Graphs, charts, traffic lights, thermometers, spinning monkeys, you name it.
We are a visual species, and the seemingly endless onslaught of data visualization BI tools would suggest that we are becoming even more accustomed to making business decisions with the help of pretty pictures.
I don’t mean to diminish the value of these types of tools. Without question, data visualization is a great way to merge all sorts of data together from disparate sources. Until recently, it was nearly impossible to provide decision makers with access to this variety of information in a format that was easy to configure and consume.
Data visualization tools are helpful for presentation and analysis of both flexible and structured G/L based reporting. Unfortunately, you can’t file an executive dashboard with the IRS.
If data visualization is the sizzle in business intelligence, financial reporting is the steak.
Structured reporting is often left out of the BI discussion, yet all organizations require and rely on financial reports and statements.
Your management team might like dashboards, but anyone responsible for the financial performance of the organization, in addition to your shareholders, your auditors, your banker, your government, and others all require accurate financial reports.
Cash flows, balance sheets, and P&L statements are not going anywhere, and the preferred format for creating them is still Microsoft Excel®. By itself, Excel isn’t perfect. Human error, security, version control, and the ability to collaborate are all present challenges to organizations who use Excel without an effective Excel-based reporting tool.
That is why we created Vivid Reports. We want to help other organizations manage their businesses more efficiently, close month-end faster, and produce more accurate financial reports in a timely fashion. We even built in some data visualization tools (spinning monkeys are in development).