Reporting and interpreting reports is one of the key skills for any business manager.

There’s little point in collecting data unless you can report on it. And there’s little point in reporting on data unless you know what actions to take.

Let’s take a simple example –  the Financial Profit and Loss.

You may be happy that your business is making a profit, but do you know if that’s good or bad?

Using your own business, take a second now to quickly review these 4 questions:

  1. How is your business performing against the same period last year, or against the budget?

  2. If sales are up, is that reflected in the margins?

  3. What revenue lines are doing better than others?

  4. Which customers are profitable, and who is a drain on resource?

When setting up a Financial system, such as Zoho Books, or a CRM system such as Zoho CRM, it’s key to have an understanding of the important information you need and what you can do with that data. From that basis, you can make sure that the right data is captured and the important stuff isn’t lost in.

Here are some key performance indicators for every business. Answer them for your business. Can you create actionable plans for the New Year?

  1. Gross profit against budget and last year – Are we improving?

  2. Cash balances, against cash forecast – Do we have enough cash to support the business?

  3. Sales Pipeline – What new Business do we have for the next 3-6 months?

  4. Debtors  – What cash is coming in?

Finally, have a plan for when things start to move outside the parameters. For example, if the pipeline starts to reduce, what’s your plan to bring in more business?

Take the time today, just a couple minutes, to go through and answer/think about/jot down your response to the questions above. How do they get you thinking about  your business and what more could you do in order to better report and therefore plan for the future?

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