The 5 Most Important Accounting Reports for Your Small Business

Here are the key reports to know about, including profit and loss statements, revenue by customer and more.

This story originally appeared on Due

When it comes to small business accounting, most people know that it is important to keep your records updated for taxes. However, there are many more benefits from small business accounting that you can use to grow, improve and expand your business. Here are some of the most important accounting reports for your small business that you should know about.

Profit and loss statement/income statement

The most important report for any business is the profit and loss statement, also called a P&L or income statement. This report tells you how much money a business makes, as well as a lot more. A well-run bookkeeping operation includes details for where you spend and where your money comes from. For example, I can look at my P&L for a quick summary of how much I make from writing, how much I make from advertising, how much I spend on business travel and how much I pay for computer and internet costs. Each business would have different accounts for its own income and spending categories.

Small business owners should look at this report at least monthly. It is also a good idea to look at trends, comparing current results to the same period in the prior year and comparing the most recent month with the last few months. This should tell you what’s working well and what isn’t, as well as help you focus on the most profitable parts of the business. This is exactly how I analyzed by business to help me reach $10,000+ in monthly income.

Balance sheet

A balance sheet gives you a snapshot of what a business has and owes at any given time. For small businesses, assets typically include things like bank accounts, accounts receivables, and possibly an investment account. A balance sheet may also include assets like property, computers, equipment and other saleable physical and intangible property. Liabilities generally include things like credit cards, business loans and anything else your business owes.

The accounting equation is based on the balance sheet. It tells us that assets plus liabilities equals equity. The difference in what you have and what you owe should ideally be a positive number and one that grows over time.

When examining the balance sheet, also look at the short-term assets versus short-term liabilities. If you have payments owed soon, you won’t want to run out of cash without noticing that your assets are illiquid.

Accounts receivable aging

You don’t work for free, and your business isn’t a charity. Doing the work and sending the invoice is just part of the battle. You also have to make sure those payments get paid and collected. Your accounts receivable (A/R) aging report tells you how well you are doing on the collections side. Look out for customers who are perpetually late, usually pay on time and recently started paying late, and growing late balances from any customer.

I’ve been very lucky when it comes to collections, but part of that is choosing the right clients to work with. Upstanding companies like Due always pay quickly. Some less stable, less trustworthy or financially strained companies are more likely to pay late or stiff you when it comes time to pay the bill.

Revenue by customer

Just as you should be looking at who owes you money, you should be looking at who gives you the most of it. Your revenue by customer report tells you how much you made from each customer over a period of time. Freelancers and professional service businesses rely heavily on repeat business in many industries. Building good relationships with quality clients can turn in to a lucrative, reliable, and healthy income stream.

However, beware of putting too much faith in any one income source. If too much revenue comes from one source, that is called “revenue concentration risk.” If one client leaving would ruin your entire business, you need to get more diverse in who your business serves. Putting too many eggs in one basket might just bankrupt your company.

See steps on how to get your revenue by customer report in Smart iT

Accounts payable aging

You probably wouldn’t like it if a company took too long to pay you. Do your vendors a favor and pay them on time as well. Your A/P aging report tells you who you owe and how much. As long as your books are updated, you can easily look and find who you need to pay so you don’t miss the due dates.

Paying late can sour relationships and may lead to late fees and other costs. Just pay on time. You might even get an early payment discount from some vendors. That’s a big win-win!

(By Eric Rosenberg)

Revenue by customer

Your revenue by customer report tells you how much you made from each customer over a period of time. Building good relationships with quality clients can turn in to a lucrative, reliable, and healthy income stream.

See steps below how to get this report in Smart iT:

Step 1:
Open the Invoice lookup

Step 2:
Select your date range for the sales that you want to view.
Take note: If your total record exceeds a 1000 records then you will need to change your records per page.

Step 3:
Click on the Analysis – Summary of data tab
Click on the Pre-Set report “Sales / Customer / Date”

SI Link feature for multiple stores.

Aim of SI Link Feature:

  • To automatically update the Dealers (Franchisee’s) inventory with Head Office (Franchisor’s) inventory data such as description, price, inventory groups, etc.
  • This also enables the dealer to see the stock levels of Head Office.
  • Purchase orders made out by the Dealer will automatically display as a Sales Order at Head Office.
  • Stock Levels of all branches/dealers can also be viewed

Go to: Company > siLink


Steps Head Office (Franchisor) must take to enable this feature.

Click on siLink Sync. The following form will open.

Select the Sync. button to synchronize (export) your data with the dealer.
Select the Sync. Orders Only button to import all the Purchase Orders from the dealer as a Sales Order into your system.

Step 1.
Select the Publish Tab and type in the API key. The API key is supplied by Smart-It and is done only once.

Step 2.
Select the price list and price level you want to upload to the dealer.

Root Stock Group Usually, you can leave it blank. Only select this option if you want the Franchisor’s inventory groups to be displayed under your selected group.
Override Stock Status The Dealer must select the checkbox if he wants to update the inventory status, example ‘End of Life’, ‘On Special’, etc.

The Status is set in the Main Inventory Form by the Franchisor.

The Status will be displayed in the Extended Item Lookup.

 

List Price Select which price you want to use. Item Main Form > Cost and Selling Prices

The Head Office sales price will be displayed as the Suppliers List Price on the Dealer side.

