6 Benefits of Financial Reporting for Small Businesses

balance sheet
professional financial reporting

Unsustainable profits are bad, and losses can be good if you’re on track to profitability as you scale up. But as many business owners do not often have a clear understanding of their net profit, this is a good place to start. There are key performance indicators that investors and lenders will want to see in a company’s financial statements before they will invest or loan to the business. Investors will be looking at these key metrics, so work with your controller services to track and improve them.


You can subtract your $300,000 profit from your $170,000 expenses to find your $130,000 operating income for May. Equity is the difference between assets and liabilities and refers to the true value of a business. Equity includes common inventory, additional paid-in share capital, and retained earnings. Equity is also known as shareholder’s equity, owner’s equity, or net worth. Assets are resources that generate revenue and profits in a business.

What goes into a financial statement?

Immersing yourself in your business’s accounting can be eye-opening. It’s the best way to see how money actually flows in and out of your business and gain the context you can use to ask yourself, your employees, and your stakeholders the right questions. Understanding these three financial statements is an important step in becoming a smarter, more data-driven business owner.

  • When working with professional accountants, you’ll be assured that your reports are accurate, precise, and detailed so that the included data is as useful as possible.
  • You can create a financial plan whether you’re just launching your business, preparing to expand it in some way or readying to pursue a new source of funding.
  • Your cash flow statement shows whether or not you’re able to do this effectively.
  • Most often than not, what isn’t included in the income statement is what business owners need to understand more.
  • This is an exercise you can do for yourself, potential investors including venture capitalists, or any other business stakeholder.

You can also dig into the why behind the difference in expected vs. actual numbers, which can help you better understand your business and customers. Accounts payable is a term denoting the money that you owe to vendors or suppliers. In the example above, the company has been profitable three years in a row. You can see this by looking at the “Net income” section in the last row. Perhaps it means operations have become more efficient and less costly, or they’ve collected a lot of overdue invoices that were sitting in AR.

Step 5: Deal with Your Assets and Liabilities

Get up and running with free payroll setup, and enjoy free expert support. Try our payroll software in a free, no-obligation 30-day trial. Subtract all expenses from the gross revenue to find the net profit. Easily write a business plan, secure funding, and gain insights. Chamber of Commerce can help your company grow and thrive in today’s rapidly-evolving business environment. Connect with our team to learn how a small business membership can benefit your bottom line and help you achieve your goals.

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These three basic financial statements provide the most comprehensive view of any business. That’s why they’re considered essential components of a business plan. No doubt you refer to your income statement (also called profit and loss statement or P&L) and your bank account for the basics. If you’ve made it this far, you’re ready to take the next step and incorporate financial statements into your workflow and processes. Not only will these statements help you better manage your business, but they will highlight areas in need of improvement and opportunities for growth. Making one of these common mistakes can affect the accuracy of your financial statements and business decisions.

Make a financial statement in your business

For your business to succeed, your revenue must exceed your expenses. Checking this report each month can show you whether or not you’re on track to cover your costs and generate profit. A statement of cash flow shows the inflows and outflows of cash and the ending balance during a period. The statement of cash flows has three sections operating activities, investing activities and financing activities. Overall, the balance sheet is one of the most vital financial reports small business accountants and owners need to generate on a routine basis. The following infographic from The Business Backer provides a visual guide to understanding your business’s financial statements.

  • By looking at the balance sheet, you can see the net value of your business.
  • Because financial statements serve as fundamental sources of financial information, you need to apply basic accounting principles to ensure accuracy and consistency.
  • It breaks down the revenue your business generated and the expenses incurred.
  • The Income Statement is used by internal stakeholders as well as external stakeholders to evaluate profitability and help assess the level of risk for an investor or creditor.
  • These articles are great, but most are too technical and don’t relate enough to the reality of what the numbers represent.

It reports incoming and outgoing cash as you receive payments and make purchases. Use the cash flow statement to make sure you have enough money on-hand to operate. Although investors will also pay attention to your income statement, the balance sheet is actually their preferred starting point for building a picture of your business’s fiscal health. Don’t generate a financial statement just for the sake of having one. Read the statement, address any discrepancies, and use it to understand your business’s financial health better.

A few times in my consulting and accounting career, I have had to explain very basic financial topics to seasoned business owners. I have talked to VPs of billion-dollar companies that didn’t understand a balance sheet and to new business owners that couldn’t understand why they had to pay tax on a million dollars. Both scenarios featured highly successful businesses that lacked only a simple explanation of what their numbers reflected. A proper financial reporting system is required for investors, shareholders, creditors, and customers to take a serious interest in your business.

Budget vs. Actual Report

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation. Our best expert advice on how to grow your business — from attracting new customers to keeping existing customers happy and having the capital to do it. Grow Our best expert advice on how to grow your business — from attracting new customers to keeping existing customers happy and having the capital to do it.


The Income Statement is sometimes referred to as the Profit and Loss Statement (P&L), Statement of Operations, or Statement of Income. The Income Statement summarizes the total revenues and expenses incurred by the business, showing the profitability over a specified period of time, usually a month, quarter or year. Financial statements are also used by lenders to determine an entity’s level of risk. These statements also include information that may be required by law and/or accounting standards. They also provide accountants with the data they need to be able to complete a company’s tax returns and other required documentation. It creates transparency, which gives an accurate understanding of your business’s health.

The income statement, the statement of retained earnings, the balance sheet, and the statement of cash flows all make up your financial statements. Also, information from the previous statement is used to develop the next one. Use your chosen reporting format to create professional-looking reports that are easy to understand. Make sure to include all of the necessary components, including your balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement. Prepare a cash flow statement, income statement and balance sheet.Use these financial statements to create an accurate, current picture of your company’s financial health.

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Like with most statement of retained earnings reports, the deep, most valuable information comes after the balance sheet analysis. That’s because businesses can’t easily fund operations with non-cash assets. They can’t pay their electricity bill with accounts receivable. Using financial reports, small business professionals can reveal truths about their business that enable them to make more informed decisions and create effective strategies for growth. If you’re looking for a more granular analysis of your profits than an income and loss statement, you might prefer a net profit margin statement. Net profit margins — one of the most important small business performance metrics — are the profit you make in comparison to your total revenue.

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Michele O’Connor from Fun In Key West counts on a cash flow report to stay on top of finances. “I use the cash flow report to determine not only how much cash is coming in but how much is going out. The may show profitability, but cash flow shows what’s in hand and what is available for new projects or expansion. During the last year, I have had to adjust my monthly expenses to save on my cash position. The cash flow report became invaluable in showing where I can and should take those cuts,” O’Connor tells us. The importance of closing your business’s books at the end of your fiscal year.


Note that the numbers in parentheses denote instances of cash outflow, such as purchasing capital or paying dividends, while the numbers without parentheses are inflows. It’s common to have a certain budget in mind while your actual spending follows a different pattern. LearnDashboard Examples Hundreds of dashboard templates to help you start tracking performance.

The bottom line of the income statement is net income or profit. Net income is either retained by the firm for growth or paid out as dividends to the firm’s owners and investors, depending on the company’s dividend policy. They can afford our services, and so you can you – pay only for the help you need. After you have gathered your financial data, the next step is to analyze it. Look for trends and patterns in your data that can help you make informed decisions about your business.

Additionally, a personal dashboard clearly shows how much your company has spent compared to how much it has made during the given period. You were likely familiar with tax returns before you even opened your business because you’ve filed them as an individual. When you run a business, it’s incredibly important to keep up with your business taxes, as well as any personal taxes that you may be liable for separately.