What is a Flash Report? Explanation, Types, 9 Facts

A flash report is a comprehensive analysis of the market’s peak and trough. It includes information such as a product’s brand, the brand of a competitor, and much more. This is an excellent tool for identifying trends and analyzing where your business is going wrong. 

What is a Flash Report?

A flash report is a report that provides the executive management of an organization with an overview of the business’ performance. The report is compiled by a member of the staff who compiles information on liquidity, profitability, and corporate efficiency and presents it in a concise format designed to be quickly scanned for an overview of the company’s status.

What is a Flash Report?

The creation of such a report typically takes between a half-hour and an hour and, depending on the organizational structure of the business, may fall under the purview of various personnel.

Types of Flash Reports

There is no template for flash report creation. These reports are a highly adaptable instrument that can be tailored to your organization’s specific needs. However, C-level flash reports reveal certain general tendencies.

Typically, they are delivered weekly or monthly and are comprised of three parts (liquidity, productivity, and profitability):

  • Liquidity: The liquidity section of the flash report informs management of the organization’s cash flow situation. This section typically includes the quick ratio, the accounts receivable turnover, the operational cash flow, and the days sales outstanding.
  • Productivity: The productivity section of any flash report will vary significantly by industry. Nonetheless, this section of the report should link the activities of the company to its financial success. Utilization rate, overtime hours, revenue growth, and throughput are typical operational indicators that businesses track.
  • Profitability: Profitability is necessary for any business that wishes to continue operations. This section of the flash report examines financial indices including gross profit margin, operational profit margin, and net profit margin. Larger companies may break this down by business unit to demonstrate individual success.

Although there is no standard template for flash reports, high-quality financial reporting software typically includes easily customizable, out-of-the-box templates. These will serve as templates for the following flash report topics that C-suite executives enjoy viewing:

General Ledger Flash Report

A quarterly financial report contains substantial amounts of data. Some believe there may be too much information.

What is a Flash Report?

Many managers are content to review only condensed financial statements (income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement), but the general ledger flash report combines condensed financial statements with financial ratios.

This assists management in identifying patterns and comparing their performance to that of competitors. On a weekly basis, these reports are frequently generated automatically using business intelligence data.

Flash Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) Report

The flash PMI is a frequently referenced monthly flash report that managers and financial analysts use to assess the health of the manufacturing sector and understand current economic trends.

This report is based on 85 to 90 percent of all PMI survey responses each month. A PMI above 50 indicates manufacturing expansion relative to the previous month, while a PMI below 50 indicates manufacturing contraction.

Monitor & Review

Now that every component of the Flash Report has been created, it is time to evaluate the results. The Flash Report is intended to provide management with a “pretty accurate” analysis of the current situation.

Thus, any necessary adjustments can be implemented swiftly. Rather than reacting to emergencies during the crisis phase, proactive measures should be taken during the issue phase.

If you require absolute precision, you must wait two to four weeks after the end of the month for the period’s financial statements to be completed. 80-90 percent accuracy is sufficient for interim company management.

The company’s Owner(s)/Management should review the Flash Report’s results after its completion. To expedite the decision-making process, weekly reviews should be conducted if possible. Thus, the organization can respond to trends with greater speed.

Include all stakeholders involved in the company’s active management in the evaluation of its performance. It is essential that representatives from Operations, Finance, and Accounting be present as well.

The numbers do not reveal a great deal on their own. They serve as a reference point for the conversation. Start with a review of the company’s cash position. The cash situation may raise questions regarding why cash is insufficient, leading to inquiries about A/R or sales.

Additions to the Flash Report

Continue to monitor results from period to period. Please feel free to make any necessary adjustments to the Productivity Metrics. Communication and discussion obligations are essential to the implementation and utilization of the Flash Report.

In addition to tabularly displaying the data in the flash report, some businesses may wish to graph them. In some instances, a graph may be easier to comprehend than data, especially when examining trends.

What is a Flash Report?

In addition to the present, it may be advantageous for the purposes of the flash report to include three historical eras. This will aid in trend analysis. As a highly successful financial leader, generating a flash report is merely one of your many successful strategies.

