Finance personnel are the people within the company that are asked to generate reports for the board. Rightfully so, it is because they are the people most familiar with the key figures of the business.
The finance department is faced with the question: what should we include in the report amidst the sea of figures that can potentially be reported?
Report too much and they risk failure to convey the right message, report too little and they risk withholding key information.
When creating board reports, there are 3 very useful tips to keep in mind.
- Understand Who Reads the Reports
While you who are creating the report understand the numbers in and out, you have to remember that board members are not involved in day to day operations. Most of the board members sit not just in a single board but in multiple ones so put yourself in their position and ask yourself the question – if I were an outsider, what would I like to know about the business? What information would be critical to me?
As the person generating the board reports, answer those questions and make sure your figures are in line with what outsiders looking in could potentially require in order to assess the true health status of the organization.
- Be Straightforward
The board trusts the finance executives generating the board reports because of one thing – their objectivity.
The finance staff does not have a need to impress anyone, prove anyone wrong or right or defend the figures. They are simply expected to present the figures as they are in the most accurate and honest way.
This is why the best thing you can do is to report significant bad news as soon as it occurs in a straightforward way. In the same way, if you see significant boost in performance, report this right away too. It is important for the board to get updated figures and forecasts as soon as possible.
Lastly, board members not only appreciate a clear presentation of message through figures, they certainly appreciate it when the figures clearly come from a single source of truth. Nothing is more annoying to them than having to figure out which numbers are more reliable or whose version is more trustworthy.
- Tell A Story through Your Numbers
The job is of a board member is to grasp the big picture in the best and fastest way they can. However, as mentioned previously they aren´t involved in operations and for some, they do not have the historical knowledge to make things easier.
As a finance executive, make it your mission to tell a story to them on how the company has been doing, how it is currently doing, and what more it intends to do. The most effective way for you to do this is by showing them historical figures tracing back several quarters or even years if possible and then showing them current figures and several quarters forecast. By doing this, you will allow the board members to have a clearer picture of how the company is really doing.
Do you want to make creating board reports easier for your finance department? The process starts with making sure you have a single source of the truth across the organization and by making sure you can streamline the entire end to end financial reporting and budgeting process. Read more about the latest and most trusted budgeting and planning software in the market today. Visit www.performancecanvas.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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