Financial Reporting Defined
Financial reporting involves the disclosure of financial information to management and the public (if the company is publicly traded) about how the company is performing over a specific period of time. Financial reports are usually issued on a quarterly and annual basis. This is different from management reporting, which is financial information that is disclosed to those inside the company to be used to make decisions within the company. Financial reports are included in a public company’s annual report.
Financial reporting serves two primary purposes. First, it helps management to engage in effective decision-making concerning the company’s objectives and overall strategies. The data disclosed in the reports can help management discern the strengths and weaknesses of the company, as well as its overall financial health. Second, financial reporting provides vital information about the financial health and activities of the company to its stakeholders including its shareholders, potential investors, consumers, and government regulators. It’s a means of ensuring that the company is being run appropriately.