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How to easily create insightful management reports

How to easily create insightful management reports

Benjamin Billy

Imagine yourself in the shoes of your main business leader. This could be your CEO. If you are a practice accountant, then this may be your client’s CEO.

Going through the company’s financial report is one of your key business management activities.

Having your business goals in mind, there are basically a few questions you want answered from a month end report:

  • How are we performing as a business?
  • What’s driving this performance?
  • What else should I know about?

You’re also curious about this particular area of the business that you want to keep an eye on.

That’s it. 

With those simple questions answered, you would be reassured you’re able to make the right business decisions.

Now back to the real world. 

As a key member of the finance team, a well-seasoned accountant or business analyst, you’re about to start preparing the next financial report. You want to generate the standard financial statements, but also bring actionable insights on the table. The thinking pattern of your Business Leader can actually be mapped out into a simple analytical process. 

In this article, we’ll deep dive into this process and discover how Hyper Anna can help you make financial intelligence easy and even fun!

We’ll be using the example of a business using Xero as their accounting software. They are using the Hyper Anna Connected App to build their monthly management report.


A good Management Report starts with an Executive Summary: How are we performing as a business?


Performance reporting typically covers a number of standard metrics in your P&L: 

  • Revenue (from different geographies, business lines, products etc) 
  • Costs (Direct Costs, Overheads, Expenses etc)
  • Revenue and Costs are driving your profit (typically expressed as EBITDA and NPBT)

Understanding how the business performs means understanding whether those company financial metrics have increased or decreased in the last month, compared to the month just prior, or the same month in the last year.

Within the Hyper Anna Discover tab, you can access trends for all your metrics. They have been automatically generated and analysed in comparison with the previous comparable periods.

Hyper Anna Discover - Executive Summary
Hyper Anna Discover automatically generates an Executive Summary with Key trends on all your P&L metrics

You now have a clear idea of the performing and underperforming areas in your P&L.


From month end report to Financial Intelligence: What’s driving this performance?


The next step is to be able to interpret those trends, understand what factor caused them to happen. It would take you hours to simulate by yourself all the potential causes to explain an increase or decrease in your numbers.

For each metrics, Hyper Anna What Caused This proactively tells you which factor contributed the most to this change. The factors analysed cover your standard Xero accounts and description, the specific groupings from your Custom Layout, your Tracking Categories and even some smart additional factors that Hyper Anna has created based on your data. Learn more about how Anna is using your data.

Hyper Anna What Caused This
Hyper Anna What Caused This looks for the main driving factors to your business changes


With What Caused This, there is no need to spend countless hours in spreadsheets and dashboards or (worse) come up with a gut feel to explain changes in your P&L. Just click the button!

You’ve now built a solid helicopter view of the business performance: you have identified key trends and have a data-driven explanation for those.

You’re probably already in a position to give actionable recommendations to decision makers.

Using Big Data to uncover Actionable Insights: What else should I know about?


Here comes the nightmare of all CEOs and Board Members: missing out on key insights that’s hidden within the business data.

It could be anything from an increase in a particular expense account, or a loyal client that suddenly stopped buying. Those unexpected changes usually signal operational dysfunctions or hidden opportunities to improve the business profitability. They can almost systematically trigger an action.

The problem is, there are millions of scenarios to watch out for across all your dimensions and metrics.

Hyper Anna Unexpected Changes surfaces the key anomalies and outliers for each P&L metric. Anna sifts through the data and looks for unexpected patterns across your P&L.

This is the guarantee to leave no stone unturned before finalising your management report.

Hyper Anna Anomalies and Outliers
Hyper Anna Unexpected Changes proactively looks for patterns and surfaces Anomalies and Outliers

The only work left to you is to use your business acumen to select the unexpected changes that deserve most attention from your business leaders.


On demand data science for even more insightful reports: What about this other area that I want to know about?


In management or board reports, there is often a particular focus on some areas of the business. This focus typically changes every time.

That’s where you need to build a custom chart with your Expenses by Category and Location for this Quarter vs last Quarter, or some other super specific view of the data. Can you picture how long that would take you?

In Hyper Anna Search, you can ask questions in plain English about any area of your P&L data and get the answer in seconds.

You can start by asking a preset favourite question and edit it as you wish using the filters bar on the top. You can also directly build your own using the small boxes underneath the Search area to help you structure your question.

Hyper Anna Search
Hyper Anna Search allows to ask any question about your data and get insights in a few seconds

Not only do you get an answer with an appropriate chart, but Anna also interprets this chart and explains it to you, including the What Caused This analysis to help you make sense of any insight.

Hyper Anna Search gives you the flexibility to stay relevant and proactive no matter what the business needs to focus on.


Conclusion

Management reporting doesn’t have to be limited to static P&L, Cash flow and Balance Sheet statements. It doesn’t have to be a frantic struggle to build graphs and tables either.

By following a simple process using Hyper Anna, you can easily unlock the key insights that will make your presentation impactful, and eventually drive truly data-driven decisions within your business. 


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