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The three main components of your financial statement - a balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement - all combine to tell you a significant amount of detail about what your core competencies are and what your potential weaknesses may be. Beyond just the obvious of identifying potential shortages in revenue, going through the act of creating and maintaining these statements will show you which products or services perform best for your company.

The Top 5 Financial Reports Every Business Owner Should Review

Starting your business off on the right foot with the correct financial statements and a realistic maintenance plan for keeping these records in order, is essential. Not taking this aspect of your business seriously enough is one of the most common mistakes for those new to running their own companies.

Financial analysis made easy (and quick!)

Aside from the obvious benefits of having your financial statements in order for tax season each year, having accurate financial statements are essential if you ever want to sell your business or bring in outside investors. Any bank, financial institution, or private investor considering making a loan to your business, will need to see the proper financial statements.

Manually processing your financial reports and statements through spreadsheets can cost you a lot of wasted time, money, and human talent. The tiniest errors in formulas can mess up an entire report, while the mind-numbing task of manually entering data and formulas eats up hours of human labor. If you have multiple people working on your financial statements, even the smallest inconsistency among different versions of files and templates may lead to duplicated efforts, wasted time, and possibly even more reporting mistakes.

Manual data processing also leads to delays in accessing information that may be important in making time-sensitive decisions or purchases. It also means that you or your staff will sometimes have to rush work to meet deadlines, which increases the possibility of making costly mistakes that lead to wrong decisions. With the right mindset, skills, and tools, however, you can overcome these challenges.

Take note of the following steps:. Consider the time you spend on financial reporting as investments. While it may seem counterproductive to devote time and financial resources to preparing financial statements, it actually helps your business run more efficiently. It saves you time and money while protecting you from potential legal repercussions of inaccurate or substandard reporting. Streamline your processes to ensure that your data is always up to date. Develop a system that includes contingency measures in case of staff turnover or changing compliance requirements.

However, keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this.

Contrary to misconceptions, small and large businesses can benefit from technology solutions that keep up with the demands of increasingly competitive markets while keeping in sync with compliance requirements. Cloud-based enterprise resource planning ERP solutions can automate and standardize your financial reporting, both for internal and external purposes. A good cloud-based ERP solution allows you to:.

Most people would rather do something else than manually crunch numbers. With an automated reporting system, you spend less time figuring out the nitty-gritty details and technicalities of accounting, thus freeing up time and resources. By standardizing all your reports and consolidating your data in a cloud-based system, an efficient ERP solution eliminates duplicate work and spares you from the tedious task of reconciling inaccuracies or correcting mistakes.

How to read financial statements

Automation also makes the information you need more readily available, making it easier for you to make time-sensitive decisions. You can get a better grasp of how your business is doing through an accounting software that works along with standard spreadsheets and allows flexible comparison and analysis of financial data using various parameters. Financial reporting is, indeed, an indispensable task to keep your business running.

Through a comprehensive and integrated financial management solution, you can generate accurate, timely, and compliant financial reports that provide you with more returns in the long run. Find out how SAP Business One can help you stay on top of generating your financial reports through cloud-based, automated, comprehensive financial management solutions. Read the Digitalist Magazine and get the latest insights about the digital economy that you can capitalize on today. Working in the APJ region for over 15 years, his career spans over 13 years in the IT sector, which includes various leadership positions in sales, business development, and operations.

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All rights reserved. Sitemap Terms of Use Privacy Policy. All rights reserved worldwide. Back to Menu. The ultimate goal? Excellent financial health. A company knows the ins and outs of financial statements better than the beginning investor—and they know how to manipulate the data to spruce up their image on paper.

What are financial statements?

As you become more familiar with financial statements, you may start catching some of these ways that ratios are more misleading than they may seem at first. For example, if a company is on the verge of a new merger or acquisition, the earnings per share EPS could be a misleading measurement for investors. A company is legally obligated to tell the truth in its financial statements. However, there are different ways of calculating the same numbers. If you aren't familiar with the differences between them, you could have an inaccurate sense of a company's financial health.

Different revenue recognition models can count sales as complete in the books well before the customer receives the item or service they purchased.

Financial statement - Wikipedia

If you familiarize yourself with all the different models, you'll have a better understanding of how much money a company has made, and whether their business model is a sound one. The Balance uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By using The Balance, you accept our. Investing for Beginners Economics.