HomeLearning Center7 Most Common Financial Reports and Step-by-Step Guide

7 Most Common Financial Reports and Step-by-Step Guide

Nothing says business success more than consistent, stellar financial performance. Healthy finances drive business growth and provide security from unforeseen circumstances. Financial stability is essential to any company’s success, and maintaining a strong financial is a top priority for any business owner.

To track financial health and performance, companies use a collection of finance reports. These reports offer actionable information to help organizations improve strategies and decision-making. Financial reporting helps show where an organization’s money is coming from and going to, as well as how much is being spent.

Financial reporting can help make informed decisions about where to allocate resources and how to cut costs. There’s no definite rule on when companies must conduct financial reporting.

Yes, it’s common to create them at the end of each month, quarter, or year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t write reports at shorter intervals. Weekly or daily reports can also help companies fine-tune their financial health monitoring.

Wondering which reports you can generate anytime to glance performance? We’ve got you covered in this article. We’ll look at the essential reports you can write at any time to gauge your company’s standing.

What Are Finance Reports?

Finance reports are documents that show the financial performance of a company over a period of time. They typically include income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Financial reports are used by investors, lenders, and company managers to make decisions about the financial health of the company.

Finance reports allow businesses to see the results of their day-to-day activities. These reports either cover a specific period or a particular moment. The central reports are the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.

Together, these three provide a clear picture of the state of a company’s finances. But finance reporting doesn’t stop with the big three financial statements. Modern reporting using software provides an analytical snapshot of valuable KPIs.

You can even customize information to track your most useful business metrics. Suppose you’re using a cash management tool like Peakflo. You’ll have access to real-time, digital, and intelligent finance reports to manage your business cash flow.

Read more: Here are 5 Financial Reports Your Business Should Run

What Are the Benefits of Financial Reporting?

Let’s take a look at some of the key importance of staying on top of financial reporting.

Track Financial Conditions

Finance reports provide accurate real-time performance snapshots of different aspects of finances. Investors and creditors find tons of actionable information in these reports. It allows them to make critical decisions about the company. 

By generating reports regularly, finance leaders get clear insights into what works and what doesn’t. These insights allow them to make informed decisions and well-planned strategies. Want to know if you can afford to buy more assets? Just look at your balance sheet.

Mitigate Errors

Finance reports help companies catch errors early on. By reconciling records, finance teams can spot mistakes made while conducting their day-to-day processes. 

Financial reporting also remains the best method to spot illegal financial activities. Financial report discrepancies can alert you of fictitious sales or altered expenses figures.

Manage Debt

Companies use debt to finance a wide variety of activities. By looking at a balance sheet’s liability section, you’ll know if you can afford to take on more debt to run your company. While beneficial, debt can pose a problem if not managed properly.

Unpaid liabilities lead to foreclosures and bad records, causing a company to flop. Reports like debt-to-equity, interest coverage, and debt service ratios help companies decide on debt.

Manage Cash Flow

You’ll see net profits on an income statement, but that number doesn’t show actual cash position. Net profits take into account accrued revenue. This part of total revenue is the sales you already made but have still yet to receive actual payment.

When preparing a cash flow statement, you must adjust net income to reflect cash transactions. After all, real money is what’s going to pay for your business’s day-to-day needs. Cash flow statements allow you to see cash movements for better planning and coordination.

7 Finance Reports You Can Write Any Time to Track Financial Health

There’s no cut-and-dried rule WHEN you must generate a finance report apart from those required during tax season. And you can produce reports at almost any time interval. Or when you need a quick glance at the performance of a particular business financial facet.

Be on the lookout for reports that provide the most value for your business. What are your essential KPIs? For many, liquidity is the top priority, followed only by profitability. But, regardless of which report you opt to run, you can’t miss out on three major finance reports.

The Three Major Finance Reports

A business can’t live without generating these reports regularly. These three are what investors, creditors, and the government go for to discover information about a company. Each offers unique details with actionable information that connects.

