My Epiphany About Using Tableau for Financial Reporting, Part 1


My Epiphany About Using Tableau for Financial Reporting, Part 1

Last month, I graduated from an MBA at Strathclyde Business School. The experience was deep, vast and mind-opening. I learned an epic amount about the business landscape, including almost anything you can think of from marketing to finance—and yes, data, too!

However, like the rest of my class (made up of professionals doing the course part-time while making the next move in their careers), I spent way too much time producing pretty average charts … not to mention the frustrated hours I wasted in wanting to throw my laptop out of the window because of Excel. I think we all believed there was no alternative and couldn’t even imagine that there would be (except for some engineering types who swapped the pains of Excel for those of Matlab).

But we were wrong!

An Introduction to Tableau

Since recently starting a new job at InterWorks, I have been falling deeper and deeper in love with Tableau. Maybe you, like me, had never heard of it, or perhaps you’re luckier than me and have been familiar with it for some time. It is so intuitive, interactive and well-designed. Not only does it effortlessly produce beautiful charts that would have doubtless added marks to my assignments, but it also would have blown away my colleagues, professors and project clients during countless presentations.

So, in light of my new revelation in data visualisation, I thought I would go back and rework one of my university projects to see the impact Tableau would have had. You be the judge.

Data Makeover with Tableau

Above: The original data from the project that compares efficiency ratios 

With this data, this is the best chart we could come up with at the time using Excel:

However, here is what I came up with in Tableau:

This is called a waterfall chart, and my fellow InterWorker Nelson has written a blog that takes a closer look at this chart form. I have adapted it to represent how parts can add and subtract to make a final number. Check back soon for the next part of this blog for the step-by-step process of how to do this!

Don’t take my word for it, Tableau is offering free student licences, check it out here.

More About the Author

Rowan Bradnum

Analytics Consultant
Increasing Tableau Server User Adoption: Five Ways to Earn Quick Wins So, your organisation has Tableau, but rather than the calm pastures of structure, knowledge, teamwork and clear processes, it feels a ...
Increasing Tableau Server User Adoption: Improve Data Quality & Content Lack of data quality and lack of quality content can be major barriers to user adoption in an organisation. In this blog, we will ...

See more from this author →

Subscribe to our newsletter

  • I understand that InterWorks will use the data provided for the purpose of communication and the administration my request. InterWorks will never disclose or sell any personal data except where required to do so by law. Finally, I understand that future communications related topics and events may be sent from InterWorks, but I can opt-out at any time.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

InterWorks uses cookies to allow us to better understand how the site is used. By continuing to use this site, you consent to this policy. Review Policy OK


Interworks GmbH
Ratinger Straße 9
40213 Düsseldorf
Geschäftsführer: Mel Stephenson

Telefon: +49 (0)211 5408 5301

Amtsgericht Düsseldorf HRB 79752
UstldNr: DE 313 353 072