5 Essential Business Reports to Keep Your Finger on the Pulse
“Data is what you need to do analytics. Information is what you need to do business.” – John Owen
We agree that information is critical in a business setting, but not just any information. We want accurate, current data that is factual and not based on opinion or trends.
Yes, we’re talking about reporting. How else can you improve the present, learn from the past, or forecast the future without this information? How can you identify irregularities or track progress without having all the facts?
Many SMEs, though, struggle with the issue of too much information. While big data is wonderful, it can also lead to overwhelm and dilution of its very purpose. With this in mind, we’re highlighting some of the essential business reports that should form the foundation of your decision-making and management, and one of the easiest ways to create the perfect reporting schedule.
What Are the Essentials of a Good Business Report?
Before we dive into these essential business reports, though, we feel it necessary to unpack what a good business report looks like.
A well-articulated business report will be easy to understand and simple to follow. On the other hand, a poorly crafted report will result in more questions than answers, and potentially, misunderstanding or misinformation.
Can you put a check next to each of the following statements?
- My reports have a clear title and a logical flow of information
- The information contained in this report is entirely factual
- My report clearly indicates dates and time periods
- My reports are timely and prompt
- Remarks or additional notes are included for time-sensitive information
- Visual reporting using graphs and charts make complex data easier to understand
- Data comparisons are accurate and meaningful
- The format of the report remains consistent
If you are certain that the format and readability of your reports are on par, then you’ve made your entire reporting procedure a whole lot simpler and side-stepped some potential difficulties. Nicely done!
What are the Five Main Business Reports Every Business Needs?
Now that we know the how, we need to take a closer look at the what. While the metrics that matter will vary from business to business, these five foundational reports are an excellent place to start.
1. Annual Report
Your annual report is a high-level overview of your business. It should highlight business wins and accomplishments over the past year while noting potential issues and threats. An annual report that shows a strong financial position is a great way to flex your business muscles and show your worth to both customers and partners.
2. Sales and Revenue
Sales and revenue reports are one of the most basic, yet essential types of business reports, as they simply list the number of sales during a given time period. Additionally, you can quickly determine your profit margin by comparing these numbers with your expenses and gain a useful overview of sales statistics and trends.
Inventory reports can (and should) be kept as simple as possible. Their purpose is to show at a glance how much stock you are holding and what exactly it is. There are, however, more detailed inventory reports available that will help you to understand how much it is costing you to carry the stock you have, and other key metrics.
You can use your marketing report to measure your advertising and marketing efforts and highlight what is working well. A comprehensive report can quickly show your ROI and where you may need to make adjustments.
5. Online Traffic and Social Media
Is your website working for you? Web traffic reports will pinpoint the pages and information that your customers are finding useful and are engaging with. If you’re making use of social media platforms, these too offer detailed reports on reach and engagement
The Data Dilemma
Yes, the theory is sound and the logic makes sense. The problem is that you have information in various formats on several platforms. This means that getting a report together entails chasing up various team members for their updated numbers, putting it all together so that it makes sense, and hoping that it’s accurate.
That sounds like an awful lot of work that very few employees would volunteer to do.
What you need is a system that does all the heavy lifting for you.
Omni Accounts Report Writer Solutions
We need to preface this section of our article with the confession that there will be a little bit of trumpet blowing.
We know the challenges of tackling daily, weekly and monthly reports, and we know how not fun they are. Understanding these pain points has helped us to create a state-of-the-art report writer that solves your problems before you know you have them.
Here are just a few of the host of available reports and tools that we have built into our systems to streamline processes and keep our customers happy:
- An easy drag & drop system to build your unique screens and export immediately
- Data grouping is a simple drag and drop function
- Set up your columns the way you like them by dragging and dropping
- Locate source documents with a click
- Import or export data from spreadsheets
- Click to sort columns
- Build your own relevant screen fields
- Daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly reports are all instantly available
- Choose from over 300 report options in the Omni library
- Create alerts that flag certain events as they happen
How many of these smart functions could you make use of in your business?
Reporting for Duty
“Many small businesses fail because of fundamental shortcomings in their business planning. It must be realistic and based on accurate, current information and educated projections for the future.” This comment made in an article unpacking business failure remains true in our troubled economic times.
Do you have all the information you need to grow your business? Or is report writing a long-winded chore that does not add much real-world value? Can you accurately assess where you’re going based on where you are now?
Future-proofing your business in today’s economy starts with integrating and automating your systems. Once you’ve chosen to partner with the right professionals, those essential business reports will become a useful and powerful product of a well-oiled machine.
We’d like to invite you to contact the Omni Accounts team and let us show you how to simplify the important things.