With the end of March comes the end of the first quarter for most businesses both large and small. The end of the first quarter provides an opportunity for some evaluation of how things are going so far in the new fiscal year. First quarter reporting can also forecast your future months, so this is an important time to see if your business is on the right track and if not, how to resolve things.

A small business owner can evaluate her first quarter performance through financial reports generated by professional bookkeepers or QuickBooks Pros. A fiscal report generated by a professional ensures the most accurate data. According to the Intuit QuickBooks website, you as a small business owner will want your financial reports to include things like P&L statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements.

At the beginning of the year you should have established a financial plan to follow throughout the year. Now that the end of the first quarter is upon us you can see if you are sticking to those plans. If you do not set quarterly goals, only yearly, you should reconsider because this strategy provides a more timely and precise look at your business throughout the year.

When analyzing your financial reports, here are a few questions to consider:

1. Where do we stand compared to this time last year and years before (if in business for at least one year)?
– If things have improved, how was this done and how can we keep doing this?
– If things are worse, where did things go wrong and how do we make a correction?

2. Did we reach our quarterly goals?
– Did we even set quarterly goals?
– How were the goals accomplished?
– How can we adjust to reach next quarter’s goals and the goals for the rest of the year?

3. What is anticipated in the subsequent fiscal quarters?
– Set realistic, attainable goals both quarterly and yearly.

4. Where do we stand with loans and payments?

5. What are the results of our P&L Statement?

6. According to the cash flow statement, in what areas is money being spent?

Hopefully we’ll all be looking over glowing fiscal reports that show growth and potential. If not, consider the aforementioned questions and try to use them to improve things and once the next quarter (Q2) ends, get another fiscal report done to see if your adjustments were successful.