We recently introduced a set of monthly management reports to several of my clients. The objective was to answer the question – what action should we take to improve? Results were summarized in the first page and it had a “talking points” section to highlight problems and issues that needed attention. Looking at this page alone was enough; the rest of the report provided details. In designing the reports with my team, we used visuals and tables that brought out trends, patterns and highlights. There was financial commentary which supplemented the reports. We were conscious that the report was being consumed by non-financial people and needed to be straightforward with no jargon.
This report was introduced to fill a void that we noticed in one of my client’s firm. It was tilting towards being sales oriented to the exclusion of operations and other ancillary functions. There was no forum to discuss other business needs and most meetings were to support sales and purchases, no matter what. From a financial management standpoint, bank lines were being taxed, fiscal discipline was slipping and I had to take action. In highlighting the overall functioning and health of the business, we were able to take a balanced approach.