Ways to Improve Your Business Reporting

Once you have established exactly what ‘success’ means within the business and what is most relevant when it comes to the future of the business, adapting both operational and tactical business procedures and strategies becomes a far more simple and focussed task.

Unfortunately corporate reports have a legacy of being far from the ideal mentioned above, in fact they are often chaotic and subject to being ill interpreted, providing a wealth of generic information rather than allowing the reader to decipher the valuable nuggets of information that serve to aid informed decision making when it comes to alterations in company processes and policies and the key drivers in business value.

Data is undoubtedly your most valuable asset within a business; customer data is an almost priceless commodity so failing to identify the key data that can be measured an improved upon is a critical issue within a business.

Identifying your weak areas or challenges and reporting on them will help you measure the progress that the business is making in areas other than profits. Effective reporting see a business experience over 30 per cent growth, as it becomes clear areas of the business that are failing and where energy and time need to be focussed.

Many staff who are required to report may feel reluctant to do so on poor results, but identifying this data will allow you to create a targeted strategy and improve ROI as well as providing you with the ability to present to potential investors or lenders should you wish to make a substantial purchase in the future.

So now you are accustomed to identifying the relevant data, the attention must now be focussed on where and how it is being recorded.

Customising software fields or creating new fields to allow you to clearly view the required detail. Many CRM solutions are easily manipulated to remove unwanted and irrelevant pre-loaded fields and instead, create the ones that give you the insights into your business intelligence that allow you to improve results.

Software that has the capability to analyse and report data that is both accurate and relevant will enable you to project and forecast with a foresight to create budgets and identify areas where improvement is needed and customer buying trends within the business.

“When it comes to management systems, one size most certainly does not fit all. If your business has complex processes or unique needs, there is not going to be an off the shelf product that does what you need”, explains Jade Winters at DMC Software, “Some of the bigger systems do offer flexibility and can be customised to reflect your business – tailoring is the key to obtaining value.”

The business intelligence dashboard within any software solution is by far one of the most important components of the software; dashboards provide the user with valuable real time visualized data, metrics and key performance indicators on a single screen so that the information can be grasped quickly and simply, reducing important decision making time and potentially increasing the level of productivity.

Therefore it is worth taking the time to fully understand the consolidated information that the dashboard screen supplies you with.

Many software solutions come with pre-defined reports, and as no 2 businesses are the same it is good practice to formulate your own personalised, intuitive reports and build these into your software. Reports will eliminate the clutter within the software, removing the risk to excessive data being misinterpreted.

When it comes to presenting your data, it needs to be in a form that it visually enabled and easily analysed. Senior figures within a business typically spend 80 per cent of their time gathering data and only 20 per cent analysing it, where effective extraction can turn these figures on their head, the data will still be required to be presented in a both powerful and simple manner.

Comparisons between current and historical data with a focus on both weak spots and trends will mean that opportunities can be clearly identified, giving the business a proactive competitive advantage.

Automating processes can drastically reduce the amount of time that a business spends gathering the essential data. The rate at which business software solutions evolve is enabling companies to automate and merge many of their business processes, such as gathering data and reporting it, enabling them to become more cost effective whilst operating is a less labour intensive manner.

Effective business reporting will provide valuable and focussed data to those who are responsible for making key business decisions, allowing them insights into consumer behaviour, improved company visibility as well as the critical opportunity to turn this data into actionable information and improving the overall efficiency of the business.