Many firms that do not have a formal obligation to prepare financial statements do not produce any accounting information voluntarily, either. However, as accounting information is generally believed to be useful for decision making, the reasons for this behaviour are unclear. In this paper we try to shed some light on this question and provide empirical evidence on the relationship between the use of financial reports and financial performance. In particular, we collected data on the use a sample of Catalan farmers made of the financial reports that were provided to them free by the European Farm Accountancy Data Network. We matched these observations with different financial indicators and found that the financial performance of farmers using the reports for decision-making purposes was significantly better than those who did not use the reports. These results suggest that financial reports can indeed be of use to managers. However, firms will only benefit if the expected gain in performance is sufficiently large to offset the costs of obtaining the reports. Although for the average farm the performance gain was probably sufficiently large to make accounting worthwhile, this was not the case for the smallest farms in our sample.