You may have heard a lot of people and companies use the terms “report” and “document” along the same vein as though they are identical and indistinguishable terms.
While both of them rely on data, they are indeed as different as day and night!
In terms of their objective, onus, output, distribution, and use, they are very distinctive. Without a definite distinction of the diversity between both, an organization’s decision to buy the right reporting or document generation software can get clouded and miss out on taking full advantage of its investment.
Most firms today have reporting and document generation solutions in place to get the best value. In other words, the ultimate objective is to cut costs and improve sales. Both documents and reports play a pivotal role in influencing and lead to actions which enhance the value of the company.
For the purposes of this post, we’re not going to delve deeper into what transpires before or after the document generation and reporting stages, although we do realize both these aspects are crucial and challenging.
Before talking about the different roles of documents and reports, let’s begin with some basic definitions of these two key aspects.
It involves the process of classifying data into information-rich summaries so as to observe and analyze how various sections and aspects of a company are performing.
Examples: Financial reports, performance reports, and so on.
In a document, part of its data is dynamic and the rest is static. It could be in the form of a single page letter or 50-page contract with compact information. It involves the process of placing relevant data by creating templates with nested tables and consists of a table of contents with page numbering.
Examples: Invoices, contracts, quotes, portfolio statements, and so on.
Generally, reports, despite the kind or purpose, comprise of a particular period. For instance, financial reports deal with a particular period. A business' finances fluctuate from YOY (year-to-year) or MOM (month-to-month).
Formal/Informal: Based on its intent and who will view it, the report could be either informal or formal.
Formal reports are generally viewed and reviewed by managers, superior administration, customers, potential leads or investors. Like all reports, they must be created well and presented without any spelling errors, simple to understand and precise to the penny.
Informal reports are no less significant. For instance, to employees who must create their expense reports to be compensated, they are of the highest prominence. If they don’t finish the report well and in-time, they may not be compensated for flight tickets and client meals they spent on their last business trip.
Documents may be just black and white texts like receipts or invoices with condensed information. They may also consist of data tables or images or graphics related to the demographics of clients.
Template/Code based: Based on the software you choose, document creation can be done either as template or code based.
Code based involves writing a set of instructions and codes that clearly define the whole layout of the final document.
The hurdle with this procedure is that every aspect of dynamic or static content in the final output must include a corresponding code to embed the content on the document.
Executing any modifications to the design or formatting of the document needs someone accustomed with the codes to locate and alter the appropriate instructions.
On the other hand, Template based solutions like Windward enables the user of the software to define the course or layout, data (and the end-content) along with formatting of the final document by creating a template of the requisite document utilizing a visual editor or design interface.
Now, whether you are a startup enterprise or well-established firm, you can harness Windward’s powerful Engine and Designer to create reports and documents in record time.
Save time and resources like never before by engaging Windward in your favorite and all-familiar programming languages and platforms to create visually stunning results at a fraction of the cost in comparison to the conventional process.
Find out more about Windward’s incredible solutions for report and document creation right here.