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Creating a Management Reports Inventory

There is a set of reports required by GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) that are standard components of an audit. These are the Statement of Financial Position, the Statement of Activities, the Statement of Functional Expenses, and the Statement of Cash Flows. (See links below.) Between audits, an organization produces interim reports internally, which can be formatted a little differently while still tracking data that will comply with GAAP requirements. These reports serve various management purposes.

Your Interim Reports Inventory
An organization might prepare a monthly or quarterly report packet for its full board that shows data in a summarized format. Department managers and board committee members may wish to receive more detailed reports and may receive them more frequently than the general board.

It is useful for staff and board committee chairs to decide what reports they need, how often, and at what level of detail, to fulfill their management and oversight responsibilities. For example:

• The finance committee usually sees more detail than the general board.
• The fundraising committee would see a specific fundraising report produced cooperatively by the finance and development offices.
• The marketing committee may want to see detail regarding the organization’s earned revenue from program activities.
• Program managers may want to see monthly reports at the transaction level to help them manage their budgets and flag any item that may have been assigned to the wrong account or grant.

In smaller organizations with only one or two staff members, or a volunteer staff, it is especially important to decide in advance and set expectations regarding report requirements. This avoids disrupting staff with ad hoc reporting requests and allows staff to anticipate how much time to allow to produce the desired reports.

Creating a reports inventory or list of reports needed, frequency, level of detail, recipients, and person responsible, etc. will serve as both guideline and checklist.

Return to the Internal Reports Introduction page for links to greater detail on how to read various reports as well as recommended formatting.

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