At first glance, reports and analytics may look similar – lots of charts, graphs, trend lines, tables, and statistics derived from data. However, the fact is that each term provides two different functions and values. So what is the difference?

What are the differences in Reports and Analytics?
Reports VS Analytics

Definitions: Reporting vs Analytics

In general, reporting presents what is happening, and analysis explains why it is happening.

Reporting refers to the process of taking factual data and presenting it in an organized form.  Below is a simple example made by FineReport. As you can see, the data is collected and presented in a clear structure.

sales detail analytical report example
Report Example: Sales Report (by FineReport)

Analytics describes the process of obtaining valuable business insights by investigating and interpreting organized data. As a result, you can find some explanations and prescriptions in the in-depth analysis(see example).

Analytics Example: DuPont Analysis(by FineReport)

Which One is More Needed in Business? Reports or Analytics? 

After knowing the difference between report and analytics definitions, you may be curious about which one is more important in work.

Our answer is “both”: you can not use one instead of another. In the fast-growing data-driven business setting, both reports and analytics are undoubtedly critical in the decision-making process.

Although the definition of analytics looks a bit fancier, we still can not ignore the value of the report and its wide application. For more clarity, let’s look at how reporting and analytics differ in purpose, methods, and value.

  • Purpose: Reports provide clear and organized data information; Analytics aims to provide insights.
  • Methods: When people talk about a report, you will often see words like organizing, formatting, building, configuring, consolidating summarize; Regarding analytics, appears as questioning, examining, interpreting, comparing, and confirming
  • Value: Reporting translates data into information for business monitoring, control, and further analysis; Analytics offer suggestions to boost business moving

Therefore, in chronological order, the report is often carried out earlier than the analysis, and it is also a prerequisite for application analysis.

Next, we will recognize the output of reports and analytics. That is, how is each presented visually?


Now let us go a bit further by looking at some examples in the business landscape.

Reporting with Pushing

Overall, the Report follows a push approach. What does it mean? As reports, whatever the particular form, they are designed to push to the expected users. Here, the ordinary users can be managers, employees, or yourself(self-service reporting).

You can see reports in the following scenarios.

  • Report with Drill-Down Capability
Drill Down Report example
Drill-Down Report (by FineReport)

Advanced reporting software (i.e., business intelligence) such as FineReport provides drill-down capabilities so that users can switch from a more general view of data to a more specific view with a single click of the mouse.

If you are still confused with drill-down reports or drill-through reports, you can refer to Drill Down Reports Vs Drill Through Reports.

  • Dashboard
Dashboard Report Example
Dashboard Example: Grid Monitoring(by FineReport)

A dashboard is a graphical interface that usually provides an overview of key performance indicators (KPIs) concerning a definite goal or business process.

Dashboards are a common way of reporting, but they are not equal to reports. What’s the difference between a dashboard and a report? Read my post on Dashboard vs Report.

  •  Time Interval Reports
Monthly Report
Monthly Production Report(by FineReport)

Time interval report is a collective name for daily, weekly, monthly, and annual reports. Since it is to monitor data of recurring periods, the time-interval report normally has a fixed format.

Remember that the report plays a pushing role? You can set up regular scheduling and message-reminding functions to generate reports and push them to the corresponding team. With FineReport, you can easily achieve these goals.

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Analytics with Pulling

By contrast, analytics follows a pull approach, where analysts pull out the data they need to answer specific business questions. The key deliverables of analysis are the answers to particular questions.

  • Predictive analytics (answer what will happen in the future?)
  • Prescriptive analytics (answer what are optimal next steps?)

Take a look at the following chart example: We are naturally curious (1) why beer and ice cream sales increase as the temperature rises? And (2) how to deal with this growth trend next summer?

Take a look at the Scatter Chart with Line Connections(by FineReport): We are naturally curious why the sales of beer and ice cream increase as the temperature rises? And how to deal with this growth trend next summer?
Scatter Chart with Line Connections(by FineReport)
There is a pronounced trend, that is, sales rise as the temperature rises.

Meanwhile, if you are a beginner and find it difficult to learn data analysis, I introduced the whole data analysis process in Data Analysis Practice Guide——How to begin to answer your doubts and open up new ideas. You can also check out the article about analytical report.


Briefly, reporting and analytics are two different things, but both are necessary and valuable at work. In other words, the ultimate goal for both reporting and analysis is to increase sales and reduce costs (i.e., add value).

 By nature, reporting comes at the earlier step before analytics.  It is apparently valuable in business and can be seen everywhere at work. In contrast, companies may fall short of analytics since it is a comprehensive practice of organization, knowledge, people, and tools.

Most companies have developed analytical solutions to obtain more outstanding value for their organizations. The professional reporting & analytics enabler FineReport can help you zip through data analysis and accelerate your business.

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Feel free to make an appointment for a live demo with our product experts. We will be more clear about your needs and see how FineReport can help you and your organization transform data into value.

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