When a developer is asked to create a business report it always involves a meeting of two disciplines.
The developer has the technical knowledge of pulling raw data, manipulating it and presenting interpreted data as information to be consumed by an end user. They may also know the location and source of the data to be used and how regularly this source is refreshed or updated with new data.
The Requester of the report will usually be the person with business domain knowledge. They understand the business rules which need to be applied to the data to transform it into information.
An obvious example for this is the relationship between a SQL developer working in an accounting environment. The developer is not an account and the account is not a developer but the two need to be able to collaborate and communicate to ensure that a report eventually outputs the correct information at the require period reliably.
Failure in achieving this goal can have disastrous consequences. For example projecting further revenue based on faulty data.
A good start for creating a foundation for effective communication and collaboration is for the developer and requester to step through a requirements template. This gives the report a structure and focus while also serving as a means of documenting the creation of the report from a business perspective and a future resource from a development perspective, i.e. the requirement of a future developer new to the report updating and modifying the report.
Attached is an example Template.
The Requirements sheet deals with questions like:
Who is the requester?
Why is the report needed?
What information will the report return?
This sheet will primarily be filled in by the requester.
The Report Fields sheet tries to plug the gap in knowledge between the requester and the developer by exploring what is the information required and what fields, calculations correspond to this information. The developer and requester may need to step through this sheet together to ensure their intended outcomes align.