Reports document the progress of a business. Business reporting is a crucial activity that promotes transparency. For many public companies, an annual report is a legal requirement provided to shareholders, government offices, and financial institutions. Private businesses depend on regular reporting for many reasons. They are able to track the performance of their operations, analyze the overall health of the business, identify areas for improvement, and take advantage of opportunities for growth.
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission.
What is reporting software?
Reporting tools are essential for successful strategy execution. These tools and software allow users to create structured and scheduled reports designed for specific stakeholders. Data from different sources, locations, and time frames are formatted to contain vital information that are easily viewed and understood. Managers are able to track performance, identify trends, and align performance towards goals. Senior executives gain insight from analyzing data in reports and make decisions guided by information contained within.
Typical features of reporting software
Business reports enable users to critically analyze how their business is doing in their respective areas in the organization. Reporting software compiles information within a specific functional area so that managers can immediately determine if operations are as expected or not, identify and investigate issues or anomalies, spot trends and opportunities for growth, or simply provide comparative data.
As such, the best reporting tools should have an intuitive interface to simplify operation, yet flexible or customizable for a variety of formats and audience. The reports can source data from multiple sources, provide search function, and be easily shared in several ways. These data reporting tools should include modern features such as automation, scheduling, visualization, real time updating, and additional integration to other systems. Many business systems and productivity apps such as CRM, ERP, and project management software include reporting functionality. There is also a growing overlap between traditional reporting software and BI tools because they serve similar purposes.
Top reporting software and tools
We compiled a list of the best reporting software based on reviews from multiple sites, features, customer feedback, and market ranking. These reporting tools list is only a small representation of available options in the market, but they are among the solutions used by leading businesses and companies. We excluded the solutions that already made our best BI tools list. It is also important to first understand what data you are looking for and what information is useful for your business—because what are reporting tools if not business tools that are as good as the mind using the software?
HubSpot is a sales and marketing software with powerful dashboard and reporting add-ons. You can create up to 300 custom dashboards for your team to track various metrics. Insert notes on the dashboards to give your team full context of the report. Custom reports can be built in seconds using its library of templates, or build your own from scratch. Choose from pie, bar, donut, and area charts to visualize your data.
Chartio is a cloud-based data analytics and reporting software. Users can quickly create dashboards based on company data to discover insights. The software connects with various data sources such as Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, and PostgreSQL. A visual SQL feature makes browsing data easy. Visualizations can be embedded into web pages, shared in Slack, emailed as PDF reports, or exported as images.
Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) is an open source software project that lets you create data visualizations and reports to embed into rich client and web apps. The downloadable software is brought to the public by the Eclipse Foundation, a not-for-profit consortium of software vendors. The tool has been downloaded more than 12 million times and is used in over 150 countries.
Mode is a collaborative data science platform with powerful reporting tools and dashboards that provide instant insights. Its reports are among its building blocks for data exploration and collaborative analysis. Features include calculated fields, drag-and-drop analysis, and custom visualizations. Run scheduled reports for your team and other stakeholders to provide relevant information before making decisions.
AgencyAnalytics is an online reporting software specific for marketing agencies. It has reporting tools for SEO, PPC, social marketing, email marketing, call tracking, and detailed review reports. It is an all-in-one platform that includes automated reports, custom dashboards, and white labeling features. It integrates with more than 50 platforms to build a complete dashboard, and also has essential SEO tools for rank tracking, site auditing, backlink monitoring, and competitor analysis.
Minitab is a downloaded statistical and data analysis software package with powerful reporting tools. Aside from the software, the company also offers services for an integrated approach. It has advanced analytics and graphical outputs such as scatterplots, bubble plots, boxplots, dotplots, histograms, and charts that update as data changes.
Datadog is a cloud monitoring software-as-a-service. The service can monitor infrastructure and servers as well as aggregate metrics and events all in one place. Users can build real-time interactive dashboards and customize views. They can also collaborate by discussing issues in context, get a snapshot of potential issues, and share to others important events and metrics.
Wrike is an enterprise work and project management software with reporting tools. Flexible for a variety of applications including company-wide reporting, it has automated and customizable status reports that allows you to share metrics on tasks and projects to keep everyone in the loop. With its built-in time tracker and timesheet, effort spent on work and projects are made visible.
SAP Crystal Reports
Crystal Reports is a BI reporting software that allows businesses of all sizes to create, design, and deliver formatted reports. Design wizards and parameters allow users of all skill levels to build reports without the need for coding. Features include sorting, formulas, ranking, conditional formatting, parameters, grouping, and search. Users can choose from different chart types, use SSO, track changes and usage, and access from mobile devices.
Google Data Studio
Google’s Data Studio is a dashboarding and data visualization tool for marketing. Users can centralize data from their Google Sheets, Analytics, Ads, and BigQuery to create interactive dashboards. Data can be transformed without coding to dashboards and reports that are easy to understand. These reports can then be shared to the rest of the team.