5 Financial Reports You Need to Run Regularly
3 min read
April 21, 2015 • Block Advisors
You’d need the fingers on both hands to count the benefits of using an online accounting solution. This type of application helps you:
- Save time.
- Save money.
- Maintain easy-to-access records for customer, vendors, and items.
- Create and send transaction forms.
- Get paid faster.
- Maintain consistent, accurate workflow.
- See at a glance how your business is performing.
This last benefit comes courtesy of the pre-built report templates that accounting software and websites offer. You select the type of information that you want to see, and your application populates the report in seconds with your own company’s financial data.
Every small business accounting application has its own set of report templates; no two share an identical list. But some reports are so universal and important that everyone includes them.
One content area is aged receivables (though it may be called something else). This report tells you how many customers are current, how many fall in the 30 days past due stage, 60 days past due, etc. You – or whoever handles your incoming customer payments – should be looking at this regularly to see who needs to be contacted about unpaid invoices.
This report is so critical that an abbreviated version of it often appears on the application’s dashboard, a visual overview of your company’s financial status. This tool uses lists and charts to tell you what you need to know.
Accounting software and websites contain a report template that shows you what customers owe you money and how far overdue they are.
Just as you want your customers to pay on time, you also want to stay current with your own outstanding bills. An aged payables report, using a format similar to aged receivables, will tell you this. Accounting software reports always have some level of customization so that you can change variables like the date range.
If your company sells products that you purchase and keep in stock, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your inventory items summary (again, this may have a different name). This report displays information about your purchases and sales of items and answers numerous questions. Is it time to reorder? Am I buying too much of a specific item, or too little? How many units are available?
Your Sales by… reports should also be viewed regularly. You might be able to see numbers related to sales by item, by salesperson, by region, etc.
Every accounting application has a different set of report templates and names.
Finally, it’s good to know which customers are providing the most revenue, as well as which vendors are getting more of your dollars. T hese might be titled Income by and Expenses by…
There are many standard financial reports that should be viewed regularly, but unless you’re an accounting professional yourself, you may not know how to customize and interpret them. These include Trial Balance, Income Statement, and General Ledger. If you’d like to learn more about income statements, read our post What goes on an income statement.
Accounting applications and websites are designed so that a small businessperson with little accounting knowledge can still learn to use them. But they’re best implemented and maintained with the help of a financial advisor who can analyze your company’s fiscal health – particularly in the area of reports.