One of the benefits of using a proper book-keeping system as opposed to a set of excel spreadsheets is that there are usually a whole set of reports which you can run on the data without having to invent complicated charts for yourself. MyCake is no exception to this. In recent conversations with users we’ve been asked which of the myriad of reports should folks be looking at regularly (monthly or quarterly) so here’s our take on that.
First of all you need to check that the data you’ve been entering is being categorized correctly (otherwise the reports won’t be accurate or useful).
There are two things you need to check:
- The chart of accounts – you can access this via the settings section under ‘Lists’. You need to run down the list and check that each code is set to the appropriate income or cost heading. If that sounds complicated just look at each one and ask yourself if it reflects money coming in or money going out? Then make sure that it is correctly allocated to an ‘income type’ or an ‘expenditure type’
- If you are self employed you also need to check the self assessment report. This is in the tools & reports section under general reports. Click on the ‘code mappings’ button and again go down the list of income and expenditure headings and make sure they are allocated into the appropriate line of the self assessment report (the SA lines are clearly defined to help you do this)
Now that you’ve confirmed these are set correctly print out a copy of your profit & loss (in the reports section) and the self-assessment report and check that they match up. They should!
Ok, now that we know that the data you’ve been entering is being allocated to the right headings we can look more closely at the monies coming in to and going out from your business. There are a few reports you’ll want to look at, indeed you could add them to the ‘favourite reports’ section so that when you check one you remember to check the rest!
With most of these reports you can set the date range (in the top right hand corner) and download the data to excel should you wish to. We are just going to focus on what the report is and how it is useful to your thinking
- Monthly income – this is very useful in terms of spotting annual patterns or sales cycles in your business. What is your busiest month? What is your quietist month? Is it the same each year?
- Income by source – this is particularly useful if you attend trade fairs and want to track which fairs lead to the greatest amount of sales
- Income by customer – this gives you a pie chart of the income you’ve achieved broken down by customer. So if you are wondering which 20% of your customers are responsible for 80% of your income this is the place to look.
- Unpaid invoices report – so you know who to chase!
- Income by product – if you make products this is a very useful report to show you which products are selling well and which are not. You will have a gut instinct on this topic but why not check it against reality!
- Expenditure by outgoing type - what are the types of expenditure that are responsible for the greatest costs to the business and are they the ones that add value or are they just eating up profit?
- Monthly expenditure – checking that the trends here have some relation to the trends in your monthly income and that expenses are not getting out of hand.