Analysis reports are constantly required documents in almost every company. In the digital age, analytical reporting seems to be more indispensable but challenging because of the data explosion.

If you want to follow the pace of the rapid changes, let’s discuss what an analysis report is and how to create an effective one by following some steps and templates.

An Analysis Report (by FineReport)

Note: The report and dashboard examples in this article are all built-in templates made by FineReport, the leading BI reporting tool in the Asian-Pacific region.

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1. What is an Analysis Report

An analysis report is an essential business report displaying analysis results and feasible suggestions, and providing valuable information for decision-makers so that they can evaluate current operation status and then make well-informed decisions. 

According to different analysis objects, purposes, and methods, analysis reports can be categorized into many types, such as comprehensive analysis reports, thematic analysis reports, routine work analysis reports, etc. 

Commonly, we often make analysis reports in Excel or display them in PowerPoint. However, sometimes we may find some inconveniences in the process of data collection and data visualization

For example, when making routine work analysis reports, we find it inconvenient to re-summarize the latest data and recreate a new report, especially when the data is in a large volume. Also, creating charts in Excel is time-consuming. So I prefer to get some help from professional reporting tools to make modern analysis reports, especially FineReport which can help to easily establish complex analysis reports and dashboards. If you are interested in how to choose the right reporting tools, you can read this article for a more detailed introduction: Top 5 Report Maker Software & Reporting Software.

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financial index analysis report
Analysis report by FineReport

2. Importance of the Analysis Report

If a company can take full advantage of effective analysis reports, it will reap many benefits.

Modern analysis reports improve the efficiency of communication within a company and between the company and other companies. Utilizing analysis reports can ensure the objectivity, consistency, and accuracy of the data on a single platform. Therefore, no matter who needs the information, they can access the report at any time without repetitively asking others to send documents. As a result, the communication process becomes more efficient.

More importantly, using an analysis report not only eases the decision-making process but also allows managers to make decisions based on sufficient analysis instead of instinct or experience. Modern analysis reports are often full of visualized data so that the managers can find the problem more intuitively and then analyze the causes of it by using the function of data drilling in the reporting tool. 

Also, an analysis report created in reporting software can provide timely updating data for a company to monitor key information indicators and make preparations for potential challenges. And they can also predict the future trend based on the historical trend shown by the report.

3. Steps to Make an Analysis Report

After reading the above part, you may have a basic understanding of what an analysis report is and why a company needs analytic reports. Maybe now, you want to know how to create it. Therefore, I would like to introduce the steps to make an effective analysis report with the help of some reporting tools like FineReport. You can download FineReport for free to have a try!

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Step 1: Consider the Goal and Audience of Your Analysis Report

It is common sense that we’d better identify the goal before starting something. Likewise, before making an analysis report, remember to be clear about its purpose. Otherwise, you may make a lot of effort but in vain at last. Therefore, it is essential to make a goal-oriented analysis report.

Besides the goal, your audience is also a factor that you need to consider first. The ultimate users may influence the focus of your analysis report. People in different positions will analyze a problem from different levels. So try to think about your audience and their expectations before the creation of an analysis report.

Expectations for report in different levels

Step 2: Focus on KPIs and Collect relevant information

An analysis report is used to help the decision-makers get the most critical information. Therefore, what you should do is focus on key information indicators and then filter and analyze a large amount of data instead of simply recording all the information for readers to analyze by themselves. In essence, finding the KPIs useful for the users is not very difficult because there are many analytic report samples involving common KPIs for your reference.

For example, the following financial report sample contains some commonly used metrics for financial analysis.  

Financial analysis report containing common KPIs
Financial analysis report by FineReport

Step 3: Select a Proper Type of the Analysis Report

Data and KPIs are ready. The next question you may think about is how to choose a proper type of report to transform the data into value. Traditionally, the data is displayed page by page, which directly increases the length of your report. Therefore, why not try some modern types of reports to contain a large volume of data on just one screen?

Here I would like to offer you three types of modern reports developed by FineReport: general reports, aggregation reports, and dashboard reports. You can select the most appropriate one depending on your requirements.

The general report is a kind of Excel-like report which you are very familiar with. The most distinct difference is that this type of report supports fetching data from multiple databases and making reports for different purposes, such as sales analysis reports, HR analysis reports, financial analysis reports, etc.

General report
General report by FineReport

If you have a large amount of data that can not be displayed with several modules, you can choose aggregation reports to make complex large analysis reports containing multiple fragmented areas and involving many indicators. The modules are independent of each other while supporting customized combinations.

Aggregation report
Aggregation report by FineReport

If you attempt to maximize the visualization of your data and enjoy the highest degree of freedom, a dashboard is the best choice for you. A dashboard in FineReport can be regarded as a canvas that allows you to choose wonderful charts and design the layout according to your own will

An analysis report about profit
Dashboard report by FineReport

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Step 4: Visualize Your Data and Organize the Components

Until now, you have made sufficient preparation for your analysis report. It is time to display them in your report logically and effectively. 

In the last step, we finish collecting data. Although the data is carefully filtered, it is still in a large volume for the reason that the analysis results based on quantitative data are more convincing and efficient. However, it is not recommended to display too much statistical data for the readers because it will result in inefficiency.

