There are probably as many types and variations of management reports as there are grains of sand on the beach. But if your report is sent to the wrong target audience, is put together with inaccurate or questionable data, or is not timely, the report is probably not worth the time it took to prepare it. This brief will address some of the key issues. Distribution. Who is the target audience? Who needs the report? Who wants it? It is important to be vigilant and discerning in developing a distribution list for each and every report. It is very easy with today’s technology to mass-deliver a report. But it is also just as easy to destroy the credibility of the report and your department’s credibility by being pegged as an internal “spammer” or “junk mailer.” And, even for internal distributions, it is a good idea to have some type of “opt out” language in the body of the delivery document that allows the recipient to opt out of future distributions. Source Data. Whether you use a sophisticated, customized investment recovery software program, or you maintain all of your data on simple spreadsheet and text files, the report will be only as good as the source data in your files and your ability to accurately access the appropriate data. (“Garbage in, garbage out” ring a bell?) Our source data is contained in a very extensive master spreadsheet that follows every piece of equipment from the originator through disposition. This contains the asset number, a line item description, what commodity code we assigned, number of units, approvals, disposition, average price, and many other factors. Although some might look at maintaining this as cumbersome, we view it as a hugely beneficial tool in the management of our department’s primary responsibility. Past pricing and timelines can also be a method for quickly determining a possible price range and disposition options for similar items in future projects. Quality Product. The first step in designing a report is determining exactly what information is to be included. Sometimes content is mandated by corporate requirements or management directive. But often you might be trying to develop a report to appeal to a specific target audience. In the latter case, it is imperative that you get with the intended audience and determine if a) they are interested in the report to begin with, and b) what exactly they would want to see in the report. Some reports only lend themselves to a fairly bland variety of presentation, e.g., spreadsheets of numbers. But not all reports have to be that way. When preparing simple one-page reports try to enhance the visual characteristics by selection of pleasing color schemes and background images, and appropriate scaling and placement of the data on the page Timeliness. Sounds so simple, but it is so true—yesterday’s news is probably not worth the paper it’s printed on. Sending a great operational report to your management three weeks late is probably not going to be well received. If you would like to see a sampling of the Management Reports used by Dominion Resources, you can go to: InvRecovery.org/ Presentations and click on the HowWeDoIt link.