How to build solid finance reports
Posted On 03/11/2017
Working in finance comes with big responsibilities. In fact, you manage the financial health of a company. Taking the wrong decision can be fatal to your business. So, how to avoid making bad decisions? It all starts with being well-informed.
You need to understand what’s happening on a financial level at any moment. In that way, you can take action when needed. How is your cashflow? Which operations are costing you money, instead of producing revenue? Is revenue growing steadily?
Want to have all those insights bundled in 1 place? You can! Unleash the power of data visualization onto your finance data.
Build real-time financial dashboards
Do you spend a lot of time on financial reporting? If so, make sure you’re doing it right. In this fast-paced era, monthly or quarterly reports can easily be outdated. Instead, try building a real-time dashboard. It refreshes your data automatically! You’ll be up-to-date with the latest business information. What’s more, you don’t need to put needless effort into manual reports.
When building a dashboard, use the right visualizations. You need to understand trends and correlations in the blink of an eye. For example, drag & drop your expenses & revenue sources onto a bar chart. You’ll instantly see the top cost causers and top sources of income. Similarly, you can monitor bad payers. Instead of ploughing through an endless spreadsheet, you’ll gain visual insights in minutes.
Which KPIs to track?
You can monitor tons of metrics in finance. But your selection will largely depend on your business needs and your specific focus within finance. To start with, we’ve listed some key metrics that are relevant to any financial manager:
1. Operating Cash Flow
Monitor how much cash your company is producing. Besides, it’s crucial to compare it to the costs and investments to make sure your company is sustainable. Tip: make cash flow forecasts to predict your sustainability for the coming months. It can help you delay or speed up important investment decisions.
2. Net/Gross Profit Margin
Pricing of your products is crucial. Are you making enough profit to cover the operating expenses of your product? If not, you might want to re-evaluate your gross profit margin. Go one step further. Take into account indirect costs such as rent, administration, taxes, and so on. This is the most accurate way to know how effectively your business generates actual profit from your revenue.
3. Revenue Growth Rate
Asses if revenue keeps on growing compared to last year, last quarter, last month,… You’ll gain more insights into seasonality. On top of that, you’ll be able to take action in time when you notice revenue is stagnating.
4. Current Ratio
Divide your current assets by your current liabilities. This percentage will help you understand how solvent your business is. It’s important to measure this permanently. Low current ratio’s can lead to cash flow problems in later stages of your business. So, make sure to solve the issue before committing to new investments.
Our advice would be to limit your dashboard to 4 or 5 main KPIs. If you want to analyze more KPIs, try splitting up into multiple dashboards. Group into smaller subsets of KPIs that need to be analyzed together.
Data visualization tools like Cumul.io enable you to track important financial metrics on a regular basis. And all of this without wasting time on editing manual reports. For more advanced financial analyses, Cumul.io also offers custom financial chart types.
Start a free trial, create your first financial KPI dashboard, and gain insights in minutes!