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Practice Management

Using Metrics to Plan for Success

How do you measure success? There are as many answers as there are answerers. Nonetheless, some objective criteria can be helpful in gauging it. In an Oct. 22 session at the ASPPA Annual Conference held at National Harbor, MD, Pinnacle Plan Design COO Amanda Iverson offered her take on using business metrics to measure business success.

Iverson told attendees that ice is key to approaching the measurement of success. Or, rather, ICE — income, clients and employees. And there are measures for each that can be instructive in arriving at a measure of the success of one’s business.


Accurate financial statements are very important, Iverson stressed. Why? Because they provide information on trends and reasons for them, as well as projections, regarding cash flow and net income. And, she said, “you have to do financial statements regularly,” noting that she herself prefers to prepare and issue them monthly.
Financial metrics, said Iverson, include data on:

  • profit margins
  • growth percentages
  • expense trends
  • realization
  • billing trends
  • accounts receivable aging


Iverson suggested tracking sales and marketing. This includes looking at:

  • proposals
  • presentation opportunities
  • number of plans
  • estimated recurring revenue
  • type of work
  • cost of acquiring new clients
  • lead generators
  • plan counts
  • plan terminations
  • losses
  • client retention rates

Iverson argued that it is important to know the clients; to understand why they selected you and why they stay with your form. And she advocated knowing what needs to be replaced; looking at losses and the requirements for replacing clients.


Iverson said that the critical metrics regarding employees include:

  • retention
  • hiring procedures
  • efficiency
  • turnaround
  • evaluations
  • employee goals and accountability
  • communication

Iverson stressed the importance of being up front with employees. “You’re never doing your employees a service if you don’t give them notification regarding whether they are performing of not performing,” she said. But individual employees’ behavior and results may not be the only factor in play, she acknowledged, telling attendees, “Remember that if everyone misses an expectation, you are wrong, not them. Be ready to adjust expectations.”

“You have to plan for your success,” Iverson said.