After you create a Financial Manager database using information from your accounting files and Outlook contacts, you can evaluate the data using the Report Wizard and Chart Wizard commands on the Financial Manager menu. (The Report and Chart buttons on the Financial Manager worksheet start the same wizards.) Using the Report Wizard, you can create a balance sheet, cash flow statement, ratios report, and other useful worksheets. Using the Chart Wizard, you can create graphical versions of the most common reports— the perfect embellishment for a shareholder's meeting or annual report.
The Report Wizard creates a workbook that contains summary information that you can use to assess the financial health of your business at different times. You can create the following reports using Financial Manager:
The Report Wizard requires a Financial Manager database containing appropriate information from accounting data files on your system. To create such a database, run the New Database Wizard (described earlier).
The following steps show you how to create a Cash Flow Report, a typical financial-analysis tool that many small businesses use to track income and expenses:
Financial Manager creates the report in Excel, which lists the net cash flow for your business from operations, investments, and financing activities over the time period you requested. This type of cash flow report is quite valuable— it quickly points out any hidden cash flow problems in your business and also gives you a solid idea of net income during the given time period. Note that negative values in the report are shown in red, and changes in what-if scenarios are shown in light blue.
Recalculating the Report
If the Date box in your report mentions that your cash flow report is now out of date, choose Recalculate Reports from the Financial Manager menu to update the report with the most recent information in your database.
The Chart Wizard gives you the opportunity to see important developments in your business graphically. You can create the following charts using the Financial Manager Chart Wizard:
The following steps show you how to create a Cash Flow Trend chart using the Chart Wizard. You can quickly determine your company's short-term financial health by creating a clear line chart that shows trend lines for important cash flow activities.
The Chart Wizard requires a Financial Manager database containing appropriate information from accounting data files on your system. To create such a database, run the New Database Wizard (described earlier).
The Chart Wizard lists the types of cash flow activities that you can add to your cash flow chart. These include Operations, Investing, Financing, and you can also create a Cumulative chart showing all three trends together.
Excel builds the cash flow chart in the manner you specified and presents a line graph showing cash flow in monthly increments (computed in dollars). You'll find that positive or negative cash flow values are dramatically apparent in this chart, as well as general trends in your cash inflow and outflow. Note that lines moving upward (to the right) indicate positive trends in cash flow, and lines moving downward (to the left) indicate negative trends in cash flow. (Look out for these!)
By using a combination of Financial Manager reports and charts, you can quickly spot trends in your accounting data that might have been difficult to spot otherwise. In addition, the order and polish of these documents makes them quite handy for the materials a small business owner often needs to produce, including quarterly status reports, loan applications, slides for shareholder's meetings, and formal annual reports.