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Monthly Reports Templates & Examples To Monitor Business Performance

Monthly reports blog post by datapine

From startups to big enterprises, businesses are collecting more and more data every day, and it is no secret that whoever is not taking advantage of it will simply stay behind. For decades now, companies have benefited from monthly reports to share the insights they extract from their data, their accomplishments, current tasks, and objectives, but mostly to keep every relevant stakeholder invested and informed, as this is a key requirement to succeed in today’s crowded and fast-paced world. 

While traditional reports often include a summary, body, and conclusion in a written format, this post will focus on interactive monthly reports examples created with a professional dashboard creator. Powered by intuitive visualizations, these kinds of modern reports assist managers and team members in managing their information in the most efficient and effective way possible while enhancing collaboration and healthy business growth. 

To put the power of monthly reporting with interactive online dashboards into perspective, here we will cover the definition of these reports, tell you why they are important for business development, give you some tips and tricks to consider when creating them, and cover 20 powerful monthly report templates for different functions, industries, and platforms. 

Let’s get started! 

What Is A Monthly Report?

A monthly report is a data analysis tool that provides a summary of the performance of several business processes. Armed with powerful data visualizations, managers and team members use these reports to track progress and performance against their business objectives.

A monthly sales report template focused on high-level metrics such as revenue, profits, costs, incremental sales, accumulated revenue, up/cross-sell rates, etc.

There are several business scenarios in which these reports are useful. For example, managers use them as a tool to monitor the status of a project or the progress of employees. On the other hand, monthly performance reports can also serve as valuable tools for client reporting. By providing a clear visual representation of how strategies are performing, clients can quickly see the value of their investment.  

To continue putting the power of these analytical tools into perspective, we will now discuss some of the main purposes for which businesses use them.  

What Is The Purpose Of Monthly Reporting?

As mentioned above, businesses produce massive amounts of data, hiding powerful insights waiting to be untapped. For this purpose, companies use monthly reports samples to extract the maximum potential from their information, but mostly to track the status and progress of their strategies and goals. Traditional means of reporting are tedious and time-consuming; it takes hours or even days for a report to be completed, and they usually require a lot of work from the IT department. With modern self service BI tools, reports can be created with just a few clicks by anyone without needing technical skills. Let’s look at some other benefits of using them.

  • Improved decision-making: By providing real-time insights from several sources, reporting every month will significantly improve the decision-making process. Extracting business insights based on factual insights and not just simple intuition will lead companies to optimize several processes and ensure sustainable development. 
  • Evaluate status and progress: As mentioned, one of the most relevant reasons why these reports are so useful for businesses is to evaluate the status and progress of their strategies based on specific business goals. This enables them to fine-tune strategies and implement new ones to ensure healthy and efficient business growth. 
  • Benchmark performance: Thanks to historical data, generating reports monthly provides insights that enable businesses to generate targets to use as benchmarks. Through this, you can closely monitor your current values and compare them with the expected targets to find improvement opportunities and boost your performance. Additionally, you can also use them to compare your business status to competitors or market standards. 
  • Manage budgeting: Another of the great purposes of interactive monthly reports is that they are invaluable tools to justify the budget used in front of investors or other relevant stakeholders. And not just that, by getting a visual overview of all budgeting elements, you can also ensure that every dollar is being spent correctly, as well as monitor the remaining amounts for other actions. 
  • Mitigate risks: Modern monthly progress reports created with online reporting software provide a quick snapshot of a business’s most important indicators. By getting this level of insight every month, companies can significantly mitigate the risk of errors by spotting inefficiencies and solving them before they become bigger issues. 

Now that you have a definition and what its main purposes are, we will go through a list of 20 business monthly report templates for different industries, functions, and platforms. All these templates were carefully created with an intuitive BI dashboard software

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Top 20 Monthly Report Templates & Examples

Industries and businesses of all shapes and sizes can benefit from ready-made monthly report templates. These templates ensure you capture the most essential information and avoid letting opportunities fall through the cracks. We’ve developed these templates based on the most common metrics businesses need to make informed decisions, considering various roles and departments within the company. 

