What Is a Management Report?

Keeping an eye on the management’s progress has never been this easy with the help of management reports. Managers use this type of report in gathering relevant and crucial data from the different business aspects, in keeping track of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and in comprehensively presenting these data.

Additionally, management reports are essential tools that managers of various company departments can benefit from as it enables them to report outcomes, problems, and risks of a business comprehensively. And because of that, its audience, which comprises of executives and company leaders, can determine the right path and decisions to take for the business to survive the cutthroat industry it belongs in.

Used mainly for internal purposes, this type of report is specially made to help the management monitor and keep a close eye on the performance of a company’s operations. Management reports can be quite tedious to make. Fortunately, you don’t have to come up with one on a daily or weekly basis since this can only be made for a specific schedule such as monthly, quarterly, or annually. Other than managers, directors, and analysts share the responsibility of preparing and presenting this type of report.

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Why Do We Need Management Reports?

Without the existence of management reports, managers will have difficulty in running smooth business operations. That is why if why a company wants effective management, having a management reporting system is something that should take in place in every organization. With this type of report, you gain a detail report of what drives and slows your business performance down.

In management, reporting plays a crucial role in the performance of the company. Reports provide an avenue where people can carry out performance assessments, determine both successes and lapses, make data-driven decisions, and set future benchmarks and call-to-actions. With reports, no management would have to guess where it stands since a management report can already cover this knowledge.

With management reports, you can not only check-up on the performance of an organization, but you can also keep track of the performance of the employees of that organization. If you have difficulty with the operational efficiency of your employees, a management report can help you pinpoint what these challenges are and determine the possible solutions that improve it. And as soon as it progresses, a management report can support in maintaining such efficiency.

Once you can come up and present a well-prepared management report, it paves the way for enhanced decision-making processes, effective management, active issue correspondence, and efficient organizational services.

Basic Elements of an Effective Management Report

A management report, like any other type of report, can only be effective if it contains the necessary key elements that make it so. To help you out, below are some of the key elements that you should always incorporate in this type of report

Statements of Vision, Mission, and Goals: At the very start of your report, introduce your audience to your statements of vision, missions, and goals. These statements outline what your organization is all about and what its strategies are. Also, during your reporting, you may come across different groups from the various departments of your company who have no idea about these statements. But by making sure you include the statements that encapsulate your entire organization’s purpose, you will have no problem in letting them catch on.Charts and Other Graphic Representation: With all the numbers and other types of data that you would generate, you can’t let others read it as it is or else it will be deemed pointless that you made a management report in the first place. This is when the role of charts and other appropriate graphic representation comes in as it translates your data into something easy to digest and comprehend. Other than that, it also makes your entire report look presentable if it already contains graphic representations that balance the amount of text and numbers.Project Overviews: As much as you want to create a detailed report, do not go to the extremes, and provide an overview. Company leaders don’t have the time to know every single status report of your current projects―save these discussions during your team’s regular meetings. If you break down the details of your report into easy-to-grasp chunks that consist of vital information, it enables executives to make valid interpretations and come up with well-thought-out decisions out of it.Action Items Area: While you cannot conceive this right before the presentation of your management report, this element is crucial during the actual report. Keep in mind that you schedule management reporting for reviewing performance and responding to a call-to-action derived from it. By providing an area where you can list down action items, you have an efficient way of tracking down all the recommendations made by the executives and other management team leads. The next time you are required to present a management report, you can confidently include in your report that you responded to the call-to-action, and you can also do reviews out of it. Organized Structure: If you find it challenging to organize the data and facts in your management report, follow a standard structure that makes it easier for you to layout the details. Start with the executive summary. This section gives your audience an idea about the contents of your report. Next is the introduction, which provides the context of your report, followed by the body, when you need further analysis, discussions, supporting graphics and figures, and recommendations. Last but not least, put the conclusion. This section briefly and summarizes the entire elements discussed in the report without introducing new ideas.

