If you’ve worked in business at all, you know that reporting is a key component of running a successful company. The best reports provide a combination of high-level information and important details, so it’s imperative to maximize the available software and keep your clients happy. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect recipe for your reports.

Where to Start

Before beginning a report, decide its purpose. Is it purely informational? Are you planning to make recommendations based on the data presented? You’ll save time by deciding the goal of the report based on the audience. For example, if you’re reporting to a small business owner who doesn’t have a financial background, it may be better to lean more big picture rather than getting into the nitty-gritty numbers. However, the report should also provide enough information to satisfy any of the business’s employees and investors. If you’re crafting a financial report, it should at least include information such as cash flow statements, balance sheets and key performance indicators (KPIs).

As you think about your report, focus on clearly showcasing trends. A simple formula includes:

  • High-level financial health with graphs and/or charts.
  • Additional tables and numbers that support initial visuals.
  • A written report to explain findings.

Choosing Software

Creating impressive graphs and charts used to be quite the ordeal. However, most accounting software now offers basic visual reporting tools to streamline the process. If your software doesn’t have reporting, you can find applications to plug into the software rather than copying and pasting the needed information. Some options include:

Once you’ve discovered the software that works for you, you can create templates to reuse each reporting cycle. You can also use the template for other clients in similar industries.

In marketing, it’s no secret that visuals perform better. The same is true of visuals in a reporting context. You don’t need to be an artist to create these kinds of visuals, either. Clients will appreciate the visualization of their data in addition to the hard numbers. Graphics will allow them to more easily see business trends and help them ask the right questions while showcasing your value.

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