The Rise of Excel-Based Reporting Tools for ERP

Excel and ERPAs more companies adopt enterprise resource planning systems (ERP) to help them run their businesses more efficiently, the number of Excel-based reporting tools made specifically for ERP has grown exponentially.  It makes sense – Excel spreadsheet are widely used by almost everyone that needs to view and manage data, and using Excel allows individuals within an organization to set-up and view their spreadsheet data in a way that makes the most sense for them and their operational function within the company.

The idea behind Excel reporting tools (like BizNet, Solver’s BI360 and F9) is to empower employees – both management and staff – by giving them access to up-to-the-minute information in a form that allows them to view and manipulate the data according to their individual needs.

Excel has been around for decades but with the maturation of cloud computing, which allows for access to secure data storage wherever there is an Internet connection, it’s now possible to leverage the power of your company’s ERP system with analytical reports that can be built and run online, providing increased capabilities for collaboration. In today’s global market, where companies may be conducting business around the world and around the clock, implementing Excel-based reporting tools for your cloud ERP system makes a lot of sense.

But the potential benefits of Excel-based BI reporting tools go beyond being the ability access and report on real-time data.  Accelerated and improved decision making, increased operational efficiencies, identifying new revenue sources – all these and more ensure you are leveraging your ERP system for maximum return on investment.

Accountnet routinely helps clients find the right Business Intelligence reporting tools for their company.  Whether you are already a Microsoft Dynamics GP or Microsoft Dynamics SL customer, or want to explore how these ERP systems can help you run and grow your small to mid-sized business, contact us for a free Needs Assessment now.


Leveraging ERP with the Best Reporting Tools

The widespread adoption of ERP systems has enabled companies of all sizes to store more data with greater accuracy than ever before, but sometimes that introduces new problems — like not having easy ways to report on all that data.  Inferior reporting tools will limit an ERP’s usefulness, and most companies still rely on the same sort of operational reporting they’ve used for decades; reports that typically provide only a transactional level of detail, for example: open purchase orders by customer.

Newer methods and tools look at trends over time, consolidating organized views from multiple data sources to provide a more analytical approach to reporting.  This is known as Business Intelligence – the information you need to make better decisions about how to run the business, not just reporting on transactions.  One example of a BI report might be determining your top ten vendors based on purchase order dollars over the last five months.  Meaningful BI reports should be available to your managers and workers in real-time. Data should be presented in an easy-to-use format with the original system of record as its source.  Your business users should be able to easily access reports without requiring any special IT skills or having to learn how to use complicated reporting software.

If you’re planning an ERP implementation for your business, it’s important to consider your business users’ reporting needs as an integral part of your overall system requirements.  Don’t rely solely on a product demo to determine if the ERP software and reporting solution will work. If your reporting falls short, user adoption may be low and your ERP rollout may ultimately fail. After all, it’s the reports that your users need – timely and accurate data delivered to them when and where they need it.

Accountnet can help you determine your business’s unique requirements and find the right ERP and BI reporting solution for you.  We are a Gold Certified Partner for Microsoft Dynamics, and can help you determine whether Microsoft Dynamics GP or Microsoft Dynamics SL, paired with powerful BI reporting tools, might benefit your operation or whether a cloud ERP solution, like Acumatica, is a better fit. Contact us to take advantage of a free needs assessment to get started.

Three Considerations When Selecting Financial Reporting Tools for MS Dynamics GP

BizNet Financial Reporting ToolsWhile many businesses using Microsoft Dynamics GP rely on the built-in report writer (or the Microsoft Dynamics Management Reporter product), there a number of third-party financial reporting tools available that let finance departments create customized templates that can be used to craft and deliver critical reports. Management needs data to understand the state of the company and make informed decisions to move the business forward.

There are several things to consider when searching for a report writer to work with Dynamics GP: what data source access options are available?  Is a web-based or mobile platform available?  How easy is will it be for your users to learn? A good reporting tool is essential for any business that wants to grow into a mature, competitive organization.  Understanding the different features and options will make it easier to choose one that’s right for your company.

Data access is a one important factor to consider. Does the reporting tool pull data from a data warehouse or proprietary source, or does it run reports live from Dynamics GP for real-time analysis?  A live integration mean that data doesn’t need to be replicated to a separate database (an additional expense), but depending on how many users are running queries performance might be affected. Management Reporter, Solver’s BI360 and BizNet all offer live integrations to Dynamics GP.

Consider Excel-based report writers.  Some software vendors argue that Excel is unsecure, and is generally too much trouble when it comes to linking and maintaining spreadsheets.  But many financial types have been using Excel since their very first job; Excel’s infrastructure and formulas are rooted deeply within the financial world. Excel-based report writers are also add-ons with enhancements that allow for greater collaboration, security and financial functions.  BI360 and BizNet both offer Excel add-ons that are easy for employees to learn.

Does your operation need a mobile solution? If your company does business around the globe (or even around the clock) you may want to select a product with web-based reporting modules.  Mobile reporting will continue to improve as Business Intelligence software manufacturers race to provide these products.  Web-based reporting is paving the way for mobile as more workers use smartphones to access office applications and providers that already have a web component are likely to be the leaders in the mobile revolution for accounting

If you need help selecting and implementing the right BI tools for your organization, contact us at AccountNet.  Call us at (212) 244-9009, or via our website, if you’d like a free phone consultation to discuss your business’s unique reporting needs