How Do You Create Management Reports?

It takes a lot of work to prepare and present management reports. Even if you are bound to experience its tedious processes, know that in the end, it’s going to be worth it since your report can contribute so much to the data-driven decisions of your leaders.

Below, we explore some guidelines that you can follow to carry out effective management report writing.

1. Invest in Tools to Optimize Report Completion

Management reports are generally substantial on data, but what if your company is yet to adopt modern systems that make description completion easy? Management reports will not only lose their quality and reliability, but managers will also lose their credibility in the long run.

Medium reports a survey which revealed that only 22% of its respondents from different business organizations have adapted to the use of a Project Management software. This could only mean that 78% who are yet to adapt are still experiencing challenges when it comes to gathering reports, and they still do it manually.

The advancements in gathering and managing report data are something that every business organization should invest in. The use of Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint simply doesn’t cut it these days since it can barely help any management in acquiring real-time data from KPIs. The same survey reported in Medium shows that 55% of its respondents coming from many organizations have no idea of its real-time KPI. 

2. Know What You Should Only Monitor

When gathering data for your management report, there is always the possibility that you will encounter various data that you want to include in your report. This will only confuse the audience and, worse comes to worst, they will even ask you to rework and make revisions. So before you get your management report jampacked with unnecessary details, you need to know first the details that you want to keep track of in your report. No matter how you perceive a particular data as necessary, most of the time, it’s not, and it’s only going to make your report lose its precision.

It’s like highlighting your notes, and you end up highlighting every single line on each page.

An elaborate management report is, therefore, something executives will appreciate, but, as you may already know, too much of everything can be harmful. When you finally write a report, just stick to do the data that you can consider as a critical ingredient to the recipe of your business’ success.

3. Translate Hard Data Through Visual Storytelling

Upon gathering data for your management report, you will most likely generate raw, hard data. Instead of merely presenting it to your target audience raw and as it is, why not translate it into something understandable by everyone? If you consider this, try out visual storytelling. When doing visual storytelling, you do two things: come up with a clear narrative and back it up with data visualization tools such as charts and figures. Create a perfect balance between written content and graphics to create an informative and persuasive presentation.

For instance, should you want to compare the sales during the first quarter of the year to the sales of the last quarter of the previous year, you can create a line chart that will show its differences, know the trends, and make sense out of such data. With compelling storytelling, assertive decision making is a guarantee.

4. Observe Clarity in the Presentation of Your Report

Every management reporting should make clear as to its primary objective. When observing clarity in your report’s presentation, there are two things that you need to look into: the context and the design. It is a must that you observe a good balance between these two to ensure that your management report can be understood by everyone who reads it and can find it easy to make decisions out of its contents.

In making the context clear, see to it that you layout every single data, whether big or small, accordingly. Use the right terms and words in explaining figures. Ensure the numbers are accurate. Elaborate your report without sacrificing brevity and conciseness. Provide meaning and explain the relevance of whatever data you decide to include in your report. When it comes to design, follow basic design principles such as including negative space, selecting pleasing color schemes, using presentable font styles and colors, incorporating well-thought-out data visualization tools, and so on. Be careful with the design elements that you would include, as it could affect the entire presentation of your report.

5. Make Consistent Efforts to Improve

If you are a manager, expect that you will always find yourself making management reports as it is part of your job. That is why continuous efforts to improve your way of gathering data and presenting these into slick report presentations is something that should be expected of you. You can never go wrong if you decide to adapt to innovations for the sole reason that you want to keep on improving. Whatever type of management report you wish to create, be it status reports, analysis reports, or project management reports, your continuous efforts on improving will not be wasted.

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Do not stop trying; never stop learning.

Your desire to consistently improve will also manifest even in the simple act of proofreading and checking your work before its submission or presentation. Check whether there are grammatical mistakes and spelling errors. Verify the accuracy of the data. Asking someone for help within the management in checking your report is also beneficial since it allows you to view your output from a different perspective.