Reporting types: Use cases and choosing the right type of reporting

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Reporting data and using your findings to make data-driven decisions is an important part of the business world. There are a lot of different reporting types out there, and they can all help you accomplish a different goal. Read on to learn about the most common types of reporting and discover how you can start using them in your role.

Periodic reports

Periodic reports are issued at regular intervals. These are your annual reports, quarterly reports, monthly reports — you could generate reports for shorter and shorter intervals (though the inbox for the recipient of a minute report must be a fearsome sight!). Periodic reports are convenient for keeping people up to date with the state of your business, so it’s common for consultants and agencies to keep their clients informed with this type of reporting.

Check out the quarterly business review template made for Prezi Video:


A dashboard combines data from one or multiple sources and displays it in one easy-to-access place. Dashboards usually use more than one kind of chart type. The combination of different types of charts and data sources organized side by side makes it easier for viewers to see relationships between data and infer more information.

Check out this dashboard built with Prezi Design, which gives a quick summary of a mobile app’s performance:

See more dashboards built with Prezi Design.

Internal vs. external reports

Internal reports share information within an organization, such as budgeting reports and updates on projects. External reports are shared outside the organization and are typically more formal reporting types. These are your white papers, press releases, and product launches.

Formal vs. informal reports

Formal reports are created for a specific audience, such as the CEO or a client. They require a lot of planning, are structured into sections, and are typically on the longer side due to the amount of data in them. The point of this type of reporting is to provide a detailed summary of a topic and provide possible solutions to make decision-making easier.

This might come as a bit of a shock, but informal reporting does not require as much planning and detail. These are quick reports that are usually just circulated internally. You might recognize informal reporting in an office memo or meeting notes.

Informational vs. analytical reports

Informational reports simply give you the facts, without any analysis or recommendation. You might have come across this type of reporting in an expense report or in the notes recorded from a meeting.

Analytical reports provide the same information, but also include an analysis of the data and provide possible solutions to a problem. They help businesses make data-driven decisions. Examples of this reporting type are audits, project reports, and competitor analyses.

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Analytical reports can help you tell a compelling story through data that moves your colleagues to take action. Learn more about visualizing data to create compelling reports in this Prezi presentation:

Vertical vs. lateral reports

A vertical report is shared up and down the hierarchy on your team. An example of this type of reporting is a project proposal, which needs to be approved by the head of your team.

A lateral report is shared between teams. A project proposal could also fit this category, such as trying to secure funding for your project. You would want to share your proposal with your immediate team and also to the finance department.

Business reports

The type of reporting that most of us are probably used to is the type that fits a role, department, or category of a business. A business report compiles data and relevant information and makes it accessible to stakeholders and team members.

Prezi has many reporting templates to help get you started, no matter your role at your business. Here are just a few of our favorites:


This report helps you break down the performance of each channel in the marketing department. You can also outfit this marketing report template with your brand’s logo and color scheme, making it a great template for a more formal report meant for leadership or stakeholders.


For virtual presentations, use a Prezi Video template to put your data and findings next to you on-screen, creating a more personalized experience. This personal touch can be beneficial when you’re talking about finance, which has the unfortunate reputation for being boring or overwhelming for some audiences. See the budget planning video template here:


Keep your team up to date with the latest sales numbers. This sales report template has everything from a sales leaderboard, wins and losses, and your current leads. Check it out:

There are lots of different ways to display your data and propose solutions at your company. Using one of these reporting types is a great way to structure your findings and guide conversations in a productive way. Discover more reporting examples in our Design Gallery, or sign up for Prezi today and create your own.

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