How good reporting eases decision-making


Man with question marks around his head

Accounting | Advice | Cashflow

By Gerald Chait

Whether you’re making decisions about how much stock to order, what staff will be rostered on the weekend, what extra promotional activity should be undertaken or if you can afford to pay an employee more money, reporting plays a vital role in understanding the impact any choice has on your bottom line and cashflow.

What reports are the most useful for your business?

Here are some key reports I think are useful for a generic business, any effective accounting program should be able to easily run the following reports which I’ve listed.

Cashflow reports and forecasts

Managing cashflow effectively remains a significant hurdle for many small businesses in Australia. The cashflow forecast will compare the cash you have on hand, as well as money that should be paid to you, against the money you need to pay within the same period. For many smaller businesses having cash readily available is crucial to their success, therefore having a solid base for forecasting cash (i.e. reliable historical records as well as visibility of future transactions) can be extremely beneficial.

Balance sheet

This is the statement of your business financial position at a point in time. The balance sheet will clearly show you assets versus your liabilities, in other words what you own and what you owe.

Profit and Loss

The Profit and Loss statement shows your business trading result over a specified period. It is most helpful to compare specific months, quarters or years against each other to get an overall picture of how the business is performing. If you find revenue is lower in the current quarter compared with the same time last year you will be able to pinpoint when the downward trend began and start to find out why.

Accounts receivable ageing summary and accounts payable ageing summary

While the cashflow forecast shows how much money is expected to come into the business, the accounts receivable ageing summary clearly shows which customers owe you money and how long these amounts have been outstanding. Similarly, the accounts payable ageing summary complements the cash flow forecast by clearly showing to whom you owe money and how long these amounts have been outstanding.

Other reports you’ll find particularly useful include bank reconciliation, as well as top customer and top supplier reports.

Reporting on business activity and performance can offer incredible insights into cashflow, the future success of your business, customer buying habits and more. How critical is reporting to your business success? What reports do you find most useful?

Please note the information contained in this article is intended to be general in nature. You should seek professional advice regarding individual circumstances. 

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