Mazuma is now Vyde


Category: General Ledger


Financial reports can be an incredibly helpful tool for small businesses. They can help you determine how much money you can pay yourself each month. Or they can help you decide if it’s time to expand your business. As helpful as financial reports are, they can only help you if you understand how to read them.

Luckily, Ben Sutton, Vyde’s co-founder and CPA, took the time to explain how an income statement and balance sheet work. It’s not the same as getting a 5-year accounting degree, but it’s going to give you the knowledge to make smart business decisions. Watch the video below for a great in-depth example of how financial reports work or keep reading to learn more.

Financial Reports Start with a Bank Statement

One of the things we ask our clients to send us each month is his or her business’ bank statement. This is so that we can begin to build your profit and loss, or income statement, and balance sheet. We’ll go through the bank statement to look for expenses and income. Expenses can come from a variety of places such as:

  • Marketing costs
  • Supplies
  • Food & entertainment
  • Business equipment
  • Auto expenses
  • Loan payments
  • Owner distributions

Income is simply what money your business generates. Customer payments are the most common form of income.

Keep in mind that as we move on these expenses will be split between the profit and loss statement and balance sheet. This is where the accounting rules come in. An accountant can determine what pieces of information belong on a profit and loss statement and what belongs on a balance sheet.

What Does My Profit & Loss Statement Tell Me?

A profit and loss statement (P&L) shows the revenues, costs, and expenses for a certain time period. We like to provide our clients with a monthly or quarterly P&L statement.

The P&L is only going to show the exact income and expenses that your business had that month. Accounting rules tell us which expenses belong on the P&L and what belongs on the balance sheet.

First, you will count any income your business had. Customer payments, as we said before, count as income. One confusing point would be any loans that you have taken out during the month. It may seem like income because money is coming into your account, but it isn’t. A loan is a liability and doesn’t belong on a P&L

Before we move on to regular expenses, we’ll want to look for the cost of goods sold. Cost of goods sold is what you spend on items that are required to produce your business’ services or products. This isn’t a required section on a P&L, but it’s useful for management to see what they’re spending directly on their services.

Next, are the monthly business expenses. Expenses are any other purchases that you make for your business. These include food, entertainment costs, auto expenses, and marketing costs. Some of the other expenses we listed in the first section aren’t part of the P&L. For example, business equipment and owner’s distributions aren’t part of the P&L. They are part of the balance sheet.

Once you have determined the income, the cost of goods sold, and the expenses, you total that to determine if you have a net loss or a net gain for the month. The P&L isn’t going to tell you how much money you have left in the bank. It’s simply telling you if you spent more than you brought in that month.

What Can I Learn From a Balance Sheet?

A balance sheet gives a company a quick glimpse at its assets, liabilities, and equity. The balance sheet will be broken down into those three categories: assets, liabilities, and equity.

The assets section starts with how much cash your business has on hand. Then you list your physical assets. If you bought equipment for your business during the month, like a computer or other purchases generally over $2,500, they go in the fixed assets category. To determine your total assets, you add your cash with your fixed assets.

Next, we’re going to go through our liabilities. Liabilities refer to money that we owe and include business loans, credit cards, auto loans, and more. After we’ve determined your business’ liabilities, we can move onto equity.

Equity is usually the most complicated part of the balance sheet. In the equity section, you’ll enter your owner’s distribution, or what you paid yourself that month. You’ll also see your retained earnings. The retained earnings are calculated by either adding the month’s net income or subtracting the month’s net losses from the last month’s total retained earnings.

Finally, you’ll add your liabilities and equity together. If you’ve done everything correctly, it should add to the same amount as your assets. That’s why it’s called a balance sheet. Because your assets should always equal your liability and equity.

Why Do I Need to Understand My Financial Reports?

Before we address the conclusions you can draw from your financial reports, we want you to understand how the P&L differs from the balance sheets. The P&L shows a period of time. Whereas, the balance sheet shows a point in time. So, the P&L can show you what you made, or lost, in your business in one month, and the balance sheet shows you overall where your business is at the end of the month.

Lesson 1: Don’t Manage Your Business Off of the Cash Balance. Manage it Off of the P&L.  

Without looking at both the P&L and the balance sheet, you can’t make smart business decisions. If you just look at the balance sheet, you may see that your business still has money, so you may try to pay yourself more, or make a big purchase. However, if you see that your P&L shows a net loss for the month, you might hold off on those decisions. The two go hand in hand when it comes to making a decision. You have to look at both to get an idea of where your business is truly at.