Get insights at a glance, easily export your findings, track KPIs over time, and cut the fluff so you can get straight to insights and actions. Here’s an in-depth look at 20 of our best monthly report templates and examples.

1. Monthly Financial Report

Our first example is a financial report tracking relevant metrics for a Chief Financial Officer (CFO). CFOs are in charge of the company's fiscal well-being, meaning they need to focus on monitoring key financial KPIs but also any other external factors that can affect business finances, such as customer retention or employee satisfaction. This monthly report template consolidates all this fundamental fiscal data in one central place to ensure healthy financial growth. Let’s look into it more in detail.  

A financial monthly report template focusing on relevant metrics any Chief Financial Officer (CFO) should track

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This monthly progress report example focuses on four main areas for any CFO: costs, sales goals, gross profit, and net promoter scores. Starting at the top, the dashboard provides a quick overview of relevant metrics such as revenue, gross profit, EBIT, operating expenses, and net income. Each of these is displayed in a gauge chart that compares the current value of each metric to a set target with colors green and red to quickly understand if the value is negative or positive. Getting these insights at a glance every month is useful as it allows CFOs or any other stakeholders to quickly visualize how the numbers have improved since the last period. If something dropped drastically from one month to the next, you can dig deeper into the reasons. 

Next, the monthly financial report template provides a breakdown of the costs and revenue of different business departments for the month, allowing you to monitor expenses and budgets closely. Paired with this, we see two charts displaying the NPS for employees and customers. It is important to revisit these scores every month, as unhappy customers or employees can bring severe financial hardships. 

2. Customer Retention Monthly Report Template

Customers are the beating heart of any business, and providing the best-targeted service for them can make or break a company. Our next example is a dashboard focusing on retention. Acquiring new customers is significantly more expensive than keeping your old ones, and this monthly report sample will enable you to do just that. 

This monthly customer report will help you fine tune your retention strategies by closely monitoring relevant KPIs

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Armed with powerful customer retention metrics, this monthly report template provides all the needed information to track the performance of your retention strategies as well as find improvement opportunities to skyrocket your business retention rates.

The dashboard focuses mainly on four metrics: the net promoter score (NPS), the loyal customer rate, the % of premium users, and the customer lifetime value (CLV). Each of them is compared to the values of the previous month so you can quickly understand if you have improved or decreased since your last report. Next, the service dashboard provides a detailed breakdown of each metric for the last 12 months. As mentioned, including historical data in your reports will allow you to get a better understanding of your performance, find trends and patterns, and boost your strategies based on factual information. 

3. Monthly Sales Report 

This monthly sales report template is used to monitor, analyze, and determine trends and performance every month in order to run the department successfully. Its main focus is on high-level sales KPIs that are most interesting for C-level executives, managers, and sales VPs. 

A monthly sales report template focused on high-level metrics related to costs and revenue

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Going a bit more in-depth with this sample, we first get a glance at critical numbers such as revenue, profit, and costs. Each of them is compared to a set target as well as the performance of the previous month. Through this, you can easily understand if the business is reaching its goals and strategies are being successful. 

Next, we have more detailed breakdowns of these metrics with current and past performance. This is invaluable information to include in your monthly status report template as it provides managers with a complete perspective on every sales process, allowing them the possibility to dig deeper into the data to find opportunities for sustainable business development. For example, by looking at the incremental sales every month, you can understand which channels are bringing the most revenue and exclude the ones that are not. If this were tracked on a quarterly basis, the business could not notice on time that some channels are not worth the investment. 

4. SaaS Monthly Management Report Sample

The next monthly status report template focuses on management, specifically in the executive-level operations of a tech-driven Software as a Service company. The most relevant areas on which any SaaS business should focus are customers, recurring revenue, and operational costs, and this dashboard provides an overview of each of them.  

An executive dashboard example visualizing the number of paying customers, ARPU, CAC, CLTV, and MRR over the course of a month.

