Flash Reports: What are they and what makes a good one?

In business, a flash report is a summary that provides a periodic snapshot of a company's key performance indicators and key operational figures.

The senior management team can use these weekly flash reports to assess how the business is performing rather than making reactive decisions based on quarterly reports.

Because of the shorter reporting cycles, C-level executives can identify operational irregularities before they become significant problems for the company. The review of flash reports regularly provides a rough measure of organizational changes and insights into real-time trends.

Stick with us as we discuss the various types of flash reports that C-level executives must use, and some of the key components that comprise a good flash report in this post.

Three sections of the flash report

There isn't a cookie-cutter template for creating flash reports. These reports are a versatile tool that can be tailored to your company's specific requirements. Certain trends can, however, be seen across C-level flash reports. They are typically distributed weekly or monthly and are divided into three categories: liquidity, productivity, and profitability, as discussed below:


The flash report's liquidity section informs management about the company's cash flow situation. The quick ratio, accounts receivable turnover, and operating cash flow, are all common financial metrics.


The productivity section of any flash report will differ significantly depending on the industry type. Companies frequently monitor operational metrics such as utilization rate, weekly overtime hours, sales growth, and throughput. This report section, on the other hand, should bridge the gap between company operations and financial performance.


Profitability is critical for any business that wants to thrive. This section of the flash report discusses important financial metrics such as revenue, gross profit margin, operating income, and net profit margin. For larger companies, you can break this down by business unit to see the individual performance.

Other types of flash reports

There isn't a specific template for Flash Reports. However, top-notch financial reporting software frequently comes with pre-configured templates ready to use right out of the box. These will be made up of the following templates that C-level executives prefer to see:

General ledger flash report

A quarterly financial report is dense with data. Some may argue that the data is excessive. Many executives are satisfied with simply reviewing the condensed three-statement model (income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement) and financial ratios.

The general ledger flash report, on the other hand, goes a step further by including condensed financials and financial ratio analysis. This allows managers to see how they compare to their competitors.

Middle management flash report

Flash reports aren't just for executives. They are also beneficial to middle managers. Data has become much easier to access with the introduction of KPI dashboards, making flash reports readily available to middle managers. These reports typically concentrate on a single department and its operations. Here are some examples of typical mid-management flash reports.

Accounts payable flash report

Every business strives to be as cash-efficient as possible. This may require more time to pay your vendors, but it is well worth it. The accounts payable flash report informs managers about how well the company pays its bills and maintains healthy vendor relationships. This flash report summarizes your monthly purchases, displays a vendor breakdown, and contains aging data.

Accounts receivable flash report

As you pay vendors for their services, you expect them to pay you for yours. Like the accounts payable report, this accounts receivable report summarizes critical information about customer accounts, receivables aging (or days past due), and monthly sales. This report is helpful for identifying high-quality clients to retain and potential new clients.

Order entry flash report

Who are your most important clients? Which inventory is the most frequently ordered? The order entry flash reports summarize the essential information purchasing and marketing managers need to know about their orders.

It is essential for demand forecasting because it helps you understand other products that clients might want. It also highlights information about sales rep performance, so you can see who is closing the most deals and who is struggling.

Inventory flash report

Warehouse managers, purchasing managers, and analysts in a supply chain company can all benefit from the inventory flash report.

These reports will assist managers in understanding how well their warehouses are running and how efficiently inventory is moving through them. Identifying inventory trends early allows purchasing managers to forecast better future needs, maximizing profits. You should also be aware that manually tracking inventory can be time-consuming.

Payroll flash report

Payroll departments are typically expensive for businesses. But do you know how much they're going to cost you? The payroll flash report shows the monthly cost of salaries, benefits, and taxes to the company. Reports can also show which task codes are used the most, which can help you determine how efficient your workforce is.

Job cost flash report

To find out how profitable each job is, you should look at a job cost report. The total charges, billings, payments, discounts, and write-offs for the selected job are shown in this report (s). Managers will usually create these flash reports to identify the drivers behind a good job so it can be replicated. They will also use job cost reports to determine what factors are causing some jobs to fail.

So far, we've discussed various types of flash reports used by senior and middle management. However, remember that just because something lands on someone's desk doesn't mean they'll read it. You should write a report that will entice readers to read it.

Continue reading to learn the three components of a good flash report.

Three components of a good flash report

A good flash report provides a thorough quick overview of your company in a concise format. To accomplish this, we will look at three crucial aspects of a Flash Report: report length, relevant content, and preparation time.

Report length

Reports should be concise and clear. The content in the report should ideally be condensed into a single page, although it can range from one to four pages depending on the type of report. Lengthy reports are frequently postponed, so readers rarely read them. them.

Relevant content

You can have the most recent data, but it won't be very meaningful unless it is compared to something else. Historical data from previous reports and data from the same period last year should be included in flash reports (YoY). It assists management in identifying and correcting operational anomalies. Your report should also provide insight on real time trends and customer behavior.

Preparation time

Flash reports should be quick and easy to prepare using proper reporting software. Flash reports should be ready in less than 30 minutes and are often prepared on a weekly basis. The whole point of this report is that it is quick to put together a one-page report that provides up-to-date information in an easily digestible format.

These three key components may appear simple but challenging to implement. They must not only understand how to present the information to their end users, but flash reports frequently change as the company evolves.

A specific performance metric may be highly relevant for years but may become obsolete as the company evolves. As a result, using a high-quality reporting system is critical to ensuring that your flash report grows at the same rate as your company.

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