Ma9dots_Reportingny organizations are slow to change their reporting practices, even when they know they aren’t benefiting the way they could be. In business as in life, it’s hard to be sure that moving out of your comfort zone is going to propel you forward. Taking risks, making changes — it’s almost always a little scary.

It’s easy to say things like, “A new reporting system would be nice to have, but what we are doing here is fine.” But a strong reporting system is not just something to window shop for; it is a necessity. In 2015, F1F9 conducted a study based on research with over 1,200 senior managers. Out of these 1,200 managers, “17% of large businesses suffered financial loss due to mistakes on spreadsheets” and 78% said that key financial decisions were supported by the data in their reports and spreadsheets. Even the smallest mistakes can redirect precious resources and cause decisions based on incorrect information. Why be at a competitive disadvantage? There are powerful solutions out there that can strengthen your company.

BPM named these the top three reporting mistakes that could be costing you your hard-earned time and money, and we agree:

  1. Excessive resource requirements
  2. Decision making without adequate or trusted information
  3. Missed opportunities

Excessive resource requirements

Many companies today still use spreadsheets or another basic reporting function. While these functions are useful, they do not easily include all of the data you may have. It may take a highly trained individual to get you the most out of your information. If employees or managers have questions, they then have to get through each different step until the correct person can answer them. It takes more resources to get information, which even further lengthens the process of receiving data. A reporting solution creates simpler processes, uses less of your resources and leads you to more answers and stronger data. Spend your time analyzing data and gaining profit instead of looking for data and wasting your resources.

Decision making without trusted information

If you could have all the information you need to support a decision, you would take it. This is another benefit of a management reporting system. Without a reporting process, you may not even know that your data has a mistake int it until it’s too late. If you don’t have all the tools you need, you will quickly move down a path of educated guesses instead of informed, confidently made decisions. PwC & Iron Mountain released a study at the end of 2015 that showed a pretty staggering statistic: “4% of businesses can extract full value from the information they hold.” And “36% lack the tools and skills they need to extract the data in the first place.” Even with that lack of information, decisions are still being made, with no way to know if it is the best, most valuable decision for your organization.

Missed opportunities

Without a solid performance management reporting capability, it is more difficult to spot opportunities as well as rapidly adapt to market changes. This is not just about having ready access to reliable reports, but how these reports can help you intuitively focus on what matters.

All three of these reporting faux-pas feed into one another. By using your resources for multiple different tasks, and taking them away from what they need to be used for, you introduce a possibility for human error, and a lack of efficiency. This makes information difficult to trust, and you will lack the necessary data you need to feel confident in your decisions. Mistakes in data, or educated guesses, lead to missed opportunities.

Enhanced reporting solutions can reduce cost, lead to better decision making, enhance your organization, and more. So what’s stopping you?

 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE APPEARS @SMARTCEO.COM