Reports should be designed to encourage action to take place, on a timely basis, in the right direction. They need to:
- be a combination of daily/weekly/monthly reporting
- be prompt – within 3 working days is better practice from month-end, next day for daily reports
- be planned so they are structured with the reader’s decision in mind (especially written reports)
- utilise business writing best practice such as the guidelines in Mary Munter’s “Guide to Managerial Communication: Effective Business Writing and Speaking”
- report meaningful numbers. Is it necessary to report Sales of $23,456,327? Surely $23.5 million is much easier to read and relate to.
- follow the guidelines of Stephen Few, an expert on data visualization
- be consistent – between months, judgement calls, maintain format
- be presented in a true and fair view
- be error free (no inconsistent numbers, no grammar or punctuation errors)
- be concise – be a merging of numbers, graphs and comments on the one page
All of these toolkits will guarantee you improvements if implemented.