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How Frequently Should I Assess My Financial Statements?

Auditor checking financial statements of company

Ensuring the success of small businesses significantly relies on the meticulous review of financial statements. This crucial aspect is often overlooked by business owners engrossed in daily operations, customer interactions, and product development.

Entrepreneurs and small business proprietors commonly defer or limit financial statement reviews to periodic consultations with their accountants. However, establishing a routine of frequent assessments is pivotal in identifying emerging trends and addressing opportunities and challenges promptly.

Guiding the intricacies of financial statements can be manageable. Grasping the basics empowers small businesses to gain insights into their growth trajectory and areas for improvement. These insights facilitate strategic decision-making, fostering the scaling of operations for enhanced success.

The Small Business Association emphasizes the stark contrast in success rates between businesses whose owners review financial reports annually (25-35%, with a 75% failure rate) and those who diligently engage in weekly reviews (impressive 95% success rate).

Creating a Defined Schedule for Financial Statement Reviews

A common practice among business owners is limiting financial statement reviews to an annual occurrence, typically during consultations with accountants. Some businesses internalize their accounting processes, reserving statement evaluations for income reporting cycles, either quarterly or annually.

However, this practice poses inherent risks, as accurate tracking of business growth, profits, and losses becomes elusive without regular reviews. Relying solely on bank statements falls short of providing a comprehensive overview of the business’s financial well-being.

While financial statements might seem intimidating, implementing tips like those in our guide on understanding financial statements can significantly ease the process. Information about each report detailed below can aid entrepreneurs in selecting and utilizing the most pertinent words for their industry, with the assistance of financial professionals ensuring accuracy.

At MLL Accounting, our adept team collaborates directly with business owners to elucidate the optimal reporting for their industry and business model. Recognizing the passion and expertise that entrepreneurs bring to their respective fields, we, as a team, demystify financial statements by eliminating jargon and making comprehension and application straightforward and productive.

Critical Financial Statements for Business Owner Review

While meticulous tracking of personal finances often centers around bank statements, maintaining business health necessitates a more comprehensive approach. Here are the financial statements that warrant regular review (weekly or monthly) for most businesses:

Income Statement:

      • Recommended frequency: Monthly; quarterly for smaller businesses.
      • Also known as a Profit and Loss (P&L) statement, it delineates revenue generated and costs incurred, offering a comprehensive view of a business’s financial performance.

Balance Sheet:

      • Recommended frequency: Quarterly.
      • Offers an overview of the company’s current financial standing, encompassing assets, debts, and equity during the reporting period.

Cash Flow Statement:

    • Recommended frequency: Weekly for most businesses.
    • Provides a holistic view of incoming and outgoing cash, especially crucial for businesses with multiple revenue streams.

Guiding Business Owners in Financial Oversight

The lexicon surrounding financial reporting can be intimidating for small business owners. Even timely financial statement reviews pose a threat to business prosperity. Small business owners should leverage available resources to grasp the basics and collaborate with experts to establish reporting and review schedules.

Common Practice Risks Recommendation
Annual reviews during consultations with accountants or income reporting cycles. Infrequent reviews pose risks as accurate tracking of growth, profits, and losses becomes elusive. Regular, more frequent reviews are essential for a comprehensive financial overview.

MLL Accounting's Approach

MLL Accounting collaborates directly with business owners to optimize reporting. The team eliminates jargon, making financial statement comprehension straightforward.

Critical Financial Statements

Financial Statement Recommended Frequency Key Information
Income Statement Monthly; quarterly for smaller businesses Known as Profit and Loss (P&L) statement, provides a comprehensive view of financial performance.
Balance Sheet Quarterly Offers an overview of current financial standing, encompassing assets, debts, and equity.
Cash Flow Statement Weekly for most businesses Provides a holistic view of incoming and outgoing cash, crucial for businesses with multiple revenue streams.