In Focus Resource Center > Insights

Improve Business Reports by Solving These 11 Challenges

Business reports are crucial for organizations to monitor their performance by delivering real-time and historical data. Additionally, different departments within an organization create their own internal reports to support their various operations and responsibilities. For example, the finance department prepares reports containing an income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows. Meanwhile, marketing relies on reports to evaluate campaign effectiveness. Similarly, the information technology (IT) department utilizes reporting to track the resolution time for help desk tickets.

Nevertheless, the reporting process is typically accompanied by various challenges. To simplify this process, companies commonly employ reporting tools, which are software applications that transform raw data into valuable insights. These tools automate data collection and report generation, delivering vital information to facilitate data-driven decision making and improve organizational performance.

Eleven challenges companies face with business reports

While business reports hold immense importance for organizations, numerous companies face a range of associated difficulties. These obstacles may arise due to subpar data quality, insufficient data management practices, procedural hinderances, internal conflicts, or shortcomings in the reporting tools used by the company.

Fortunately, these challenges can be effectively addressed. By implementing appropriate data strategies, gaining a deeper understanding of essential processes, and utilizing targeted reporting tools and software that align with organizational requirements, companies can attain reporting that is prompt, current, insightful, and actionable.

Eleven commonly encountered reporting challenges companies encounter, along with solutions to minimize the problems.

  1. Poor data quality

    Inaccurate or incomplete data can undermine the reliability of business reports. Data utilized for report creation is usually stored across multiple systems, featuring diverse formats and coding structures. To ensure its usability, the data must exhibit consistency and accuracy, free from duplication, outdated entries, incompleteness, or errors. Failing to appropriately cleanse and consolidate data before generating a report can result in complications. Even a single error within a spreadsheet cell can potentially invalidate the entire report, consequently leading to misguided decision making.

    The solution: Companies should establish data governance practices, ensure data accuracy through regular validations, and invest in data cleansing and quality control.
  2. Inadequate data practices

    Companies may struggle with inefficient data collection, storage, and integration processes. Organizations aspire to achieve their business objectives, and to support this, they generate business reports that focus on diverse benchmarks. These reports aim to provide valuable information and insights that facilitate informed decision making. However, the absence of integration between the reporting and planning systems can introduce potential errors and data inaccuracies. This disconnect hampers the seamless flow of information between the two systems. It also deprives the organization of a unified source of truth, which is essential to ensure that everyone is operating with consistent and accurate data.

    The solution: Implementing robust data management practices, like standardized data formats, data integration tools, and data governance frameworks, helps address this issue.
  3. Process roadblocks

    Reporting can be hindered by bureaucratic processes, delays in data gathering, and manual interventions. Conventional reporting processes, where reports are manually assembled, tend to be time consuming. Executives typically communicate their information requirements and then await the construction and delivery of reports by the IT or finance department. This process can span days, weeks, or even months. If additional details are required after the report’s delivery, the process is further prolonged. Executives rely on the most current and timely information available to make critical business decisions efficiently, which cannot be possible if there are continuous delays in the reporting process.

    The solution: Streamlining reporting workflows, automating data collection, and reducing unnecessary approval layers can improve the efficiency and timeliness of reporting.
  4. Internal challenges

    Internal conflicts or resistance to change can impede the reporting process.

    The solution: Companies should foster a data-driven culture, provide adequate training to employees, and ensure buy-in from stakeholders to overcome internal challenges.
  5. Flawed reporting tools

    Outdated or inadequate reporting tools can limit the ability to generate meaningful insights.

    The solution: Investing in modern reporting tools and software that align with specific needs enhances the accuracy, speed, and depth of reporting.
  6. Lack of data integration

    Siloed data across different systems and departments can hinder comprehensive reporting. The isolated storage of data often results in employees being required to create reports by hand. The manual creation of business reports elevates the risk of introducing errors. Due to the limited capabilities inherent in many enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, teams often resort to workarounds. This involves exporting data from the system, importing it into spreadsheets, and manually manipulating and formatting it to meet requirements. This labor-intensive process consumes substantial staff time and resources. Moreover, it increases the likelihood of errors and can lead to the dissemination of inaccurate information, detrimentally affecting decision making.

