Running a business is a super-human feat of driving revenue, keeping customers and clients happy, managing and motivating your team (and suppliers) whilst all of the time keeping an eye on the bottom line.
With a myriad of tech stacks now available to business owners covering every aspect of the business there is a very real risk that even for the super-human founder they will be engulfed by the tidal wave of data.
Data is not, of course, just about numbers. It is about leadership, using it to help inform the decisions you need to make. Flash reports might just be the superpower a busy founder or managing director needs to help you make the right decisions at the right time.
Business owners will be familiar with the management reporting that your accountant or account teams provide. They provide a snapshot of the business that week or month, with turnover, cash in the bank, debtors and creditors all at your fingertips.
The information management reports provide is invaluable. Yet flash reports, take this one step further.
Typically, a flash report will focus on three areas:
- Information typically drawn from management reports including turnover, cash flow, debtors and creditors, plus sales pipeline.
- This should bridge financial performance with operations and may include sales growth, salaries, overtime, utilisation rates, and sales growth.
- Here, your flash report will cover gross and operating profit margins across key teams, divisions and the entire business.
It is often helpful for flash reports to include comparative data from the previous year or quarter.
There is no set template for flash reports – they will vary from business to business. A hospitality business may want to include data on restaurant covers or accommodation occupancy rates, whereas a growing tech company will want to keep a close eye on cash flow and staff utilisation.
But what they do have in common is that they are designed to be quick and easy to read – and that means typically less than 30 minutes.
That 30-minute rule should apply also to how long they take to prepare – if they become too burdensome they are likely to slip down the priority list.
Hillier Hopkins can help you and your business understand the management reports you need and the flash report that support you and your growing business.