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Armed with historical data from the last year, this monthly management report provides in-depth insights into performance and costs, keeping executives informed about every relevant indicator that can help the business stay profitable. The left part of the dashboard displays a line chart for new paying customers, lost customers, and churn rates. The goal here should be to keep your churn rate as low as possible with efficient strategies that must be closely monitored and improved every month. A standard value for churn should be roughly 0,5% a month or 5-7% a year. 

Next, the SaaS dashboard provides a breakdown of the monthly recurring revenue (MRR). This is arguably one of the most relevant metrics to track for any SaaS business, as they need to generate increased revenue to be able to grow. As you can see, these are all fundamental metrics to be tracked every month as they give you the ability to delve deeper into your ongoing operational costs to optimize your processes and understand your customers on a higher level.  

5. Project Monthly Report 

Our next example is an extremely valuable monthly report design for project controlling. This interactive dashboard provides managers and team members with every single detail about the development of a project, keeping everyone informed about the different stages and the performance of each of them. 

Project monthly report displaying metrics for the performance of a project in a 30 days period

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The value of this template for monthly reporting created with professional KPI reporting software lies in its interactivity. First, you get small boxes indicating the client's name, project status, and time period you want to visualize. This can all be filtered upon the need for deeper insights about previous stages or projects. Next, we get an overview of three key figures related to costs and revenue with an actual and expected value to quickly understand where the project is going in terms of budget. 

Paired with these cost-related metrics, the project dashboard provides KPIs related to tasks and time planning. Getting this level of detailed insight in a visually appealing way will enable teams to stay connected, perform their tasks better, and subsequently make the project more efficient. 

6. Monthly Social Media Report 

Social media never stops. In a world where people are more connected to their smart devices and their social accounts each day, brands that don’t extract every drop of potential from their channels will simply fall behind. This social media report, full of relevant marketing KPIs, will help you stay ahead. 

Social media monthly report template tracking the Performance of 4 relevant channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

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Armed with powerful insights such as followers, impressions, engagement rates, clicks, and more, this social media report provides an overview of the performance on four main channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Each channel is divided into seven fundamental metrics that are tracked against a set target and a previous period and displayed in red or green colors to quickly understand if the value is negative or positive. 

This insightful monthly marketing report template is the perfect tool to test the success of your social media strategies as well as what type of content your target audience enjoys the most. Tracking these on a month-to-month basis will help you deliver accurate progress reports to your managers or as a monthly client report while giving you enough time to fine-tune your performance and deliver the best social experience for your audience. 

7. Energy Monthly Report 

Our seventh monthly activity report template focuses on the management of an energy company. From the total sales and consumption by sector to the production costs and the number of power cuts, this energy dashboard gives you a big picture of the performance of different plants. 

Monthly report example of an energy management dashboard with selected KPIs

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The template starts with a breakdown of the total energy consumption by each sector. This is a valuable piece of information to include in your monthly reports as it tells you who your main consumers are so you can prepare your resources and production in advance to answer their needs. Next, you have sales and cost-related insights by sector and energy source, which provide an even deeper understanding of which should be your focus points. In this case, renewable energy is the most desired by households because of the trend in consumers switching to more sustainable lifestyles. 

This energy monthly summary report template would not be complete without some operational KPIs, the number of power cuts and their average duration tracked each month will help you plan and schedule supervised downtimes and alert your clients, as well as be prepared if any unwanted downtimes happen. 

 8. Monthly Service Report 

Our rundown of examples would not be complete without a platform-specific one. This Zendesk dashboard tracks the customer support team performance for the last 30 days with metrics that are specific to each agent as well as general to the team.  

Zendesk monthly report template tracking the performance of the customer support team

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With insights such as the occupancy rate, net promoter score, and average first contact resolution, among others, this monthly progress report template provides support managers with all the needed information to ensure the best customer service experience. Customers can make or break a company, so ensuring you support them in each stage of their journey is fundamental for business success. Taking this into account, reporting monthly on these Zendesk KPIs is fundamental, as any inefficiencies need to be addressed immediately. For instance, if a support agent is underperforming, his or her manager can provide training opportunities so that it won’t affect the performance of the whole team.

