In business, reports take on many forms. Choosing the right reporting type can help enterprises better transform data into value. If you are looking for ways to discover different types of reports and learn how to pick the appropriate ones, this guide is for you. This article will introduce the best 10 types of reports and the 3 most helpful report types for business analysis. Also, I will pick some reporting examples to help you understand how to choose the right report to boost your business.

List of Best 10 Types of Reports

Based on use cases and goals, I categorize reports often used in business and management into ten types. If you hope to study each report carefully, this list can help you start your journey.

  • Detail Reports
  • Group Reports
  • Pagination Reports
  • Split Reports
  • Cross Reports
  • Master-sub Reports
  • Irregular Reports
  • Query Reports
  • Chart Reports
  • Print Reports

List of 3 Types of Reports for Business Analysts

Here I list 3 types of reports I use when doing data analysis to help you improve business efficiency. If you don’t have enough time to read the above 10 types of reports in detail, this list will be a time-saver for every beginner.

  • General reports: detail report, group report, crosstab report, column report, query report, data entry report, etc.
  • Aggregate reports: various irregular reports, such as complex bills.
  • Dashboard reports: visualized report with multi-dimensional analysis based on the display of business indicators

In-Depth Look at Top 10 Types of Reports & Examples 

Note: All the reporting examples in the article are from the reporting software FineReport. FineReport Designer has built in various templates covering different departments. If you’re interested, feel free to download the FineReport to use these templates directly. The personal version is free!

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Type #1. Detail Reports

A detailed report is the simplest way to display the data in the form of lists. It is mainly for listing the data such as sales list, customer list, and expenditure list. Often, we can see transaction detail reports or purchase detail reports in real business.

As a result, tables and lists are the widgets most commonly used in this type of report.

reporting example-detail report
Type 1: Detail Reports(FineReport)

Type #2. Group Reports

Group reports classification displays and summarizes the data. It groups the data of the same attribute according to the requirements.

For example, the following figure summarizes the data of each supplier, to count and compare the performance of each channel.

Types of report-group report
Type 2: Group Report (FineReport)

Type #3. Pagination Reports

This type of report may sound unfamiliar to some people. How to use it? When the amount of data is large, the report can be paginated to make it easier for readers to read.

In the picture below, I made a paginated report. The items in the table are divided into one page for every 10 items, and readers can click “Next” to view the next page.

Pagination Report
Type 3: Pagination Report (FineReport)

Type #4. Split Reports

You can split the report into multiple sub-reports. Two types of split reports are used often: horizontal rows and vertical columns.

This type of report is especially commonly used when designing and printing, such as unified format documents, receipts, invoices, etc. They are also commonly used for barcode print, label print, and so on. For instance, below is the personal information card in split formats.

Split Report
Type 4: Split Repor (FineReport)

Type #5. Cross Reports

The cross-report sorts and summarizes the data in the row and column directions. Compared with traditional types of reports, the column headings of cross-reports are horizontally expanded based on database field values and change dynamically with field values.

Cross Report
Type 5: Cross Report (FineReport)

Type #6. Master-sub Reports

The master-sub report is mainly divided into two parts: one is used to display the summary information, while the subreport displays the detailed data related to the summary data.

In this type of report, you can also drill down to understand the data hierarchy clearly and intuitively and focus on the level you are interested in.

master-sub report
Type 6: Master-sub Report (FineReport)

Type #7. Irregular Reports

Irregular reports exist to meet the needs of complex reports with inconsistent formats. If you use Excel to generate reports, you need to frequently merge and split the cells in the spreadsheet, which is very troublesome. But you can also use reporting software to handle it. For example, FineReport provides aggregate reports. Each aggregation block is independent, and you can freely drag and drop and combine them to create irregular reports.

report types- irregular report
Type 7: Irregular Report (FineReport)

Type #8. Query Reports

The query report is the report with query widgets. This type of report usually is used when the data volume is large. Or the reports have time filtering requirements such as annual reports, and monthly reports.

reporting example-query report
Type 8: Query Reports (FineReport)

Type #9. Chart Reports

This kind of report also can be called a dashboard. By presenting the data in different kinds of charts, the relationship between the data can be better analyzed.

Chart report dashboard
Type 9: Chart Reports (FineReport)

Type #10. Set Print Reports

Set print reports have strict requirements for report format and print style, requiring data to be printed to the specified location.

types of reports: invoice
Type 10: Set Print Reports (FineReport)
types of reports: receipt
Cash Receipt (made by FineReport)

You might be confused by knowing all these reports in such a short period. Here, I have summarized 3 necessary reports for business analysis. It will be the best guide for those who have limited learning time. Keep reading!

3 Types of Reports That Business Analysts Need to Learn

Type #1. General Reports

General reports are the most common type of report when I use FineReport report designer for report-making. Why do I say it in general? Because this kind of report is structured by regular cells. For example, detailed reports, group reports, crosstab reports, column reports, query reports, data entry reports, and so on, are all general reports.

