Why should you use business reporting?
For most business owners, particularly those working in hospitality or retail, the day-to-day workload can be quite high. This means that managers are sometimes too caught up in the minutiae to be able to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Sometimes if you’re part of the painting, it’s hard to see everything else that’s in the frame.
It is important to get an understanding of where your business is going otherwise:
– Small problems can develop into bigger problems if they aren’t tackled with efficiency.
– Opportunities for development can be missed if those with decision-making capacity don’t have time to explore them fully.
– The ebb and flow of the market can catch you unaware and leave you with financial issues and cash-flow problems.
Business reporting is a quick and efficient way of ensuring that you get maximum levels of insight into your business. For many retailers, it can mean the difference between a successful year of growth or a steep decline in the health of your business.
What can business reporting tell you?
All businesses generate data. Everything bought and sold across a single day of trading creates new data. Business reporting is simply a way of helping you use this data intelligently and gain additional levels of insight. With a strong analysis, you should be able to get a clear understanding of where your business currently is and, more importantly, where it is heading.
Many businesses will produce an annual report. This is useful to understand what has happened over the last 365 days. Businesses that invest in cloud-based reporting software which connects to their existing accounting software can access data much more frequently.
Good reporting software can give you accurate reports any day of the year. This allows you to make crucial decisions about when to move funds, when to invest and when to save. Business reporting can help you move forward with confidence. It can provide evidence for investors and shareholders and help you determine strategy and tactics within ever-changing markets.
There are plenty of things that business reports can tell you.
You can use a business report to identify key members of staff. Which of your sales staff are closers and bringing profit into the business? Who is making sales, which employees may need further training? Have you got the right people in the right place? You can find out how your employees work. Are they working in the most efficient way possible? You may need to allow workers more flexibility to maximise their potential. An analysis of timesheets will be able to highlight which employees excel in which areas. By using data in this way you can give your company an efficiency boost and help your staff to feel more productive and motivated.
You will be able to filter your customers by different criteria. This may help you specialise and tailor your advertising and marketing. Ensure that you’ve got the right information going to the right people. You will be able to identify customers who pay on time and more importantly those who pay late. This will allow you to understand your cash flow and take steps to ensure that your late-paying customers are chased a little harder.
A good report should be able to tell you what work you’re currently doing and allow you to plan for the future. You want to be certain that you have enough staff and be aware of any trends. If you’re working in hospitality and retail then you’ll need to be aware of seasonal variations. A good report will be able to show you what has happened in previous years and give you a working blueprint. Over a few years, you’ll be able to see longer-term sales trends emerging. This is very important to understand as the rate of technological change is very fast. Those who adopt and find trends early generally reap the rewards in the long run.
When you fully embrace the potential of business reporting, you’ll find yourself digging deep into the data and discovering plenty. Understanding the benefits of being able to read this data in a meaningful way will bring you huge rewards and ensure you stay ahead of the market and your competitors.