Making Use of the Money Reports

By: Stephen L. Nelson, CPA

You begin to really tap Money's power when you use the information from the Money account registers to summarize and organize your personal or business financial affairs. And the principle way you perform this summarization and organization is through Money's reports and charts feature.

Money's reports and charts let you present the information you collect in a variety of helpful ways. You can then use this information to track your incoming expenses, your cash flow, monitor your net worth, and even use it for investment and small business record keeping--such as for a small corporation, S corporation or limited liability company. This short article explains how to do all of these things.

How do I start using Money's reports?

Money's reports and charts summarize and organize the information you collect using Money's account registers. For this reason, you can't use Money's reports and charts until you have collected some financial data. Ideally, you need to collect at least a month's worth of information. But it is even more valuable if you have collected
several months or even a year or two of financial data in these account registers.

The richer your data set, the more useful and interesting your charts and reports become.
An obvious but related point is this: The better the information set you collect using Money's account registers, the better your reports and charts become. Obviously, accuracy counts. For this reason you want to be careful about entering payee names, amounts, transaction dates, categories, and even memos.

You also want to enter as detailed a description of each transaction as you can and as is reasonable. For example, use income and expense categories when you record transactions,
use full and complete payee names, and you may even want to use good memo descriptions. As you work with Money's reports and charts, you are going to find that the richer, the better, the more detailed the data you collect, the more interesting ways you will have to summarize and organize your report data.

What kinds of reports does Money prepare?

Money prepares reports that fall into five distinct categories. If you take a look at Money's Pick A Report Or Chart window, you see that Money lists seven report options: Spending Habits, What I Have, What I Owe, Investments, Taxes, Monthly Reports, and My Favorites. The first five items in this list represent the five basic report categories Money provides.
The sixth report category, Monthly Reports, is a special summary of your financial affairs prepared at the end of each month. This category includes a variety of financial information, including data about your spending, your net worth, advice the Money program has provided over the month, investment profits, and potential financial problems. In essence, it represents an amalgamation of data from other report categories.
The seventh category, My Favorites, isn't really a reporting category. It simply lists
reports that you have identified as "favorites." You add reports to your My Favorites
list by first displaying the report and then choosing the Favorites menu's Add To
Favorites command.

A final note: Within each of the five main report categories, Money provides a series of reports.
Often, Money provides between a half a dozen and a dozen reports.

Using Money's Reports in a Small Corporation or Limited Liability Company

A final note for small businesses using Money as the basis of a small corporation's or small limited liability company's accounting system: While Money is designed to help an individual manage his or her personal finances, the checkbook-style accounting program also works for small, simple businesses--especially services businesses such as small professional partnerships and professional limited liability companies, small corporations, including S corporations, and so forth.

When you want to use Money's reports in a small business setting, know that what Money calls its Spending Reports and Monthly Reports are almost equivalent to a regular small business accounting system's profit and loss statements. Furthermore, know that what Money calls its What I Have and What I Owe reports supply the same information as a business balance sheet. In summary, Money uses non-standard naming for its reports (at least from the perspective of a corporation), but the information is available.

And let me end with a caution: What a program like Money doesn't handle well (at least in terms of small business accounting) is something like inventory. Accordingly, if your small business buys and sells inventory, you may find it difficult to get the reporting information you want from Money. You may want to look at stepping up to a more fully featured small business accounting system for business. Note that stepping up would be particularly attractive in the case where your business is operating as an S corporation or a limited liability company treated as a partnership for income tax purposes because the business's income and deduction data need to flow through to the owners' tax returns with clarity and accuracy.

Money Management
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Money Management
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles