What is Management Reporting?

Understanding how key areas of a business are performing can be a challenge. Especially when outdated data and messy reports create misaligned project goals and create problems where there should be none.

To create a cohesive system of company-wide feedback and improvement, effective management reporting is essential.

That’s why the analytics and reporting experts at DeepStream have created a comprehensive guide to what exactly management reporting is, including some key tips for helping managers improve their reporting processes.

What is a Management Report?

A management report is a document that provides key information, analysis and even recommendations on various aspects of business and employee performance, to assist managers and decision-makers in a company.

They are typically prepared weekly, monthly or quarterly, to provide ongoing visibility into the company's performance and progress – and often measure these targets against pre-agreed key performance indicators (KPIs).

Some of the main key insights gained from a management report include:

Summarise Performance:

A management report typically includes metrics, KPIs and data that give an overview of the company's, or a department's, performance over a specific period.

Identify Trends:

The report should present the data in a way that makes it effortless to analyse and identify important trends, patterns and insights to inform future decision-making – for example, visually or in interactive dashboards.

Highlight Issues:

Any potential challenges or key areas of underperformance should be clear in the report and allow managers to quickly action or investigate.

Propose Solutions:

Based on the analysis, the report may include recommendations and proposed roadmaps to address the identified issues.

Support Decision-Making:

The comprehensive insights and analysis from the report should support managers in making more informed and strategic data-backed decisions with greater confidence.

Who Writes a Management Report?

Management reports are typically prepared by specialists within a given field – with the expert skills needed to present key information, analyse and explain key trends or insights and prepare recommendations or next steps.

A management report is typically written by professionals in the following roles:

Managers and Supervisors:

Managers of various departments or business units are often responsible for compiling and writing management reports for their respective areas.

They deeply understand the operational details, key performance indicators and any potential issues within their domains.

Business Analysts:

Professionals with expertise in data analysis, business intelligence, and reporting are well-suited to gather, analyse and present the information found in a management report.

They can provide an objective, data-driven perspective to support decision-making.

Finance and Accounting Teams:

Financial professionals, like controllers, CFOs or financial analysts, may be tasked with preparing management reports.

These reports often focus on financial performance, budgets and projections.

Project Managers:

For specialist projects or initiatives, the project manager may be responsible for creating management reports to update stakeholders on project status, milestones and any issues or risks.

Executive Assistants or Administrative Staff:

In some cases, administrative personnel who support senior managers or executives may be involved in compiling and formatting the management report based on inputs from various departments.

Procurement Teams:

Procurement teams often use management reports to demonstrate performance and justify budget or resource allocation, highlight cost savings and efficiencies and identify risks.

These reports may also be used to recommend process improvements, provide transparency and align procurement activities with overall company goals and strategy.

How To Write a Management Report

Management reports are designed to provide all of the important information needed to understand how key business functions are performing – presented in a way that creates a contextual narrative and arms the reader with the insights they need to action the next steps.

But how do those responsible for these reports tick these boxes?

Below are the key steps to writing an effective management report:

Determine the Report's Purpose and Audience:

·       Clearly define the report's objectives and identify the key stakeholders who will read it.

·       Understand their informational and decision-making requirements.

Collect Relevant Data and Information:

·       Collect the relevant data, metrics and performance indicators from various sources within the company.

·       Review any previous reports, financial statements, project updates or other relevant documents for comparison and context.

Analyse the Data:

·       Thoroughly examine the data to identify trends, patterns, issues and opportunities.

·       Use analytical tools and techniques to uncover insights and draw conclusions.

Structure the Report:

·       Organise the report into logical sections, like an executive summary, performance overview, analysis and recommendations.

·       Make sure the flow of information is clear and easy to follow –creating a narrative for the reader.

Write the Report:

·       Craft concise and informative written content for each section.

·       Use clear, simple language and avoid jargon or technical terms the audience may not understand.

·       Incorporate visualisations, like charts, graphs and tables, to enhance the presentation of data and provide a birds-eye overview.

Review and Edit:

·       Proofread the report for accuracy, consistency and clarity.

·       Make sure the recommendations are practical, actionable and aligned with the company's goals.

Format and Present the Report:

·       Apply a consistent and professional layout, using headings, sections and formatting to improve readability.

·       Consider the delivery method, like a printed document, electronic file or presentation.

Gather Feedback and Iterate:

·       Seek feedback from the intended audience to understand if the report met their needs.

·       Use the feedback to make improvements for future management reports.

What is Management Reporting Software?

Effective management reports include the analysis and presentation of a range of data points and metrics. To streamline the process of gathering and analysing this data, many businesses use software.

Management reporting software refers to digital tools and applications designed to help automate this process - generating, analysing and presenting key insights in an intuitive report or dashboard.

These software solutions typically offer some or all of the following key features:

Data Integration:

·       The ability to connect to and extract data from various sources, like enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, customer relationship management(CRM) platforms and other business applications.

·       Consolidation of data from multiple sources into a centralised platform.

Reporting and Dashboards:

·       Predefined and customisable report templates to present KPIs, metrics and analyses.

·       Interactive dashboards that provide real-time visibility into the company's performance.

Data Visualisation:

·       Tools for creating charts, graphs and other data visualisations to enhance the presentation of information.

·       Capabilities to customise the appearance and layout of reports.

Analytical Capabilities:

·       Advanced data analysis functionalities, like trend analysis, statistical modelling and scenario planning.

·       Ability to perform ’what-if’ analyses and generate forecasts.

Collaboration and Distribution:

·       Features to facilitate collaboration, like version control, commenting and sharing capabilities.

·       Options for securely distributing reports to authorised stakeholders, either through email, web portals or mobile applications.

Workflow and Automation:

·       Automated generation and scheduling of recurring reports.

·       Alerts and notifications to flag critical issues or deviations from targets.

Security and Access Control:

·       User authentication and role-based access management to protect data privacy and confidentiality.

·       Audit trails and version history to track changes and user activities.

Management Report Best Practices

While each report should be unique to the business and its demands, there are some best practice tips for creating effective, useful and actionable reports:

Understand Your Audience:

Tailor the report's content, language and level of detail to the needs and preferences of key stakeholders.

Align with Company Objectives:

Make sure the report's focus and recommendations are directly relevant to the company’s strategic goals and priorities.

Prioritise Meaningful Metrics:

Select the most relevant KPIs and metrics that provide valuable insights into the company's performance. These can even be prioritised in terms of value in the report.

Provide Actionable Insights:

Analyse the data to uncover trends, patterns and issues, and offer practical recommendations for improvement or further action.

Use Effective Data Visualisation:

Incorporate charts, graphs and visualisations to present data in a compelling and easily digestible format, to help with quick and confident decision-making at a glance.

Maintain Consistency:

Adhere to a consistent report structure, formatting and terminology to aid the reader's navigation and comparison with previous reports.

Prioritise Timeliness:

Make sure the report is delivered to stakeholders promptly, aligning with the company's reporting speed.

Encourage Feedback and Iteration:

Seek feedback from report users and use it to refine the content, structure and presentation for future iterations.

Leverage Technology:

Use management reporting software and tools to automate data integration, analysis and report generation for efficiency and accuracy.

Maintain Data Integrity and Governance:

Implement effective data management practices and governance policies to improve the reliability and quality of the information.

Management Report Sample

There is no single standard template for a management report and each document should be bespoke to the needs of the business.

However, below is an example of the key elements that may be included in a management report structure:

Executive Summary:

A concise overview of the key findings, insights and recommendations.

Key Performance Indicators:

A presentation of the company's critical metrics andKPIs and an analysis of performance trends and variances.

Operational Review:

A detailed analysis of operational activities and processes and the identification of challenges, risks and areas for improvement.

Financial Analysis:

Overview of the company's financial performance. Commentary on revenue, expenses, cash flow and other financial indicators.

Strategic Initiatives:

Updates on the progress of key strategic projects and programmes. The alignment of initiatives with company goals and objectives.

Recommendations and Action Items:

Specific recommendations for addressing issues and enhancing performance, and proposed action plans with timelines and responsibilities.


Supporting data, charts and supplementary information.

The management report provides an in-depth view of the company's performance, highlights critical insights and offers clear guidance for decision-making and strategic planning.

What Are Different Types of Management Reporting?

There are various types of management reports, designed to inform and support different teams and areas of a business. Some of the most common reporting types include:

Operational Reporting:

Reports that focus on the day-to-day operational metrics and KPIs relevant to different business functions.

Strategic Reporting:

Reports that align with the company's long-term goals and objectives, providing insights into market trends, competitive analysis and progress toward strategic initiatives.

Project/Programme Reporting:

Reports that track the status, milestones and performance of specific projects or programmes within the company.

Risk Reporting:

Reports that identify, analyse, and monitor potential risks to the company, like financial, operational or compliance risks.

Compliance Reporting:

Reports that confirm the company is adhering to relevant laws, regulations and industry standards.

Executive Reporting:

High-level reports that provide senior management with a comprehensive overview of the company's performance and key strategic priorities.

Departmental Reporting:

Reports that focus on the specific needs and metrics of individual departments or business units within the company.

Predictive Reporting:

Reports that leverage data analytics and forecasting techniques to provide insights into future trends and scenarios.

Tailoring Management Reporting to Procurement

Management reports are a valuable tool in procurement – providing data and analysis on supplier performance, efficiency, costs and more. The findings from these reports allow procurement professionals to constantly review and assess their strategies and make changes at the earliest opportunity to deliver successful outcomes for the business.

