If you’re just starting a new business, you might be intimidated at the prospect of keeping track of your finances. Even if you don’t consider yourself financially-savvy, you can still look like an accounting genius with the right tools. Here, find templates for 11 common reports and documents you’ll need to stay organized, file your taxes easily and be appealing to investors.
- Balance Sheet
One of the most essential financial statements your business will have is the balance sheet. This provides an overview of your company’s assets and liabilities, and can show you, at a glance, your company’s net worth.
What it’s good for: If you plan to apply for a business loan or bring on investors, they will ask for your balance sheet.
- Financial Projections
Before you even launch your business, you need to know if it’s financially viable. Your financial projections document helps with that. By inputting numbers based on educated guesses as well as industry data, you can project profit and cash flow.
What it’s good for: Your financial projections can alert you to potential cash shortages and other issues beforehand, giving you ample time to build a strategy to circumvent these problems.
Just as essential as your business plan is your business budget. How much will it cost you to run your business? How soon can you be guaranteed to make a profit? Setting up a budget to include operating expenses, marketing costs, payroll, taxes and inventory can help you ensure that you start your business with enough cash to succeed.
What it’s good for: Knowing costs before you launch can help you work backwards to determine how much you need to sell to cover not only your expenses but also your profits.
- Profit & Loss Statement
Another essential financial statement, your profit and loss statement provides a snapshot of your business’ financial health. Typically, you would run your P&L monthly, quarterly or annually, depending on your needs. If you have investors, they may want a quarterly check-in.
What it’s good for: Over time you will be able to compare profitability and look for trends that will help you make strategic decisions for growth.
- Startup Expenses
Many business owners have no clue how much it costs to start a business, but having a document outlining your startup expenses can remedy that. This document will require a bit of research, as you’ll need to find out costs for everything from equipment and inventory to remodeling services and real estate.
What it’s good for: Having your costs laid out for you up front will help you see where you can find alternatives to save money. For example, you might elect to buy used equipment to cut down on that category of expenses.
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- Break-Even Analysis
While you can’t guarantee profit in your first few months of operations, you can at least aim to break even on costs and revenues. Your break-even analysis will help you by providing several scenarios and understanding which will keep you in the black.
What it’s good for: If you’d like to explore options like taking funding or hiring an employee, this analysis will give you the hard data to see if it’s a smart financial move.
- Opening Day Balance Sheet
You’ve got a clean slate the day you launch your business, so start off on the right foot by setting up your opening day balance sheet. This will provide you with a baseline to measure against as your liabilities, assets and equity fluctuate.
What it’s good for: Keeping up with your balance sheet from day one will make it easier once you bring an accountant on to manage your finances.
- Cash Flow Worksheet
Understanding how cash flows in and out of your business will help you better plan financial activities. The cash flow worksheet provides valuable information on the money coming into your company through sales and exiting through expenses.
What it’s good for: Finding an imbalance in the cash coming in and going out can help you determine when you might need to consider a working capital loan to keep it flowing.
- Personal Financial Statement
If you plan to apply for a business loan, you will be asked to provide a personal financial statement. This document outlines your personal assets and cash on hand because you personally will be the guarantor of your loan.
What it’s good for: This document is valuable for proving your ability to repay a loan and how safe an investment you are.
- Income Statement
If you need to prove profitability over a specific timeframe, an income statement can help. This document provides a summary of your revenues and costs, as well as net profit or loss.
What it’s good for: Investors want to see how viable your company is as an investment, and this document goes a long way in proving your worth.
- Depreciation Schedule
When you have assets (like equipment) that depreciate over time, you need to understand how depreciation expenses affect your taxes. Using a depreciation schedule, you can easily calculate the value of your asset and write off the cost of purchasing the item over time.
What it’s good for: Buying new equipment can be costly, but if you know that you can write off the depreciation value over time, the expense may be justified.
What other financial documents have you found you needed in running your business? Share your answer with us in the comment section below.