What Drives the Top Line? Nonfinancial Determinants of Sales Revenue in Private Venture-Backed Firms

30 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2005

See all articles by John R. M. Hand

John R. M. Hand

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School

Date Written: December 28, 2005

Abstract

This study explores the roles that three kinds of nonfinancial variables - people, patents and policies - play in generating firms' near-term annual sales revenue. Due to data limitations on these variables for public companies, I use a rich and detailed set of information taken from surveys of private venture-backed firms conducted by VentureOne. By means of a Cobb-Douglas-type revenue model, I find that firms' one-year-ahead forecasts of sales revenue are larger the higher are their current revenues; the more rapidly their personnel and granted patents are growing; the more business development, finance, marketing, sales, technical and other staff they employ; and when a formal sales commission plan is in place. Forecasted revenues are lower when firms are in the development and clinical trials stages of life, but are uncorrelated with the number of administrative employees and the presence of a defined bonus compensation plan. My results add to the growing literature on how and why nonfinancial statement variables are associated with financial statement outcomes. They also suggest that the top-line forecasts made by young companies are not entirely the 'creative fiction' that is sometimes alleged.

Keywords: Compensation policies, employees, patents, private firms, revenue forecasts

JEL Classification: D24, J24, J41, L25, M13, M41, M45

Suggested Citation

Hand, John R. M., What Drives the Top Line? Nonfinancial Determinants of Sales Revenue in Private Venture-Backed Firms (December 28, 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=872537 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.872537

John R. M. Hand (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

McColl Building
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States
919-962-3173 (Phone)
919-962-4727 (Fax)

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