Monthly Financial Reporting For Board Of Directors

Tammy Buchanan's Profile

Monthly Financial Reporting Template

Does anybody have any suggestions on how to present the monthly financials to the board without getting too much into details? Any thoughts on more analysis, variance explanations, etc. There is talk about using dashboards which seem to mostly graphs but do you think the board would appreciate that?


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Depending on the composition of the board I would suggest making it as visual as possible. The more numbers you put on the presentation the more likely they are to dismiss the information. That being said you should of course still have a table showing the main numbers.

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Tammy, you might be interested in these two free report here at Proformative:

"Transform Your Financial Reporting"

"From 4 Days to 4 Hours: How to Dramatically Streamline Your Board Reporting Process"

Best of luck... Sarah

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I agree with Anders. I like to use Y-T-D and trailing 12 months graphs and line charts.

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Present all the data needed in the summary form
Be ready to back it up with detail (if asked)
Focus on exceptions and important outliers vs. just business as usual
Provide appropriate context for interpreting the meaning of the data - important!
Present nothing that isn’t needed
Represent data accurately
Represent data in a way that is easy for the eyes to perceive and the brain to interpret (select the best display medium: column charts are useful for showing data changes over a period of time or for illustrating comparisons among items, histogram to show the frequency with which different values of a given
variable occur, etc.)

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I'm a big fan of the one pager- if done properly it can facilitate an entire discussion. So think of a landscape 8''11''

On the top left hand side of the page, I would present a summariezed income statement for the month that was with actual results vs budget and prior year. Include some key activity based indicators as well- such as chargable hours, sales pounds, production volume...

On the top right hand side of the page, I would prepare my forecast for the month to come using the same format and indicators. This faciltiated an outlook discussion that was in the present and forward looking. This would be compared against the budget view.

On the bottom left, I would present a summarized balance sheet. I'm a believer in the value of presenting the balance sheet. For the balance sheet, I would compare actuals against the end of the last fiscal year and instead of calculating a variance, the delta would represent your cash flow generation. This killed two birds with one stone.

On the bottom right I would include notes of significant variances on the prior month to explain the results.

The left hand side of the one pager was a rear view mirror and the right was a windshield. I presented this one pager to an executive committee of the board and it gave them enough insight to oversee the company and evaluate executive management.

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The financial reporting have different audiences and from this perspective should be create any report; who is my client? Then, the report should answer the question of the board: What KPIs are relevante to the board and what kind of dimensions (categories, levels, etc) should have the report?.

First of all, the company should define what they needs (or want) to make a following of the business. There are many Key Performance Indicators and the board should define wich are appropiate to their business.

Once you have that, you can make a dashboard and define a "drill down" levels appropiate to the audience so they can go for further informatión.

The dashboard should have some KPIs like (comparative better):
Business Revenue (totals and/or by business area)
Total Sales (same as before)
Domestic & external revenues
Average Price (by division or by business area or product family)
NET Profit
Total Assets... and so on..

You may found in the market several offers for dashboards of financial reports.

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I think using dashboards or graphs to show the information will help get their attention. Have the details behind them so they can always dig deeper if they want. But I have found the more data that is sent out, the less they look at. Think about the key areas that are important to them, important to the business, and you think need some focus and present them in a way that keeps their interest

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I agree with Anders. It depends on how financially savvy the board is as to what level of financial detail to provide. You can easily lose people with too much detail. Try presenting summary level information first and ask for feedback. You can use the feedback to add or subtract detail as needed for future meetings. Good luck!

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Great source for examples and best practices in presenting monthly financials

Graph Designs for Rapidly Assessing Budget Performance by Stephen Few:

Proformative Advisor
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You can just do cash flow, starting from your business' last busy season through the end of the next, graphics are better than numbers. If you have questions beyond that, drill down into your business' drivers, that is, what makes your money. As a board member, cash is where the action is. Wish you the best.

Proformative Advisor
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Unless your board requests monthly financials, stick with high level figures that are meaningful to them. What do they need to know? How the year will end, or only the past performance? Do they need cash flow? If they approved the budget they need to know how you are running compared to the target.
We present a YTD compared to budget/forecast and prior year as well as a fiscal year projection for the full year compared to budget/forecast and prior year. The board meets quarterly, however only once a year we present a long term plan of projections for at least three years.

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I would say you need to be concise but include of course the KPI's relevent to your business. A line by line P&L will contain too much detail - but key lines compared to your budget, and/or forecast will be necessary - Month, quarter and YTD. A comparison with prior year actuals can also be of interest.

Regarding KPI's you should focus on the "K". It's very easy to invent new KPI's but few of them may be key to running the business.

