The reporting system ( English reporting ) comprises all facilities, means and measures of a company or an authority for the preparation, forwarding, processing and storage of information about a company and its environment in the form of reports . This is also used, for example, in the context of insolvency proceedings for winding up or continuing a company.
Reports are information summarized for a given objective . In the past, reports, sometimes also called lists , meant evaluations in printed form on paper . Nowadays, reports are no longer tied to this medium: They can be created in paper and electronic form and used, for example, on a screen .
A reporting system describes the structure of all reports adapted to the operation. The organizational unit that deals with the preparation of company data, especially accounting , is often called "reporting".
Reports support strategic and operational corporate management at all levels : from top management to the management of the corporate divisions to the individual operational organizational units . They support the cooperation with customers and business partners by making the economic basis of the cooperation transparent. They serve as information for the shareholders by showing what has been achieved so far and also the prospects for value growth in the future (e.g. in value reporting ).
Terms in reporting
Objects, features and values
Are objects of reporting
- the company's customers , both individually and in summary according to groups or markets;
- the company's products and services , both viewed individually and summarized according to market-specific or common content;
- the company itself with its organizational subdivision into areas and smaller units;
- the time view with units such as year, month, accumulated months in the current year, down to the calendar week and the individual reference date.
Every object, but also every transaction in the company, has a number of characteristics . For example, a customer can have the characteristics sales area or customer group . A product has characteristics such as product type or product group .
The specific expression of these characteristics depends on the needs of the company. For example, a grocer could differentiate between fruit and vegetables, dairy, food, meat, cheese, beverages, sweets, and others by product type.
A transaction is assigned to a customer and a product, but also has its own characteristics such as delivery route, distribution channel, or the marketing campaign that brought it about.
The reporting system assigns values to the objects and presents them appropriately. Such values are, for example, sales , manufacturing or purchasing costs or inventory . The assignment results in statements such as sales per customer or sales volume per product.
Grouping and consolidation
The characteristics and the hierarchical structure of objects give you the opportunity to sort , group and summarize reports . For example, you can calculate the total sales per sales region and hide the individual customers within this region.
Inclusion of planning
Reporting gains a further dimension through the inclusion of plan values. This provides information, for example, about the planned sales per market segment or the planned overhead costs for a specific company unit.
Requirements for a modern reporting system
Truth and clarity
The reports must be conceptually clear and the content correct. Their level of detail, their content and their preparation must be appropriate to the respective group of users and intended use. The report must not contain any subjective evaluations.
An authorization concept must provide for rights and blocking of user groups:
- At the functional level: certain functions and screen windows can or cannot be used. Change is to allow certain users to frustrate others.
- At the data level: Certain information can only be seen or changed by certain user groups.
The security of confidential data must be guaranteed.
The system must meet the legal requirements. This includes in particular the Federal Data Protection Act and the provisions for proper bookkeeping and proper data processing.
The reporting system must be based on a uniform, binding nomenclature : The same terms must be named in the same way, even if they appear in different places. Different terms have to be named differently.
Establishing a uniform glossary is an organizational task when setting up the reporting system.
Binding standard reports versus flexibility
The reporting system should provide a fixed catalog of standard reports with a fixed structure that can be called up at fixed times and made accessible to a fixed distribution group.
In addition to the fixed standard reports, every user should be able to compile reports himself in order to be able to answer current, new questions.
The user should:
- Being able to freely put together objects, features and values within the framework of meaningful combinations;
- You can freely choose compression and groupings, you can show and hide refinements on the next lower level, you can descend from coarse to fine ( drill-down ).
It must also be possible to configure the standard reports in such a way that the company is free to choose values and characteristics when setting up the reporting system.
The data from all areas of the company should be summarized and aggregated in the reporting system so that an overall view of the customer, the product, the company and its organizational units can be presented. In the case of extensive information from a wide variety of areas, it may be necessary to introduce an information or document management system. At least an IT solution makes sense: ERP system , inventory control system , etc.
- Rüdiger R. Eichholz: Reporting and information management. Beck Juristischer Verlag, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-57304-0 .
- Sylvia Neuhäuser-Metternich: Communication and reporting. Beck Juristischer Verlag, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-406-45664-2 .
- Manfred Pook, Günter Tebbe: Reporting and Controlling. Jehle, Heidelberg 2002, ISBN 3-7825-0432-1 .
- Jochen Rädeker , Kirsten Dietz: Reporting - corporate communication as an image carrier. Hermann Schmidt Verlag, Mainz 2011, ISBN 978-3-87439-810-7 .
- Mirko Waniczek: Optimizing reporting. redline Wirtschaftsverlag, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-8323-0865-2 .
- ForStaB. Retrieved on February 5, 2018 (German).