What are observations?

‘Observations’ are report components which display pre-set conditional feedback based on actual results vs. a comparative (such as prior period, budget, or a fixed result).

They are ‘IF statements’ designed to automate commentary based on the performance of the metric for any given period, allowing you to quickly generate accurate reports for future periods.

They serve to efficiently deliver tailored commentary with the flexibility to include different explanations, comments, or advice depending on the result of a given metric.

Adding an Observation

To add observations into your report, proceed to the sidebar on the left side of the Report Editor and select the ‘Text’ tab.

From there, select 'Observation'. Add these into your report by clicking, or dragging and dropping.

Executive Summary

You can also choose to add multiple observations at a single time by selecting 'Executive Summary' from the 'Text' tab in the sidebar.

This will add a collection of 9 different observations into your report. The metrics being observed are:

  • Revenue
  • Profitability Ratio
  • Activity Ratio
  • Return on Capital Employed
  • Cash Conversion Cycle
  • Free Cash Flow
  • Net Variable Cash Flow
  • Net Debt
  • Interest Cover

For more information on the definition and formula of these metrics, view our KPI Glossary.

Editing an observation

After adding an observation to your report, double click the observation to bring up the properties panel. There are various options that can be customised.

The key metric being observed

After the “If”, you can select the key metric being observed.

This metrics can be any KPI (default or custom), any Chart of Account line item, or any summary classification from the Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet.

To edit this metric, select the 'pen' icon on the right hand side.

❗ Note: If you have divisions imported for your company, you can filter metrics by division.

The time period

After selecting the metric, you can select the time period in the subsequent window. Options include last period results, same period last year, rolling 12 months average and many more.

The condition and comparative

Under the drop-down menu, you can select the appropriate condition to apply to your observation.

You can choose from:

  • Greater than
  • Less than
  • Equal to
  • Not equal to

Below the condition, you can then select the comparative metric (and the appropriate time period) to compare your results

Conditional text

You will then see two fields (Then / Else) that allow you to display customised statements or feedback.

The 'Then' field will display if the condition you have specified is satisfied.

The 'Else' field will display if the condition is not satisfied.

💡Pro Tip: Type @ (Shift + 2) to insert a placeholder. A placeholder allows you to insert the value of any metric defined within Fathom, which will automatically update for future periods.

An extra condition

The ‘Extra condition’ at the bottom allows you to hide the observation under specific circumstances.

For instance, you could choose not to show a metric if it is greater than (or less than) a certain level of a metric.

This can be helpful if you would prefer not to show this observation if the metric performs especially poorly!

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