As Jim says, cash flow can be useful and more importantly, in my opinion, cash forecast figures - namely current cash status and evolution during the following 3 to 6 months. This is especially important if margins are tight, or if cash collections vary widely, quarter by quarter, following seasonal ups and downs.

Another key balance sheet indicator would be AR status and DSO figures - assuming you are not in a retail business where customers pay cash.

Whether you use graphics are just numbers is up to you. Some people prefer looking at graphs and some prefer numbers though graphs are obviously better at demonstrating trends.

in any case you will need to discuss whatever you intend to present with the CEO, in case he wants to present similar information. He/she might prefer to present high level numbers and let the finance chief go into more detail.

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We use waterfall charts (some people call it a walk or a bridge) that are fairly high level with more detailed financials in the appendix. We have had four or five different Boards of Directors and they immediately turn to them in our presentation book each month. The focus starts with explaining EBITDA variances and builds from there with commentary through the presentation.

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Understanding the background of your board members will influence your approach as well (sales, engineering, operations, finance have different attention spans). I agree with common theme's from other's comments - Make it visual, graphical, historical & foreward looking (comparative reference to LY, Bud, current forecast). Your challenge is what message YOU want to convey. Don't assume the audience can fully understand the info you present. Suggestion - if you do in ppt, put a text box at the top with key take-a-way points....this allow them to see, hear, and read your message. It will also help you keep on track with your theme message.

Topic Expert
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Most Board members have widely diverse backgrounds and very little time. So you want to keep your reports short and easy to browse.

Therefore, give them simple charts and small tables on one or two sheets of paper. If they want more detail, they can ask...which they seldom will.

Also, Board members tend to be more interested in long-term trends than in short-term changes. Therefore, charts of running year-over-year performance are always useful. (That is, show running trends for the most-recent 12 months over the prior 12 months.)

They also want to know WHERE and WHY performance is changing. So include charts or short tables that answer these key questions. (80-20 tables are often useful.)

Don't forget to give your CEO and CFO copies of your Board Report before the Board gets it. And give them plenty of time to ask questions and make changes.

From an Excel perspective, design your reports like this:

1. Set up one or more worksheet databases (Excel tables) with results by month.

2. Create one or more reports that return data from your tables. Typically, you'll use SUMIFS, SUMPRODUCT, INDEX-MATCH, AGGREGATE, SUM, and/or array formulas to return this data.

With this arrangement, you easily can give your senior managers updated copies of your Board Report every month, even if the Board doesn't meet. All you need to do is to update your Excel tables with data for the new month, change your report date, and print.

Finally, to the degree that you can add context to your company's performance, do so. To illustrate, if your industry or market is booming and your company isn't, the Board needs to know that. Primary sources for this type of data include...


Again, from an Excel perspective, you can add data from these sources to your Excel tables and then include the data in your reports just like you include your financial, headcount, and other internal data.

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As a board member of an Ontario Credit Union we are very concerned about bottom line results. I would recommend a summary IFRS-like presentation followed by a few metrics that would be of intere€st. We are all concerned about meeting DICO requirements so focus on those - like liquidity ratios.

Proformative Advisor
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One Board I worked with (PE portfolio company, so they reported back to their LPs) wanted Graphs, Tables, Financials and essentially an entire pitch deck.

Any graph/table had to have the key points highlighted in verbiage for those who don't like graphs and tables.

It took us 3 days each quarter to prepare....

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    Waterfall charts, also called bridges, are the main tool our board uses. We normally bridge EBITDA from prior year quarter/YTD to current year quarter/YTD. If there are large variances from budget we also bridge from budget to actual. We also normally bridge sales the same way. We only uses bridges to explain significant variances, so if we are right on budget and there are no surprises, we wouldn't look at a budget bridge.

    The visual nature of this is very helpful for the board.

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    One way to simplify the presentation is to use the appropriate number of significant digits. We are a hundred million dollar company and I am currently presenting everything in $millions. My reports tend to be summaries with about 30-50 numbers on a page. That might sound like a lot, but when you consider 8 lines of business, subtotals, budget-actual-variance, the count increases quickly.

    I focus more on the variance analyses, pointing out highlights better than budget, and concerns where we are worse than budget.

    Also, my Finance Committee sees a lot more detail than our board.

    Member's Profile

    Whether you present the data/FS in a chart or graph format, will be useless if the information is not what your board wants or requires. Having spent 34 plus years in the in the financial industry and working with various financial institutions, my focus was on what was reported in the Call Report to the FDIC or CNUA. Since you are with a highly regulated industry (financial), I would focus on certain metrics/KPIs that are relevant and important to the board and also viewed by regulators. You may want to take a look at the National Credit Union Administration website to get an idea on reports. Below is a link to a report you can obtain directly from the CNUA that may help you decide on how to present your F/S to the board and on KPIs/metrics.