9. Google Analytics Monthly Report

Our next monthly analytics report template is one of the most useful Google Analytics dashboards, and it aims to monitor the performance of a website by tracking metrics such as sessions, new users, bounce rate, and goal completion, among others. 

This marketing analytics report provides the perfect overview of your KPIs, and enables you to discover early-on if you are on track to meet your targets

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Although standard Google Analytics monthly reports are widely used by marketers, they do have some limitations, such as the choice of chart types or advanced analytical features. The example above was created with a dashboard designer that has advanced filtering options so you can play with your data intuitively and interactively. 

This monthly report example not only provides KPIs for the last 30 days but also on a daily and weekly basis so you can get an even deeper understanding of your performance. Seeing how the data fluctuates depending on the country or channel will help you fine-tune your strategies and allocate your resources in the most efficient way. For example, here we see that the USA has the highest number of sessions, meaning this is where you should focus your conversion efforts. 

10. Monthly Client Report Template 

Customer satisfaction is one of the most important areas for any company. After all, keeping customers happy is probably one of the biggest drivers of success today. Our next template is an agency reporting dashboard tracking relevant satisfaction metrics in an interactive and visually appealing way. Providing this kind of insight to your clients every month will help you show the success of the different initiatives in an understandable way. 

Monthly client report template tracking customer satisfaction metrics

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As seen in the example above, this dashboard answers a set of questions regarding how satisfied clients are with the brand. The NPS and the customer effort scores are represented in percentages based on the positive and negative responses. This information is broken down below into the responses of the different months, where we can see how the NPS increased a lot in the second half of the year while the effort score decreased. This discussion needs to be had with the client to understand what happened. 

Below all that useful information, the monthly monitoring report format provides more data from other questions. Each of them is presented with highly interactive charts that make the information much friendlier to understand. Users can extract conclusions at a glance regarding the status of product quality, pricing, design, and service. 

11. Procurement Monthly Report 

This next example contains important procurement KPIs to assess the quality between the department and its suppliers. Supplier quality is arguably one of the most critical areas to track for the procurement team, as it can help them ensure better contracts and maximize business value. Let’s explore it in more detail below.  

Procurement quality monthly report template

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What makes this procurement report so special is that it contains multiple levels of data that can be easily explored using the filters on the top. Whether you want to analyze the quality of a specific project, category, or supplier, everything is possible in this centralized location, making the analysis much more efficient. 

In this report, you get relevant quality indicators such as the number of suppliers, value ordered, value rejected, and vendor rejection rate, among others. Each of them is compared to the performance of the previous month to give an understanding of the current situation. In this case, most of the KPIs have increased since the previous period, which shows strategies are being successfully implemented. On the other hand, by looking into the quality ratings of the top five suppliers, we can see that Plumbus Shop has the lowest rating. This information can help the procurement team renegotiate prices or investigate reasons to improve quality. 

12. IT Department Monthly Report Sample

In order to make the best decisions for the department, CTOs need to monitor various KPIs to ensure that everything is running smoothly. Our next example is an IT monthly report template divided into the top three areas that concern the CTO: learning, internal, and finances. Each of the KPIs presented below is compared to the previous month to indicate performance. 

A CTO monthly report example showing relevant metrics focused on internal processes, learning, finance and customers, and users.

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Starting at the learning area, the IT report provides insights into issues management. Tracking these KPIs every month allows the CTO to understand if employees are learning from common issues. In general, we can see that most of these indicators have improved since the previous period, which is a positive outcome. Conversely, the financial portion provides the necessary data to monitor and manage IT expenses closely. Here, we can observe that three out of five metrics have increased. Given that the end goal is to keep costs at a minimum, it is definitely something that needs to be looked into to understand if the increases are justified or should be optimized. 

