Reporting is essential to gauging the health of your organization, determining where to take your business next, and what steps you can take to get there. However, many organizations are still using old reporting methods that do more to hinder progress than to enable it.
One Prophix study found that 79% of companies still use Excel for budgeting purposes. While Excel may have been the tried-and-true method of the past, there are new and advanced methods of reporting available to businesses today. Old reporting processes were a struggle both from a time and resource perspective. New reporting processes can give you a comprehensive view of your business.
The Benefits of Performance Reporting
This is where performance reporting comes in. Performance reporting looks at both financial and operational data, using these metrics to inform in-depth reporting outcomes. Where traditional reporting provided a snapshot of your business in a single instant (usually an outdated instant as these processes were slow and tedious), performance reporting gives you a broader and more comprehensive view of the state of your business. Instead of a single scene, you gain insight into an entire narrative.
Performance reporting can help you gauge performance in a few key areas:
- Financial Reporting – With performance reporting, you can craft detailed financial statements, including income and cash flow statements, balance sheets, and more.
- Management Reporting – How are the non-financial aspects of your organization performing? Management reporting can give you insight into the overall health of your business.
- Transaction Reporting – Gain detailed views of transactional data, allowing you to identify weaknesses and anomalies.
- Rolling Forecast – Forecasts are constantly being informed by changes in your financial data. With performance reporting capabilities, you can create rolling forecasts over different periods of time for more accurate budgeting and decision-making processes.
Are you struggling with reporting in your organization? If so, you may want to consider leaving old methods behind and taking a new approach.
How does performance reporting work? Using old data collection and reporting processes made it nearly impossible to have an entirely current report on business performance. Instead, as you manually gathered data, these numbers could have rapidly changed or been subject to human error during the collection process. Old methods weren’t reliable and were so time-consuming that you likely neglected other important aspects of your job. When data is coming from so many sources through manual collection, how can you ever get an accurate picture of your organizational performance?
Also, different data sets were rarely informed by each other. Data sets kept in silos couldn’t be used in unison to present an all-encompassing view of your business. It was also difficult to know the truth, as profit and loss data, budgeting data, operation data, and more were all isolated.
Performance reporting, enabled by an intuitive, industry-leading solution like Prophix, automatically integrates data from all the essential data sources, combining them into a single solution. These data sets constantly inform reports, so you not only have a view of your business from a financial perspective, but from an operational perspective, as well.
Other than simplifying the reporting process, why is performance reporting valuable? Let’s consider a few of the benefits of performance reporting.
Table of Contents
First and foremost, performance reporting can save valuable time – time that can be dedicated to other business needs. With ongoing performance reporting, you’re able to anticipate potential problems, identify the best courses of action, and avoid mistakes that could cost your business both time and money. Instead of cleaning up messes, you’re using your time on tasks that will have the greatest impact on your business.
Also, using a solution like Prophix for your performance reporting efforts will take your reporting process from possible months to mere days. Much of Prophix’s reporting capabilities are automated, meaning you benefit from in-depth reports, without investing the time to create them. You don’t have to manually collect data, since it’s integrated directly from the source, and you don’t have to spend time creating the report yourself.
Performance reporting, because it relies heavily on data from numerous sources beyond purely financial ones, promotes and requires collaboration. Looking at the entirety of your organization and using that data to make business decisions gives a voice and opportunity for input to a variety of stakeholders and decision makers.
In the past, a single report may have been shuffled around your organization, a report that was likely out of date by the time it was distributed. Now, a performance reporting solution acts as a single source for truth. All data is compiled into a single location, accessible on a digital platform for all interested parties to access. Collaboration is happening in real time, for a richer and improved experience.
Specific features offered by Prophix enhance collaboration, as well. Capabilities like row notes, cell comments, and expandable line-item details make explanation of specific metrics accessible for all. Instead of emailing questions back and forth, you can instantly explain and understand changes, decisions, and any of means of data alterations.
Increased Data Accuracy
Performance reporting, and a performance reporting solution like Prophix, can help you increase the accuracy of the metrics used to evaluate data. When data is collected from more than one source, it can be a challenge to preserve the integrity of the data, especially if it’s manually collected. Performance reporting with a top solution ensures data is integrated directly from the source metrics. This cuts out the middle step of manual collection, minimizing the potential for human error.
Prophix can also identify where a data discrepancy exists. This is beneficial from both a data accuracy and a time-savings perspective. You don’t have to track down errors yourself. Instead of searching, Prophix can point out the problem for you, which can be addressed.