The program will determine if it must use the inclusive or exclusive sales price as the Suppliers List Price by looking if the dealer is registered for VAT. Set it in the Tax Types & Percentages form. Go to Ledger | Tax Set-up

Export Stock Levels If the Dealer (Franchisee) must see the stock levels of the Head Office (Franchisor).
Price list Each inventory item can belong to a price list and is set on the Main Inventory Form
Override Stock Status Set the web status in the Main Inventory Form

Step 3.
Enable siLinkfor each Dealer who should receive the updates.

Open the Customer Main Form for the specific customer (dealer), select the Custom Tab and then select Enable siLink. See image below.

The API key is generated automatically and must be sent to the dealer (franchisee).
The dealer must enter the API Key in the Supplier Main Form (See steps the dealer is required to take)
After generating the API key, you must synchronize your data by clicking on the Sync button. See the first image.

Steps the Dealer (Franchisee) is required to take to enable this feature.

Step 1. (Action only needed to be performed once).
Add the Franchisor (Head Office) as a Supplier
Open the Main Supplier Form. Select the siLink Tab and select Enable siLink (see image below).
Type in the API key as supplied by the Franchisor. This is done only once.

Step 2.
Open the siLink Form. Go to: Company | siLink

Step 3.
Select the Sync button in the Sync tab to update your data.

General.
If the dealer makes out a Purchase Order to the Supplier (Franchisor), and the Enable siLinkis selected on the Main Supplier Form, then the purchase order will be automatically exported to the Franchisor and the Purchase Order will be imported as a Sales Order on the Franchisor’s side. The sales order will only be generated after the Franchisor has updated his data – by clicking the Sync button in the siLink form.

Discontinued items

We have a discontinued item feature to help prevent problems with items that are not being manufactured anymore. This will help your sales representatives to see what items are discontinued or end of range stock so that they do not quote or sell than what you have currently in stock.

See steps below on how to setup discontinued items.

Step 1:
Look for the item that you want to mark as discontinued by using the Item Lookup form.

Step 2:
Open the item by double-clicking on the item or you right click on the item and select
“Open inventory form”

Step 3:
At the top, you will see the discontinued box. Just tick it.

You can also do a bulk change. See link below for more info on how to do bulk changes.
http://www.smart-it.co.za/help/bulk_change_selected.htm

Please note, after the item has been ticked as “discontinued” you will no longer be able to place an order for that item.
Also, you will get the following message when doing an invoice, quote or sales order for a discontinued item.

Quick add conversation

Tired of losing your notes that you scribbled on a piece of paper?
Try using our quick add conversation feature.

Steps on how to use the quick add conversation feature.

Step 1:
Click on the conversation bubble icon at the top left of the screen.

or you can also click on the quick add conversation icon under the Customer tab.

Step 2:
You will get the following form.

  • Select out the customer
  • Select out the employee that should do the follow up with the client.
  • Fill in the note field that the conversation was about i.e “client will settle his outstanding balance at the end of the week” or “the customer wants more info about the product XYZ”
  • Save & Close when you completed all the relevant capturing.

You can view all conversations by going to the Conversation tab under Customers.

Please click on the links below for more information about conversations.
http://www.smart-it.co.za/help/conversations.htm
http://www.smart-it.co.za/help/customer-conversations.htm

Also, if you want Smart iT to automatically remind you of outstanding conversations then you need to activate it by going to Customer options and clicking on “Followup Popup”

The “Followup Popup” box is a local setting and will need to be ticked on each computer where Smart iT needs to remind you of outstanding conversations.

Backup options

Always remember to do backups, backups, and more backups.

How to do backups in Smart iT
1. Open up the Smart iT Backend. The icon can be found on the server desktop.
2. Go to the options tab
See below

Also, Make a weekly offsite backup to an external hard drive that you take home, in case server is stolen or fire happens at the office.
Follow this link to our help manual for more tips about backups.
http://www.smart-it.co.za/help/backend_options.htm 

Basic guide to setting up payroll

Setup your accounts and account defaults.

Step 1.
Go to Ledger > Account Setup and add all employees as sub accounts of  the main general ledger account, salaries.

Go to Ledger > Account Options and select the Account Defaults tab. Select your Salary, UIF and LBS general ledger accounts. See below.

 

Step 2.
Go to Employee > Lookup, open the employee you wish to edit/amend by right clicking on the employee and then selecting the Deductions & Earnings tab.

Fill in only fixed deductions and earnings. Data that changes every month like commissions can be filled in, in the New Payment Run form.

Step 3.
Go to Employee > New Payment Run to process your salaries.

Please contact our office if you need more details regarding payroll.

Quick guide to – How to pay supplier invoices

Step 1:
You will need to select what reconciliation mode to use for the supplier you want to pay.
For this you need need to open the supplier master. We are going to use the “Invoice” Payment allocation type for this scenario. To use the “status” recon method click here:
http://www.smart-it.co.za/help/supplier-reconciliation.htm

Step 2:
Go to “pay supplier invoices”

Step 3:
Select Supplier

Step 4:
Select invoices

Step 5:
Fill in either “Supplier Credits or “Payment Amt”

Step 6:
Click on pay selected.

This is just a quick guide. See below explaining more or click on this link:
http://www.smart-it.co.za/help/pay_supplier_invoices.htm