Lastly, the internal section tracks security KPIs that help the CTO understand how efficient the department is at tackling and solving attacks on the company’s system, as shown in the monthly security report sample. The mean time to repair increased by 7.7%, which means IT employees took a longer time to repair issues than the previous month. 

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13. Facebook Monthly Report 

As one of the prime social media channels used by businesses today, your Facebook efforts are worth tracking on a monthly basis. Given that it is better to understand the success of your strategies as soon as possible, the insights provided by this report can help the marketing team identify issues and hidden opportunities to ensure continuous growth.  

Facebook monthly report provides insights into all the important metrics on this social network

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With insights into the number of gained and lost fans, page views, likes, and audience demographics, this template will help you optimize your strategies based on accurate data. For instance, by looking at the demographics portion of this report, you can generate targeted content that serves your audience better. The effect of these strategies can be observed in the rest of the metrics, such as audience growth, page views, and total actions. Given that each of these indicators is tracked daily, it is easier to compare performance from the moment new actions have been implemented. 

14. Monthly Retail Sales Report Sample

After COVID-19 hit, e-commerce sales increased by a shocking $244 billion dollars, which translates into a 43% growth. This increase not only opened the doors for multiple offline businesses that turned into online channels but also made the market more competitive for everyone. With that in mind, tracking the development of your sales every month can serve as a secret weapon for many. This next example is focused on the performance of an online retail brand with insights into key indicators. 

Monthly retail sales report example for online sales

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Starting at the top, users get insights into their total orders, perfect order rate, and return reasons. Putting these three indicators together can help the company extract useful conclusions to improve its services. For instance, we can see that between the months of July and October, the perfect order rate saw a major decrease. This can be complemented with the main return reasons to understand where the issue is. In this case, the highest issues are that the items don’t fit or that they come defective. These two issues should be optimized to increase the perfect order rate. 

At the bottom, we can see the best-selling products for the month. This information is useful as it will tell the company where to focus its efforts based on customer preferences. Likewise, products with hidden potential can also be identified and boosted.

15. Monthly Manufacturing Report 

Next up, we have a KPI scorecard monitoring the overall performance of a manufacturing company. Divided into four sections, tracking effectiveness, quality, production, and costs, this template is the perfect tool to ensure successful strategies and production processes. As seen with previous examples, each of the indicators in this report is compared to the previous month to have a performance benchmark to compare.  

Manufacturing monthly report tracking 4 key areas any manufacturing company should: effectiveness, quality, production, and costs

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Starting out at the effectiveness section, we see that each indicator has a similar development compared to the previous month. In some cases, like the OOE and OEE, it's even higher, which shows a positive development overall. We can observe a similar situation in the quality and production portions, where the expected production volume and time increased while the downtime decreased. This can mean that machines worked smoothly with no major issues. 

Moving on to the costs and revenue section, we can see a different scenario with a clearer difference between both periods. Overall, the revenue increased in all areas, which is a positive development; however, costs also increased. This could be due to the rise in production volume and time, as higher production means higher costs. Regardless, it is important information that needs to be analyzed in detail to understand the causes. 

16. Monthly IT Cost Report

Despite many companies migrating to the cloud to reduce IT infrastructure costs, not to mention the implementation of automation to reduce staffing demand, IT costs are still significantly high. A lack of infrastructure doesn’t equal “free.” From storage to testing and defending your systems against cyber criminals, IT requires ongoing investments in order to allow the other parts of your organization to function. IT is often seen as a “cost center” rather than a “profit center,” but IT can actually provide some ROI by helping streamline operations and protect companies from costly data breaches.  

IT ROI dashboard tracking monthly costs breakdown

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It’s essential to track and manage IT-related costs, especially since IT isn’t immune to the effects of inflation. In our dashboard example, we see four key areas that demonstrate IT performance and cost management: ROI, budget performance, cost breakdown, and costs compared to revenue. 

