Creating Financial Reports with Reportivo

The increasing numbers of products and changes in reporting frequency are just some of the challenges one faces when preparing financial reports. Most large investment banks suffer from over reliance on end-user developed spreadsheets. Controlling the growth of this spreadsheet jungle is a challenge from a data security, disaster recovery and operational risk point of view. If Finance requirements are being met thorough these local solutions rather than requests for online systems, then IT role as an enabler for financial reporting is questionable.

Controlling the report creation process, collaborating across organizations, and reducing the cost and effort with a reliable and effective online reporting tools and uniform web services is what every Manager of a Reporting departments strives for.

In this article we will take a look at a common business scenario for an analyst in a financial institution. The case that we will accomplish aims to compare the deviation of average interest rates of funds attracted from customers during Financial Year 2013 in foreign currency and local currency. Such reports are often used in presentations to top executives and business developers this is why polished look is crucial. In order to accomplish our task we will use Reportivo Online Reporting - a free service that allows streamlined creation of reports and data visualization from tabular data sources like MS Excel and CSV. Powered by the ShieldUI for JavaScript and HTML5 suite, Reportivo allows easy sharing and publishing of generated reports, more than a dozen graphics types such as line, pie, bar, and even sophisticated like scatter and polar charts.

The ability to share the generated reports is the top feature of Reportivo. When finished, users receive a permanent link that can be easily emailed, shared over the most popular networks like Twitter and Facebook, or included in a web site or presentation. This feature greatly facilitates cross team collaboration, discussion and analysis.

Getting Started

In order to start creating our report, we will need an MS Excel file containing the numerical data about it. Our sample file contains just a bit of data: an average interest rate for a Local and Foreign Currency.

We start by going to Reportivo’s Create a report section and upload the file by clicking the big button that appears on the page.

With just two mouse clicks, we already have the available data in front of us and can start creating the chart. Below we can see the tabular presentation of the data. It is rendered in a small selectable grid, which contains all the initial data.

Data Selection

We have our three columns with data for our sample Local Currency and Foreign Currency and the 12 periods of 2013 on the left. In an ordinary chart we would have the data represented as it is, and associated with one or two types of graphs. Reportivo, however gives users much more than that. Let’s take a closer look.

Imagine that we need the data in Columns B and C to be visualized in bar chart – which commonly used for data comparison in financial reports and presentations. In order to do this we perform the following steps. Using the Control and Shift Keys we select the column with Foreign Currency Data that we need visualized. After selecting the data we choose the desired chart type for the data series and optionally enter a name for it. If we want to include more than one graph, we repeat the same step for each one that we want to include in our report.

Adjusting the X Axis

Next we will customize the X axis labels - in other words adjust the data, which will be displayed along the X axis. People are often using dates in the X-axis of their financial reports. This can be done easily with Reportivo from the "X-Axis" tab, as shown below.

Following the same selection-based data inclusion, we select all the data, which is to be presented along the X axis of the rendered chart. One can further customize the X-axis labels by setting the label frequency as well as the label text’s angle of orientation.

Setting Additional Options

So far with just a few clicks we have our chart pretty much done. With the built-in defaults reflecting the most common usage, the additional settings can be skipped with no hassle. However we’ll have a look at them, since there is much more that Reportivo can offer. Clicking on the Options tab we can see the available options.

From this section the user can choose to invert the axes (switch the places of the X and Y axis). Zooming, which by default is turned off, can be switched on or off. We may choose to allow viewers to zoom the chart vertically or horizontally. Additionally, we can enable exporting for the chart to an image or allow printing. Finally, for even more customization, we can specify the exact dimensions of the chart so that it can display just the way we need it to.

Labeling the Chart

In order to provide more information, Reportivo enables setting up a Title and Subtitle to the chart, in addition to labels for the X and Y axes. These options are available under the Labels tab, as shown in the screenshot below.

One can easily set the text for both axes, as well as a title and subtitle for the chart. You can also leave any field blank, if you do not want to specify a sub-title, for example. Each setting can be put into effect, by pressing the "Apply" button.

Applying Visual Styles

Under the Styles tab we can find ready to use visual themes that can be applied to the chart with only one click. Themes are sets of visual settings, which contain color information for the series and legend items, as well as font and styling information.

After having applied all the settings to the report, it is ready to be published. This can be done, by clicking on the "Publish your chart" button. A finished report looks like this.

At the top of the page we see the report, which will include all the graphs we created from our data. It also includes the title and axis data, the graphs tooltips, print and export icons and so on.

Right below the report are links to quickly share the finished presentation on your favorite social network like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and others.

To make things fully flexible, Reportivo allows embedding the report as an IFRAME object in any of your web pages. The code needed for this is available immediately below the report and allows some customizations such as the chart dimensions.

This concludes the introduction to the Reportivo online graph generation tool. Best of all, it is free and does not even require a registration, so feel free to give it a try. Reportivo provide technology, services, and distribution to make your financial reporting process faster, more manageable and more efficient.