What Is a Financial Report?

Financial reporting is a standard accounting procedure in which financial statements detail a business’s financial position and performance over a specified time, typically annually or quarterly. In the simplest terms, a financial report is critical for determining how much money you have and where it needs to be used. Financial reporting enables managers to make sound business decisions based on the organization’s financial health. Potential investors and banks will also look at your company’s financial statements when deciding whether to invest or lend you money. According to a McKinsey analysis, harnessing data to develop more proficient marketing reports and make more educated decisions can increase marketing productivity by 15 to 20%, or up to $200 billion, based on the average annual worldwide marketing spend of $1 trillion.

Types of Financial Statements

Before we get into the different sorts of financial statements, it’s necessary to understand what a financial statement is and how it fits into a financial report. Income statements, balance sheets, retained earnings, and cash flow statements are the four primary forms of financial statements seen in a financial report. Learn more about each statement’s relevance and its value to financial statement users in the sections below.

Cash Flow Statement: A cash flow statement (CFS) summarizes the inflow and outflow of cash in and out of business. The CFS informs stakeholders about how a company operates, manages money to service debt, and funds current and future expenses and investments.Income Statement: The profit and loss statement, often known as an income statement, summarizes a company’s sales, expenses, and earnings. The income statement displays how much money a company made or lost over a while, and it is used to calculate its net income, or “bottom line.”Balance Sheet: A balance sheet summarizes the assets and shareholders’ equity at a particular point in time. It serves as a basis for calculating rates of return and evaluating the capital structure of the business. It is a financial statement that details the assets and liabilities of a company and the amount of money invested by shareholders. The balance sheet is used in conjunction with other critical financial documents, such as the income statement and statement of cash flows when conducting fundamental analysis or generating financial ratios.Statement of Retained Earnings: One of the basic financial statements is a statement of changes in equity, which can also be called a statement of changes in owner’s equity for a sole trader. The statement demonstrates how a company’s share capital, accumulated reserves, and retained earnings changed over time. It shows how the owners’ interest in the company has changed over time and how retained profit or surplus has been applied from one accounting period to the next. Profits or losses from operations, dividends paid, stock issue or redemption, revaluation reserve, and any other things charged or credited to accumulated other comprehensive income are examples of line items. Other persons and organizations with non-controlling interests are also included.

Benefits of Financial Reports

Financial statements include a means of information that can be used by investors, creditors, and analysts to evaluate a company’s economic performance. Numerous financial data points in financial reports are required by law or accounting standards. Financial reporting enables management to communicate the company’s past accomplishments and future objectives. Several reasons why financial reporting is beneficial to your business include the following:

Mitigate Errors

Accurate financial reporting can assist businesses in identifying costly errors and inter-process errors early in the process. There is no more effective method of detecting illegal economic activity than by examining financial statement discrepancies. Mistakes can be discovered through a reconciliation process. Businesses spend considerable time reconciling their accounts and verifying each journal entry to determine whether an accounting error occurred or if any part of the business has been tampered with.

Shareholder Equity is Shared

For equity investors, the disclosure of shareholders’ equity is crucial. It depicts the changes in various equity components, such as retained earnings over time. Shareholder equity is a company’s net worth, equal to its total assets, fewer liabilities. Increased investment returns for current equity shareholders are achieved when a company’s equity grows steadily due to increase retained earnings rather than extending its shareholder base.

Tax Purposes

The most compelling argument for using financial reports is that you must and are obligated to do so by law. These reports are used by the Internal Revenue Service to ensure that you are paying your fair share of taxes. Businesses that generate a lot of revenue must spend a lot of taxes. Accurate financial reporting assists them in lowering their tax burden and ensuring that all of their resources are not drained in a short time.

Demonstrates Financial Condition

Before investing, potential investors want to know how well the company is performing. The financial reporting of a firm is used by investors, creditors, and other capital providers to assess the safety and profitability of their investments. Stakeholders are curious about where their money has gone and where it is presently. The balance sheet address, for example, provides precise information on the company’s asset list investments as well as outstanding debt and stock components. This information can help creditors and investors better understand the company’s financial status and capital mix.

Operational Evaluation

A balance sheet does not indicate what operational changes may affect a company’s financial condition. Investors should also consider the period’s operating results. An income statement summarizes the results of sales, expenses, and profit or loss. Investors can use the income statement to assess a company’s past income performance as well as its future cash flow.

Cash Flow Analysis

The income statement reports a company’s profitability but provides no direct information on the company’s cash flow. Non-operating activities, such as investing and financing, result in cash inflows and outflows for a company over time. Investors are paid back with cash from all sources, not revenue from activities. As a result, a cash flow statement is crucial for an investor to examine. The cash flow statement depicts the flow of funds between the company and outside contractors over some time. Investors can tell if a firm has adequate cash to cover expenses and acquisitions by looking at this statement.

How to Create a Financial Report

The vision of your firm from today to the future is known as business planning or forecasting. The financials in a company plan are not calculated in the same manner that the details in your accounting reports are calculated. The financial part of your company plan has two goals. First and foremost, potential investors, venture capitalists, angel investors, and anybody else with a financial stake in your company will require this information. The second, and maybe most essential, aim of the financial component of your business plan is for your benefit, so you can forecast how your company will perform.  With this, here are some steps in creating a Financial Report.

