5 key attributes of best practice reporting

Read time: 5 minutes

Agency life is unavoidably fast paced. In that fast lane, it can be tempting to postpone or skip reporting because it falls into the “too hard” or “too time consuming” basket. Yet the reality is that best practice reporting is the cornerstone of agency success. Countless useful insights lurk in agency data that, when identified, can lead to actions and decisions which improve overall client satisfaction, profitability and business growth.

Why is reporting important?

Reporting performs two important functions for agencies. First, reporting helps agency owners improve how they manage their operations. Operational insights are essential to understanding revenue flows, managing expenses, tracking payments, calculating margin and – ultimately – realising profit. Speed in accessing accurate, data-based insights contributes to stronger, better informed decision-making.

Second, reporting helps an agency demonstrate their value to clients. A client who sees their own business progress, and understands how your agency helped them achieve those results, is a client more likely to engage you again to help them achieve their future goals.

5 key attributes of best practice reporting

Our experience with agencies over the last twenty years has helped us identify five key attributes of best practice reporting. These best practices deliver the insights you need to run your business profitably and to communicate more effectively with your teams, business partners and clients.

Real-time data. Business moves fast. Success comes from the ability to make decisions quickly and to make them well. The secret to that success? Access to real-time data. In contrast to real-time data, using manually created historical snapshots of data is useful however, generally, any problem or opportunity showing up will have magnified in the time it took you to build the report. Function Point understands the value of speed in decision-making, so our agency management software uses real-time data to power reporting. At your fingertips, whenever you need, are real-time insights to everything from team capacity, job timelines and budget status through to payments and expenses. Real-time dynamic updates across projects, with all the related implications for time and cost, mean you never need to worry about whether you’re up-to-date. Function Point ensures that you are.

Track what matters. Even with the speed and sophistication of technology today, reporting for the sake of reporting can be a time sink. When you report on numbers that aren’t meaningful, or which don’t generate insights that enable decision-making or some kind of action, you waste time and risk missing the most significant problems and opportunities for your agency. Invest time in identifying the metrics that matter most to your business. Then use technology to track those specific metrics. Function Point helps you accelerate tracking what really matters in your business by delivering 26 pre-built reports out-of-the-box. With options to report on a comprehensive range of agency “table stakes” metrics, including time management, job dependencies, profitability status and dynamic updates to catch any changes, you will be on track to make better-informed decisions.

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Customized reports. Every agency is slightly different in the processes, systems and applications they use. Those differences are important because they often form the foundation of competitive advantage. To cater to the unique qualities of every different agency, it is essential to have the ability to customise reports to create the insights you need in your business. It is also important to recognise that different agency stakeholders may need different perspectives into agency operations. One-size reporting doesn’t always fit all needs. Function Point’s all-in-one agency management solution provides customizable reporting capabilities, giving you the flexibility to create the specific data-based reporting views you, and your different stakeholders, need.

Visualization. We all absorb information differently. For most people, the human brain finds it easier to process lots of information through data visualizations. When data is mapped to visualizations using business intelligence software, users can spot at-a-glance areas needing attention or improvement. Function Point’s cloud-based agency management solution features comprehensive business intelligence reporting, giving agencies the visibility and insights necessary to fix problems and pursue opportunities.

Layout. We’ve all experienced the situation where we’re given reporting in such a complex format that, at first sight, it doesn’t seem to hold any meaning. Just because you have the ability to map your data and numbers into a pie chart or scatter plot doesn’t make it a useful visualization. As important to tapping into the right data to create a visualization is creating the best visualization to maximize understanding of the data. Function Point’s reporting capabilities deliver practical, intuitive options for you to create meaningful visualizations. We enable you to choose from a variety of visualization layouts to easily create, edit and share the ideal visualizations for your business, all in real-time. Our reporting capabilities are designed with best practices in mind, so visualizations aren’t cluttered or too complex to comprehend.

Experience best practice reporting

In all our years of working with agencies we’ve yet to find an agency owner who truly enjoys surprises. Yes, there is the occasional good surprise. Like the marquee client who chooses your agency to run their account, against all the odds.

More likely are the unpleasant surprises. Like the disorganized client your agency consistently over-services. Or the multiple internal meetings required to solve a client problem which unexpectedly roll up into hours of time each month that erode profitability.

The irony is that the insights every agency owner needs to solve problems and pursue opportunities already exist inside their business. Best practice reporting is the solution to extracting those insights.

The good news is that best practice reporting is quick and easy to achieve with agency management software. Experience Function Point’s best-of-breed reporting and business intelligence capabilities by requesting a demo.