Therefore, data visualization is the next step. You need to transmit your data into visual charts by using some data visualization tools such as FineReport. FineReport supports more than 50 chart styles, covering all basic and high-level charts on the market, and also has excellent dynamic effects and a powerful interactive experience. Various features can be set according to the needs during use, and can also be self-adjusted and displayed on the mobile terminal and large LED screen. Proper charts will have a positive effect on your analysis report. So remember to select suitable charts according to your purpose. For instance, when you need to show the developing trend in the last financial year, a line chart is more ideal than a pie chart. 

Data Visualization in FineReport

Putting the information you need to convey logically is also a significant point. Just like a report full of numbers and words, a report full of charts is not readable as well. So don’t overuse charts and components in your analytic report. 

The components in your report should be organized in a logical and readable way. The picture below shows one of the popular layout samples created by FineReport for your reference.

Logical layout
Logical layout by FineReport
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Step 5: Utilize Interactive Effects and Preview Your Analysis Report

The interactive effects not only make your analysis more attractive but also have some practical advantages.

On the one hand, the interactive effects, such as chart drill-down, chart linkage, and parameter query, allow you to put more necessary information on a single screen without influencing the neatness of your analytic report.

On the other hand, the readers can also benefit from the interactive analysis. For example, if a sales manager wants to know the causes of the decrease in sales, he can drill down to view the detailed sales performance of a certain kind of product. The interactive analysis experience enables the users to better understand the data displayed in the report.

drilling down to view detailed information

Constant preview will help you to make sure that all interactive or dynamic effects and charts in your analytic report work well. If you find any error in your report, remember to make it correct immediately so that all things are in their best position when you publish the report.

Step 6: Authorize the Readers of Your Analysis Report

Now that you have successfully designed an analysis report for the computer terminal. However, we are still a few steps away from the completion of the analysis report.

As we mentioned above, all the users can access the analysis report in one platform with the help of some modern reporting tools. However, maybe you only want to share the analysis report with a certain group of people. The function of authorization in FineReport can realize your goal. The assignment of permissions can be based on department positions, roles, or usernames. With this function, you can determine who can access the report to guarantee the security of the data.

Step 7: Adjust the Layout for Mobile Users

The analysis report designed above is only accessible on the computer terminal. Sometimes, the manager wants to view the report while there is no computer at hand. At this time, providing an analytic report adaptable for the mobile terminal is very necessary. You can easily adjust the layout to adapt to the mobile side in FineReport which provides the integration of reports into the mobile apps.

Mobile terminal
Mobile terminal by FineReport

With an analysis report supporting mobile access, users can get rid of the limitation of office space and take full advantage of the fragmented time.     

Step 8: Automatically Update Your Analysis Report

We successfully come to the last step of creating an efficient analysis report. You’d better update your analysis report frequently, both its style and the data. 

As we all know, some analysis reports are frequently required, such as monthly sales performance reports, quarterly financial analysis reports, and so on. Some repetitive work will be generated in the process of recreating them. And even though the data was collected yesterday, it may not be the latest one because we live in an era full of rapid changes. 

Fortunately, you can utilize some analysis reporting tools to automatically update your report to adapt to the changes. The function of data monitoring in FineReport is very practical. When there is a change in the database, the data in your analytic report is also updated in time. Therefore, the readers are enabled to view the latest data, which is better for their decision-making process.

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4. Analysis Report Samples and Templates

Following some analysis report samples will improve your working efficiency. Here are some templates I found in FineReport for your reference. Maybe you will get some inspiration from these reports.

Marketing Analysis Report

Marketing analysis report
Marketing analysis report by FineReport

If your executives want to know how well a product performs in different areas, a marketing performance analysis report is an essential tool for them to analyze. 

This marketing analysis report offers some bar charts showing the data by state, and a column chart displaying the completion of sales plans by city. In this way, your managers are enabled to find the best area at a glance. 

Sales Analysis Report

Sales analysis report
Sales analysis report by FineReport

A manager will also pay much attention to the overall sales performance of your company. This sales analysis report also allows your manager to view the detailed sales performance in different cities by the linkage among the components. Besides, this report also supports deeply analyzing each salesperson’s performance and progress by data drilling.

Financial Analysis Report

Financial analysis report
Financial analysis report by Finereport

A company’s financial position has a significant impact on its business operation. Here is a financial analysis report sample for the CFO to evaluate the financial status of the company with the financial and non-financial indicators. The financial metrics such as revenue, gross profit, and asset to debt intuitively reflect the operation position, while the non-financial indicators, including client satisfaction and No. of certified employees, indirectly show the company’s overall operating conditions.

5. A Conclusion of the Analysis Report

Analysis reports are essential materials supporting and accelerating the company’s decision-making process. They provide the managers with actionable insights into their business operation and then make informed strategies to ensure the healthy development of their company.

After finishing reading this post, you will find it not demanding to create an excellent analysis report with the help of some reporting tools, among which I prefer FineReport. Even though you are not a professional analyst, you can take full advantage of this software to design your analytic report like an expert. It has a free personal version including all the functions.

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