Companies use flash reports to communicate key performance indicators (KPI’s) and progress against business objectives on a recurring basis to upper management. The flash report is often given on a weekly basis, as the data and information is intended to fill the gaps between the more detailed monthly or quarterly business reports compiled by a company. The most effective flash reports include both performance updates as well as perspective, thus affording management insight into overall trends and the health of a person or team’s performance. Our customers build unique team or individual reporting experiences based on the template that best suits their business. Here are a few items to consider when creating your flash report template and structure.
Flash Report Template Basics
Flash reports are intended to provide management with a snapshot of company performance. Best practices templates call for two sections. The first section of the template calls for the use of questions aimed at soliciting important perspective, sometimes referred to as the “qualitative” element of a flash report. The purpose is this section of the template is to gain clarity on what has been accomplished, what is currently planned, and any areas of friction that need to be addressed.
Within the second half of the template, employees will update the KPIs, OKRs, or other objective results that are most important to their particular job or team. For example, a sales lead might report on the revenue forecast against quota, the number of demos set up, total revenue, etc. An accounting professional might report KPI’s such as cash balance, total accounts receivable, days to bill, and days payable. By pinning the desired data from each status report to your dashboard view, you will also be able to create a human powered, real-time flash report.
It is common to see the following functional areas within a business provide content for a comprehensive report: Sales, Accounting, Product Development, Marketing, and Human Resources.
Flash Report Content
An effective flash report offers a concise, easily-interpreted view of a company’s position, both financially and in the marketplace. To gain such a view, it’s important to look at key indicators across multiple departments. As mentioned above, you can easily pin KPI and other objectives results graphs to your dashboard, thus creating your own flash report template and real-time view. Here are some commonly utilized performance indicators, along with their related functional areas, that you should consider for your company’s flash report:
# of calls made
# of demos given
Gross profit margin
Operating profit margin
% days lost to sickness
Average staff retention
Applications to vacancies
Hours training per employee
Flash Report Frequency
Remember, flash reports are intended to represent snapshots in time that allow CEO’s, GM’s and business leaders to quickly gauge their company’s current condition. We recommend that flash reports be compiled as often as the company looks for employees to submit status reports. Why? Because as we mentioned above, every status report contains flash report content, and there’s no reason a company should burden the staff with duplicate effort. Hence, if your team communicates status on a weekly basis, just pull your flash report directly from the submitted data.
Flash Report Audience
Knowing your audience is critical for any report, particularly your flash reports. When you build your template and collect your content, keep in mind your audience and their particular needs. If you’re creating flash reports for the VP of Sales, make sure you collect all of the sales, account services, and marketing KPIs that most directly impact her business of acquiring new customers. When you’re developing a flash report for a GM, CEO, or other executive who oversees multiple departments, it’s critical to address key metrics from every department in the company.
StatusPath helps companies set, track, and achieve goals and objectives through an integrated status reporting experience. Get your flash and status reports out of email, spreadsheets, presentation slides, and shared documents – and begin viewing your business like never before. Get started in just a few minutes.
Tell the team you’ll create flash reports from their status – it helps show the value of every status report.
Don’t be afraid to push for daily flash reports if you need them.
Flash reports are valuable tools for every department in your organization – and each department should roll up their reports to management.
Flash reports only communicate where you are today; status reports communicate where you are today, where you’re going tomorrow, and how you’re getting there.
Leverage StatusPath for a central, accessible location for all of your company’s data.