Below are some of the common ways in which the management reporting process can be tailored for procurement teams:

Focus on Procurement-Specific Metrics:

Procurement teams have unique metrics that are important to track, like supplier performance, cost savings, on-time delivery and compliance with procurement policies. The reporting process should emphasise these procurement-focused KPIs rather than broader financial metrics.

Streamline Reporting Frequency:

Procurement teams often require more frequent reporting than other departments, as they need to stay on top of supplier relationships and buying activities. Consider implementing weekly or monthly procurement-specific reports in addition to quarterly or annual company-wide reports.

Customise Report Formats:

Procurement professionals often prefer visual data representations like charts, graphs and dashboards to quickly digest relevant information. Tailor the report formats to the procurement team's preferences and needs.

Include Benchmarking Data:

Benchmark the procurement team's performance against industry standards or the company's historical data to provide context and identify areas for improvement.

Integrate Data Sources:

Pull data from various systems like ERP, contract management and supplier relationship management tools to provide a comprehensive overview of the procurement function.

Enable Self-Service Reporting:

Empower procurement teams to access and analyse data independently through self-service reporting tools. This allows them to quickly extract the information they need without relying on finance or IT teams.

Facilitate Collaboration:

Make sure the reporting process facilitates collaboration between the procurement team and other departments, like finance, operations and end-users, to align priorities and share insights.

Automate Reporting:

Leverage automation technologies to reduce manual effort and streamline the reporting process, freeing up the procurement team to focus on strategic initiatives.

What Are Some of The Challenges with Management Reporting for Procurement?

Management reporting can come with a host of potential complications that need to be addressed. Some of these common challenges include:

Data Integration & Quality:

Sometimes data can be inconsistent or unreliable, and those data sources can lack proper software integration. The best way to mitigate this issue is to integrate data from multiple sources and establish standardised data governance practices to protect the reliability and consistency of data.

Report Complexity:

Sometimes reports can suffer from an overwhelming amount of information which can lead to difficulty in understanding the key points and specific insights. To avoid these issues, it's important to prioritise key data and insights in formatting, as well as using effective data visualisation techniques.

Timelines & Relevance:

Reports can often become outdated after frequent delays in data gathering. This misaligns report data with the current aims and objectives of the business. The best way to prevent this issue is to automate report generation and distribution and enable real-time insights.

Stakeholder Engagement:

Often, a key issue of management reports is a lack of buy-in from report users, including stakeholders. This may be due to reports not being tailored to the requirements of individual stakeholders. Solve this issue by understanding the needs of different stakeholders, engaging them in the process and creating tailor-made reports for each stakeholder through a process of feedback and refinement. This process can be simple with software that automates the generation of multiple bespoke reports.

Resource Constraints:

Department resources may be limited for reporting tools and infrastructure, or there may be insufficient staffing or expertise in report development. Automating the data gathering and reporting process can free up staff from intensive data tasks, to instead focus on actioning the insights from these reports.

Data & Analytics with DeepStream

DeepStream's Management Reporting software provides users with informative and actionable insights into their procurement processes. Key features include:

Negotiated Savings:

Easily demonstrate the impact of your team's negotiations on company spend.

Team Productivity:

Gain full visibility into team workloads, efficiency and breakdown of all RFx activities.

Supplier Engagement:

Analyse how your RFx structure is impacting supplier participation and response rates.

Auction Analytics:

Get a quick overview of eAuction performance, including savings and optimisation opportunities.

The intuitive reporting hub allows procurement teams to make data-driven decisions, optimise workflows and demonstrate value across the full suite of procurement processes.

The software integrates seamlessly with the broader DeepStream platform to provide a consolidated view of all sourcing activities.

For more information on how DeepStream can support your procurement management reporting processes, dive into our analytics and reporting software.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What Is Management Reporting vs Financial Reporting?

A: Management reporting and financial reporting are distinct but complementary components of a company's overall reporting framework. Management reporting focuses on providing actionable insights and data-driven decisions regarding the performance of specific teams, activities, projects and more. Financial reporting, however, is primarily concerned with the company's fiscal performance and may not include deeper insights into the performance dictating these numbers.

Q: What Is the Role of Management Reporting?

A: The role of management reporting is to provide relevant, timely and accurate information to support executive decision-making, enable data-driven strategic planning, monitor operational performance and identify opportunities for improvement across the company. It serves as a critical tool for driving efficiency and achieving business objectives.

Q: What Makes Good Management Reporting?

A: Effective management reporting is characterised by its alignment with company goals, focus on key performance indicators, use of visualisations and data analysis to uncover insights, timeliness and relevance to decision-makers and adaptability to changing business needs. Good management reporting empowers executives to make informed decisions, allocate resources efficiently and drive continuous improvement throughout the company.

Q: How To Structure a Management Report?

A: A well-structured management report typically includes an executive summary, key performance indicators, analysis of trends and variances, identification of issues and risks, recommendations for action and supporting data and visualisations. This format ensures the report provides a concise overview, highlights critical information and facilitates informed decision-making by company leaders.


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