In this first block, users can track how IT investments contribute to the greater bottom line. Your goal should be to increase this figure over time, as in this example. You can also compare your budget to actual spending, helping ensure you utilize your resources appropriately. This monthly report can help you prioritize cutbacks at timely moments or free up cash for larger investments or future needs if you’re under budget. You’ll also get a visual breakdown to see where you’re spending money and whether your current spending makes sense based on company revenue.

17. Monthly Operating Expenses Report

Financial executives see no shortage of finance-related dashboards and reports on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. All the financial insights decision-makers need can’t possibly fit everything into a single view, which is why we’ve broken out key operating expenses into its own report. This dashboard focuses on monthly expenses and includes fixed and variable costs incurred due to operations.

Operating expenses monthly report

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In this financial dashboard example, we see a breakdown between fixed expenses (those you can’t control) and variable expenses (those you can influence). Users can track how these expenses change from month to month and make predictions about how their expenses might change. 

These expenses may include (but are not limited to) payroll, marketing, rent and utilities, inventory, insurance, raw materials, distribution costs, and others, depending on your industry. Financial decision-makers aim to keep costs as low as possible while simultaneously keeping revenue as high as possible. It’s a balancing act—cutting costs too much could mean missing revenue targets by not investing enough in raw materials or labor, for example. Or spending too much in certain areas could mean sacrificing more on the profit side. 

As seen in this example, expenses tend to increase yearly due to inflation and general changes in work and the economy. However, by monitoring expenses monthly, you can be better prepared to allocate resources to the right areas.

18. Monthly Warehouse Report

Warehouse managers need a constant overview of their facilities to understand whether they meet their goals. The right KPIs can instill confidence in your operations—or help you spot areas for improvement. From managing operating costs to viewing shipment details, warehouse operators can use our next monthly progress report template to pinpoint possible issues that might create a domino effect.

An monthly report focused on the warehouse performance in the logistics industry

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Starting with warehouse operating costs, users can see how they allocate spending to various departments, such as order picking, storage, shipping, and receiving. Picking tends to be the costliest area since this requires intensive human capital. But that’s the beauty of this dashboard; there’s no more guesswork about how you’re spending concerning other areas. 

Total shipments, perfect order rate, and on-time shipments provide starting points for other insights, such as revenue and customer satisfaction. For example, if shipments aren’t moving into or out of the warehouse in a timely manner, you’ll have wasted labor, customer delays, and potentially lower customer satisfaction. If these metrics take a dip, it could harm your total operations. Tracking these warehouse KPIs every month can help you identify opportunities for improvement that will keep you moving close to your annual goals. 

19. Manufacturing Costs Monthly Report

The tried-and-true business method is to manufacture goods at a low cost and then resell them at a higher cost. But in order to accurately price your goods, you first need to understand the true cost of manufacturing, and it’s not as straightforward as one might think. In addition to raw materials, you need to consider the labor, machines, and equipment, maintenance on your equipment, the costs of quality issues and rejected projects, packaging, and a myriad of other little moving parts that go into making the final product.

This monthly report example tracks manufacturing cost KPIs like the return on assets, asset turnover, maintenance costs, and more

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This manufacturing costs dashboard gives you insights into some of the most complex manufacturing metrics. For instance, return on assets calculates the value of your assets and how they’re contributing to the bottom line, similar to return on investment. Estimate the net income from sales relative to the value of your assets to help you identify top performers and whether certain assets are worth the manufacturing time and costs. Measuring asset turnover demonstrates your sales relative to the value of your assets, helping you see your top-producing assets. Unit costs also play an important role, displaying how much it costs to produce a single unit of goods so you can price your products accordingly.

Maintenance is another factor that can affect revenue and profitability.  The example above shows that maintenance costs appear to be trending with unit costs. High maintenance costs could put profitability out of reach, not to mention the delays it causes when machines are out of commission due to repairs or service.

20. Monthly Patient Report

Hospitals have unique details to track that affect financial performance and health outcomes, both as a facility as a whole and by various departments. That’s why we designed our monthly patient report to easily switch between departments so you can get the level of detail you need. In the example below, metrics are also color-coded to highlight acceptable ranges and show changes from the previous month. 

