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A complete guide to interim reports

Ensuring that your company has the most up-to-date financial information at its fingertips can help give you a more in-depth insight into your performance. Interim reports are one of the best ways of doing this. But what is an interim report? Let's find out. Explore the meaning of interim reports, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of writing an interim report, right here.

What is an interim report?

An interim report, sometimes referred to as an interim statement, is a financial statement for a period shorter than one financial year. It can be prepared monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or on an ad hoc basis. Interim reports are used to provide an overview of the company's financial performance before the end of the financial reporting cycle. This helps increase communication between the public and the business while also providing investors with up-to-the-minute financial information.

What do you need to include when writing an interim report?

In most cases, you'll need to include the following components in your interim report:

  • Cash flow statement

  • Income statement

  • Balance sheet

It's also vital to include explanatory notes for the data that you've included. This may consist of notes on dividends, stock, regulatory complaints, and so on. Beyond these standard components, your business's interim report format depends on your intentions for the report. If you're writing an interim report for potential investors, you'll want to focus on cash flow, so omitting the balance sheet and focusing on the cash flow and income statements may be a good idea.

Furthermore, it's important to note that accounting standards, such as the international financial reporting standards (IFRS), have clear guidelines regarding what to include when you're producing an interim report. For example, the IASB suggests that businesses should follow the procedures they use for annual financial statements when making interim reports.

Does my company need to produce interim reports?

In the UK, the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules (DTRs) require listed entities to prepare financial reports on a semi-annual basis (i.e., interim reports). It's also important to note that the rules of AIM (a sub-market of the London Stock Exchange for smaller, less-developed businesses) stipulate that AIM companies should prepare semi-annual financial reports. For more specific guidance on what to include when you're writing your interim report, you can refer to the guidelines set out by the relevant regulatory body.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of writing an interim report?

Although interim reports may only be obligatory for certain companies, there are plenty of reasons why it may be a good idea to start preparing interim reports anyway. Put simply, interim reports give you an excellent insight into your business's financial performance and allow you to address any potential issues before they become too deep-rooted. It's also worth remembering that investors aren't likely to wait until the end of the financial year to decide how to allocate capital. Maintaining interim reports ensures that you're always able to offer a periodic snapshot of your firm's financial health.

However, there are a couple of limitations associated with interim reports that you should consider. Firstly, they can be misleading for seasonal businesses, as well as firms that incur a significant proportion of their operating expenses in a single period. Furthermore, it's worth remembering that composing an interim report is likely to be a time-consuming process. Finally, it's essential to consider the fact that interim reports – by definition – place a significant emphasis on short-term results. However, this may not be the best way to evaluate your company's financial performance.

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GoCardless (company registration number 07495895) is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2017, registration number 597190, for the provision of payment services. GoCardless SAS (23-25 Avenue Mac-Mahon, Paris, 75017, France), an affiliate of GoCardless Ltd (company registration number 834 422 180, R.C.S. PARIS), is authorised by the ACPR (French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority), Bank Code (CIB) 17118, for the provision of payment services.