Save Yourself: How Reports Templates Give You Time and Money
Did you know that reports templates can save your company time and money?
Companies can spend up to 30% on inefficiencies. You can start to eliminate efficiencies in your business by using templates.
Think of all of the documents and reports that you create. How many of them are created multiple times?
If you find that you and your employees are creating the same documents over and over, keep reading to learn how to use templates to save time and boost productivity.
Reports Templates Save Time
Your employees probably spend more time formatting reports than they do writing the content.
Templates support your employees because most of the work is already done for them. They don’t have to decide things like where the logo should go.
They also don’t have to worry about the fonts, font sizes, margins, creating a cover page or heading styles.
They just have to deal with the information that goes into the report. That means that they save time and stress in creating reports.
Your employees’ time will then be freed up so they can work on other, more important projects.
Templates Save Money
Most companies spend between 15-35% of annual revenues on payroll. If they’re spending less time generating reports, how much money can that save your business?
Also, remember the human error factor. Reports that are manually generated are vulnerable to human error, such as typos.
There’s an additional cost of going back to correct reports. There are also potential costs to your business if important information (think sales forecasts) have incorrect information.
If you were to make business decisions based on misinformation, it could cost your company even more in the long run.
Reports templates can give your company an edge when it comes to training new employees. You can create fields and embed instructions in the fields. New employees can generate quality reports from day one with very little training.
Templates Impact Your Brand
As an added bonus, reports templates can create a good impression for your company and your brand.
eLearning companies use templates to help them create a consistent look across course templates. You can do something similar with your templates.
Let’s say you asked three people to create the same report to send to customers. Each report looks a little different.
If the same customer gets different reports, what kind of impression of your company will they have? Your company can appear to be unorganized and it can leave customers to wonder what’s going on in your organization.
Using templates will give your company a consistent look and your employees will have more confidence in presenting the information to clients.
How You Can Use Reports Templates
Templates can be used in many applications and across all industries.
For example, a personal trainer can use reports templates to create exercise programs and client progress reports. Oil production companies can create a production spreadsheet template to track investor production reports and oil gauge reports.
Other uses of templates include:
- Meeting agendas
- Employee Schedule
- Project management
- Expense forms
- Call logs
- Inventory Management
- Sales projections
Reports templates can be used in virtually any application. To choose what should have a template, think of the documents you and your employees use most often. Anything that’s created more than once should have a template.
You can create another level of prioritization by department or who sees the reports. For example, you might place a higher priority on customer-facing reports than in-house reports.
How to Design Effective Reports Templates
After you’ve gathered your list of reports and documents that require templates, it’s time to start building them.
Bill Gates said, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
When you design your template, you want to make sure you’re making it as efficient as possible. That means that you’ll need to create a template with a purpose.
Start with the first report you’re going to create a template for. In this example, it’s a sales projection report.
You’ll need to ask yourself what the goal of the template is. Answer from the reader’s perspective and from the writer’s perspective.
From a reader’s perspective, a sales projection report can help manage inventory and cash flow for the coming months. From a writer’s perspective, it gives a sense of the sales department’s current performance and can be compared to previous years.
Now ask yourself what the most critical information that needs to be in the report. You might include projections for individual sales reps and sales numbers from previous years.
Decide what information must be manually entered and what can be automated in the template. This step is important because it will force you to look at any inefficiencies in creating the report. You can then eliminate them.
If you find that there are fields on your report that are open to interpretation, you’ll want to make sure that these fields have added instructions for users.
Now that you have that information, it’s time to start designing the report. In this step, it’s important to think from a reader’s perspective.
What information will they want to know first? You can design the template so that important information stands out with bold text or highlights. Then you can decide on the fonts, font size, logo placement, and size.
You can also decide on the margins for the reports and what goes in the headers and footers. You may have to refer to your marketing department or your company’s brand book for this step.
Template Reports Are a Great Investment
Template reports are a smart investment for companies who generate the same documents over and over.
They may be a significant investment of time and resources to start, but they also have a big ROI. They can also create a positive impact on your brand.
Read our blog if you’d like to learn more ways to improve your brand.