Patient dashboard as an example of a monthly report

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Insights in this healthcare dashboard include cost-related KPIs such as average total cost per patient, staff-to-patient ratio, room turnover, and equipment utilization. These insights allow facility managers to ensure they have adequate resources to serve patients at all times while also managing costs and mitigating wasted man-hours and other resources. Drilling down by department can further help to allocate resources. For example, you can adjust staffing levels and plan for future budgeting based on bed occupancy and patient turnover per department. 

Other impactful metrics show patient satisfaction and the percentage of canceled or missed appointments, which can have a devastating effect on planned budgets. If these percentages move in the wrong direction over time, it could indicate a need to improve booking and scheduling processes, conduct more patient follow-up, or adjust your resource planning (e.g., not scheduling as many nurses or providers on a given day).

Now that we have provided powerful monthly report format examples you can apply for different areas and functions, we will see a few key elements you should consider to create them successfully.

What Does A Monthly Report Contain?

What does a monthly report contain? 1. summary of current performance, 2. expected targets, 3. Past performance, 4. interactive visualizations, 5. goals for next month

A successful monthly report should be concise and easy to understand to keep all relevant stakeholders engaged with the analysis process. While the format and KPIs containing the report will vary depending on the topic or department you are addressing, a few standard elements must be included in your monthly progress reports for them to be efficient and successful. For instance, before creating them, you must ask yourself important questions such as: who am I addressing my report to? Which KPIs are the most relevant to track my goals? What sources do I need to include to make my report complete? Among these questions, a successful report should contain: 

  • A summary of current performance: It might seem obvious, but is actually the most important one. As mentioned throughout this post, the sole purpose of a monthly status report is to provide information about the current performance of your business based on specific goals. It is important to consider that not all KPIs will be useful to portray your goals, so you need to carefully pick each metric that will help you tell your story in the most efficient and clear way and not overcrowd your reports with useless data. 
  • Expected targets: Measuring progress against set targets or goals is a great way to motivate team members to improve their performance as well as to measure how far you are from completing your goals. For this purpose, benchmark values should always be included in your process. Popular targets are usually the previous month’s insights or industry standards. Here, you should make sure that your benchmark values are realistic and attainable for your business. 
  • Past performance: Historical data plays a fundamental role in a monthly report as it provides invaluable insights to improve current performance. By analyzing your historical development, you can find relationships, trends, and patterns that can help you gain a better understanding of several aspects of your business. For example, your customers' behaviors.  
  • Interactive visualizations: Interactive visualizations not only make your reports more understandable at a glance but also provide context to your data so that you can dig deeper and extract relevant insights. As you saw with our list of monthly report templates, a good set of data visualizations enables you to tell your story in a comprehensive and accessible way, making it easy to understand for anyone who sees it. Be aware that a line or bar chart is not always the best visual for all key indicators. When building your reports with professional online visualization tools, carefully choose the visuals that will most accurately portray your KPIs and business goals. 
  • Goals for next month: Tracking your data would be useless if you don’t extract conclusions from it. For this purpose, your monthly reporting template should contain clear goals for the next period. Through this, you will have a clear understanding of where to focus your efforts in the coming month and avoid wasting time and resources on outdated strategies. 

Monthly Reporting Steps And Best Practices

Know that you have a clear understanding of what should be included in your monthly business report, we will take a look at some best practices and steps to follow to ensure a successful reporting process. 

