What are KPI reports? (Benefits and how to create one)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) play an important role in most organisations, as they help track data related to performance. KPI reports can help you analyse and review the KPIs, knowing how the organisation performs against its strategic goals. If you're looking to create KPI reports, it can be helpful to learn more about what they are and how you can create them. In this article, we explore KPI reports are, explain why they are important, highlight the various types, discuss tips and how to create them and provide a few KPI report examples.

Related: How to write a report in 9 steps (with definition and tips)

What are KPI reports?

KPI reports are management tools that facilitate the organisation, measurement and analysis of important business key performance indicators. These reports help organisations identify weaknesses, strengths and trends, improving their chances of achieving business goals. Learning the answer to 'What are KPI reports?' can help you determine which reports can best apply to your team or industry. Depending on the amount of data you require tracking and who the intended audience is, you can make these reports detailed and extensive.

Related: What KPI stands for and how to use it in your career

Why are KPI reports important?

KPI reports are important for many managers, executives and employees. They help visualise the KPIs that specifically track performance against objectives. KPIs indicate how a team or an individual is performing and show how their work can impact the organisation. Compiling data into a KPI report can help you summarise information to make it more accessible, manageable and usable. KPIs can also help organisations track employee performance regularly, allowing them to reward employees based on performance, which can motivate employees to improve their productivity.

Related: How to become a data analyst

Types of KPI reports

Here are some of the common KPI reports:

Operational

Operational reports focus on the day-to-day activities of an organisation. They can provide information to those involved in those activities, helping them make informed decisions. These reports can best apply to executives and managers, who often require making operational decisions. For example, a finance manager may use a debtors report to manage debtors and debts.

Analytical

Analytical reports help answer questions that arise from the analysis of KPI data. They may include trend analysis, historical data and the newest data. You can use these reports across all business areas as long as the KPIs you track are relevant to you and your team.

Strategic

Strategic reports focus on the overall health and performance of a business. Shareholders, owners and executives use these reports to make decisions regarding the strategies to use in the future and track how the organisation is performing against its objectives and goals. This information can help them determine the future of the business. For example, a finance manager may evaluate a strategic KPI report with data about current expenses to forecast the next year's budget and decide on a course of action.

How to create effective KPI reports

Consider using the following steps to create effective KPI reports:

1. Create an overview

The first step to creating KPIs is to create an outline that helps you set the report's criteria. You can identify what type of report you need, the intended audience and the goal or objective of the report. Setting goals helps everyone understand the information required in the report and may also help them visualise what success would look like. Creating this overview can guide you in creating the rest of the report because you know what you want to achieve.

2. Define the KPIs

Once you've established the overall goal and objective of the report, you can define the KPIs you plan to use. You can also explain why you chose those specific KPIs, how you tracked data and what the terms mean. Defining KPIs can especially be useful when your audience lack sufficient knowledge in that field, as you require making your information as clear as possible.

3. Present your KPIs

After defining KPIs, you may want to show all the data included in your report. You can present your KPIs in various formats, such as lists, graphs, spreadsheets and charts. Be sure to identify what format works best for each type of data to help ensure that your presentation is clear, focused and relevant. Consider presenting these KPIs logically to help your audience understand them better.

Related: A guide to the different types of charts and graphs

4. Create a prototype

Create the first draft, and you may use dummy data as a test. You can distribute this report to stakeholders and your team and ask them to review it and give you feedback. This helps you know areas to improve as you create the actual report.

5. Proofread and refine the report

Once you've completed the report, proofread it to check for any errors or mistakes. You may discover that some areas need changing, re-arranging and formatting. You may also provide additional data, depending on the report's purpose. Be sure to review it as many times as possible to make sure it's effective. Consider checking and updating the report as often as possible to keep the information up to date and relevant.

6. Distribute the report

The final step is to distribute the KPI report to its intended users. Workplace communication can help motivate employees as they all know what goals to work towards and how to achieve them. These reports can help everyone gauge their performance against the set goals and objectives, which might be a strategic way to improve productivity at work.

Tips to improve your KPI reporting

Here are some of the tips to improve your KPI reporting:

  • Keep it simple: Consider keeping your report as simple as possible. You can use a few KPIs and only measure what matters.

  • Set clear objectives: Consider sticking to the set objectives and create another report if necessary. If it's an operational report, keep it that way and avoid adding other KPIs, even if they are convenient.

  • Ensure data consistency: Be sure to use accurate data to demonstrate integrity in your reports. Take time to test various data sets for accuracy and update it to keep information relevant and updated.

  • Involve your team: Consider creating the KPI reports, especially those that might get used to measuring their performance. That way, you gain insight into what needs measuring and how to improve their processes.

  • Review regularly: Organisations change, as do their goals and objectives, meaning what might be important to track today may be obsolete in the future. Consider reviewing the reports regularly to keep information accurate and relevant.

  • Use visuals: Consider using visuals such as charts and graphs to report your KPIs. This helps in making your report easy to understand and retain information.

  • Include historical data: Consider comparing current data with past data. This is especially if the organisation has run previous metrics on these KPIs.

  • Be honest: Regardless of the results of the report, be truthful. If the reports show that the company did not achieve its goals, consider creating a plan to achieve better performance in the future.

KPI report examples

Here are various KPI report examples:

By industry

Here are various KPI report examples by industry:

Financial services report

A financial services report features KPIs that measure an organisation's top-line growth and reduction of costs. It may include KPIs such as:

  • return on assets

  • utilisation

  • return on equity

Healthcare report

A healthcare report can help analyse patient care and facilities' operations to improve quality and uncover inefficiencies. Healthcare reports may feature KPIs such as:

  • profitability

  • patient outcomes

  • readmissions

Manufacturing report

A manufacturing report can highlight operational and supply chain efficiency KPIs to optimise costs. It may include KPIs, such as:

  • quality

  • performance

  • availability

Retail report

A retail report may feature associate performance indicators and buyer engagement. It may include KPIs, such as:

  • transactions per month

  • channel sales

  • returns by percentage sales

By job function

Here are example KPI reports by job function:

Human resources report

A human resources report may feature employee benefits and engagement indicators to maximise retention. Some of the KPIs include:

  • quality of hire

  • time to productivity

  • absentee rate

Marketing report

A marketing report analyses KPIs that measure the success of marketing strategies. Some of the KPIs may include:

  • conversion rates

  • return on investment

  • cost per lead

Sales report

A sales report shows forecast and performance indicators to maximise sales. It may analyse KPIs, such as:

  • win rates

  • deals closed

  • the number of returned items

  • repeat sales revenue

Customer relations report

A customer relations report may analyse how well a company relates with its customers. It measures the effectiveness of customer services. It may feature KPIs such as:

  • customer retention

  • in-store foot traffic

  • the number of customer complaints per day

  • customer satisfaction score

Finance report

A finance report helps analyse the financial position of an organisation. It may include KPIs, such as:

  • gross profit

  • expenses

  • procurement data

  • comparison of projected vs. actual revenue

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