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Financial Reports vs. Operational Reports: Do You Know the Difference?

By Satish Patel

August 3, 2012 3 Comments

Critical to the success of any small to mid-sized business is financial stability. As a business owner, you should be able to discern which indicators determine financial stability and which indicators warn of financial challenges ahead. All of this information can be gathered from regular reviews of your financial and operational reports. Both contain key data and information that business owners need to know, but these reports serve different purposes.

Financial reports track how much money your business is making and how you are spending that money, as of a specific period in time. As a business owner, you obviously want to know this information. However, there are additional stakeholders or potential stakeholders that may need to know this information as well, such as investors or creditors. Examples of various financial reports are a balance sheet (which summarizes a company’s assets and liabilities), an income statement (which indicates how much profit a company generates), and a cash flow statement (which shows a company’s sources and uses of cash). Financial reports show historical data, but they provide insight into how a business spends its profits, whether they are reinvested into the business, and whether the company can sustain future growth.

Operational reports provide business intelligence on how efficiently a company performs. These reports allow companies to evaluate its current and future financial situation. With the correct systems and tools in place, operational data can be tracked real-time so that businesses are able to react and adjust their practices effectively. Business owners should review operational reports daily. These reports can vary by industry. Restaurants may need to track average time per table/meal, whereas hotels may need to track occupancy rates. Actions taken by business owners resulting from this garnered business intelligence can have an immediate, dramatic impact on productivity and ultimately profitability.

As a small or mid-sized business owner, keeping tabs on both your financial and operational reports will help you run your business more effectively. We are currently offering a free analysis of your business processes and accounting system, which could help you to better prepare and understand your financial and operational reports. If you would like to learn more on how Analytix Solutions can help move your business forward, please call me directly at 781.503.9002 or email me at [email protected].


Satish Patel, CPA
President, Analytix Solutions
Satish Patel, Founder-CEO of Analytix Solutions, has more than two decades of experience as a CPA. He has also advised small and mid-sized businesses on diverse matters such as valuation, accounting, and finance. His experience extends to raising capital and arranging for finance from angel investors.

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