Powered by MOMENTUM MEDIA
realestatebusiness logo

Breaking news and updates daily. Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Home of the REB Top 100 Agents
Breaking news and updates daily. Subscribe to our newsletter

Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.

4 financial reports you can’t do without

By Justin Steer
02 December 2014 | 1 minute read

Financial reporting is one of those tasks most of us loathe, but we know it's critical to sustaining a business. 

Advertisement
Advertisement

Running your real estate agency without the right financial tools is like walking in the dark. You can’t see where you’re heading and can’t foresee the obstacles that may crop up along the way. 

Although it’s tempting to leave the hard sums to your accountant, your agency will be in better shape if you fully understand the numbers. Delving in deep and building the right reports from scratch will also help you identify where you’re overspending, under-investing and leaking profit margin. But with so many reports, how do you know which are the must-haves?

Here are the four financial reports I believe are critical to running a successful agency:

1. Cash flow forecast

You’ve probably read again and again that a lack of working capital (cash flow) is the primary reason that small businesses fail. That’s because it’s true. Bad cash flow can bring down even the most active businesses. In the case of real estate, the endless wait for commission is a threat that looms large, if not predicted and managed properly.

A cash flow forecast is like keeping an eye on your bank account. Quite simply, it’s your best armour in the prevention of cash flow problems. Through cash flow forecasting, you’ll be in a position to identify droughts and take action before your last cash reserves dry up. A decent cash flow forecast will ideally project forward one quarter, giving you plenty of time to put in place measures.

The best way to forecast your future income and expenditure is to analyse your past property sales, supplier invoices, staff salaries, commission payments, marketing expenditure and rent over the past six months. Don’t forget, real estate is seasonal, so you need to take a big enough sample to take into account the peaks and troughs.

Also consider when you actually make certain payments. For example, your utility bill might be quarterly, but your salaries monthly. Get down as far as the specific day of the month you expect to make payments. How long do you generally wait for commission and other income? Worry about the big expenses and revenue items – then cover off things like petty cash. Finally, don’t overlook things like insurance, tax or compliance costs.

2. Profit and loss statement

Where the cash flow forecast deals with ‘cash’, a profit and loss account summarises the ‘transactions’ relating to that period. This is known as accrual accounting and will make adjustments for sales that have not yet resulted in any commission payment. Your profit and loss statement will therefore provide a more realistic picture of how your agency is performing. You might still be chasing commission, but you have made the sale, at least.

Let’s say your agency has had a cracking month and surpassed all previous sales records. Now imagine the very real scenario that your agency has not yet received any commission. Your cash flow forecast will show a very bleak month, because no cash has been received (other than cash you’ve received from previous sales, of course). However, your profit and loss will paint a very different picture!

A profit and loss is also a great way to keep track of your margins and your costs to ensure they aren’t diminishing your profits.

3. Aged debtors report

An aged debtors report will help you keep track of debtors who don’t pay on time, so you can take action in the form of regular reminders and investigation of invoice disputes.

In real estate, we can view aged debtors as commission. It’s good practice to keep a ‘commission payment report’ to help you keep on top of problematic commission payments and spot potential problems. This report can also help you forecast how long you typically wait for commission, which will feed back into your cash flow forecast.

4. Balance sheet

The balance sheet summarises your assets (what you own), liabilities (what you owe) and your net assets (how much you have invested at any one time). This report is crucial in providing a bird's-eye view of your agency’s performance.

All four reports will help you navigate through fear and uncertainty – and have you firing on all cylinders. You can't do without them.

4 financial reports you can’t do without
justinsteer 250x250 jun2017
lawyersweekly logo

Tags:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Justin Steer

Justin Steer

Justin Steer is CEO of both Commission Flow and Campaign Flow.

Both companies were founded with a vision to change the way Real Estate Agency Principals access the finance they need to grow, with an innovative, secure and flexible approach.

Justin has been an active participant in the real estate industry for nearly 25 years.  

In his spare time, Justin can usually be found swimming, cycling or running as he prepares for his next Ironman event.

Do you have an industry update?

top suburbs

12 month growth
Travancore
49.78%
Timboon
49.57%
Dolphin Point
49.51%
Nyah West
49.42%
Preston Beach
49.29%
Newington
48.97%
Killcare Heights
48.89%
Wundowie
48.77%
Homebush
48.44%
Glenside
48.28%
SEE AREA REPORTS ON SMART PROPERTY INVESTMENT WEBSITE
Subscribe to Newsletter

Ensure you never miss an issue of the Real Estate Business Bulletin.
Enter your email to receive the latest real estate advice and tools to help you sell.