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Accounting Best Practices: Tracking KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

tracking KPIs

As a business owner, you’re constantly striving to make informed decisions that will drive your company’s success. But how can you know if you’re making the right choices? That’s where tracking KPIs, or key performance indicators, comes in. By selecting the right KPIs, setting targets, and monitoring your business’s progress, you can gain valuable insights into your business’s financial health and identify areas for improvement. 

Importance of Tracking KPIs

KPIs, or key performance indicators, are measurable values used to track the performance of a business or organization. KPIs are selected based on specific business goals and provide insight into how well a business is achieving those goals. They are used to help business owners understand where they stand concerning their objectives and identify areas that require improvement. 

If you think tracking KPIs is just another tedious task on your to-do list, think again. By tracking KPIs, particularly financial KPIs, you’ll gain valuable insights into the financial health of your business, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions that drive your business forward. 

Financial KPIs help business owners understand how their business is doing regarding profitability, liquidity, and cash flow. By tracking financial KPIs, you can quickly identify trends and patterns in your financial data and adjust your business strategies accordingly.

Identifying Relevant KPIs

Identifying relevant KPIs is the first step toward tracking the financial health of your business. It is essential to choose KPIs that are relevant to your business’s goals, industry, and size. Some common financial KPIs include revenue growth rate, gross profit margin, net profit margin, accounts receivable turnover, inventory turnover, return on investment (ROI) and cash flow. Business owners should identify the most critical KPIs for your business and focus on tracking them regularly. For example, a retail business might choose to track KPIs such as sales growth rate, inventory turnover, and gross margin percentage. Or a service-based business may focus on KPIs such as customer acquisition cost, customer retention rate, and average revenue per user. 

To identify relevant financial KPIs, start by defining business goals and objectives. This will help determine which KPIs are the most important to track. For instance, if your business goal is to increase profitability, then net profit margin, return on investment (ROI), and gross profit margin are essential KPIs to track. 

Business owners should also consider industry benchmarks when selecting relevant financial KPIs. Comparing your business’s financial performance against industry benchmarks can provide insights into your business’s financial health and help identify areas where you need to improve. 

Consulting with an accounting professional can help you identify the most important financial metrics to track and provide guidance on setting realistic targets for each KPI. 

Setting Targets

Once you identify relevant financial KPIs, it is essential to set specific targets. Targets are specific goals that measure your progress for each KPI. Targets should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) to ensure they effectively track progress. These targets should be based on your business’s historical performance, industry benchmarks, and future goals. 

To set targets, start by analyzing your business’s historical financial data and identifying trends. For example, if a business has seen consistent revenue growth of 5% in the past three years, they can set a target to achieve 7% growth in the next year. 

Business owners should also consider industry benchmarks and set targets that are in line with industry standards. For instance, if the industry average for net profit margin is 10%, a business owner can set a target to achieve a 12% net profit margin.

Finally, business owners should set challenging but achievable targets. For example, a business owner can set a target to increase website traffic by 50% in the next quarter by implementing a new marketing strategy. Setting realistic and challenging targets can help you stay motivated and focused on achieving your goals.

Monitoring Progress

Monitoring progress is the final step in tracking financial KPIs. Business owners should regularly review their financial data to track their progress toward their targets. This helps you identify any issues or areas that need improvement and make informed decisions to improve your financial health. To ensure that you are on track to meet your KPI targets, it is important to review your financial KPIs regularly – such as weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Regularly reviewing your KPIs allows you to identify any issues early on and take corrective action to stay on track.

One way to monitor progress is to regularly review your financial statements, which include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. These statements provide valuable insights into your business’s financial health and can help you identify trends and areas that need improvement.

Your income statement provides information about your revenue, expenses, and profitability. By regularly reviewing your income statement, you can identify trends in your revenue and expenses and take corrective action if necessary. Similarly, your balance sheet provides information about your assets, liabilities, and equity. By regularly reviewing your balance sheet, you can track your business’s financial position and make informed decisions about investments, debt, and equity financing. Finally, your cash flow statement provides information about your cash inflows and outflows. By regularly reviewing your cash flow statement, you can identify any cash flow issues and take corrective action to ensure your business has adequate cash flow to meet its obligations.

In addition to reviewing financial statements, it is also important to use financial analysis tools to track your financial data and identify trends. Financial analysis tools such as trend analysis, ratio analysis, and benchmarking can help you identify areas where you are performing well and areas where you need to improve.

Partners in Your Success

When it comes to accounting best practices, tracking KPIs is essential for business success. By identifying relevant KPIs, setting targets, and monitoring progress, you can gain valuable insights into your financial health and make informed decisions to improve your business performance. 

If you need help identifying and tracking financial KPIs for your business, contact us to schedule your free consultation.