Most small business owners are quite eager to find avenues to help their enterprise grow into a thriving business. One key approach to help propel businesses forward is securing additional working capital, in order to get the business to the next level.
Usually, this means that the entrepreneur needs to go to a lending institution to get a small business loan. When meeting with a loan officer for this purpose, detailed business financial information will be required.
The most pertinent financial information that you will need to collect in preparation for applying for a small business loan are the basic financial reports that virtually all businesses of any size generate on a monthly or quarterly basis. These financial statements provide potential lenders with a profile of the financial situation of the business. They are also invaluable in providing the business owner with the management knowledge they need to strategically improve their ongoing business plan.
The most basic form of business financial information consists of a collection of financial statements and reports, which are prepared according to strict, standardized accounting principles. Since accounting practices and principles have long been standardized and accepted worldwide, virtually anyone with even a basic understanding can quickly understand the financial picture of a company that is painted by these basic reports.
The main reports that are generally part of a company's financial information are the following: the balance sheet, the cash flows statement, the profit and loss report, and the overall financial statements, which include highlights and summarize each of the other reports. While the financial statement provides a review, the individual reports go into specific detail for the period of time that the report covers. Many times, when monthly reports are generated there are also quarterly and yearly reports generated that help to provide insights into the overall, financial trend of the business.
The purpose of the balance sheet is to provide the details of all of the current assets of the business, all of the liabilities that the business is obligated to pay, and the resulting business equity. In order for this financial information to be most useful, it should separate the current assets and current liabilities from the listing of the long-term assets and the long-term liabilities.
The profit and loss part of financial information is the report that most commonly covers longer periods of time, usually per business quarter or year. These profit and loss statements often include comparison charts for the previous time period going back long enough to help to identify the important trends.
Without this comparison, it might be easy to assume a business is doing well simply because it is profitable, yet overlook the fact that it is less profitable than the previous year. These trends will be very important to the lenders as it gives them insights about the success of working capital management overall.
When preparing a statement of cash flows, it can be compiled by either using the indirect or the direct method. Generally, this kind of business financial information is better with more detail because the fuller the detail, the clearer the view of the business's financial situation. Most loan officers agree that for the purposes of obtaining financing, the more detailed the information the better because it shows that the business has nothing to hide.