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Create a Waterfall Variance Chart

Explains how to create a set of variance waterfall charts in the Discovery new user interface by breaking down data by time, sub-accounts, and location.

Watch: Creating a Waterfall Chart (3m:49s)

Use a waterfall chart that shows where you started, where you ended, and how you got there. You can set up a waterfall chart by specifying a start value (reference value) and an end value (comparison value) and the waterfall steps. You can breakdown waterfall steps by time, dimension, or metric. 

Suppose that revenue for a quarter was not as high as expected. You want to use a series of waterfall charts to show root causes for the lackluster performance. For this analysis, you want to focus on total revenue.  You will use waterfall charts to break down revenue by:

Time: Months in a Quarter

Example Revenue Waterfall Chart with Q1 Step

Metric: Revenue Sub-accounts

Waterfall Chart with Steps Broken Down By Revenue Sub-accounts

Dimension: Location

Waterfall Chart Broken Down by Location Dimension

This walkthrough will explain how to create a series of waterfall charts for the quarterly business review. This walkthrough uses:

  • Working Budget as the reference version
  • Actuals as the comparison version
  • Revenue account
  • Location dimension

See Waterfall Chart Settings for setting options and descriptions.

Create a Waterfall By Time

The first waterfall chart will provide a summary of the revenue for Q1 with waterfall steps broken down by time. 

  1. Create a dashboard for your presentation and go into edit mode.
  2. From the left pane:
    1. Click Chart tab Charts tab. Drag and drop Waterfall Chart Icon to the design area to create the waterfall chart.
    2. Click Account Tab Accounts tab. Drag and drop the Revenue account to the chart. For example, this revenue account is a rollup general ledger account for product, services, maintenance, and other sub-accounts.
  3. From the Time Settings Tab Time Settings tab:

Time Setting Tab

  1. Click Pinned Iconto unpin time to set time relative to perspective time. An unpinned icon is gray.
  2. Choose Quarter as the stratum – the time period.
  3. Choose Backwards and 1 quarter to view data one quarter prior to the current period.
  1. From the Appearance Tab Appearance Settings tab, General section: 

General Appearance Settings

  1. Rename the chart to: Revenue Variance for Quarter
  2. (Optional) Change the Open & Close, Positive and Negative Variance colors to match your corporate branding.
  3. Keep the remaining appearance settings.
  1. Expand the Reference Value section and review the settings. The default settings will use the default version, Working Budget, and look at the current period based on the time settings on this chart. No change is required.

Reference Value Settings for a Waterfall

  1. Expand the Comparison Value section:

Waterfall Comparison Values

  1. Choose Actuals as the version. You will compare actuals to your working budget.
  2. No other changes are required.
  1. From the Disc-DataSettings.png Data tab:

Breakdown Settings

  1. Change the Breakdown from Metric to Time and and choose Month as the Period Breakdown. The waterfall steps will show revenue changes each month in the quarter.
  2. Keep the remaining data settings. 

Create a Waterfall by Metric

This waterfall chart shows yearly revenue with sub-accounts as the waterfall steps. You will break down data by metric, in this case sub-accounts of the revenue data series. The Revenue account in this example has these sub-accounts:

  • Product Revenue
  • Services Revenue
  • Maintenance Revenue
  • Interncompany Revenue

Example of Sub-accounts for Waterfall Steps

  1. Create a duplicate of the first chart: Revenue Variance For Quarter. Hover your mouse over the chart, click moreIcon.pngand choose Duplicate
  2. From the Appearance Tab Appearance Settings tab: 
    1. Rename the copied chart to: Yearly Revenue by Product Line
    2. Keep the remaining appearance settings.
  3. From the Data Settings Tab Data Settings tab, change the breakdown to Metrics.
  4. From the Time Settings Tab Time Settings tab:
    1. Change the Stratum to Year. No additional changes are required. The time is unpinned looking backward 1 year:

Time Settings for an Unpinned Looking Backward One Year

Create a Waterfall by Dimension

This waterfall chart will breakdown down revenue by location.

  1. Duplicate the first chart: Revenue Variance For Quarter
  2. From the Appearance Settings Tab Appearance Settings tab: 
    1. Rename the copied chart to: Product Revenue For Quarter By Location
    2. Keep the remaining appearance settings.
  3. From the Data Settings Tab Data Settings tab:

Waterfall Breakdown by Location Dimension

  1. Change the breakdown to Dimension.
  2. Choose Location as the dimension value.

No changes to the time setting are required. This completes this walkthrough.

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