8 Cool Financial Reporting Ideas

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Here are two excellent reports I came across at a client recently. I love these reports (and have replicated them with fake data) because accountants build them in Microsoft Excel. Of course, our customers have the added benefit of using CALUMO Business Intelligence to aggregate their data instantly, but this style of report can be built without CALUMO. In this example though, data is drawn from many databases including a few different ERPs and consolidated and aggregated in CALUMO for easy reporting.

transactions-2016Greenfields

If you have used FRx, Management Reporter, SSRS or tools like them, you will know you just can’t create reports like this with those tools. You have to use other tools like Excel and without CALUMO, that is very very slow and hard work.

Here are 8 reasons why I love these reports:

1. They're easy to read

Sure, Accountants love numbers, but I bet your eye is drawn to the red traffic lights, right? Then you look for the BIG variances. So, you just saved yourself about 10 seconds. Now non-numbers folk like the rest of the world are actually looking at the reports and using them.

There is nothing worse than creating reports, and they don’t get used because they are ugly and only have numbers.

2. Built in Excel

All the formatting is done in Excel. This means, if you know anything about Excel, you can make a boring report look great in a few minutes. These reports took about 30 minutes to build. Try that in SSRS, FRx or Management Reporter or other traditional reporting writing tools.

3. Trends are easy to see with sparklines

Sparklines are in Excel and are easy-to-use – so use them! You can’t beat looking at a line vs. numbers to see relative peaks and troughs in data. That is unless you’re a robot.

4. Notes about the data can be entered

Information, please. I have seen so many printed reports with notes all over them because, well, you need words to describe the data. You know, the why’s and why not’s. These reports cater for commentary that is so important when it comes to reporting!

5. Data is ranked, and the difference between the top ten is easy to see.

The simple ranking makes it easy to see who the top 10 customers or products are. Use ranking, with a chart, to reveal relative importance. The brain geared to use imagery for survival. It delivers instant knowledge and understanding so use it!

6. These reports are dynamic

Dynamic reports are so important vs. static ones. I always want to see last months results and how we are looking for next month. And you don’t want to have to create a new report for every month, department, company, year, etc.

7. The data is as real-time

These reports receive near real-time data from many different databases. It saves hundreds of hours days each year.

8. People love receiving them

Yep, the new reports are loved by the managers of this business. They actually use the reports now unlike before. And they LOVE them. Finance looks like stars.

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