    The solution: Implementing data integration solutions, such as data warehouses or data lakes, can consolidate data sources and enable holistic reporting.
  7. Insufficient data visualization

    Complex or poorly designed business reports can make it difficult to derive insights. Within organizations, employees may have varying preferences regarding how they consume data, such as charts, line graphs, or bar graphs. Board members might require comprehensive data depicting overall business performance, while sales managers may solely need data specific to their respective teams’ performance. Inadequate communication of these requirements can lead to reports that fail to meet the information needs of different stakeholders. This can result in multiple iterations that are either excessively or insufficiently detailed.

    The solution: Investing in data visualization tools and techniques, like interactive dashboards and intuitive charts, improves data interpretation and enhances decision making.
  8. Lack of standardized metrics

    Inconsistent or ambiguous metrics can lead to confusion and misinterpretation of data. This is where baselines are important, too. A baseline refers to historical data that serves as a reference point for comparing progress during a project. It captures the conditions existing before the project commences and enables meaningful comparisons later on. The absence of a baseline diminishes the value of the data and insights obtained by organizations. This is because there is no starting point available for comparison.

    The solution: Establishing standardized metrics, baselines, and definitions across the organization can promote consistency and facilitate accurate reporting.
  9. Data overload

    Overwhelming amounts of data can make it challenging to identify relevant insights.

    The solution: Applying data analytics techniques, like data segmentation, trend analysis, and predictive modeling, can help extract meaningful information from vast datasets.
  10. Limited accessibility

    Restricted access to business reports can impede collaboration and hinder decision making.

    The solution: Implementing robust reporting platforms that provide secure, role-based access to relevant stakeholders promotes transparency and enables informed decision making.
  11. Lack of data-driven decision-making culture or training

    Companies may struggle to foster a culture that values data-driven decision making. Although reporting tools are commonly anticipated to possess user-friendly interfaces and straightforward functionality, not all teams have the requisite training or expertise to effectively interpret and comprehend the data presented. These knowledge gaps may arise, for example, when team members with prior technological experience depart from an organization. They end up leaving behind individuals who are less familiar with data analytics.

    The solution: Encouraging data literacy, providing training on data analysis tools, and promoting a data-driven mindset throughout an organization addresses this challenge. Providing comprehensive training to a diverse range of staff members on the utilization of reporting tools is crucial for fostering internal data and analytics proficiency. Organizations can opt for either one-time training courses or ongoing training initiatives. Either way, training equips teams with the necessary skills and hands-on experience required for understanding data and generating business reports. Additionally, organizations may choose to address skill gaps by hiring skilled professionals. These individuals can share their knowledge with business teams and contribute to enhancing their reporting capabilities.

How Citrin Cooperman can help

Citrin Cooperman’s Digital Services Practice helps business overcome these reporting challenges and optimize their reporting processes with one of our many solutions. For example, NetSuite includes analytics and reporting capabilities that enable organizations to view operational and financial performance in real time. Organizations that already have an ERP system may consider a business intelligence system like Power BI. This solution leverages hundreds of available data sources, advanced technology, feature-rich business intelligence, and context-based analytics to provide enterprise-level measurement and analysis at a small business cost.

To learn more about how our team can help your business discover, implement, and operate essential business software to avoid reporting challenges and achieving accurate, timely, and actionable reports to support your business’ strategic vision, reach out to your Citrin Cooperman advisor or

Our specialists are here to help.

Get in touch with a specialist in your industry today. 

By your submission of information in this form, you are consenting to our collection, use, processing and storage of your information in accordance with Citrin Cooperman’s privacy policy. If you have questions regarding our use of your information, please send an e-mail to