Lesson 2: Don’t Estimate Your Tax Liability on Your Owner’s Distribution  

Your financial reports are also going to give you an idea of what you owe in taxes. The biggest misconception small business owners have is that they are taxed on whatever money they pull out of the business, the owner’s distribution we’ve talked about. However, this isn’t true. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) actually taxes you on your business’ net income. The IRS isn’t going to tax you unless you’ve made a profit on your business. In order to determine your net income, you’ll want to look at those income statements (the P&L) and determine if you had a net profit or loss. Once you know that, you can determine your tax liability.

I know the process can seem overwhelming at times, but analyzing both your P&L and balance sheet regularly can help you better manage and grow your business. If you are struggling to stay on top of your accounting and finances, reach out to our team at Vyde to see how we can help!



Accounting is one of those tasks that grow with your business. The bigger your business grows, the larger and more complicated accounting tasks become. Which means accounting mistakes are more prone to happen. You shouldn’t take managing a company’s finances lightly.

Many small business owners choose to tackle their own accounting and small business bookkeeping tasks and while some are able to pull it off, many are making costly accounting mistakes they don’t even know they are making.

Here are four common accounting mistakes to avoid in your small business:

Mixing business and personal finances

Mixing business and personal finances

While your business is still in its infant stage, it’s easy to use your personal bank account. Most new business owners use the same bank account and record keeping methods you’ve always used, without separating the two. However, this can be a costly mistake to small business owners. One of the first steps when starting a new business should be to open a new bank account. If you pay for business expenses out of pocket, keep your records for tax deductions and reimburse yourself. It’s the same idea as turning in receipts to your employer for a business expense. Try to keep your personal and business accounts as separate as possible.

Forgetting to record small transactions

Many small business owners don’t keep track of small expenses simply because they seem insignificant. Mailing a package, or purchasing file folders don’t seem like expenses you need to keep track of. However, it is essential that you track even the smallest of transactions, no matter how insignificant. Those small business-related purchases add up and after a while, you’ll rack up a decent amount of tax-deductible business expenses. If the IRS ever audits you, you’ll want to have records or each and every business expense. Not to mention, staying on top of the small transactions makes managing the larger business expenses that much easier.

Not setting a clear budget for each project

Failing to effectively budget even the smallest projects within your company can be a costly mistake. A project that isn’t properly budgeted can end up costing a company way more money than it should have. Simply because there is no clear plan going in. Set a budget for each project, convey that number to employees working on the project, and stick to it. Setting budgets for all projects keeps a business’ finances on track and cuts spending significantly.

Trying to manage all accounting in-house

When a business is first starting out, they have limited expenses which makes it easy to manage your own accounting. However, as your company grows, managing your own accounting could actually be costing your business money. While hiring an accountant will cost you more money each month, you’ll actually save money long-term. An accountant can help you free up your time and focus, find tax deductions you didn’t know about, and find errors that only an expert can spot. In fact, the IRS reported over $3 Billion in penalties and fees charged to business owners for mistakes in taxes and payroll in 2013.

Not setting a clear budget for each project

To speak with an accountant about saving your small business time and money, and avoiding these costly mistakes, contact Vyde today.

FAQs about Accounting Mistakes:

  1. Why is mixing business and personal finances a mistake?

    Combining finances can lead to confusion, hinder tax deductions, and complicate financial tracking. Separate accounts streamline record-keeping.

  2. Why should small transactions be recorded?

    Small expenses accumulate and impact financial records. Proper documentation ensures accurate tax reporting and facilitates financial management.

  3. Why is setting a clear budget for each project important?

    Clear project budgets prevent overspending, enhance cost control, and promote financial discipline. They ensure efficient resource allocation and project management.

  4. Is managing all accounting in-house advisable for growing businesses?

    While manageable initially, in-house accounting may lead to costly errors as businesses expand. Professional accountants offer expertise, uncover deductions, and mitigate IRS penalties.

  5. How can an accountant benefit small businesses?

    Accountants provide financial expertise, uncover tax-saving opportunities, and identify errors that could result in IRS penalties. Contact Vyde for professional assistance and long-term financial stability.

Accounting mistakes can be costly for small businesses. Make sure you avoid these four common accounting mistakes or hire an accountant to help you.