Excel’s flexibility and ease of use has made this spreadsheet tool a mainstay in the business world. But what is the best way to leverage Excel reporting? What are the types of reports in Excel you can create? In this short guide, we’ll cover the answers to these questions and start you on your journey to becoming an Excel report expert.
An Excel report is simply data that is collected and presented in a visual way on a single sheet. Excel reports are an incredibly versatile way to aggregate, analyze, and present data using charts and graphs. Originally intended for simple calculations, Excel has become a mainstay in boardrooms and business meetings due in part to its ability to build both simple and complex reports.
There are many types of reports in Excel, because you can essentially build any report that you like. Common reports include:
Detail different aspects of the financial position of a company. Examples of financial reports are balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements, waterfall charts, and variance analysis.
Highlight financial and operational information that pertains to various aspects of the performance of a business.
Provide insight into day-to-day operations. For example, an operational report might lay out the annual revenue and operating expenses broken down by department.
Give a high-level view of trends. In Excel, there is a built-in tool called “Analyze Data” that can be used with the selected dataset to provide insights. This foundation can be built out further to highlight key outcomes.
Provide answers to questions that arise in the normal course of business. Typically these are reports for a specific purpose that are quickly created and presented in Excel.
Not technically a report, but are often used as part of one. These tables turn large amounts of data into an interactive table that can be manipulated in many different ways.
You can generate reports from Excel data. You will have to build a custom report using elements like tables, charts, auto-shape objects, gauges, and other widgets that help you present your data. The building blocks you select should fit the purpose of the report and the audience who will be viewing it.
For example, if you have only a few minutes to present to the CEO, you should have a minimalistic report with the high-level KPIs in an easy-to-read format. If you are creating a quarterly sales report with all the details that sales managers need in order to make decisions, your report will probably be much more detailed and include many charts and graphs.
A dynamic report can refer either to a report that is constantly updating the information to show real-time data or one that is interactive for the user with tools like drop-down lists, macros, or slicers. You can create an interactive report using the tools inside of Excel, but for a truly dynamic report that stays up-to-date, you will have to manually update the data or have a developer create a custom solution.
With XLCubed by Fluence, you can connect directly to your data and build truly dynamic reports that cover both definitions. You will have the ability to zoom and drill down and across to get the full story behind every metric. You can create financial statements, ad hoc reports, reports and dashboards using familiar formulas and functions and built in layouts from professional templates—no scripting or IT needed.
If you’re ready to get started with best-practice, professional reports and dashboards, XLCubed is the tool you need. Rather than storing data in Excel spreadsheets—a risky practice from a data security and governance perspective—you can connect directly with your data, no matter where it is stored. With over 30 built-in connectors, you can report on real-time metrics directly from TM1, Power BI, SQL Server Analysis Services, and more. By leaving your data where it belongs, you can ensure integrity and governance while eliminating the security risks of using Excel as a database. Get started today building dynamic and interactive reports on company-wide metrics with XLCubed.
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