Requesting monthly reports from your team is a core element in any organisation. Regardless of size, status or location - startups and global corporations all measure and report on their performance to someone.
We all know its crucial, but many of us struggle with the mechanics.
Getting regular reports completed in a timely and orderly fashion is hard when day to day activities take priority.
Having a report collecting system like FileInvite can help with this process by:
- Scheduling a regular request for documents and reports
- Setting due dates
- Distributing a standard reporting template for consistency
- Automating reminder messages and chasing late documents
- Collating all reports
- Having a central space to manage and approve reports
- Following up with meeting notes and action points.
If you manage a team and need reports from them, here are our seven steps to automating your monthly management reports.
Step 1: Create a monthly report template
The main goal of monthly reporting is to produce a standard comparison between months. Analytics systems can report raw data. Producing a monthly written analysis can go a long way to tell the story around the data.
This allows you to see growth, changes and compare performance over time. It can also explain anomalies in the data such as Black Friday, geopolitical events or unforeseen issues.
As well as explaining data, typical management reporting templates will include:
- Time period
- Metrics for comparison
- Team or personnel issues
- Activities that occurred
- Some commentary on the results
- Proposed next steps.
Step 2: Select recipients with action items only
With email overload a global epidemic, the average employee can spend almost a third of their time responding to or working on emails.
Ensure that only those that need to receive a request for a monthly report, are sent the message. Resist the urge to CC anyone who does not have an action item in the report.
Step 3: Schedule a due date and reminders
Everyone sends an invitation to monthly reporting meetings, usually with a note to explain the report due date. What's not as common is send a calendar reminder of the due date for submitting the report.
Step 4: Follow up by SMS or text
Step 5: Collate and save the report
Once you receive all elements of the report, it's best to close off the reporting period and save a final version. This allows the reports to be set in stone before the meeting and saves confusion about the version of the document in use.
Use a document collection system like FileInvite to close off the reporting window at a defined time.
Step 6: Collate documents to a single PDF
One trick to overcome formatting issues and device compatibility is to save reports as a PDF file. It will ensure that the presentation is of a high resolution, whatever monitor or projector you use. It also means anyone can view it online or offline.
Of course a PDF also ensures consistency in formatting, should you chose to print a copy of the report, for those totally off grid meetings.
Step 7: Send a summary, action points and amendments