Step 1: Construct A Sales Forecast

Make a spreadsheet that forecasts your sales for the next three years. Set up distinct sections for different lines of business and columns for each month of the first year, then quarterly for the second and third years. It will help if you create spreadsheet blocks that contain one for unit sales, one for pricing, and a third for calculating the cost of sales by multiplying units by unit cost. Because you want to compute the gross margin, you include the cost of sales in your sales estimate.

Step 2: Create An Expense Budget

You must know how big it will cost you to make the sales that you have anticipated. When making your monthly budget, keep in mind your fixed costs (such as rent and salary) and your variable costs (such as most advertising and promotional spending). You’ll have to estimate things like interest and taxes with a lot of these numbers. Calculate taxes, multiply your projected profits by your best-guess tax percentage rate, and multiply your estimated loan balance by an estimated interest rate.

Step 3: Create a cash-flow statement.

This is a statement that displays how much money is coming in and going out of your company. Your cash flow statement is based in part on sales projections, balance sheet items, and other assumptions. Historical financial statements should be available for existing businesses to help in projecting cash flow. Beginning with a 12-month cash flow statement, new firms should launch their cash flow. It is critical to understand how you will invoice to obtain these forecasts. Will you expect payment straight away or within 30 to 90 days from your customers? You don’t want to be surprised if you only collect 70% of your bills in the first 30 days when you expect 100% of your expenses to be paid. These algorithms are built into company planning software systems to assist you in making these estimates.

Step 4: Net Profit of the Project

This is your profit and loss statement, which details your company’s forecasts for the next three years. Use the figures from your sales forecast, expense projections, and cash flow statement. Net profit is calculated by deducting expenses, interest, and taxes from the gross margin.

Step 5: Deal with Your Liabilities and Assets

You must deal with assets and liabilities that aren’t listed on the income statement and forecast your company’s net worth at the end of the fiscal year. Compile and indicate your cash flow month by month, considering accounts receivable (money owing to you), inventory (if applicable), land, buildings, and equipment. Then, determine your liabilities or obligations, including accounts payable (money owed by your company) and debts owed on existing loans.

Step 6: Determine the Breakeven Point

When your business expenses equal your sales volume, you’ve reached the breakeven threshold. This analysis should be possible based on your three-year income prediction. Your overall revenue should eventually exceed your general expenses if your business is viable. This is crucial information for potential investors who want to make sure they’re investing in a firm that’s developing swiftly and has a plan to exit.


What is financial reporting’s primary goal?

Financial reporting’s purpose is to monitor, analyze, and report on your business’s revenue. The purpose of these reports is to examine the business’s resource utilization, cash flow, performance, and financial health. This enables you and your investors to make informed management decisions about the company.

When it comes to financial statements and financial reporting, what’s the difference?

Financial reporting is the means of providing information to business stakeholders to aid in decision-making, and the financial statement is the result of that process. It is critical to distinguish financial reporting from financial statements. The primary goal of financial reporting is to provide helpful information for decision-making. Businesses are composed of various stakeholders who have varying degrees of influence and interest in the organization. They require periodic data reports to make numerous decisions. Financial Statements are prepared for a specific accounting period, which is typically one year. This period of accounting is referred to as a fiscal year.’ It is not the same as a calendar year. The accounting period may vary according to the business or industry’s requirements. For instance, many companies in the retail sector end their fiscal year in January due to the high sales volumes experienced throughout the calendar year.

What is the difference between GAAP and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)?

The standard structure, concepts, and methods used by firms for financial accounting are generally accepted accounting principles or GAAP. The Financial Accounting Standard Board publishes the guides (FASB). It is a set of accounting standards that include standard methods and rules for documenting and reporting financial data, such as the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. In the United States, publicly traded corporations and many private companies have adopted the framework. It ensures the financial statement’s transparency and consistency. The information offered by the financial statement by GAAP is helpful to economic decision-makers such as investors, creditors, shareholders, and others. While IFRS stands for International Financial Reporting Standard, it is a globally accepted financial reporting standard developed by the International Accounting Standard Board (IASB). It was previously known as the International Accounting Standard (IAS). The standard is used to prepare and present financial statements such as the balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, equity changes, and footnotes. The International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) ensure that international business is comparable and understandable. Its goal is to offer users information on its financial position, performance, profitability, and liquidity to make informed economic decisions.

We’ve covered how to produce a financial report, the mechanics of a monthly, daily, and weekly financial report template, financial report samples relating to certain company areas, and related KPIs, as well as some significant advantages. It’s now time to consider the concept as a whole. Financial reporting methods assist your organization in obtaining a clear, comprehensive picture of where it is now and where it should be heading. Your firm can rapidly comprehend and precisely monitor essential components of your financial position across specified periods when reinforced with crisp, easy-to-read representations in the form of financial dashboards. Utilizing outmoded techniques of analysis or measurement when it comes to your company’s finances can not only stifle your organization’s growth but may also lead to blunders, errors, or inefficiencies that are harmful to your company’s health. Dashboard reporting based on data analysis is the way to go, and if you embrace its power now, you’ll gain huge benefits tomorrow and well into the future.