Introduction to this document

Flash report

You prepare monthly management reports, but in fast moving times how can you deliver key financial indicators quickly so that your board can make critical decisions in a flash?

What is a flash report?

Management reports in most companies work to a monthly or even quarterly cycle. Normally, production of these reports relies on month or quarter-end closing procedures. This means that by the time the board is considering the information, it can be weeks out of date and too late to help the directors make critical decisions. Where important decisions can’t wait until the monthly management accounts are produced, you can prepare a Flash Report to provide a snapshot of the key information at a useful frequency.

If data is needed rapidly, you may need to compromise on having 100% accuracy - there simply isn’t time. Make sure you highlight to the board any flash data that is indicative rather than 100% accurate.

You should aim to ensure that the whole process doesn’t take you longer than 30 minutes. Any longer and the flash report is probably too detailed. The actual level of detail will depend on how the report will be used.

Key performance indicators

It’s usually a one-page report that helps management assess the key performance indicators of the company. The purpose is to provide the board with “almost” real-time information that can be acted upon in a relatively short timeframe. It’s worth speaking to key members of the board to help you decide what the most useful KPIs are for inclusion in your flash report.