Business reports are critical tools for enterprises of all sizes and across multiple industries. The goal of business reporting is to provide an accurate picture of how a company’s overall health and how it is performing in different areas. Tracking progress and developments over time can identify areas for improvement and opportunities for growth. There are different types of business reports such as annual reports, marketing reports, inventory reports and more. Writing a formal business report requires planning and skill to communicate information properly. Important decisions are taken during company meetings, conferences and other interactions. Business transcription services ensure documentation of the proceedings of company meetings, conferences and other interactions, which often provide content for report writing.
According to a Deloitte report, digital tools are transforming business reporting processes. First, let’s take a look at 5 common types of reports that businesses create:
- Annual Reports: As the term ‘annual’ indicates, this report describes what the company has achieved over the preceding year. An important aspect of an annual report is the financial picture it provides for investors and potential stakeholders.
- Financial Reports: These reports are prepared at regular intervals to help the company monitor its progress towards revenue and profit goals. Results are compared to forecasts and the reasons for variance in any are explained. Public companies hold earnings calls to announce and discuss their financial results for a quarter or a year. Audio transcription service providers support the process by providing accurate transcripts of these conference calls.
- Inventory Reports: This report is a checklist that provides a description of the products that the company has in stock. Inventory ranking report rank the company’s products in descending order by the amount of gross margin created over the preceding year and compares profitability with holding cost.
- Sales and Marketing Reports: A sales report summarizes all the sales activity that occurred over a specific period of time, provides valuable information about the company’s growth, and supports future decision making. Marketing reports are compiled using data from different platforms and helps the company understand if its marketing strategies are successful or not.
- Technical Reports: With advancements in technology, companies adopt new technologies to stay competitive. Technical business reports are created to communicate technical information. These reports help top management plan for the future by providing guidance for the purchase of equipment or solutions to technical problems.
Deloitte surveyed 600 global finance leaders on management reporting and found that businesses are looking to improve their reporting processes. According to the report, companies are applying digital tools to upgrade their reporting processes to get better information distributed faster and applying point solutions to improve specific traditional reporting processes. The report identified 5 digital drivers that are reshaping the business reporting process:
- Robotic process automation (RPA) – RPA automates routine tasks and reduces that the time companies spend on data manipulation
- Chatbots – These dedicated virtual assistants allow users to employ voice or text queries to interact directly with data
- Visualization – This digital technology makes it easier for people to understand and interact with data by enabling dynamic display and handling of data
- Artificial intelligence (AI) includes machine learning and natural language tools that can read and write
- Predictive analysis – This statistical technique utilizes algorithms to carry out forward-looking analysis, especially routine financial forecasts
Deloitte predicts that future reporting will likely be “intelligent, interactive, and real-time”. However, the report concludes that, though digital technology may drive changes, business reporting is about the power of human intelligence to understand and leverage information company-wide. For instance, today, digital transcription service providers work as a trusted human resource to verify AI-enabled or automated transcription services. As Deloitte points out, new tools may reduce repetitive work, but human intelligence is needed to help businesses gain insights and to create effective narratives.