Despite the association of business reports with large corporations, companies of every size can benefit from the use of reporting, even small enterprises. The key to success lies in effectively creating business reports and interpreting their data to produce actionable information.

It is imperative to understand the basics of business reports before attempting to create any. Business reports are documents prepared by employees or managers that provide information about the performance and strategies of the business. Financial statements are one of the most important kinds of business reports, but others include the business plan and the mission statement, which give the company direction and set up benchmarks for management and employees.

The Cool Life CRM system allows users with proper access rights to generate completely customized reports. These custom reports offer much flexibility, as the user decides what type of records will be reported on, how they will be filtered, and how the data will be displayed.

After selecting those various options, the user can choose the grid layout for the report. The fields that will be displayed in the grid can be ordered by dragging and dropping them into the desired positions. Optionally, one or two charts can be configured for inclusion in the report.

Report details can also be filled out. Besides report title and category, dashboard panel and report access should be taken into consideration.  Report access determines which system users can view the report. The report itself can only be edited or removed by system administrators, but making a report global will provide access to all system users. Choosing an optional dashboard panel for a report will display the selected report component, along with enabled data grids and charts, in the toolset home of the Cool Life CRM. Users with access to the report will have permission to the panel.

Once a report has been finished, it can be found in the reports list of the report module. From the sidebar in this area of the toolset, users can easily browse and open all reports that they have permission to view. Reports can be quickly located using the search box, edited or removed by appropriate users, or designated as the default report.

Because reports contain aggregated views of a user’s system data, they make that data more organized and less difficult to analyze; thus, it is crucial that reports are created effectively to best experience this effect.

Primarily, they should measure important, industry-specific data. Reports featuring useful information will reveal conditions that require action. Once reports have been drawn up, the data must be delivered and utilized to drive this action. Dashboard results are ideal for giving users specific data that they need to succeed, since different employees in a company will require different information to do their jobs efficiently. Reports should be catered to employees, to ensure that everyone receives the information that they need in a format that they can understand. What aids the individual, in this case, will aid the company.

There are numerous benefits that a business can derive from generating useful reports. With the business world ever-evolving, a surefire way to maintain an advantage over competitors is getting current data and information on demand, which helps to forecast sales and other types of performance. In regards to business success, the ability to identify trends and close deals before competitors do is essential. The speed of a business’s response to market demands can play a major role in determining overall profit, and this speed can only be increased through confident decisions backed by up-to-date data.

Forecasting thus assists in achieving full vision of a business. Effective reports will help a company to recognize patterns in performance by assessing peaks and troughs, which identify key areas of strength and weakness in management as well as sales. These reports can even be compared against competing companies or used as a benchmark against previous sales cycles, both of which are critical for securing and maintaining growth.

Besides showcasing repeated patterns, reports can also make any unusual discrepancies like sudden spikes or slides in business clear. Both patterns and discrepancies can have major implications for business, and the use of reports can lead to a better understanding of the reasons that cause them. In turn, businesses can respond to those situations by taking corrective actions, either by quickly adjusting and fine-tuning existing performance or creating an entirely different strategy to reach and convert more clients. Business reporting saves time spent in the dark trying to fix problems without information, translating into more investment in new undertakings.

Most reporting tools today are generally used to keep track of prospecting activities or to manage customer relationships. While some claim that reports do not provide any actionable information, it is important to understand that the quality of the data available and the competence of the report creator are directly related to the quality of a completed report.

Others argue about the limitations of cost, but with a system such as Cool Life CRM that consolidates all kinds of reporting into one hub, there is no expenditure to create reports other than time, which means the financial resources saved can be used elsewhere as necessary. Additionally, a business must remember that reports are usually limited to subject matter that can be quantitatively measured, so qualitative information should not be neglected but reported in tandem with the other information, or at least considered.

Despite their potential shortcomings, business reports are indispensable in driving the success of a company due to their ability to provide information that is critical to decision-making. Evaluating and planning for long-term performance cannot be better accomplished with any other method. A good business report, however, will only unlock actionable information if used correctly, and its power as a tool depends on the circumstances of its creation.