Businesses and investors typically rely on quarterly reports and forecasts to assess the financial health of a company. While some may question the frequency and format of these standardized reports, everyone can agree that analyzing the big financial picture is essential for any business.

As a business owner, it’s important to find a method of reporting and analysis that works well for you, your team and your stakeholders. We asked a panel of Forbes Finance Council members how business owners can stay on top of their finances and ease the reporting process. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Start A Monthly Reporting Process

Too many things can happen in a quarter’s time, so I look at monthly reporting to see trends as they’re building. I believe this is the best way to forecast, too, since the data is fresh. Sometimes you want to make a slight tweak, and doing so before the end of the next quarter can be helpful. The more on top of the numbers you are, the better real-time pulse you have of your business. – Jared WeitzUnited Capital Source Inc.

2. Hire A Bookkeeper

Hiring a bookkeeper early on is important to make sure that your business stays on track. It gets very expensive to fix accounting irregularities and problems later. A competent and qualified financial professional can make sure that your business is also staying on track. Make sure you’re utilizing accounting software to ensure your books are in order. – Ben JenBen Jen Holdings SLLC

3. Get Granular With Your Reporting

Accounting software like Quickbooks and Xero has made it easier than ever for businesses to eliminate the drudgery of traditional bookkeeping and maintain accurate financials. Take advantage: Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) for your business and track them using these and other reporting tools. Small businesses require granular reporting (think monthly or even daily) to effectively manage cash flow and risk. – Ismael WrixenFE International

4. Systematize To Find Your Financial Story

Businesses must systematize the reporting process. Systematization is achieved through outsourcing to a competent financial authority or building an internal finance department capable of quantification, analyzation and prioritization. The goal is to have your financial reports provide you a story that is giving you a complete picture of your company’s past, present and future financial health. – Justin GoodbreadHeritage Investors

5. Track Every Department’s Numbers

Have weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual metrics. With most modern software suites it is very easy to pull numbers weekly, and having someone track things on a granular level makes it much easier to course correct quickly. And don’t just track finance. Every department’s numbers have an impact, so collect them all. – Marjorie AdamsFourlane

6. Choose The Right Software

Today, tools exist to help with the forecasting process. Anaplan, for instance, made a huge dent in simplifying the financial planning and analysis process with their software and solutions. You as a business owner need to think about driving the immediacy of your business. Focus on the predictability of key indicators, profit and loss, balance sheets, and cash flow for reporting. – Sal RehmetullahFattmerchant

7. Define Clear Metrics For Your Financial Dashboard

If you have a clear financial dashboard this will enable you to make better business decisions. This is a key element of being able to be more proactive with your business, rather than reactive, and to get ahead of your competition. Having a financial dashboard allows you to see what is really going on in your business and removes the guesswork. – Khurram ChohanTogether CFO

8. Categorize Expenses

Categorize your expenses. Determine your key categories and file your expenses as a regular course of daily business. This will help you evaluate the way the money is spent and stay financially disciplined. It will also make it easier to analyze monthly and quarterly reports, as you’ll have a better idea of your spending habits and can determine if you are overspending in certain categories. – Ben GoldQuickBridge Funding

9. Focus On The Forecast

The reporting process is becoming less important on the historical side. While it’s important to have a solid financial statement early in the month, a dynamic forecast is more important and is based on past performance. A great analogy is a windshield: Historically, you look back through the rear view mirror. With forecasting, you look forward, through the windshield. – Jody GrundenSummit CPA Group

10. Separate Financial Reporting From Managerial Reporting

Businesses need to draw a line between financial reporting—reporting to investors what has already happened—and managerial reporting, which is focused on leading indicators. External financial reporting should be implemented using as much automation as possible, while internally relevant management reports should focus on a few key performance indicators to assist in decision making. – Vlad RuszVlad Corp. USA

11. Bring In Outside Help

Good decisions begin with good information. You need a clear picture of your finance and key performance metrics in order to plan effectively. Consider hiring a virtual or fractional CFO to give you the visibility you need. Doing so will free up your time to focus on the numbers and running the business. – Jason Crowley, CFA, CFP, CDFADivorce Capital Planning

12. Remember That Size Matters

Business size correlates to business risk—often in an inverse way. The smaller the business, the more granular and more frequent your reporting and forecasting should be. For public companies, the quarterly cadence is fine, allowing for proper vetting of the information. For small, private firms, monthly reporting and analysis and weekly monitoring of cash are critical to managing risk. – Brian DaniellsSignature Analytics