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An excerpt from 'A brief guide on Company Accounts and how to use them'...
Having a good grasp about the money, your company’s money and how to plan and use it are fundamentals in building, developing and maintaining a successful business. I’ve met plenty of successful business people and entrepreneurs who don’t really understand what a balance sheet is, they haven’t conceptualised cash flow forecasting, they cannot measure their productivity and they rely on how much cash they have in the bank as an indicator of success. This does not mean they were not able to start and run a business, but it always limited their growth, caused stress and impacted their understanding of the company.
With this short guide I hope to give you a kick start on accounting and finance. Try and demystify some of the jargon and give you a better overall grasp on what the figures are that you are looking at, what you can do with them and how this will help you understand your company’s performance better. This is not a full guide, technical accounting manual or business degree so expect some generalisations, vague interpretations, and some light banter!
Let us get started with the one everyone gets – the Profit and Loss statement.
This is the one that when you look at the last set of numbers if they are positive you made money in that period (usually monthly, quarterly and annually) and if they are negative you lost some. Depending on your company there maybe numerous different sets of figures that we need to record in the P&L, but the fundamentals are still the same. Let us have a look at a basic one and we can discuss what each part means.