If you want to have a quick look at how the business is going on at a glance or to check if there is any problem in the business’s operations, you would want to have a Flash Report instead of looking over all the financial and operational statements. Flash reports also show clear signs of deviations or unacceptable variations so that the required actions can be taken before it’s too late.
MEANING AND PURPOSE OF FLASH REPORTS
Flash Reports are management reports which are frequently used by top-level management and other finance executives to have a quick and prompt look at the company’s important key performance indicators. These key indicators could include sales volume, actual and budgeted data for various periods, cash flows, and much such information. Flash Reports help to bridge the time gap between the preparation of monthly or quarterly reports and allow management to make prompt decisions and identify any corrective actions if any outliers occur, or if there is any significant deviation from the planned events.
Most often, staff in the accounting or finance department are usually involved in the preparation of flash reports as they have easier access and understandability of the data. The maximum time required to prepare flash reports is half an hour to one hour. Any time more than that would mean that your flash report is more than specific which is not required as the purpose is different. If any management member or any executive wants to know more about any information in the flash report, they can request additional data from the person who prepared it. Flash Reports are often prepared daily, at times weekly or monthly basis. These time intervals help the top management and executives to understand where the company is headed and also to detect any problems that are happening or that might happen in the future and correct it at an earlier stage.
TYPES OF FLASH REPORTS
With the help of various financial reporting software, different types of flash reports can be derived, and customized to the needs of the management and executives. A few of the types of flash reports are mentioned below:
1. GENERAL LEDGER FLASH REPORT
It is much easier for managers to look at condensed financial statements rather than long ones. The general ledger flash report not only provides precise information about financials but also provides financial ratios. This helps the management and executives to understand the trends, and patterns and compare their company’s performance to that of its competitors.
2. ACCOUNTS PAYABLE FLASH REPORT
To maintain efficiency in the company’s cash usage and balance, most companies might delay payment to their creditors or vendors. The accounts payable flash report encapsulates an outline of how well the company performs in its payments and also in maintaining the bond with its creditors and vendors. It also provides information regarding purchases, vendors and aging information, and other relevant topics.
3. ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE FLASH REPORT
Similar to the accounts payable flash report, the accounts receivable flash report summarizes the information regarding its customers, sales, and the receivables aging. This report allows the management to identify its potential customers whom the company would want to retain so that it could expand its future.
4. ORDER ENTRY FLASH REPORT
Order entry flash report provides information related to the inventory which is being ordered by the most, largest clients, and similar important aspects which help the sales and purchase managers to plan operations in their division. With the significant information derived from the flash report, managers will be able to build demand forecasts and also get an idea regarding the products that the customers may be inclined to.
5. INVENTORY FLASH REPORT
The inventory flash reports are very suitable for warehouse, purchasing, and operational analysis in a supply chain company and for other organizations as well. The information from the report will help the managers to understand how efficient the warehouse management is and an understanding of the momentum of inventory moving. By gaining insights from these reports, managers can plan, analyze and forecast the requirements, which would increase productivity and profitability.
6. PAYROLL FLASH REPORT
Payroll flash report helps to understand how efficient the organization’s workforce and the payroll department are. This report breaks down the information regarding salary expenses, benefits paid to workers, taxes, overtime worked by workers, and much more.
7. JOB COST FLASH REPORT
To properly understand the profitability of each division’s job in your company, a job cost flash report is the report that you have to analyze. Billings, miscellaneous charges, payments, and discounts for different jobs can be scrutinized by the managers to find the successful factors and also to find the negative factors so that they can keep a record of the same and use it in the future.
FLASH REPORTS BASED ON DURATION
1. DAILY FLASH REPORTS
Daily flash reports help the companies to keep track of the financial and operational activities of the company daily. It is also used to convey the Key Performance Indicators and developments of the company to all levels of the business. These daily flash reports help the management and executives to take preventive measures and actions at the right time as it bridges the time gap between the preparation of monthly reports.
2. WEEKLY FLASH REPORTS
Similar to daily flash reports, the main purpose of weekly flash reports is to highlight the key performance indicator metrics of the company and help the management to understand the performance of the company weekly.
3. MONTHLY FLASH REPORTS
Monthly flash reports are used to detect and understand the various outliers and anomalies in the key metrics of the company. The Financial Planning and Analysis department makes use of these reports the most as they help to determine the presence of any problems or deviations or any opportunity in the company so that it foresees the situation beforehand.
BEST WAYS TO PREPARE FLASH REPORTS
A good flash report gives a holistic oversight of the company in a concise format. This can be pulled off by keeping in mind the tips mentioned below.
The length of the report should be brief and the information must be to the point.
Avoid beating around the bush and only mention data or information which you think is relevant and important regarding decision-making.
Ideally, the report should be one page but it can range from one to four pages.
The ideal time taken to prepare flash reports is 30 minutes. If any reporting software is used, then the report should be generated in less than no time.
Decide the periodicity or how frequently the report would be generated – daily, weekly, or monthly.
Add charts, infographics, and graphical representations to make sure that the report is visually enticing.
Do not just include recent data, having nothing to compare with. Always make sure flash reports contain historical data for the purpose of comparison. This helps the management to identify differences.
The format of the report should be easy to read without any complexities.
Identify the accurate performance metrics such as operational and financial metrics, that need to be used in the report.
Consider the same report for everyone, but make sure to filter out what each user has to see. For example, a CEO has to see information about all divisions, but division heads have to see only their divisions.
Few Of The Best Tools That Can Be Used To Prepare Flash Reports Are:
FLASH REPORT TOOL
STRATEGIC PRICING MODE
CASH FLOW TUNE-UP TOOL.