1. Income Sheet

Also referred to as the profit & loss statement, this report is all about profitability. Want to gauge how profitable you were last week? Generate a P&L statement to view revenue, expenses, and profit figures.

Get A Glimpse of Revenue

By generating a P&L statement, your company gets a detailed view of revenue during a period. Revenue is the amount of money your company brings in from core activities. It’s where you deduct expenses to arrive at profitability. Growth investors focus on the performance of this crucial metric when deciding to invest in a company.

These compact finance reports are derived from a company’s revenue performance:

  • Customer lifetime value
  • Conversion rates
  • Cost of customer acquisition
  • Average revenue per new customer

Determine Company Expenditures

An income statement takes you through your operating and non-operating expenditures line by line. Expenses affect profitability, so managing expenses is key to hitting profit objectives. Successful business owners proactively track expenses to ensure they make the most out of revenue.

Analyzing expenses compels you to plan how you can cut them down to improve your bottom line. Here are some key KPIs that you derive from company expenses:

  • Cost of goods sold
  • Operating expenses
  • Non-operating expenses
  • Gross burn rate

Track Profitability

Profitability is your revenue minus all expenses. It’s what your company gets to keep after paying for its daily operations. A positive net profit tells you and investors that your company works in ideal condition.

Here are some finance reports and metrics to track from profitability:

  • Gross profit
  • Operating Profit
  • Net profit
  • Operating and net profit business use
  • Gross and net profit margins

2. Balance Sheet

Like an income statement, a balance sheet monitors financial health. But rather than showing profitability, it focuses on assets, liabilities, and equity. A balance sheet provides a snapshot of the here and now instead of a past period. By looking at this finance report, you get a glimpse of what you own (assets), owe (liabilities), and the difference between the two (owner’s equity).

Track Company Assets

Asset tracking plays a crucial role in smooth business management. It’s ideal for companies to maintain more assets than liabilities for positive net worth. Assets break down to current and non-current assets on a balance sheet. Your business liquidates current assets like accounts receivables within a year. Long-term assets like land and equipment liquidate in a year or more.

Keep Close Watch of Liabilities

Liabilities consist of short and long-term obligations your company has to other organizations. The more debt you take, the higher this number goes. Liabilities help finance your activities. But take on too much, and it could do more harm than good. Current liabilities are short-term debt like accounts payable. Long-term liabilities include long-term debt your company settles after one year.

Determine Owner’s Equity

Owner’s equity, or net worth, is the amount you and shareholders own after subtracting liabilities from assets. This figure shows you how much capital your business currently owns. Equity accounts include retained earnings and common stock value.

Some useful finance reports, KPIs, and ratios to get out of a balance sheet include:

  • Debt-to-equity ratio
  • Quick ratio
  • Working capital
  • Days sales outstanding (AR Days)
  • Accounts receivable collection period
  • Days inventory outstanding
  • Days payable outstanding

3. Statement of Cash Flow

Cash flow statements show you exactly how your company receives and spends cash. The income statement doesn’t reflect your company’s actual cash story. By viewing this finance report, you’ll see actual cash figures while understanding cash movements. And that’s regardless of which period you’re tracking. Cash flow reports reflect all three financial activities: operating, investing, and financing.

Understand Cash Flow Resulting from Core Operations 

The first section of a cash flow statement is operating cash flow. It’s the total amount of cash you gain or lose while doing your core business activities. Operating cash flow is an essential KPI as it provides an accurate measure of money the company takes in from normal operations.

See Gains & Losses from Investing Activities

Investing activities include sales and purchases of long-term assets and securities like stocks and bonds. Long-term asset purchases lean towards a negative cash flow. But, it also shows the company invests for its long-term growth by buying valuable assets.

Determine the Amount of Funding Your Company Generates

The third section of a cash flow statement is financing cash flow. This section reflects the net cash changes when a company raises capital. Financing activities include stocks issuance and repayments and dividend payments to shareholders.

