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TITLE: You're doing reporting wrong (and how to do it right)

When it comes to business reporting, a lot of companies tend to over or underestimate the amount of data they need to make informed decisions. Or they collect the wrong kind of information. Or they don’t do reporting at all.

Business reporting can be an effective and efficient way to guide shareholders and decision makers into where the company should innovate and improve. Additionally, effective business reporting can increase the profits and open up new avenues for innovation and expansion.

But you need to know how best to run and produce reports that can lead to real change for your company.

Here are a few reasons why your reporting isn’t as effective as it should be.

You’re not using enough parameters.

A good report doesn’t focus on one area; it takes multiple different parameters into account. When you’re generating reports, you need to expand your limits to take in every parameter available, or you risk leaving out a fundamental portion of your business. Generating a report on just how one part of your business is running isn’t going to give you an accurate idea of how your business is doing: it’s just going to give you an overview on one segment.

And while that may be enough for a while, in the long-run, it’s far more efficient to generate a report that takes your business in as a whole.

With a report that looks at the majority of your business, you can see if there are any problems cropping up that appear consistently. This could indicate that this part of your organisation needs a little more to go off of, and should definitely be your priority in the next few months.

Every department in a business is interconnected.

If one is struggling, sooner or later, all of them are going to struggle.

You’re not generating the right kind of information.

When you look at a business report, you need to have enough information to make a decision. What that looks like is dependent on your business.

However, while it’s important to gather as much information as you can, you also need to be sure that you’re collecting relevant information that you can work on.

Any information that you collect has to have a purpose. It has to be tied into an ultimate reason.

To expand. To change up your processes. To open up a new department.

Before you can get started with collecting information, you need to have an idea what you’re going to use the information for, and a question you want answered. Once you have that, you can figure out what kind of information you need to generate to answer your question.

You’re not changing your parameters as often as your business needs.

Your business needs an influx of up to date, easy to parse information.

Your business is also going to adapt.

If you’re changing your business to keep up with the times and innovate according to plan, you need to make sure you’re changing your parameters to match. Generating business reports using outdated information or parameters that were useful at the start of your business isn’t going to help you make effective business decisions; you’ll need to update your methods as soon as you change the way you operate.

When you fail to update your parameters, you’re just wasting your time. Reports that are based on old information might give you a little bit of knowledge about how your business is going, but you’ll need more than that in order to determine what your next steps should be.

You’re not testing regularly.

Regular reporting is your best business asset.

If you take all the above points into consideration and generate a detailed report per year, that’s already a big improvement – but to truly understand how your business is performing and where you should go next, you need to test regularly.

Needs can change far more often than yearly, and your business goals might move as you discover new ways of working or have to make an unprecedented adjustment to the way your business normally operates. To reap the best results from your reports, you need to test regularly, and after every change.

Even the slightest operational change could lead to massively different results, some of which can help you identify a future investment or opportunity for your business. Identifying these trends early enough can save you time and money in the long run, and prevent investment into the wrong direction.

What this means is that your business can run a lot better. With effective reporting that occurs regularly, you can keep an eye on your business and prevent any small issues from becoming a much bigger problem, invest in promising new situations, and see where the different possibilities for improvement are. It can also help you stay a little further ahead of your competitors.

Should you do the reporting yourself?

If you’re interested in doing your own research and generating your own reports, it’s important to invest in excellent reporting software that can take much of the complicated programming out of it for you. You should also invest in a team that can teach you how best to use the software so that you know exactly what you’re doing and how best to go about it.

Is effective business reporting important for my business?

Effective business reporting is important for all businesses, no matter how big or small. You need to know how your business is operating and in what areas you’re struggling, and while small companies have the benefit of not having as many resources to monitor, every company can benefit from reports that highlight the good, the bad, and the in-between.

If you’re struggling to figure out what business reporting software is good for you or how to go about starting to report on your business, we’re happy to help you figure it out. Drop us a line and let us know!

Need help? Get in touch






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