As you grow your business it’s reasonable to suggest that there will be those who are not working on or in the business day to day but who have a stake in your future success … perhaps because they’ve invested time and/or money, or perhaps because they are key clients or research colleagues.
One of the things that helps build trust and confidence with stakeholders is the ability to tell them how you are doing, especially vs. previous expectations or commitments that you’ve made. This is not to say that you should simply open your books to them in their glorious detail but instead you should be able to extract the relevant information and keep them updated.
For example if you have received investment from Finance Yorkshire one of the strings attached to the finance is a commitment to provide monthly management accounts. The expectation here is that within two weeks of the end of a month your accounts will be fully up to date for the completed month and you’ll send a copy to Finance Yorkshire.
Well your book-keeping needs to be a regular activity and you need to be able to produce reports simply and painlessly!
Of course you shouldn’t just be doing this for their benefit, these numbers should be used internally to see how reality matches up against the forecast so that you can take action to tweak your plans in the light of better or worse sales and costs than expected.
So, what reports might you run regularly (say monthly if not definitely quarterly) and share as appropriate?
Here’s our checklist:
- Monthly Income – shows you a monthly total across the year to date
- Income by Customer – good for getting a better handle on how your income splits between major and minor clients
- Income by Sales Type – for product based folks this means you can look at key products or ranges, for service based folks you can see a split between different services and also the production expenses that you charge on to clients
- Profit and Loss – you can pick your time period here but as a starter look at the current year (financial or calendar)
- Expenditure by Type – how does your cost base split out between labour, travel, rent etc?
And if you really want to wow them why not also show them how your business stacks up vs others in your sector … the MyCake benchmarks offer you this as standard. If you’re in the top twenty five percent you should certainly be shouting about it!
Here are a couple of examples of the sorts of reports you could routinely share … pretty much at the click of a button ~ annual report and monthly income report 🙂