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Blog > How to Create a Management Report Designed for Success

How to Create a Management Report Designed for Success

Creating an effective management report helps a leader make better decisions for their business. Here are the key elements needed to produce the best reports.
Management Report for Success

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Every good leader needs a comprehensive management report, so what are the key elements that all leaders should include in their reports?

Organizations can use multiple measurements to track performance, but it’s critical that leaders use the measurements that will give them the best feedback on their progress towards their goals, so that they can make the best decisions moving forward.

It is important that these leaders present their measurements in a format that is both efficient and effective. If there is too much content, the reader of the report won’t be able to efficiently read and digest it. If there is too little content, the reader may not have enough information to make a decision based on the report.

Coming up with the right metrics to understand the progress, or lack thereof, along the way to your goals is crucial.

9 Key Elements of a Useful Management Report

1. Design

The design of the report is crucial to its success and leaders should ensure that they account for user input in creating it. As a leader, you should also make sure to offer your own specific input on the design of management reports. In your input, you should describe the KPIs you want to present to readers, and include a brief description of any variances and any recommendations you have for improvement.

2. Simplicity

Keep your report simple with unambiguous and clear language. If you use too much technical jargon, users who are unfamiliar with such language will find it inaccessible.

3. Brevity

When possible, keep the report to one page. Many people are only able to truly focus on a task for about 20 minutes at a time, so as you work to keep your readers engaged, remember that less is more.

4. Variances

In every report, you should clearly identify key variances from expected or desired results so that readers can focus on them quickly and ignore less relevant information.

By definition, every leader or manager should have a high ROI, so remember that you need to make the best use of their time.

5. Timing

To support future decision-making, it is important to appropriately time the frequency and cadence of your reporting.

For example, if your company has quarterly board meetings, you should aim to have the quarterly reports completed before the meetings. This cadence depends, of course, on the contents of a report and the timing of the decisions that will be based on it.

The reports also need to be delivered on time. Among readers, delays diminish the value and confidence in the contents of the report.

6. Accuracy

Needless to say, the reports need to be accurate. It is crucial that organizations check accuracy with the creator of the reports. Even one error can lead a manager to lose confidence in future management reports.

7. Flexibility

There are two types of management reporting. Both are important:

  1. Standardized Reports: Standardized Reports are the same each time and organizations deliver them at regularly scheduled times. Periodically, the producers of these reports should ask the users if they are actually using them.
  1. Custom Reports: Custom Reports are reports that management requests from subordinates to address specific and often atypical issues within an organization.

8. Cost/Benefit

Reports require valuable company time and other resources, so they may be costly to prepare. Ensure that your organization is actually using the reports as noted and that their creations are providing information that helps organizational leaders make important decisions.

9. Dashboards

Dashboards are a form of management reporting that include less detail and are almost exclusively focused on KPIs. Think of this as similar to a car dashboard. You have all the useful information you need with a quick glance. The Dashboard is especially useful if a user is very familiar with the measurements and doesn’t need the supporting data that reports may provide. Moreover, many dashboards allow users to adopt software suited for their specific circumstances and KPIs.

Should You Revise the Formula to Improve the Process?

Now that you have all the measurements that you need to make important decisions, it is time to decide whether or not you need to revise the plan, or perhaps other steps along the way toward the mission.

The key to revision is to look at what your measurements tell you. You might ask yourself: Are you on budget for your resources? Are you making the progress you had hoped to make?

If you discover that you aren’t making sufficient progress on your goals, it is time to revise the plan. Perhaps in looking at your measurements, you determine that your goals aren’t serving you. Perhaps your values aren’t serving you, or your principles aren’t aligned with the plan. Perhaps you have the wrong code of conduct, or you have changed and grown away from your former goals.

In conclusion, if you aren’t making the progress you desire, you need to make a change somewhere. If your management report has all nine of the elements listed above, you can easily use it to examine the changes you need to make.

The Bottom Line

Coming up with the right metrics to understand the progress, or lack thereof, along the way to your goals is crucial.

When you do this, you may discover that you are going the wrong way or even backward! It’s unlikely the first plan you come up with will be the one that takes you all the way to the finish line, so remember that making adjustments is all part of the process.

Remember to measure, improve the process, and execute. Repeat the cycle until you’ve met your goal. If you can learn to have an appreciation and enjoyment for this process, it will make it all the more worthwhile.

How are the management reports in your company? What do you think you could improve upon? Let us know in the comments!




Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as professional medical, psychological, legal, investment, financial, accounting, or tax advice. Arootah does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or suitability of its content for a particular purpose. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read in our newsletter, blog or anywhere else on our website.

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