Reporting: how to make simple and efficient reporting?

What is reporting?

the reporting, translated into French data communication, makes it possible to stage data collected over a desired period and to present them in a clear manner so that they can be analyzed and used by a third party. It enables performance indicators to be reported periodically.

Activity report, reporting is a decision-making aid tool.

Reporting therefore constitutes a system of verified and verifiable data. It contains real data which will have been collected and sorted beforehand.

What are the advantages of reporting?

Reporting has a bad image with executives, who often doubt its value and see it primarily as a waste of time. However, it remains essential.

The main advantage of reporting is visualization. It allows to materialize data and make it understandable to all so that they become good performance indicators. You will not be able to present a raw list of results in your report, unless you want to lose your reader!

Depending on the recipient of the reporting, its use may be different:

  • The manager will be able to evaluate the performance of his team.
    Reporting strengthens the manager’s authority: he can base his decisions on objective justifications, which, in most cases, will motivate his employees. Which will not only find themselves faced with performance control grids, but will also be able to benefit from remuneration linked to the execution of objectives. With the right tools, we can easily gain efficiency and make reporting a real management tool.
  • Members of the management team will be able to refine a strategy.
    Reporting makes it possible, for example, to point out the difficulties linked to a specific situation, while highlighting the potential risks for the months to come.
  • The manager of the company will be able to present reliable statistics to the shareholders.
    Reporting provides an overview of the company.

In all cases, the person who takes note of the reporting must both see and understand the data without additional processing, and above all to be able to make decisions.

Far from constituting a means of coping, reporting provides protection to those who know how to use it.

Who can report?

Reporting can be used by everyone and in all professional activity sectors:

  • finance: we talk about financial reporting,
  • trade: we talk about commercial reporting,
  • the right,
  • Communication,
  • human resources (it may contain, for example, an indicator of departures and arrivals in the company),
  • marketing…

What data to put in a report?

Many figures can be presented in a report.

Here are examples of tracked data that can be materialized in a report:

  • The traffic of a website.
  • The number of items sold.
  • The revenues and expenses of the business.
  • The savings achieved.
  • The company’s workforce …

What period to study in reporting?

For succeed in reporting, it is necessary to specify over which period the data were collected: over a week, a month, a quarter or even a year … Everything is possible.

So that it serves to measure an evolution and the impact of the decisions taken, the reporting must mention the timing of the figures presented.

Good to know : if you have to carry out a report, it is up to you to adapt the data collection according to the period covered but also to the frequency of presentation of the latter. If it is monthly for example, you will have to select recurring indicators, which will allow you to compare against the previous reporting.

How to make attractive reporting?

To achieve attractive reporting, you have to play on the visual element. The brain is programmed to analyze, understand, and memorize images.

For that, here are some tips for making attractive reporting :

  • Put on some color : this will bring life to your reporting. The color will highlight important information and catch the eye of your interlocutors. At the risk of confusing the representation, be careful not to use too many colors, it’s all a question of measurement. Use the color codes of your company.
  • Respect the graphic charter : your company probably has a graphic charter. In addition to a color code, there is surely a standard way of presenting reports. Find out about the habits of your employees.
  • Insert graphics : in order to illustrate your figures and make them more readable, graphics are your best allies. Bar charts, curves, circular diagrams, point clouds, pie charts, there are a large number of graphs to adapt according to the information to be communicated.
  • Add visuals : to catch the eye of your interlocutors, photos and other visuals such as GIFs can be good assets.
  • Equip yourself with the right tools : There is software that can help you turn numbers into visuals.

It is necessary to adapt the implementation of reporting according to the information that is communicated and its recurrence.

  • Regular reporting : try to fit everything on one page for each report sent. No need to knock out your hierarchy with 16 page reports every Monday morning!
  • Irregular reporting : synthesize and transcribe the data clearly, in several pages if necessary. The main thing is to have a digest of all the data necessary for a decision-making in one and the same document.

Our Cadremploi advice : adapt the shape to the bottom. A curve is ideal for representing an evolution, a pie chart of proportions, an Excel table with certain elements highlighted in bold or in color for complex data, a smiley face for customer satisfaction levels, etc.

What tools do you use for reporting?

Depending on the tools you use, reporting can be more or less attractive. It is therefore important to choose them well.

Among the tools generally used, we find in particular:

  • Microsoft Excel or Power Point, ideal for getting started.
  • Report and Google Data allow data to be centralized automatically in different forms.
  • ERP-type information systems, which centralize the company’s databases, facilitating data inputs and extracts.
  • Open source and free software, such as SpagoBI or Jasper report.
  • There are also paid tools like Monday or Bittle.

Want to know more about the tools? Also discover all our tips for doing a good reporting.

Examples of reporting

Here are two examples of reporting that you can draw inspiration from.

An example of reporting done with Microsoft Excel

An example of reporting done with Monday

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