  1. Set your goals and objectives: Whether you are generating a monthly progress report for marketing, finances, sales, HR, or any other department, it is key to define goals and objectives to focus on. Naturally, all departments must be aligned and working towards achieving general company goals. This is achieved through smaller, more focused objectives with a departmental scope. Ensuring these goals and objectives are clearly defined beforehand makes the reporting process more focused and efficient. Good practice in this regard is to set KPI targets to measure the progress of your efforts easily. 
  2. Select the needed KPIs: If you are familiar with generating reports, it is very likely that you have already experienced the tedious process of gathering the data. According to recent studies, organizations use around 400 sources for their analytics processes. However, the entirety of this information is not always useful to extract the needed insights. As mentioned previously, the most successful reporting process relies on a group of critical KPIs that must be focused on the end goal of the analysis. Tracking too much can make your reports confusing and harder to grasp. Therefore, it is fundamental to carefully pick only the information that will inform your strategies.  
  3. Rely on visualizations and narratives: While monthly reporting has been a part of the business landscape for many years, it was only a few years ago that the analytical doors opened to a wider audience. To ensure that your reports are understandable for every user, including the right data visualizations and narrative is a key step. While visuals make the information easier to grasp, storytelling will actually bring the information across. To build an attractive story, it is necessary to think about the context and purpose of the analysis and consider the audience's level of knowledge. With a mix of good narratives and interactive visuals, your reports will speak for themselves.  
  4. Provide real-time insights and automation: When it comes to extracting the highest potential out of your analytical efforts, it is key to consider the use of real-time data in your monthly activity reports. This will help users make more informed decisions based on the current situation instead of just looking at past data. Additionally, automating the reporting process will also save precious time and money. BI reporting tools, such as datapine, offer an easy way to connect your sources and automate the report generation process, including the latest data available with just a few clicks.  
  5. Check for errors: The fact that these reports are tracked on a month-to-month basis doesn’t mean you should only check them after 30 days. It is very likely that something changed during that period that needs to be optimized. Paired with the fact that, in most cases, during the report generation process, many employees and teams are manipulating the data, which means that reports are exposed to errors that can ultimately affect the analysis. This is why constantly checking your reports for errors or changes is a good practice to ensure a successful analytics process. 
  6. Complement with daily or weekly reports: This is a very straightforward step that shouldn’t be ignored. In some cases, it is necessary to track some activities on a daily or weekly basis to really make sure that everything is running smoothly. For this reason, it is advisable to align your daily, weekly, and monthly monitoring efforts to get a complete view. 
  7. Include context and analysis: Raw data alone isn’t enough to draw effective conclusions. Rather, your reports should contain additional context for the reader to understand why the data matters and how they can use it in their decision-making. This involves explaining the story behind the numbers, addressing why certain trends or numbers are significant, and what potential implications they might have for the business. For instance, instead of just presenting sales figures, contextualize them by explaining factors such as market conditions, marketing campaigns, or changes in customer behavior that might have influenced the sales numbers. By offering context, stakeholders gain insights into the 'why' behind the data, enabling better decision-making.
  8. Compare with benchmarks: Even when you know the context of the data you’re looking at, you must be prepared to answer the quintessential question, “So what?” One way to do this is to compare it to previous benchmarks to see trends and patterns over time. Benchmarking against industry standards or competitors can also highlight where your organization stands and pinpoint improvement areas. For instance, if your customer satisfaction scores are at 80%, but the industry average is 90%, you might investigate why your numbers are low and find ways to improve customer service.
  9. Seek feedback and iterate: No reporting strategy is set in stone, even when using templates. As industries evolve, consumer preferences change, and as more data becomes available for you to collect and analyze, you might change your reporting process, content, and format. Those who rely on those reports might also have some feedback to implement, ensuring each report aligns with their changing needs.

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Key Takeaways To Revolutionize Your Reporting

By now, you should be aware of how creating interactive reports with the help of modern solutions can take your business reporting to the next level. Throughout this insightful article, we provided powerful reasons why you should implement monthly reporting in your business. We gave you a list of interactive examples, including sales, finances, and marketing reports. If you want to look at other examples, such as IT or Human Resources monthly reports, browse our dashboard examples for several industries and functions.

To summarize, creating interactive reports every month will lead your business to improve by enhancing the decision-making process and, most importantly, will keep every relevant stakeholder involved and engaged at each stage by providing a deeper understanding of trends and patterns thanks to powerful data visualizations.

If you are ready to start creating interactive monthly reports to skyrocket your business with the help of a professional BI dashboard tool, then try our 14-day trial completely free and start benefiting from quality reports today!