Need a Profit & Loss Statement? Here’s How to Make One Quickly
Whether you’re applying for a business loan or simply wondering if your business is making any money, a profit and loss statement (usually abbreviated as a “P&L”) is a short document that will give you a quick snapshot of your business’s health.
But what is it? And where do you find such a document?
You create it, of course!
A P&L shows your business’s income and expenses over a certain defined period of time. You may want to see these numbers monthly, quarterly or annually, depending on why you need the P&L in the first place.
Here’s how to create a profit and loss statement the easy way.
- Keep spotless records. If you don’t have records of money coming into and going out of your business, a P&L statement will defeat you before you even begin. Hire a bookkeeper or use bookkeeping software like Quickbooks or Xero to ensure you have a good way to gather all the relevant financial numbers for your business.
- Pick your time period. Are you looking to find out what your company last year or last month? Pick a time period and stick to it! Everything else in the steps below will depend on the time period you chose.
- Calculate revenue. Revenue is the total amount of money your business brought in. How much did your business make in revenue during the time period you chose for your P&L?
- Calculate expenses. How much did your business spend on office supplies? Contractor labor? Advertising? Gather up every expense your business made during the P&L time period.
- Consider “other” expenses. Do you create or manufacture a product? Then you may have to consider cost of goods sold. Did you have any returns or refunds? Make sure to take these into account as part of your business bottom line.
- Find your profit number. Your profit is your revenue minus expenses. Lenders may ask you to break these numbers down into Gross Profit (Sales – Cost of Goods Sold) or Operating Profit (Gross Profit – all other expenses.) Or you may want to determine your Net Income, which is how much your business actually brings home even after taxes.
- Use software. Bookkeeping software like Quickbooks and Xero will generate a P&L for you. If you don’t have the time to run the numbers yourself, you can generate these reports with an app.
- Evaluate your numbers. Use each P&L you generate to keep track of your business’s financial health. Are you expenses higher than your income? Then your business may be in trouble. You should dig down into expenses to determine where you’re losing money. Do you consistently notice that your business does best in Q4? It may be time to focus on marketing and running ads in that quarter to capitalize on that momentum.
We all want our businesses to be profitable. Use a P&L to find trouble spots and evaluate your business’s financial health early and often!
Latest posts by Jennifer Dunn (see all)
- How to Increase Customer Satisfaction With Just a Hello - June 15, 2015
- Looking for a Business Loan and Buying a House at the Same Time? Here’s What to Do - June 8, 2015
- Are Credit Unions a Good Place to Find a Business Loan? - May 18, 2015
When This Entrepreneur Lost 100 Pounds, He Knew His Coconut Business Would Succeed
Meredith Wood / Sep 9, 201615
Looking for Success? Try One of The 5 Most Profitable Industries
Meredith Wood / Feb 10, 20166
Here’s What Donald Trump Has to Say About Small Business
Meredith Wood / Oct 14, 20165
Nervous About Selling on Amazon? Don't Worry. Here's How to Do It.
Meredith Wood / Aug 19, 20154
12 Reactions to Turning a Profit for the First Time
Meredith Wood / May 2, 20164