April 3

Finance Business Partnering – Profit & Loss: Are P&Ls Still Your Main Reports?

“If you're providing reports that speak the language of your stakeholders, they are going to love you for it."

Are you as a finance business partner still giving your stakeholders a profit and loss as their main report? 

Please stop. 

Are financial statements, the profit and loss, the balance sheet, and the cash flow really the best reports you can give your stakeholders? 

I don't think so. As a finance business partner you can do better! 

The downside of Profit and Loss reports

Let's say sales are down 100K. That's all the profit and loss tells you. It doesn't tell you about what's driving that. 

Are we not selling enough products, full stop? Selling the wrong mix of products? Or are our margins not correct? 

Now what are the actual drivers, and what do we need to actually fix? Because if it just says sales are down 100K…  how do I actually fix that? 

Do I need more leads? Have enough resources to do enough appointments? Need more salespeople? Better products? 

Then what are the actual drivers of the variances? 

Why financial reports are not enough

Now, don't crucify me, I’m not saying get rid of them altogether, but that is why I would put the financial reports as an appendix to a dashboard-style report. 

Firstly, that's actually how I originally got into data visualization many years ago - it was part of a transformation project, and we were building a dashboard for the executive team. 

Previously, they had just been getting a profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow. 

A better alternative

So, we spoke to the executive team and we asked them what was important to them. 

We asked their direct reports: what's important to you? What are the drivers of it? 

Then we finally came up with a one-page, and that is where we put the drivers so that we could see what was important in the business.

Think about this: if you're providing reports that speak the language of your stakeholders, they are going to love you for it.  

So folks, what type of reports do you provide to your stakeholders? 

What type of reports do your stakeholders want?



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Finance Business Partner, p&l, reports


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