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The Faster, Easier Way to Manage KPIs in 2021 Using Reporting Software

2021 is finally here – and it looks like the year will be nearly as uncertain as 2020 was. For the past few months, your company has done its best to plan for this new year’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Now it is time to execute on your plans.

The budgeting and reporting software experts at Solver are here to help, with this quick guide to planning, monitoring, and managing your corporate KPIs.

To organize this guide clearly, we shall start from the beginning of the KPI planning process, but feel free to skip forward to Steps 5 and 6 to learn the monitoring steps if you are pressed for time or already have your KPIs in place for 2021.

An Overview of the Corporate KPI Planning Process Using Reporting Software

As a process, setting up KPIs is relatively straightforward. It is sequential, meaning that each element builds on the previous one.

Best practices suggest these steps, in order:

  1. Assess where your company stands currently using a SWOT analysis

  2. Craft a vision of where you want to be this year, and in the years to come

  3. Build your strategy by creating quantifiable, time-bound goals

  4. Draft a budget based on those goals

  5. Track progress on your KPIs

  6. Adjust goals and KPIs as needed, based on results

Of course, as with most business processes, the devil is in the details. That is why this guide focuses on the details and walks you through the full, end-to-end KPI process.

Shall we get started?

Step 1: Assess where your company stands currently using a SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis, which is a guided way to investigate your company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, helps you clearly identify the current standing of your business – and suggests next steps you may want to consider.

Here is a very basic template to get you started with your SWOT analysis, but you can definitely get more detailed (as you will see later).

Of course, you can also expect a good planning and budgeting software solution like Solver to provide easy-to-use input forms that help you speed up the process of filling in a SWOT analysis while maintaining accuracy.

Step 2: Craft a Vision of Where You Want to Be This Year, and in the Years to Come

In this step, you will use the findings from your SWOT analysis to begin planning where you want your company to go in the future.

Work with the company’s Board to come up with answers to questions such as:

  • What is your mission?

  • What is not your mission?

  • Where do you want to go?

Once you have determined these basics, you will finish this step by creating a framework for your long-term objectives. In this stage, is a good idea to think about your goals for:

  • Financials (e.g., reach $100 million by 2026)

  • Customer experience (e.g., reduce resolution times by 50% in 2021)

  • Operations (e.g., increase production by 20% by 2022)

  • People (e.g., hire 3 full-time salespeople in 2021)

Solver’s budgeting and reporting software allow for easy design of handy Strategy and Goals Input Forms (see below) that are built to help corporations keep track of their KPIs as they are created and adjusted.

Step 3: Build Your Strategy by Creating Quantifiable, Time-Bound Goals

As part of your annual budgeting process (if not more frequently), your executive team will want to determine achievable tactics for reaching the long-term objectives you outlined in the previous step. You may find it helpful to break down your goals into Year 1 goals, Year 2 goals, etc.

Transform your goals into measurable KPIs that you can track easily with reporting software when you follow the proven best practice of creating SMART goals that are:

  • Specific – use a narrow focus instead of a broad one

  • Measurable – determine which metrics demonstrate success

  • Achievable – make sure the goals can realistically be completed in the timeframe

  • Relevant – align each goal with your values, mission, and long-term objectives

  • Timebound – set a reasonable end date to maintain enthusiasm and priority

The template below, from Verne Harnish’s company, Growth Institute, is called the One-Page Strategic Plan and helps you organize your KPI goals on a single page.

As you create your corporate KPIs, do not forget to plan for your department-level KPIs and KPIs for individuals at your company. Individual KPIs are often tied to compensation or bonuses.

Apply steps 1-3 to your department and individual KPI-planning activities to stay on track at every level of your organization.

Step 4: Draft a Budget Based on Your KPIs

Once you know what your KPIs are, you will want to allocate resources in your budget toward achieving your goals and actualizing your corporate strategy.

The annual budget process is too lengthy of a topic to get into in this article but, luckily, the financial planning and budgeting software experts at Solver have created an in-depth guide to help you get the most out of your budgeting activities in our current economic landscape.

Thus far, all of these steps have been part of the annual planning process, which covers everything from documenting your corporate vision to locking down your annual budget, as you can see in the chart below.

A good budgeting software or Corporate Performance Management solution like Solver delivers time-saving tools for each of these steps, including:

  • Strategy and Goals Input Form (described and pictured in step 2)

  • Solver Process Manager (described and pictured in step 5)

  • Annual Budget KPI Report

Step 5: Track Progress on Your KPIs

In this step, you will start managing your corporate, departmental, and individual KPIs by ensuring that each KPI is accompanied by a list of appropriate tasks to be completed by specific individuals.

This stage may sound complex and, frankly, this was likely to become a spreadsheet management nightmare in the past. Fortunately, modern KPI tracking tools like the Solver Process Manager make it easy to maintain accountability and keep all KPIs and responsible parties on track.

In the image below, you can see how the Solver Process Manager:

  • Displays a checklist for tasks

  • Shows responsible parties for each task

  • Delivers resources for each task

  • Clarifies the deadline for each task

  • Tracks the progress on the checklist

Since the Solver Process Manager is cloud based and fully integrated within the Solver budgeting and reporting software, it can be securely accessed and updated from anywhere and at any time. This makes it easy to flow information back and forth between the Process Manager and strategy-building templates or reports.

Speaking of reports, best practices suggest that you should make it a habit to review Key Performance Indicators monthly at least, focusing on the corporate-level KPIs in monthly review meetings and focusing on department-level and individual KPIs in department or one-on-one meetings with managers.

To help track and monitor your KPIs, modern budgeting and reporting software solutions like Solver offer flexible reporting and dashboard modules that provide templates such as:

  • Strategic Initiatives Status Tracking and Accountability Form

  • KPI Alert Report

  • Financial KPI Dashboard (interactive – try it out!)

  • Top 10 KPI Report with 13 Month Rolling Trend Analysis

  • Strategic KPI Report

  • Detailed KPI Variance Report

Each of these tools also provides drill down, and many provide comment fields helping Board members, executives, and managers easily account for variances and other surprises.

Step 6: Adjust Goals and KPIs As Needed, Based on Results in Your Reporting Software

When you make it a habit to regularly report on and monitor the progress of your corporation’s KPIs, you will start to naturally see a potential for growth or improvement across every area or process in your company.

Even better, when you create a performance-focused culture in your organization in which KPIs are consistently tracked and measured, your employees are likely to start coming up with innovative goals and KPIs as well!

As you and your staff come up with new and exciting ideas for the company’s growth and performance, it is a smart idea to leverage current results with forecasting tools to plan for your next month, your next quarter, and your next year.

You can streamline this process (and shorten your budgeting process too) by using forecasting tools in your reporting software, such as:

  • Predictive Forecasting Based on Trend Analysis

  • Monthly Profit & Loss Report with Budget and Forecast Variances

  • Subscription Revenue Forecast

  • Monthly Profit & Loss Forecast Report

Get More Out of Your KPIs in 2021 and Beyond

Although no one knows precisely what the future will bring, all corporate leaders now know that the future is filled with surprises. Agility is the key to succeeding in our uncertain business landscape.

One of the best ways to maintain agility while staying true to your company’s long-term goals and objectives is to create a performance-based culture at your organization, in which every staff member is responsible for specific tasks that help the company as a whole.

If you are ready to start tracking your KPIs effectively, quickly, and easily in 2021, speak to the planning and reporting software experts at Solver to learn more about our market-leading budgeting, reporting, and KPI tools.


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