Graphs are incredible tools for data visualisation, and form part of the fundamental process of comparing data to target goals in order to reveal what is actually going on in your business. Numbers in a table are one thing, but it often only really gives you a single fact at a specific point in time. A comparison graph on the other hand can tell you a entire story over a period of time, and give you the resources to make insightful forecasting.
A graph that compares your business’s performance versus your expectation tells an even more powerful story. You will be able to see exactly how your business is affected by certain spikes or doldrums in activity (down to the detail), and be able to act accordingly to remedy or prevent negative results in the future. See how the 2016 elections proved how powerful graphs could be>>
We are visualisation fanatics, and with Microsoft Power BI we believe that your report graphs could even be a work of art! However, just like any tool there are some graphs that are better for certain uses than others. You just need to know which visualisation will be most effective.
An Area chart is ideal for comparing your gross profit percentage and it’s effect on cash flow to turnover. For example, if you have a spike in turnover it will show whether the increased activity had a good or bad impact on your gross profit percentage. Sometimes an increased turnover can result in increased taxes or expenses, which could lead to strain on your cash flow.
Donut and Pie charts
Donut and Pie charts are very standard and are generally ideal for high level views of your data. They can easily impart information at a glance, such as the spread of spend or the activity of different departments in your business. If your business has multiple products, a pie chart is ideal to show each product’s performance over a period of time, and it will reveal which one is the biggest contributor to your profits.
Gauge charts are useful if you would like to view targets. They are able to show you how far or how close your business came to reaching its targets. It can also help to highlight risk; by setting limits you can see if you are overusing certain resources, such as man-hours or budget, throughout the month. It is also often used to show general KPIs, where the upper limits (green) are good results, average is amber, and performance that is trending down and critical is in red.
There are many more types of visualisations, and there is definitely something that will work for you and your business. Microsoft Power BI makes it easier to customise your visualisations, so that you have full control over how you would like to represent your data.
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