Management reporting is the lifeblood that feeds decision making within an organisation. It is as varied as it is important, ranging from basic daily sales reports, to complex project specific reporting. Given its wide application, it can often be the difference between average and high performers.
Unfortunately too many businesses get it wrong. The reasons for this tend to be a combination of legacy processes and systems, as well as a lack of focus on what the decision maker really needs. Below are a few simple tricks that can transform your organisation's management reporting:
1. Less is More
Many established businesses have literally thousands of reports, creating the perfect illustration for the term of paralysis by analysis. Having so many reports simply leaves the door open to conflicts in information, often leaving the users more confused than before they started. While every business is unique, most organisations share the same key measures of performance. As a rule of thumb, 5-10 on-going reports is all a business should need, with any ad-hoc requests satisfied through 'self-service' reporting.
2. KISS It
The less is more principle also applies within each report that is produced. Decision makers are inherently time-poor and use management reports to get immediate feedback on the key drivers within a business. The human brain can process attributes like size, colour, movement and patterns within 250 milliseconds, so use these visual cues to effectively communicate your message. When creating graphs, don't complicate the story by including needless gridlines, axis and data tables. Instead simply ask yourself, "will adding this element more effectively communicate my message"? If the answer is no, don't tick the box!
3. Stay Mobile
Good decision makers don't make decisions from behind a desk, meaning reports that require large screens or access to local servers are often useless. It's now really simple to take your old, locally based reports and upload them to the cloud. Improvements in technology also mean that this reporting can be access through the devices commonly used whilst on the go, such as phone and tablets. This means decision makers can have the information they need, when they need it.
Get Started Today!
The hardest part is getting started, so don't try to boil the ocean. Focus on a couple of reports that are no longer adding value to its users and apply the principles above.
At Upside Business Consulting, we specialise in helping businesses to become high-performers and we recognise the importance management reporting plays in this. Check out our Advanced Analytics solutions and contact us today to find out how we can transform your business.