Flash Report Example and Format

Let’s take a look at how a hotel, ABC Hospitality LLC, utilizes monthly flash reports to track its success in terms of its primary revenue stream, room revenue.

ABC Hospitality LLC monthly operational review
Key performance indicators (Monthly) Actual (Sep 2019) Budget (Sep 2019) Deviation (Act vs Bud) Actual (Sep 2018) Deviation (Y-o-Y)
Occupancy level 60% 63% -3% 62% -2%
Average daily rate $196 $200 -$4 $195 $1
Revenue per available room $118 $126 -$8 $121 -$3
No. of operating days 30 30 0 30 0
Total revenue $176,400 $189,000 -$12,600 $181,350 -$4,950
EBITDA margin 31.6% 33.0% -1.4% 32.5% -0.9%
Key performance indicators (Year-to-date) Actual (9M2019) Budget (9M2019) Deviation (Act vs Bud) Actual (9M2018) Deviation (Y-o-Y)
Occupancy level 66% 65% 1% 64% 2%
Average daily rate $198 $200 -$2 $199 -$1
Revenue per available room $131 $130 $1 $127 $3
No. of operating days 273 273 0 273 0
Total revenue $1,783,782 $1,774,500 $9,282 $1,738,464 $45,318
EBITDA margin 33.8% 34.0% -0.2% 33.5% 0.3%

According to the preceding graph, the organization has selected six operational and financial metrics for the monthly flash report. The comparison is performed both monthly and annually. All favorable deviations are shown in green, whereas all unfavorable deviations are shown in red. This makes it very easy for the company’s upper management to obtain a snapshot of the organization’s current performance.

Flash Reports for Middle Management

It is a common misconception that flash reports are a tool for senior management. Since the introduction of KPI dashboards, data has been significantly easier to access, and middle management now has immediate access to flash reports.

These reports are typically more specific than their C-level counterparts and pertain to the activities of a single department. Here are some examples of flash reports commonly used by middle management:

Accounts Payable Flash Report

Every organization seeks the greatest possible financial efficiency. This may necessitate a slight delay in paying your vendors. The accounts payable flash report informs management of the company’s payment practices and vendor relationships. This flash report contains a summary of monthly purchases, a vendor breakdown, age information, and all other relevant data.

What is a Flash Report?

Accounts Receivable Flash Report

Similar to how you pay your suppliers, you expect to be paid for your services. Similar to the accounts payable report, the accounts receivable flash report includes essential client, aging, and monthly sales data. This report is especially useful for identifying high-quality clients whose business you wish to retain and possibly expand in the future.

Order Entry Flash Report

Who are your largest clients? What inventory is ordered most frequently? The order entry flash report provides a summary of vital information for purchasing and sales administration. It provides essential information for demand forecasting as well as information about additional products that customers may be interested in.

It also displays data on the performance of sales agents, allowing you to determine who is closing the most deals and who is having trouble.

Inventory Flash Report

The inventory flash report is appropriate for warehouse managers, purchasing managers, and analysts in the operations department of a supply chain company. These reports will provide managers with an understanding of the efficiency with which their warehouses are utilized and with which goods are moved.

Early identification of inventory patterns enables purchasing managers to more precisely predict future demand, thereby optimizing revenue. It should be noted that manually tracking inventory can be extremely difficult, and that a KPI dashboard is the most effective solution.

Payroll Flash Report

Every company has a payroll department, but are you aware of how expensive everything is? The payroll flash report provides a detailed breakdown of the monthly expenses associated with wages, benefits, overtime hours, and taxes. The most frequently used job codes can also be included in reports, allowing you to evaluate the effectiveness of your workforce.

Job Cost Flash Report

Examine a job cost flash report when analyzing the profitability of each task your company completes in depth. This report outlines the total costs, invoices, payments, discounts, and write-offs for a specific project (s).

Managers will frequently utilize these flash reports to determine the factors that contributed to the success of a project so that it can be repeated. Similarly, they will examine job cost records to determine what causes certain tasks to deteriorate.

Until now, we’ve covered some of the numerous types of flash reports issued to upper and middle management. It is essential to note, however, that the mere presence of a report on someone’s desk or in their inbox does not guarantee that it will be read. Reports must be written in a way that compels individuals to read them.

