Can your reports dance?

We create a lot of financial reports and at the same time we probably receive even more financial reports. Most financial reports are just full of numbers like the following one; and we have to look very hard for the information that we want, e.g. if the following is a control report and we should be alerted if certain ratio is bigger than 0.9.

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Excel 2010 offers Conditional Formatting which allows us to add additional business context around our regular reports. Let’s try to add some color icons next to the boring numbers.

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We now have a report that actually highlights items that are critical to our business.clip_image005

Let’s look at another example, a report that we want to compares with 12 months average.

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The report contains the same numbers but now we are looking from another angle.

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Some may want to see a little bit more details; so instead of just showing a simple arrow, we can use Sparkline to display the trend of the last 12 months values and even where the max/min are.

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I can’t make my reports dance but Excel 2010 can give a new life to our regular boring financial reports. And there are many professional data visualization tools that can make information jumps out from our reports, e.g. Qlikview, Spotfire, Tableau and don’t’ forget to try out PowerPivot.

What tools are you using now?

About Andrew Chan
Andrew Chan is an Business Consultant who gives you accurate, consistent and timely information so that you can make better and faster decisions. He is an Associate of Society of Actuaries with over 20 years of IT experience. Apart from strong analytical skills and proven technical background, he was also a former system director at Manulife who had extensive project management experience. If you are looking for someone to gather, consolidate, validate, visualize and analyze data, look no further! Andrew can provide the most cost effective business analytics solution so that you can explore, optimize, predict and visualize your business. Don’t guess on any decision, no matter it is finance, operation, marketing or sales! Always ask for evidence!

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