Stripe is a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes in part because of its robust data capabilities. Not only does it simplify your transactions with customers from all parts of the world, it allows you to gain a better understanding of those transactions within the larger context of your business. This is critical for getting a better sense of the overall health of your business.
For all the versatility and convenience Stripe provides digital merchants, there are some challenges. Knowing the differences between the available types of Stripe reports and how to customize them is an important part of leveraging the platform for maximum success.
This article will provide a brief overview of various types of Stripe reports, how you can customize them to provide more detailed information, and some general advice on managing them to improve insights into the health of your business.
Understanding the Different Stripe Reports
The Stripe platform offers plenty of data on its digital dashboard, which can be great for at-a-glance information or quick updates. But if you want a more substantial financial report from your account, you may want to export a report.
Although they can be customized to include different types of information, in terms of the format of your downloadable financial reports, Stripe generally has two broad categories: Balance report and payout reconciliation.
Stripe positions its balance report as similar to a bank statement. It displays an itemized list of the various transactions made from your account. The first step to downloading this report is using the controls on your dashboard to set a date range. You’ll also have the option to add customized columns, either using the main Stripe dashboard or with the API, for more advanced users. You’ll also see a Balance summary, which indicates your account’s starting and ending balance for the date range selected.
You can add more information to your Stripe report using the “available columns” feature. There are many different custom column options that you can add to help you better understand specific characteristics of your report. For example, if you wanted to understand how much of your business was coming from a certain part of the country, you might add the “shipping_address_state” column to your report. This identifies each transaction by the state to which the order was shipped.
Payout Reconciliation report
If your business frequently pays out from your Stripe account – often to a business bank account – it might be a better idea to go with a payout reconciliation report. This report is similar to the Balance report, as you’ll also want to set a date range for which you’d like the report to generate data to start the process. The payout reconciliation report allows you to match transactions that hit your bank account to the purchases and payouts on your Stripe account.
As is the case with balance reports, you can also add custom columns to represent particular data that you are interested in seeing. A few specific custom columns that are particularly useful for the payout reconciliation report category include:
- balance_transaction_id – this column customization allows you to add a unique identifier to any transaction, for a certain type of payout
- available_on – this column indicates when funds will be available in your Stripe account
- source_id – allows you to connect a transaction to a particular Stripe object
- subscription_id – a useful customization for understanding how much of your sales are derived from billing subscriptions connected to your Stripe account
Each of these custom columns can be applied in more specific reports, such as itemized reconciliation reports or ending balance reconciliation summaries. By choosing the right type of report and customizing it with the necessary attributes, you can increase the amount of control and insights you have into your Stripe reporting.
Integrating Stripe reports with other tools
Many ecommerce businesses rely on a stack of software to ensure their operation runs successfully. If you have other tools or programs that need to interface with accounting reports – such as QuickBooks or a similar suite of business tools – you may want to export reports directly into these systems.
Stripe has native integrations to export reports that are compatible with both QuickBooks and NetSuite, in addition to allowing users to download their financial reports as a normal .csv file. If you’re using QuickBooks, navigate to your Dashboard the same way you generate other reports. Make sure that QuickBooks is set up in your “Legacy exports settings” and you should be able to download an .iif file compatible with the system. Note that Stripe will create its own accounts in QuickBooks if they haven’t already been created by a previous export.
For greater customization and integration of Stripe reports, you can also use the API. However, customizing, creating and managing reports directly in the Stripe API does require some technical knowledge. If you are new to managing online accounting systems or Stripe in general, it might be difficult for you to confidently make use of this part of the platform.
How to use your Stripe reports
By now you should have at least a rudimentary understanding of Stripe reporting and how to customize it to get better clarity into the specific data you are looking for. For more in-depth tutorials on specific steps, check out the comprehensive Stripe Documentation.
However, understanding how to access, modify, and create reports in your Stripe account is only half the battle.
Here are a few tips on how to maximize the benefits of your Stripe-generated reports:
Something that happens one time could be an anomaly, but if you notice things happening frequently in your reports – such as purchases from a specific area or with a specific type of payment method – it’s worth making a note of. Analyze your daily, weekly and monthly reports by comparing them to one another so you can notice if anything sticks out.
Create knowledge redundancy
Imagine the situation: You (or an employee or contractor) are completely up to speed on working with Stripe, creating and storing reports, analyzing them, and troubleshooting any issues. Everything is running great…until you or the person responsible for handling your Stripe reporting has to go out of commission for an extended period of time. Maybe it’s an unexpected illness, a vacation, or simply a more important business matter that needs to be taken care of. In these situations, it’s important to have a contingency plan that can help ensure things run smoothly if your main resource for Stripe reporting isn’t available.
Connect reports to sales strategies
Knowing the trends reflected in your report as outlined above isn’t enough – you need to act on these patterns by updating your marketing and sales strategies. Noticing a lot of purchases from customers in California? Maybe create an email campaign talking about the specific benefits of what you offer in the Golden State. Are a lot of purchases coming through in the evenings? You might run a night-time flash sale.
Data is most valuable to your business when you can use it to take actionable steps that lead to increased sales or profit. By getting a better handle on your Stripe reporting, you can understand trends in your business that can lead you to growth.