What is a Flash Report?

What Makes a Good Flash Report

A high-quality flash report will provide a concise and comprehensive overview of your organization. This can be easily achieved by analyzing three crucial components of a flash report. length of the report, relevant information, and preparation time.

  • Report Length: These reports should be succinct and direct. Depending on the type of flash report, the content should ideally fit on a single page but can range from one to four pages. Frequently, lengthy reports are delayed until later, resulting in them never being reviewed.
  • Comparative Data: If there is nothing to compare it to, even the most recent information is useless. Flash reports should contain both historical data from previous reports and data from the same time last year (YoY). This facilitates the identification and resolution of operational issues by management.
  • Preparation Time: Creating a Flash report should take no more than 30 minutes, and should be instantaneous when using the proper reporting tools. These reports are intended to provide up-to-date information in an easily digestible format and in a manner that requires minimal time to compile.

Despite the apparent simplicity of these three components, we are all aware that creating flash reports is notoriously challenging. Not only must they understand the most effective way to convey information to the end user, but flash reports tend to evolve as the company grows.

An indicator of performance may have been vital for years, but as the organization evolves, it may become less important. Consequently, it is essential to have a high-quality reporting technology that enables the expansion of your flash reports alongside the growth of your organization.

How to Create Flash Report?

Making a flash report entails making it as simple and simplistic as possible. It does not imply that the output will be unintelligent, but rather that producing the flash report should not require an excessive amount of time and effort.

In fact, some experts believe that if the creation of a flash report takes longer than thirty minutes, it will be extremely challenging to create these reports regularly, which is the primary purpose of flash reports. So, let’s learn step-by-step how to construct a flash report.

Determine the title of the flash report based on its main objective. It could be the company name followed by the purpose of the report. For example, “ABC Inc. Weekly Review” implies that the report is being compiled to evaluate ABC Inc.’s weekly performance.

Alternately, if the account is being created at that level, the name of the relevant department or website may be provided.

What is a Flash Report?

Determine which financial and operational KPIs will be included in the report. Few indicators should be included in the report, but they should be among the firm’s most crucial.

Determine the periodicity or frequency of the report. The frequency could be daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly. The frequency should be based on the report’s most important metric.

Next, define the objective for the reported metrics based on the annual budget. These target values will be included as budgeted values in periodic flash reports.

Next, record the actual and projected performance side-by-side to facilitate comparison. The comparison may also be made between the current period’s performance and that of the same period in the previous year.

One can add an additional column to record the deviation. Note that a flash report always pulls its data from the same database used to generate monthly financial statements and budgets.

Finally, the flash report is prepared for presentation. Now, charts and other visuals can be added to the report to make it more visually appealing.

Use Of Flash Report

The following are the typical applications for flash reports:

  • In today’s competitive market, the management team must keep abreast of all market changes; these reports help them do so by providing regular updates.
  • These reports are intended to capture the most crucial financial and operational factors that can make or break an organization.
  • Before it is too late, businesses use these monthly reports to identify outliers and anomalies in their performance. Early detection is followed by preventative or corrective measures, as necessary.

Conclusion

These one-page management reports provide an overview of the company’s key performance indicators.

These reports are extremely useful for identifying anomalies and outliers in performance. In addition, they assist the management team in staying current on all market changes.

These reports should be created in the simplest format possible to facilitate quick creation and maintenance. They should not exert excessive physical or mental effort.

FAQ

A flash report is a summary of the key operational and financial outcomes of a business. It is typically provided by the accounting department to the management team on a frequent basis, perhaps daily or weekly. The report is intended to point out issues that the management team can take action on.
  1. Firstly, decide the title of the flash report based on its main objective. …
  2. Next, decide the operational and financial metrics that should be captured in the report. …
  3. Next, decide on the periodicity or frequency of the report.
A daily flash report tells you how sales are running compared to your budget plan and how your business is trending. The daily flash report is typically the first report everyone checks each day.
The Flash Report or financial dashboard report is defined as a periodic snapshot of key financial and operational data. It’s a one-page report that helps management assess the key performance indicators of the company.

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