Small business owners often get so busy working on other things that they spend little or no time on accounting and financial management tasks.

That’s why building a monthly reporting package is such a helpful idea. Instead of running your business based on hunches or looking at your numbers “every once in a while,” you can create a set of key financial reports that tell you exactly how the business is performing, and then get them auto-delivered to your inbox every month.

That sounds great, but what reports should I have in my monthly package?

We’re glad you asked. The starting point will be your Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss (P&L). These are the two primary financial reports for any business, whether you’re Amazon or Dancing Turtle Yoga Studio, and they’ll be the meat-and-potatoes of your monthly reporting package.

From there, the basic idea is to add supporting reports that focus on specific accounts or key areas of the business you want to keep an eye on. If you use QBO like we do, here are a few of our favorite reports:

  • Accounts Receivable Aging Report: a summary of unpaid invoices/how much customers owe you

  • Accounts Payable Summary Report: a list of your unpaid bills and when they’re due

  • Sales by Customer Summary: an overview of all your customers and how much they’ve bought from you (it’s always interesting to see who your biggest customers are)

  • Sales by Product/Service Summary: shows your total sales for each product or service, including the percentage of sales (ditto, this is always fascinating info to look at)

  • Inventory Valuation Summary: an overview of your inventory quantities on hand and their total value (if you have an inventory-based business, you will become close friends with this report)

  • Expenses by Vendor Summary: if you want to know how much money you spent on Google Ads last month (which can be terrifying) or see a summary of all your expenses by vendor, this report will show you

  • Payroll Summary by Employee: a comprehensive report of wages and tax info, totaled by employee or period (if payroll is one of your biggest expenses, you should be looking at this report — or something similar — on a fairly regular basis)

If you’re just getting started, you can use the above ideas as a framework and then build your package out from there. It does take some trial and error to figure out which reports you want and how to customize them to fit your needs. But once you get a regular financial reporting package in place and work it into your routine, the scary job of "staying on top your numbers" will become a lot easier and less time-consuming.