may have breathed a sigh of relief when the Medicare reimbursement cuts were given a reprieve through March, you must have a plan in place for when the reimbursement cuts do take place—be it in March 2010 or March 2011—because they will happen eventually. This year resolve to move your organization in a direction that plans for the worst and you will likely end up with the best financial year yet.

When it comes to resolutions, remember they are only as good as the person who puts them into action. If you find that your goals lack teeth and conviction, you won't go far with them. So use these resolutions as your guides or create new ones. At the very least, every CFO should resolve to keep the bottom line black, the margin and operating costs reined in, and look for unique ways to grow. Happy 2010!

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Karen Minich-Pourshadi is a Senior Editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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