Open Source Startup: Investor Reports

Welcome to Chapter 5 of Open Source Startup: Investor Reports. For a table of contents, head over to the Introduction here

You've got investors and shareholders. Now you need to keep them in the loop and leverage them to grow your business. If you start with the simple premise that most investors simply don't have the time to read all your detailed information - then you're on the right track. Less is more.

Start by asking investors what information they'd like to receive and how often. If you don't get good guidelines, I've always found the following approach works well. And in the spirit of keeping this brief (which you should do) - this will be the shortest post in the Open Source Startup series.

Investor Reports should usually include:
  • Management Accounts
    • Aged Payables (who you owe money to)
    • Aged Receivables (who owes you money)
    • Balance Sheet
    • Cash flow Summary (preferably nicely categorised)
    • Profit and Loss (Monthly and/or Year to Date)
All of these can be easily generated by an accountant/bookkeeper out of a package like Xero. Don't skimp on good financial management, especially when you grow beyond the founders. It'll hurt you in the end. 

Finally, I use the simplest email template in the world to keep shareholders and investors in the loop. 
  • What's going well?
  • What's going badly?
  • What you can do to help.
That's it. One email with a few attachments. 

How often should you send it? Depends on the investors/shareholders. Some prefer monthly, but usually every 2-3 months should do. And always remember a great piece of advice I heard on the Jason Calacanis Podcast - when you get into trouble, communicate more, not less. 

Disclaimer: The information in these posts work for us. I cannot guarantee that it'll work for you. Consult the right professional to make sure.


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