The next illustration shows the actual results recorded in that portion of the profit and loss, after the end of March. The actual results mean little without comparison with the original profit and loss table, shown previously. Unfortunately, many businesses also forget to compare the original plan to the actual results. Especially if business is going well — the operation shows a profit, and cash flow is satisfactory — comparisons with the original budget are made poorly or not at all.

The table shows actual results. Note how actual sales, costs, and expenses are different from the planned numbers. This is a portion of the full table.

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.