A cash flow statement is an invaluable tool for cash flow management. Its resulting information reflects the performance and efficiency of a cash management team. The higher the positive cash flow, the healthier and more liquid a business becomes.

Apart from net operating, investing, and financing cash flows, other vital cash flow metrics include:

  • Working capital
  • Accounts receivable turnover
  • Accounts payable turnover
  • Accounts receivable aging repor

Cash Flow Finance Reports, Ratios, & KPIs

Profitability is essential for smooth business functioning. But, it doesn’t always indicate a smooth cash movement. Some businesses may turn in lots of profits but can still find it hard to remain liquid. That’s because profitability doesn’t equate to actual cash inflow. On top of a cash flow statement, here are other key finance reports you can generate to monitor cash flow health.

1. Working Capital

Working capital is simply the available money your company can use to meet its current and short-term needs. You can calculate working capital by subtracting current liabilities from current assets. Generate this report at any time from an updated balance sheet.

Regular writing of this report helps you:

  • Manage Liquidity

Looking at working capital lets you know if your business has enough liquid cash to cover current obligations. When your company has a working capital surplus, you can use it to grow your business. Otherwise, you’re going to have to prioritize the available funds for existing debts. 

  • Decide If You Need a Working Capital Loan

You’ll need working capital to fund a myriad of business activities. These activities include paying suppliers, employees, and other operational expenditures. Working capital financing can help you cover current essential needs. It usually involves unsecured, revolving lines of credit with convenient terms.

2. Accounts Receivable Turnover In Days

Accounts receivable is money that your customers owe for buying on credit. As you know, regular delayed customer payments result in a poor cash inflow. Sound AR management lets you avoid cash crunches by prompting on-time customer payments. One of the ways to gauge AR performance is by determining your company’s AR turnover.

  • Know How Long Customers Take to Pay You

Accounts receivable turnover shows you the average number of days a customer takes to pay during a period.

Accounts Receivable Turnover In Days = Total Sales for period / Average Accounts Receivable for that period  * number of days in the period

The lower the result, the less time it takes for customers to settle their invoices. As customers start taking longer to pay, the higher this value becomes. A high AR in days could indicate potential problems in AR management.

3. Accounts Receivable Aging Report

An AR aging report classifies all customer invoices based on the time span they remain unpaid. It summarizes invoices into aging categories like 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days outstanding. By generating an aging report, you get to analyze every unpaid invoice. This prompts you to take the proper actions.

  • Stay On Top of Outstanding Invoices

Your AR or collection team can review this report to know which invoice they should focus on. It lets them determine the invoices with the largest balances and if they’re still within the specified term. If a company incurs many outstanding balances for long, it can indicate that the company extends too lenient terms. Or that there’s a lack in collection efficiency.

Read more: Strategies for Improving Accounts Receivables

4. Accounts Payable Turnover In Days

Accounts payable is what your company owes for credit purchases from vendors or suppliers. How fast your company makes these repayments can impact supplier relationships. You can measure this rate by calculating your AP turnover ratio. 

  • Measure How Fast You’re Paying Obligations

The accounts payable turnover in days shows the average number of days it takes for your company to repay vendor invoices. Use the formula below to get AP turnover during a specified period:

Accounts Payable Turnover In Days = Total Cost of Sales for period / Average Accounts Payable for that period * number of days in the period

AP turnover in days becomes higher the slower you get at settling invoices. It could indicate you’re not satisfying your terms with your supplier, leading to potential relationship issues. If your turnover is low, it could mean that you’re paying within terms using a healthy stream of cash flow.

Related: How to Manage Your Accounts Payable Process in 2022

Reports are essential to managing every aspect of your finances better. Generating reports on-demand equips you with the correct information to fine-tune your financial game plan.

If you’re laser-focused on cash flow management, using a tool like Peakflo helps you stay on top of your cash flow. With Peakflo, you’ll enjoy features that streamline every aspect of cash management. And you’ll track key cash flow metrics with ease.