You're continuously implementing different strategies and hiring the best ever employees for your company's growth, but when it comes to tracking your data — *Crickets*.
In a survey, 49 percent of the respondents say that data helps them make better decisions, 16 percent say that it helps them take strategic initiatives, and 10 percent say it enables them to create better relations with their business partners and customers.
Clearly, data is important. But it only helps if you track it and keep a proper management report. And not doing so is only going to break your efforts and results.
This article walks you through understanding what management reporting is, why it is important, and how you can create a management report in 4 simple steps.
What is management reporting?
Management reporting is a process of making management reports that help managers document and track all the data so that the decision-makers can make accurate and data-driven decisions “easily.”
It usually tracks cash flow, budget, profit, wage-revenue ratio, employee productivity, etc.
Why is management reporting important?
- A management report gives you the appropriate metrics to understand the overview of the state and development of your company — helping you know your organization's position. You can use them to analyze which strategies are working in your favor and where you need to make some tweaks.
- Management reports enhance internal communication between employees, investors, clients, and customers and increase the visibility of various actions across different departments.
- Management reports also boost interdepartmental collaboration as a direct outcome of enhanced internal communication. People working together effectively toward a common objective can use management reporting discoveries to work together across departments on certain projects or initiatives, which will help them succeed in several crucial areas.
- Effective management reporting enhances productivity and decision-making, which promotes continuous business growth. The most substantial advantage of management reporting is that if you expand steadily over time, you will guarantee long-term success.
In short, the ultimate goals of management reporting are:
- Keep track of specific KPIs and performance measurements.
- Recognize the company's health and advise improvements.
- Decide benchmarks.
- Make sure that stakeholders, coworkers, and executives communicate better.
- Help in developing action plans and strategies.
- Regular performance tracking.
- Direct the company toward the next steps ensuring continuous business growth.
Types of management reports (plus examples)!
Considering the purpose, nature and volumes of the data, there are mainly eight types of management reports which are divided into four broad categories:
These reports help managers see the differences between actual performance and budgeted targets. It contains reports for both the short and the long term to sustain operational effectiveness. These reports are further divided into:
Control reports: It is created monthly, quarterly, and yearly to manage and control deviations. It also assists in locating bottlenecks and implementing fixes when necessary.
Example: Current control report and Summary control report.
Information reports: It contains more detailed information and analysis than control reports, as management uses these reports for policy formulation.
Financial reports are meant to show the financial position of the business, which shows the flow of financial resources over a period of time. This includes:
Static financial reports: This report demonstrates the position of assets, liabilities, and debts at a specific point in time.
Dynamic financial reports: This is used to summarize the change in the financial position.
Managers use these reports to compare data across time. Through visuals, it conveys a particular style of movement or trend.
This report comprises in-depth data analysis and comparisons with the planned goals. It is prepared horizontally across one or more businesses or departments.
3. Functional area
It includes the accountable individuals reporting for a specific action. An example would be a production report delivered by the production department manager.
A report created collaboratively by the managers of every department is known as a joint report.
Managers create these reports for internal management. It helps communicate information to all management levels and employees.
Example: Routine report, Special Report, and Levels of management.
These reports are created to provide essential information to external parties, such as shareholders and government authorities, to help them assess the financial position of the organization.
What makes a management report effective?
Here are the six best practices that make an effective management report:
1. Start with communicating your objectives
First thing first, make sure your report has clear objectives.
Why? You may ask.
It's because CEOs and decision-makers frequently find themselves buried in figures that offer little to no context or justification right away due to their busy schedules.
Goals are important, and mentioning them at the beginning will work like a reminder of the KPIs you are monitoring and the performance variables that need to be included in the report.
2. Always include key performance indicators (KPIs)
KPIs play a crucial role in management reporting. In addition to assisting in measuring the objectives and results of each department, these also provide a clear picture of how the company is running.
KPIs, in brief, indicate to managers what is working and what isn't — making it "mandatory" to add them to your management reports.
3. Make it visually appealing
You need to make your management report digestible so consider making it visually appealing. And by adding visuals, for example, screenshots, guides, video and charts, you can easily do this.
Pay special attention to visual hierarchy, in which the most crucial information is shown first, and don't forget to ensure that your report highlights important details immediately.