In addition, you can use an Excel-like interface to design general reports. FineReport designer supports an unlimited expansion of rows and columns, multiple sheets, cross-sheet calculations, and so on. You can use general reports for parameter queries, data entry, chart design, etc.

Business Scenarios & Examples

The general reports can replace all kinds of traditional reports made by Excel in the enterprise, greatly reducing production time. The reports can be viewed on the web thanks to the B/S (browser/server) structure.

Through general reports of FineReport, users can fetch data from different types of business databases to make financial statements, sales reports, production reports, HR reports, and other reports related to business performance. Besides, the users can access reports, query data, and edit the reports on their PC or mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

Often, general reports support flexible formula calculation, such as YOY (Year-Over-Year) Growth, MOM (Month-Over-Month), ranking, and proportion as well as printing and exporting offline files.

Report types: YOY (Year-Over-Year) Growth, MOM (Month-Over-Month)
YoY Mom Reports
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Type #2. Aggregate Reports

The aggregate report refers to a report containing multiple modules, each of which is similar to a single report or a chart. The modules are relatively independent and do not affect each other. So it can solve the problem of making irregular large reports.

Business Scenarios & Examples

A big problem with traditional reports, such as the Excel report, is that if you adjust the row height or column width of a cell, the entire row in which it is located or the other cells in the entire column will be affected. In this case, it is very difficult for us to make reports with complex, irregular style, or inconsistent cell row heights. Although in some scenarios this can be achieved by continually merging or splitting cells, the workload is too large.

The aggregation report is to solve such problems. Different table blocks are combined into a complex large report, and the expansion, row height, and column width between blocks do not affect each other, which greatly improves the flexible space for tabulation.

Types of reports: Aggregation report
Aggregation report-From FineReport

Especially when we need to make complex bill-type reports, designing with traditional Excel spreadsheets is a real headache. But with the aggregation report, you can easily design such a table.

Type #3. Dashboard Reports

Dashboard reports are developed to solve business decision-making problems. Different from the tabular interface of the general report, the dashboard report adopts the canvas-like operation interface. By simple drag-and-drop operation, a powerful and comprehensive “management cockpit” can be constructed. Different data can be integrated on the same page, displaying various business indicators to achieve a multi-dimensional analysis of data.

types of reports: Excel-like interface
Operation Interface of Dashboard Reports

Dashboard reports have many features.

  • Applicable to all kinds of display screens: PC, Tablet PC, mobile phone, TV, large screen, and other types of terminals.
  • More visual elements: There are many visual components such as tables, graphics, controls, etc., which can be freely matched and made into a variety of reports.
  • Component linkage analysis: Components can be linked to analyze. As long as you click on a component, the associated component will automatically trigger data loading.
  • Data monitoring and periodic refreshing: The data in the background can be intelligently detected and compared, and the foreground can update the data in time.
  • Auto carousel: The dashboard report supports the carousel of different chart styles on the same position and the carousel of multiple tab pages.

Business Scenarios & Examples

In the traditional report design interface, it is cumbersome to freely match different forms, graphics, controls, etc. on one page. Dashboard reports provide a simple and efficient way to design and quickly build a business dashboard.

A typical application of dashboard reports is the management dashboard for sales leadership.

Types of Reports: Sales leadership dashboard
Sales leadership dashboard (FineReport)

Since dashboard reports can be adapted to multiple terminals, administrators can monitor key metrics data anytime and anywhere on browsers, apps, and more.

types of reports: Dashboard for all terminals
Dashboard for all terminals (FineReport)

Another example is the strategic command center, monitoring center, or conference room of the company often uses a large screen to view key performance indicators in real time or to promote corporate strength and corporate image.

dashboard is an important types of reporting
Monitor center for supply chain

How to Create These Different Types of Reports?

In daily work, when it comes to making tables or charts or data analysis, you basically will choose Excel.  Here we provide another option for your reference.

As mentioned in the beginning, the examples shown above are made by FineReport.  Its designer has three report design modes, corresponding to the different formats you want to realize.

To create regular reports such as detailed reports, group reports, split reports, and general report modes FineReport is your best choice. The operation is just like in Excel, while the process is easier than in Excel.

Types of Reports : Report Designer
FineReport Designer

Aggregation report mode is an innovative design for irregular reports. Each aggregation block is independent; you can drag&drop and put them together freely to create irregular reports.

Dashboard mode provides you with a canvas-like interface to draw your impressive dashboard via drag and drop stunning widgets such as 3D point earth, KPI card, time gear, and so on.

Dashboard Template-From FineReport

Final Thoughts on Types of Reports

This article lists the 10 best reporting types that are often used in business and management. I divide them mainly based on their formats and use cases. Making reports sometimes is painful. It is not difficult, but troublesome.

For the professionals in the company, to reduce the large amount of time spent on making reports, I provide some experience in making reports and recommend the use of professional report tools.

FineReport is free for personal use, with more than 100+ templates built in it. If you want to know more about reporting tools, I collected the best reporting tools list in 2021. Welcome to take full advantage of it!

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Feel free to make an appointment for a live demo with product experts from FineReport and work together to discover your needs and see how FineReport can help you and your organization transform data into value.

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