What do you mean “management reports”, I hear you say. I get financial reports from my accounting system that my accountant produces each year, is that what you mean?
Management reports provide information for you as the owner of your business to make informed decisions. Management reports help you to manage your business. These reports include financial reports but with the numbers re-cast in a manner that provides useful data that is relevant for you.
Accounting systems are set up to provide basic financial reports – the profit and loss statement and balance sheet – to enable your accountant to prepare annual financial statements as required by legislation and to provide the data necessary to complete income tax returns.
Reporting capability within cloud accounting systems like Xero allow for that same information to be provided in different formats. Graphical displays of the numbers can be created from the push of a button providing the visual that is much easier to understand than a set of numbers on a page.
Management reports are tailored to the business and the areas that need focus at any point in time and as such management reports will change over time with the emphasis on different numbers and information changing as the needs of the business change.
The next question I hear you ask is if that’s the case, how do I get my accounting system to provide me with the right management reports for me.
Step 1. Identify your goals for the business
Step 2. Having regard to the goals, what are the key numbers that you need to focus on to achieve those goals
Step 3. Establish a budget that incorporates the goals
Step 4. Enter the budget into your accounting system
Step 5. Prepare specific reports that allow you to see the key numbers easily
Step 6. Prepare reports on a monthly basis with comparison of actual results to budget
Step 7. Make a time each month to review the reports and use the data to make decisions for the future.
And then I hear you say, but I don’t know where to start and I just don’t have time. And that’s where I can help.
My speciality area of focus as a part-time virtual CFO is to work through the 7 steps, create a tailored management report that suits your business and then provide ongoing monthly meetings to provide accountability, advice and support to help you attain your goals.