Updated July 15, 2023
What is Flash Report?
The term“flash report” refers to the management report that is usually used by the mid to senior management to quickly gain an understanding of some of the company’s most important metrics.
In other words, the flash report is the periodic snapshot of the key operational and financial data, and it is usually presented as a one-page report that the management uses to assess the subject company’s performance. For instance, a flash report may present the actual vis-à-vis the budgeted data for a particular month and then compare it to the actual performance of last year. Some of the flash reports even have columns for capturing the variance in performance in the form of traffic lights that help draw attention to outliers.
How to Create Flash Report?
The entire process of creating a flash report is that it should be as simple and stupid as possible. It doesn’t mean that the output will be stupid, but it means that preparing the flash report should not take much time and effort. Some experts believe that if the preparation of a flash report takes any longer than half an hour, then it will be very difficult to generate these reports frequently, which is the main idea behind flash reports. So, now let us understand step-by-step how to create a flash report.
- Firstly, decide the title of the flash report based on its main objective. It can be the name of the company followed by the report objective. For instance, “ABC Inc. Weekly Review” indicates that the report is being prepared to review ABC Inc.’s performance every week. Otherwise, the name of the concerned department or site can also be used if it is being created at that level.
- Next, decide the operational and financial metrics that should be captured in the report. The number of metrics in the report should be very few, but they should be some of the most critical ones for the business.
- Next, decide on the periodicity or frequency of the report. It can be either daily, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly. The frequency should be decided based on the most critical metric in the report.
- Next, determine the target for the reported metrics based on the annual budget. These target values will get pulled through to the periodic flash report as the budgeted values.
- Next, capture the actual and the budgeted performance side-by-side to be compared easily. The comparison can also be between the current period’s performance and the same period from the previous year. One can create an additional column to capture the deviation.[Please note that a flash report always obtains its base information from the same financial and accounting database used to produce the periodic financial statements and budgets.]
- Finally, the flash report is ready for presentation. Now, one can add various charts or other graphical representations to make the report visually appealing.
Flash Report Example and Format
Let us take the example of a hotel ABC Hospitality LLC to understand how it uses flash reports every month to track its performance in terms of room revenue, which is the primary source of revenue for its business.
|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)|
|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|
|Key Performance Indicators (Year-to-date)||Actual (9M2019)||Budget (9M2019)||Deviation (Act vs Bud)||Actual (9M2018)||Deviation (Y-o-Y)|
|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|
From the above table, it can be seen that the company has selected 6 operational and financial metrics for the flash report, which are reviewed monthly. The comparison is made at the monthly and YTD level. All the favorable deviations have been highlighted in green, while the negative ones have been highlighted in red. In this way, it becomes very easy for the company’s senior management to get a quick overview of its current performance.
Uses of Flash Report
Some of the major uses of a typical flash report are as follows:
- In the current competitive marketplace, the management team needs to be on top of all the ongoing market developments, and these reports help in doing exactly that by providing information frequently.
- These reports are intended to capture the business’s most critical financial and operational parameters that can either make or break the business.
- The companies use these periodic reports to detect outliers and exceptions in their performance before it is too late. Early detection is followed by preventive or corrective measures, whichever is applicable.
- The flash reports are one-page management reports that provide a snapshot of the company’s key performance indicators.
- These reports are very helpful in detecting outliers and exceptions in the company’s performance. They also help the management team to stay on top of all the ongoing market developments.
- These reports should be prepared in the simplest form to ensure quick generation and easy maintenance. They should not consume too much manpower or brainpower.
This is a guide to Flash Report. Here we also discuss the introduction and major uses of a typical flash report, along with an example and Format. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –