Take Control Today!
Does your company have control of the information it needs to make good decisions?
Ask this question of people working in any medium to large business and you’ll get different answers. Depending on your job role, your answer is likely to range from ‘Not as much as we’d like’ to ‘Control? You must be kidding, we’re fighting fires here my friend’
The first answer normally comes from senior management. Yes, they recognise that the business could have better reporting processes but on the whole they think things are more or less working ok. However, speak to a manager at the coal face (the people that need performance information ‘like yesterday’) and they just want you to pass them a bucket of water (you know, for the fires).
But one thing both groups have in common is the reason why they feel their management reporting process is not as good as it could be: ‘we don’t have the time right now’. And it’s this ‘right now’ bit that’s most dangerous as it implies these necessary and important changes are just around the corner. When in reality, temporary spreadsheet workarounds end up staying in place for months or even years.
It’s not the first spreadsheet you’ve created, and it won’t be the last. We’ve all been there. You need to prepare information for an important decision and you’re pressed for time. You try to find the data you need, but half a dozen shrugged shoulders later, you’re opening up excel and starting a spreadsheet yourself.
So you download some information from your systems and begin to delete columns you don’t need, adding ones you do. As you try to be clever with formulas to make the process less manual, you realise… well, you’re not very clever with formulas. So you end up asking for help (stealing someone else’s time).
To try and make the thing clear and to look good, you begin to colour code. It starts off simply, but then you need to add a colour for this and a colour for that. Before long you have a colour coding system that would make Jackson Pollock proud.
You need to avoid these situations. It’s terribly unproductive and prone to errors. In fact, studies have shown that as many as 80-90% of significant spreadsheets contain errors.
During a financial modelling audit we discovered an $800m error. So we’re not just talking about minor issues. We’re talking about errors that can turn a profitable projection into an actual loss. Every day you’re striving to make your business as efficient and successful as possible. And it’s the information that you’re measuring that will show you how to do this.
Knowledge is power in business. The more you know about what has been happening, the better the decisions you can make to propel your business forward.
Don’t put off till tomorrow what will benefit you today
It’s vital that your reporting is giving you and your team the best possible chance of success. So as the year comes to an end, now is the time to review the data you’re measuring and how accurately you’re reporting it.
A review of your management reporting is just like sorting through your inbox. You’ll discover things you should have known and realise you were spending time worrying about things you didn’t need to.
But until you go through this process, you’re in the dark. Your business is:
- Relying on spreadsheets you don’t realise you’re relying on
- Relying on inaccurate data you don’t yet realise is inaccurate
- Relying on individual people you don’t yet realise you’re relying on (until they leave)
Managers will tell you that if they had the right information, at the right time, they could make better decisions. So listen to them – give them the reports they need, when they need them.
The result? You’ll get more reliable data. You’ll have managers that have the time to focus on their teams and strategy. And, ultimately, it will make your business smarter, more efficient and more successful.
When you’re going through this process in the next couple of weeks and you need some expert help, get in touch with us. We can audit your spreadsheet models or work with your team to create the kind of reporting structure that gives you a genuine competitive advantage.
If you’d rather our knowledge was in your hands, why not send a couple of key members of your team to one of our training sessions, either at your office or in our new training facilities in central Perth?
So don’t wait for when you ‘have time’. Get in touch now and make a time to review your management reporting!
Call +61 8 6210 8500 for a free, confidential chat.