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6 min read

Understanding CEO reports: The executive’s toolkit

Learn the essential elements of a CEO report, including topics, data sources, and formatting, with our comprehensive template.
From Team '23

Tempo Team

A CEO report is essential for documenting a company’s overall health. It charts the organization’s progress toward goals, objectives, achievements, and outcomes.

The report includes data that senior leadership uses to evaluate its strategies and guide its decisions for the upcoming reporting period. The chief executive officer publishes the report as part of the monthly board meeting agenda and distributes it among delegates, key stakeholders, and employees.

Although CEO reports cover a lot of ground, they follow a standard format. Once you’ve drafted your first, you can use it as a template to speed up the creation of subsequent documents. Here’s what you need to know to get that first report under your belt.

What is a CEO report?

A CEO report offers insight into an organization’s overall health, progress, and trajectory by reviewing its performance, key initiatives, and strategic outlook over the chosen period. 

The report provides the board of directors, shareholders, and employees a high-level glimpse into the company’s current status, including:

  • Financial highlights

  • Operational updates

  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics

The document serves as a critical analytical tool, distilling past trends and real-time insights into a visually digestible and intuitive format using videos, graphics, and interactive charts. CEOs may distribute the report as a physical document or a digital file, depending on the preferences of the board of directors and the executive team. 

CEO reports benefit the company by delivering:

  • Data to inform decision-making

  • Universal access to critical information

  • Improved relations and communication between the CEO, board members, and executive team

  • Increased employee engagement and confidence in company leaders 

What should you include in a CEO report?

To answer questions and guide the decisions of the board of directors, the CEO report should communicate the following elements:

Executive summary

Offer a brief overview of central insights into the company’s performance for the relevant period.

Financial performance: 

Profile the company’s bottom line by including data from critical financial metrics, such as:

  • Gross profit margins

  • Production

  • Operating expenses

  • Monthly revenue

  • Customer lifetime value and acquisition costs

Operational achievements

Include any significant news regarding:

  • Revenue and earned profits

  • HR metrics, including hiring, current team size, and employee morale

  • Product roadmap and updates

  • Feature launches

  • Marketing campaigns

Updates on needle-moving strategies and initiatives

Deliver a status update on the company’s strategic plans, corporate vision, and operating policies.

Challenges and opportunities for improvement

Provide background on topics currently blocking the company from attaining peak operational efficiency and results.

Trends and competition

Outline the latest consumer trends, industry developments, and technological advancements that affect the company’s position within the marketplace and that of its competitors.

Significant events

Discuss any changes in corporate leadership, business operations, or government regulations that impact business activities.

Future state

Provide an overview of the next steps, including plans to capitalize on development and growth opportunities (e.g., strategic adjustments to address shortfalls or re-align operations with long-term goals).  

Step-by-step guide for writing a CEO report

Your first CEO report may seem daunting, but you’ve worked your entire career for this responsibility, proving you have the know-how. An organized approach will ensure you cover all the bases. 

1. Define the report’s audience

CEO reports focus on one of two audiences: company employees or stakeholders and investors.

If the document targets staff, collaborate with HR to spotlight high-performing leaders within the team and discuss current and future hiring needs.

For reports addressing stakeholder interests, include information on the company’s finances and growth plans. Before publishing, consult with the CFO to ensure your report complies with regulatory requirements and safeguards sensitive information. 

2. Collect and review data

Summarize the organization’s activities and decisions for the reporting period. Provide a holistic view of the company’s current position by gathering data to outline specific outcomes, be they positive, negative, or neutral.

3. Summarize key points

The bulk of your CEO report reviews significant developments and offers insights into the company’s future using up-to-date data. It may be tempting to gloss over company shortfalls, but such a decision risks damaging accountability and eroding trust.

Instead, be forthcoming and accountable regarding missed targets. Explain the reason you established these goals and why the outcomes fell short.

4. Offer recommendations and establish action plans

Follow up on the previous section with a plan to maintain successes and avoid repeating mistakes. Outline your action plan to progress toward milestones using practical steps and a realistic timeframe. 

5. Draft the report

Bring all these elements together into a concise, detailed document that follows a logical progression. Ensure you maintain the same voice throughout. Include graphs, charts, and diagrams – with references – to illustrate your data and make it easy for stakeholders to understand and conduct further research. 

As with any document, ask a direct report to proofread the copy before publication. 

Examples and tips for CEO reports

If you’re unsure how to structure your report, try the following template:

Header

  • Company logo

  • Branded color scheme

  • Proprietary font for titles, headings, and subheadings

Introduction

  • CEO Report: (Month/Quarter/Year)

  • Report date

  • Executive summary

  • Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Fiscal performance (for stakeholder audience)

  • Current revenue compared to the previous reporting period

  • Profit margins (gross versus net margins)

  • Expense breakdown

Operational efficiency

  • Output metrics or production levels

  • Quality control outcomes (defect rates or improvement measures)

  • Inventory management (turnover and stock levels)

Market performance

  • Market share compared to competitors

  • New customer acquisition and market expansion

  • Customer churn rates and retention strategies 

Employee morale

  • Productivity metrics or performance indicators

  • Survey results or feedback measuring employee engagement

  • Professional development strategies such as training initiatives, promotions, and retention rates

  • Staff highlights and achievements

Conclusion

  • Improvement opportunities and focus areas

  • Action plans

  • Future outlook

Additional tips

One of the best data sources for creating a CEO report is your team’s reporting tools. These platforms can provide invaluable insight into operational performance, productivity, and outcomes:

  • IT service management

  • Task management

  • Project management

  • Customer service management

As CEO, you’re responsible for the company’s big picture. You probably don’t work with these systems. Direct reports provide regular status updates that include this data, or you can find a tool to help you access the information independently.

One such reporting tool is Atlassian Confluence. Confluence integrates fully with Jira platforms, allowing you to create a reporting dashboard that gathers the KPIs, metrics, and other necessary data from these various sources into one location. 

But native Confluence functionality only goes so far. To extend your executive dashboard, download Tempo’s Custom Jira Charts for Confluence. It offers more flexibility for filtering, visualizing, and reporting on company data. 

Custom Charts not only facilitate data analysis but also convert data into graphs and charts. These visual representations highlight issue statuses across all Jira projects, identify at-risk issues, and display yearly sales revenue growth. By customizing and incorporating these data visualizations into your reports, you can clearly and effectively showcase your company's performance to readers. 

Tempo can help you with CEO reports

Combine Custom Charts with Roadmunk by Tempo to create roadmaps of your strategic and operational plans. Roadmunk helps capture stakeholder attention by illustrating priorities, milestones, and dependencies while charting progress toward company goals. You can even embed Roadmunk roadmaps into your executive dashboard in Confluence.  

With CEO reporting, you’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Roadmunk can be your secret weapon to optimize the process. Use the application to visualize what work you’ve completed and what’s left.

By leveraging the power of Tempo, you’ll handle CEO reporting like a boss.