Apart from that, choose a font size and style that is simple to read, and consider using your brand colors to create a report that's not only visually appealing but also depicts your brand's identity.
4. Keep your report concise and to the point
Since the purpose of a management report is to explain complicated data in an easy way, you need to make them clear and concise.
Avoid using complicated words and jargon; consider writing as much text as possible in bullet points instead of long paragraphs.
This will help you create a more neat and scannable management report.
5. Focus on your audience
Your management report "should be" useful for your audience — be it C-suite professionals, managers, or other stakeholders.
Your management report should also include recommendations in addition to data and results to make it more valuable. Make sure every bit of information you include in the report adds value to the reader.
Apart from that, each segment or slide you add needs to have a goal corresponding to the audience's objectives, guiding the results away from data hypotheses and toward insightful conclusions.
Consider the roles and responsibilities of those the report is intended for, and make sure you are offering something useful to each of them.
6. Leverage storytelling
Stories are great for conveying your points and keeping your audience engaged, and you can use them in management reporting as well to explain your views and suggest improvements.
For example, you can compare past data to the most recent version to show managers how your team has improved or still has room for improvement.
How to build your own management reports?
Step 1. Create an action plan
Everything needs to be planned, so your management reports. To create an action plan, you must clearly state your goals and outline your objectives.
To do this, consider asking yourself:
- What is the report's "ultimate" goal?
- What data needs to be gathered?
- What audience are you writing for?
- How does it assist in making decisions?
Use these answers to move on to your next step.
Step 2. Follow an organized structure
Nobody wants to see a disorganized format, especially when it comes to a complex thing like a management report. So, decide on a set format where all information will be arranged logically.
Here's a step-by-step process to help you with it:
- Add a title: A title makes it easier to recognize the report's topic quickly. Therefore, despite the fact that it may seem unimportant, it is a crucial step that you must never skip. Make sure the title you add is understandable, concise, and able to convey the report's purpose. Avoid titles that are too long or complicated.
- Include a summary or overview: A summary, also known as an overview, is a brief description of a report that only includes the most important information so that readers can quickly skim it and understand the important objectives.
- Write the main body: You should present your findings, supporting information, statistics and other facts here. Also include visual components like charts, graphs, mental maps tables, etc., in this section to make the information visually appealing and easier to understand.
This can feel like a long and dragged-out process — take advantage of useful automation to build your reports, and add visual documentation like mind maps or step-by-step guides.
Scribe top tip: Scribe turns any process into visual instructions — fast. Just go through your workflow once and watch Scribe make visual magic. In seconds Scribe creates a step-by-step guide with text and annotated screenshots.
Combine Scribes with video, images and more with Scribe Pages to take your management reporting to the next level.
You can also add tables or columns to paint a comparison between the objectives and outcomes of your business, making it simpler for your readers to understand how the organization has been performing.
- Give a conclusion The conclusion is the part of your management report that deals with wrapping things up. It is solely based on the findings that have already been mentioned in the study. It should be founded on genuine information and data and should not contain any biased viewpoints.
Step 3. Use comprehensible language
People often believe a management report should be written in formal language and contain many complex words. But that's not the case.
Your readers have busy schedules, so you need to offer them a management report that's easy to read and understand.
So, use simple language and leverage the power of short, crisp, and easy sentences.
Step 4. Proofread
Before submitting your management report, make sure it is "error-free." Look for issues such as spelling and grammar mistakes, inconsistent data, and so on.
As you've gone through all the steps of creating your "go-to" management report, you can now make the conclusion about how long and tedious this process can be.
But, no matter what, you need to create one.
Take advantage of automation to pull your data and structure your reporting. And if you want to add some (dare we say, gorgeous) guides to your documentation? Opt for Scribe and Scribe Pages.
Scribe creates step-by-step instructions in seconds. Combine them with your other visuals and documentation in Scribe Pages to create powerful documentation that leaders will love.
Great documentation doesn’t have to take hours — join the hundreds of thousands of organizations saving their time with us. Here's how:
Wrapping up: it’s time to build better management reporting
Creating a management report is the "best" way to track your data and analyze your metrics to ensure your organization's growth, but this work takes a significant investment of time.
Choosing Scribe to help strengthen your management reports saves you time and gives you that sleek, visual edge. Click here to get started (for free)!