Performance reporting gives you a competitive advantage. In highly competitive industries, you need to be able to adjust and adapt your operations rapidly to keep up with new developments. Performance reporting can pinpoint areas in which your organization needs to improve. Allowing you to identify these areas means that you can remedy any issues as quickly as possible, staying one step ahead of your competitors.
You have the ability to make the most profitable decisions for your business, sure to generate the greatest amount of revenue in the long run. For example, with ongoing performance reporting, you can gauge which departmental investments garner the greatest value. If you identify a pattern that customers in a specific industry tend to spend 10% more than customers in other industries, you now know to focus your efforts on this specific area.
How will a single decision impact your entire organization? With performance reporting measures, you can answer this question for decisions already made and predict the answer for decisions you may consider making in the future. Performance reporting increases accountability within your business, allowing you to see how specific actions impact results. While this can help you better understand how your business got to the point you’ve arrived at today, it can also help you identify the most profitable course of action for your future.
Improved Decision Making
Ultimately, when you have a comprehensive view of your business, you’re equipped to make better decisions. Performance reporting gives you insight into every aspect of your business, not just a snapshot of financial performance. Instead, you have a finger on the pulse of the entire organization, from every department to every decision made. With a better view of your business, you can make better decisions for your future.
The benefits of performance reporting are numerous, but they can generally be summed up into a single benefit: you will have a better understanding of your business. That is the most important outcome of performance reporting, and one that you’ll struggle to realize without the best performance reporting solution.
What You Need in a Performance Reporting Solution
Unfortunately, if you’re still using Excel for your reporting efforts, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to reap the benefits of performance reporting, without days, weeks, or even months of hard work. A solution with performance reporting capabilities can significantly cut down on the time required for reporting and empower your team to do more.
As you look for the right corporate performance management solution to enable accurate, intuitive performance reporting, you need to identify some features you need in a solution. The following features can help you improve data collection processes and leverage performance reporting insights for better business decisions.
Here are some features to look for in a performance reporting solution:
- Comprehensive Reporting – Be sure that the solution you choose allows you to structure reports around financial and non-financial data. You’ll never have a true and comprehensive view of your business if you’re only sticking to financial metrics. Instead, you need to be looking at the vital metrics from every department in your company.
Performance reporting is specifically designed to do just that. When you broaden your reporting scope, you have a better understanding of how every aspect of your company works together.
- Automation Features – Automated reports will be truly valuable in terms of saving you time and helping stakeholders to better understand key metrics. Look for a solution that can help you craft well-designed, visual reports. Once these reports are created, ensure the solution can automate the process in the future, in addition to automating the report distribution process, too.
- Stakeholder Engagement – Your stakeholders should have a role in the performance reporting process, too. With the right solution, they will be able to access on-demand reports and metrics that impact their daily work. Also, you should look for a performance reporting solution that provides each user with a customizable dashboard showing them applicable data. Stakeholder engagement will increase when they don’t have to wade through metrics that have no impact on their department to find the data they need.
- Direct Data Integration – Before you adopt a solution, make sure it is compatible with the other solutions your business uses. When data is integrated directly from the source, it will be more reliable and your decisions will be well-informed. If you use a solution specific to your industry, be sure to consult the solution vendors you’re considering to verify that data from this solution can be directly integrated into the performance reporting solution.
- Secure Access – Security is often an overlooked feature as companies focus more on the functionality of a solution. Excel, for example, offers little security, making it vulnerable to alteration. To avoid any security-related issues, you should consider the security measures a solution provides before you adopt it. Your performance reporting solution will house sensitive financial data – data you don’t want falling in the wrong hands. Talk to the solution provider about secure user access and intrusion detection measures before you make your selection.
- Audit Friendly – Auditing is a key aspect of any financial planning process, and it should be a consideration when you’re evaluating a performance reporting solution, too. The ability to log and revisit data can help you maintain compliance and track causes and outcomes related to organizational performance. Also, preparing for an audit can be tedious, stressful, and time consuming. When your corporate performance management solution does the work for you, you will be prepared for any audit at any time.
With the right performance reporting solution, you and your stakeholders are equipped to make better decisions for your business. You’ll avoid time-consuming business processes of the past and be able to trust in the metrics that inform your decisions. Performance reporting is the comprehensive view of your business you need for a competitive advantage and to help you reach your profitability goals. As long as you have the right corporate performance management solution empowering your team, you’re sure to see positive results from your new performance reporting capabilities.
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"As competition continues to increase in the insurance brokerage industry, finance teams are being asked to perform more detailed forecasting beyond just budgeting. Prophix is a great tool to streamline that piece, and the better connection with Vertafore’s AMS360 product, the better detail and accuracy we will be able to deliver."