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Whitehill Business Services Ltd >> news >> latest news >> Management reports - the missing support?

Management reports - the missing support?

Posted by on September 18, 2015

Accountants working in business often complain that practitioners are so tied up with statutory accounts, audits and tax returns that they have no idea about what actually goes on in the real world.  Bookkeepers keep the books up to date, file VAT returns, ensure payroll is accurate, and more.  Accountants look after larger companies, audit and advise.  But who's giving small businesses the information they need to support their business?

Half the firms entering the Practice Excellence Awards this year (PEA15) offer management information as part of their service for business clients - up from 33% in 2014. One reason for this jump is that the approach has been shown to have a very beneficial effect on client satisfaction and practice profitability. Probably because it serves a fundamental client need.  Technology, too, is coming to the aid of business.  With online bookkeeping and accounting in the cloud, information is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  And with integration of Excel and the major online accounting software, generating reports which help businesses make decisions is quick and easy.

quickbooks integration with excel


Such integration allows reports to include financial data alongside other key perofmance indicators - non-financial targets which help businesse to quickly assimilate how the company or sole trader is doing.  Forecasts are also much easier to introduce into management reports using software such as the Quickbooks-excel EasyConnet/CDATA combination.

Businesses with a poor grasp of management information are going to be at a disadvantage. Entrepeneurs are not always well versed in financial matters and if they lack these skills they may lack the knowledge they need to stay in control of their business.

Until they reach a certain size, small firms are not able to afford £30,000-£50,000 a year for a trained accountant to handle their management and financial reporting. This gap has existed for years. Now that online accounting tools make it possible for external bookkeepers to manage the accounting journals and reports, we have witnessed a surge in financial management outsourcing among small businesses and the firms - such as Whitehill itself - serving them.

Many fast-moving entrepeneurs may also be so caught up in the rush of day to day demands that they don’t have the time to sit back and reflect on what their financial numbers are telling them. But the discipline of spending an hour a month on easy-to-read reports which provide a great oversight of the health and direction of the business is time well spent.  And with new cloud accounting and bookkeeping combined with integration across tools such as Excel and the data held in the cloud, the sky really is your limit.

balance sheet analysis gives a snapshot of company health