More and more data, more reports and more detail - but how much is actionable information?.

Good visualization and dashboarding is more than just learning to create charts in your chosen software/ Excel. To be effective it’s a process that starts from understanding what users really need, identifying the most relevant data and using the most appropriate visual techniques, structures and ‘stories’ to support understanding, insights and action.

This Certificate course will take participants through this process, giving them the skills to create effective visual reports and dashboards. The course will cover some new charts in Excel, but the principles and process of design can be applied to any software/ tools.

This Certificate course includes pre-course reading and preparation, two days face to face training and the option to submit a post course project assessment based on you designing a dashboard for an organization you work with/ know. The optional post course project not only embeds the course learning but also provides a rapid return on investment to both the participant and their organization and is often a catalyst to drive improved visual and dashboard reporting across the organization. As part of the course materials participants will receive an Excel workbook providing instructions on how to build the new charts explained in the course and illustrating some other necessary techniques such as sorting data in formulae (to avoid breaking models with column sort).

Successfully completing the project assessment will entitle participants to a Certificate from the Institute of Business Analytics (IBA) which has specialized in training accountants and other business professionals across North America, Europe and Asia in Analytics for over 10 years.

This is a highly participative and interactive course with multiple case studies and activities covering information for decision making, good versus bad visual design, effective versus weak/misleading visuals, plus a comprehensive team based case study creating a board level dashboard design.


  • 6 step process to effective visual reporting and dashboards
  • 5 key categories of actionable information
  • Impact of human memory on choice of techniques, report structure and dashboards
  • Metrics, KPIs, leading indicators and data transformation
  • Data in tables - when to use them, how to improve them and when to use visuals
  • Pareto, box-plot, trellis, heat maps, bullet charts and other techniques that should be in your design toolkit (and how to create them in Excel)
  • Pie charts, waterfall/ bridge charts and other common techniques their limitations and what you can consider instead
  • Color, minimalism, non-data ink and ‘pretty’ vs effective design
  • How much information to include (software and human processing considerations/ trade-offs)
  • Dashboard summary vs drill down/ exploration
  • Telling stories with data - ‘ad-hoc’ reports vs fixed format dashboards
  • ‘Beginning, Middle and End’ story structures for different scenarios
  • Dashboard types, when and why to break the ‘rules’
  • How to introduce these new ideas into your organization
  • Business Intelligence (BI), data flow and data sources for dashboards
  • Visualization and Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA)
  • Introduction to linear regression and predictive analytics
  • As part of the optional marked project: How to apply what you learnt in your own organization
  • Please also see the companion course by the same trainers; ‘Certificate in Business Analytics and Reporting (i3BAR)’ which teaches the internationally recognized best practice Excel development methodology. By learning and applying i3BAR many finance professionals have successfully reduced their reporting time from days and hours to minutes.


    Business professionals who want to understand why traditional reporting often fails to address user needs and who want to improve the clarity and communication of key messages in reports and dashboards.