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Personal Finance: The Quarterly Status Report (How)

in Status Report

Choose Your Tool Carefully

I have grown accustomed to using Microsoft Powerpoint for doing status reports, so I defaulted into using it to create my quarterly financial status report. It is an easy tool for me to use, and that is the main reason I use it.

Having said that, no one should get married to this tool as an information delivery mechanism, your quarterly status report could easily be done using a spreadsheet like Excel or in a Word document, or even just in a plain text file, don’t get hung up or intimidated by the information delivery mechanism that you use, just choose something that you feel comfortable with (that will allow you to pass information in a clear and concise way).

The Information Is The Message

I will repeat myself, the information that you are passing on is the most important thing here. You want to make sure your information is:

  • Concise: I could simply print out my entire Quicken chequing log and hand it to my spouse and tell her to read it, however, that is not what we are trying to do here. Hit the high points and get the information you are trying to pass on into a manageable and concise report.
  • Clear: what is the most important message you are trying to get across? If your credit card debt is out of control, you need to highlight that message and get it across to your spouse, family or to yourself.
  • Convenient: the report must be easy to read and understand, or your work is lost on the reader.
  • Not Condescending: you could use this report as an iron fist to point out flaws in the family financial plan, that might work, or it might get you a nice warm spot with the dog out on the back deck as well. Try to stick to passing information, and don’t add judgemental comments like, “Boy did you screw up here” in any part of the report.

You are trying to open lines of communication about a very sensitive topic to a lot of people: Personal Finance.

Tomorrow

  • I don’t know how to write reports, what should I be writing about? Let me give you a few ideas.

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