One of the benefits of hiring an accounting/bookkeeping expert is the ability to meet with them after month-end close, to have them explain your financial statements to you and to help draw your attention to important aspects of the financial data. A monthly financial review meeting is a good starting point to ensuring your business is staying on track. Here is what we recommend you review:
At a minimum each month you should review the Income Statement (i.e., Profit & Loss, Statement of Activity) and Balance Sheet
- Add percentages of income to the P&L so you know what percent of income each expense makes up
- Include data from the prior period (i.e., if viewing a report for March 2018 also view March 2017 data) and from the prior months in the same quarter (i.e., if viewing a report for March 2018 also view January and February 2018 data). You will be able to spot changes in trends and it is another way to make sure everything is tracking properly.
Whether sales were lackluster, or bank fees rose, viewing the above reports puts a spotlight on anomalies.
Not only is the budget variance a good report to review, but time should be taken to consider whether any changes are needed in the budget. Notes can be made for consideration next year or immediate changes can be made for the next month. For example, if supplier costs have increased, you may notice a smaller positive variance or even a negative variance. A response might be to research new vendors, raise prices, eliminate an unnecessary expense or to just be aware of a smaller profit.
A month-end meeting is a good place to look ahead, one month, 13 weeks, or six months. Make sure everyone is aware of large upcoming expenses such as prepaid insurance, workers’ compensation, or loan payments that may be starting or ending.
Accounts Receivable Aging
Monitoring accounts receivable payments is crucial for cash flow. Our clients with the best AR turns meet with us weekly to discuss AR collections. When an Invoice is not collected quickly the value of the service is diminished as well as the likelihood of collection.
Categorization of Expenses
When having a third party do your day-to-day accounting work it is a good idea to review expense categorization to make sure everything is where the business owner expected it to be. Discussing this will also give your accountant a chance to make suggestions about accounting practices like suggesting capitalizing a purchase or further breaking out payroll expenses.
Staying on the Same Page
At the end of each meeting, review expectations. If your priorities or expectations change, this face-to-face or virtual meeting is a good time to inform your bookkeeper of these changes. Review when information is needed from you so all deadlines are met, how best to communicate needs and suggestions for improved processes or efficiencies.
Regular meetings with your bookkeeper will make you profitable.