Monday, December 31, 2012

Lessons in Accounting

Because I'm on a roll, I'd like to talk about some of the challenges I'm working through as my industrial nest egg keeps growing.

The Problem

I like growth.  I like doing bigger and better things, week over week.  This leads to me being heavily leveraged and with a very small ISK stockpile.   This leads to losing at least 1 day per cycle because of the need to sell nearly everything from the last week to pay for the next week.  I end up in a situation of limited mobility because of a lack of ISK stockpiles.  Also, once cash is sitting in the bank, I think I have carte blanche to make the next big step forward or leap on something juicy.  

For instance, I sunk nearly 3B into producing Mobile Large Warp Disruption Bubble IIs, which took nearly 3wks to pay off because of a continuing series of unforunate events.  That leaves 3B tied up and useless until the final product rolls off the line.  Also, with that big an investment, the cash out time will be slow too... all mistakes to learn from.  The upside?  Enough stockpiled BPCs to really pounce on that product if the need arises again.  Namely if my PVP characters go on a deployment to the other side of space.

Current Progress

I've been taking more diligent personal notes to track the week-by-week costs and projected profits.  I am less concerned with hitting the projected profit numbers as I am with charting and controlling the kit costs.  Also, this gives me a quick record of what I've done and a better handle on where I'm going.  Also, if I can keep better track of incoming profits, I can better manage other expenditures like BPO acquisition and PVP funds.

I would love to track this in gdoc, along with the rest of my tools, but I have no idea how to make snapshots that don't update with live data.  If I could just write product names and have the sheet take the NOW projections, I'd post it as a live list with a pretty chart.  I could just write the numbers by hand like a normal Joe.

The Future

The goal is to get with my more accounting minded partners and really wrangle in the inputs and outputs.  Currently my profit projections are a little too generous, and my costs aren't very exact either.  I'd like to be within +/- 5% on both.  I think +/- 1% on inputs is totally reasonable, but profit is going to remain a weak prediction until I can implement something more sophisticated.

Also, the goals should be to track individual pilot contributions by week and month.  As product cycles become less synchronized by week, it will be important to account events with regular tickmarks.  I anticipate ammo and ship production to slide to a 10d cycle as modules are pulled in to 6d.  These desynchronized cycles will require a larger operating budget in the bank.  But again, I am weak at accounting, and don't really want to have 2x the ISK required in stockpile, especially as the weekly budget grows to 10B.  I'm sure I will end up biting the bullet eventually, holding a cash stockpile over 60%, but I'd rather be smart about the issue rather than do the stupid-carebear thing.

 In the mid term, I'd like to be able to lock in a kit budget and plan kit cost growth from the stashed profits.  We'll see how well that works out.  Also, I'd like to chart discretionary expenditures and make sure the goals are on track.

As I figure out my way around charting, feel free to tune into progress here: