Cloud-Based Reporting and Mobile Reporting Apps

In our last blog post, we discussed options for reporting out of ERP systems focusing mostly on desktop solutions.  But as business becomes increasingly global, operational teams are less centralized and more distributed around the world. For companies with employees contributing remotely to data management and analysis processes, web-based reporting a powerful option.

Reporting Apps | AccountnetReporting tools like Solver’s BI360 allow users to craft financial reports in Excel — either running the reports in desktop Excel, on the web or even via mobile app.  While mobile and web options give you easier access to your data, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all web-based ERP reporting products are easy-to-use.  Ease of use should be one of your principal considerations when selecting cloud based reporting tools.  If your business end-users can’t easily learn to use and leverage the power of the software, it’s not a viable long-term solution.

As the use of mobile devices continues to overtake that of traditional desktops, it’s not surprising that companies are demanding access to business data on tablets and smartphones.  The ability to design and build reports via mobile isn’t there yet, but most reporting apps allow you to view reports and drill down abilities into your Dynamics GP data.  There are a couple of these third-party mobile apps already available (such as SalesPad Mobile GP and the free Microsoft Business Analyzer for Android devices) that come   pre-configured to provide business insights and a user experience that can be personalized to fit your company’s needs.

Before making an investment in financial reporting tools for your Microsoft Dynamics GP system, make sure to do a thorough evaluation of your company’s specific BI needs and goals.  Accountnet can help answer questions about BI360’s Excel, web and mobile apps for real-time or data warehouse integrated analysis. Contact us today for a free phone consultation.

Business Intelligence and Analytics Reporting for Microsoft Dynamics ERP

All organizations, no matter their size, need to understand what’s going on with their business data in order to get an accurate picture of how the company is performing. The reporting features you get from Microsoft Dynamics aren’t just for large enterprises – they are tools that allow employees of any size business to connect with each other and to the information they need to be the most effective at their jobs.

When you have good reporting tools, each user is empowered with the ability to gain a clearer picture of data that is relevant to their respective role, presented through insightful, easy-to-use dashboards and reports.  Business intelligence turns information into action through data gathering, analysis and monitoring, plus forecasting that can help identify opportunities, minimize risk, and improve management and operations. When you can see in real time what’s going on in the organization via Microsoft Dynamics, you’ll not only be able to recognize available opportunities, you’ll also be able to capitalize on them.

  • Determine how product inventory will meet short-term sales trends;
  • Help predict long-term trends to meet challenges and avoid problems;
  • Projecting profit quickly and easily so organizational adjustments can be planned; and
  • Determine when to add new products or services.

Even small businesses need flexible enterprise-wide planning, budgeting, and reporting that works smoothly with its financial systems, fits specific business or industry needs, and is easy for employees to use and share. There are a plethora of enterprise reporting products for Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics SL that provide powerful, reliable data collection and easy-to-use analysis and reporting functionality, as well as built-in consolidation, elimination, and multicurrency capabilities.

Accountnet works with clients to assist with the planning, integration, training and ongoing support for their Microsoft Dynamics ERP systems and can help you figure out which reporting tools are best for your unique situation.  Contact us today to get started.


Stand Alone Reporting Tools for ERP Systems

Scribe | Stand Alone Reporting Tools for ERPIf your company uses an enterprise resource planning (ERP) or general ledger system, you may already be aware of how these systems connect to and are fed by other data sources, sometimes via real-time integration with other systems or servers. That’s what makes ERP such a powerful tool for collecting and consolidating information.

But you may also be one of many ERP users that’s discovered that native reporting functions aren’t always sufficient to give you what you want and need, especially when it comes to real-time data.

That’s where stand-alone reporting tools for ERP systems come into play.  More and more report writing products are appearing on the market each day, including many that offer live integration with the general ledger.  These report writers provide the perfect complement for any ERP system, with intuitive interfaces and dynamic design and output that go above and beyond what native reporting functions offer.

Accountnet works with clients to help them sort through the options. And as demand for flexibility in terms of cloud and mobile accessibility for financial reporting increases, Microsoft is leading the way by making more of these stand-alone reporting tools available for use with their Dynamics ERP product line. For example, Scribe Software allows for live-time sharing of financial data while maintaining control and access to Microsoft Dynamics GP, giving you the ability to:

  • Synchronize data automatically to sales, service, and support systems.
  • Eliminate the need for reports, CSV file exports, and ad hoc requests from other areas of the business.
  • Enhance customer information with key financial data to help the business make better decisions when selling servicing its customers.

Account can help you evaluate what is most important to the success of your team: data integration methods; Excel, web-based and/or proprietary interfaces; the ease of use for business professionals, among other considerations; in order to help you select the right reporting tool for your particular ERP system. Get in touch when you’re ready to take a step toward better financial reporting.

Complying with Affordable Care Act (ACA) Reporting Requirements

kaiser-infographicIt’s been five years since the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and if your company hasn’t been thinking about how to report employee payroll and health benefits to meet ACA requirements, you’re going to be unpleasantly surprised.  For organizations with 100 or more full-time employees or equivalents, ACA-mandated reports that track employee data for 2015 will need to be filed with the IRS in January 2016. Companies with 50 to 99 full-time employees may get some relief from the mandated 2016 reporting deadline if they can meet certain criteria, but all employers with 50 or more full-time employees will have to report to the IRS starting in 2017.  ACA reporting to the IRS must be broken down by month detailing both employees’ access and contributions to employer-provided healthcare (hours and dollars).

If your company doesn’t produce the proper documentation, you are still going to pay a penalty. Neglecting to file the very basic forms in January 2016 will incur a penalty of $100 per form per employee, to a maximum of $1.5 million. But there are a broad range of penalties a company could face.  Click on this infographic from the Kaiser Family Foundation for an explanation of these new potential penalties for non-compliance under the Affordable Care Act.

Fortunately for our Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains) clients, the groundwork for the mandatory ACA reporting has already been laid. Microsoft implemented ACA tracking mechanisms in the 2014 Year-End Tax Update and will soon release another update that will allows users to report on the recorded data. With this next update, users will have the ability to review the new ACA forms in advance of their 2015 year-end close.

The format for the two new forms, 1094-C (Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns) and 1095-C (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, which is similar to a W2) in terms of what data is required to be reported has not yet been finalized by the government, but Microsoft continues to follow ACA news in order to provide updated code accordingly.

If you need help complying with the reporting requirements of the ACA, or are just looking for better ways to manage your payroll and HR data, contact us at Accountnet to learn more about how we can help.

Infor F9: Excel Based Reporting Tools for ERP Systems

Over the past two decades, we’ve seen Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems mature from their origins in manufacturing to become a serious business tool for all sizes and types of companies across a range of industries. Microsoft Dynamics GP is an example of ERP that grew from of a desire to reduce dependencies on Excel spreadsheets and break down information silos. So it’s ironic that now, after having accomplished what it set out to do, ERP end-users want nothing better than to pull that data back into Excel.

It’s not really that hard to understand. The usual reason to pull data out of the system into Excel is to perform further manipulations and analysis.  If the information that is needed can be presented via the existing ERP interface and exported into the format needed for end reports, then that’s an easy solution. But if data needs to be sliced and diced and further processed, then Excel is probably the way to go.

We’ve discussed a number of Excel-based reporting tools for Microsoft Dynamics in recent months and today we add a new product to the mix. Infor’s F9 is a powerful financial reporting and analysis tool that dynamically links general ledger data to Microsoft Excel and presents a real-time view of business information with just the push of a button. No exports or manual entries are required, eliminating labor-intensive reporting and giving you more time to analyze data and focus on strategic planning.

Infor F9 Reporting Tools | Accountnet

The beauty of Infor’s product is that everything you know about spreadsheets can be applied to the reports you create using F9. F9 provides an intuitive interface so staff can learn how to use it in just a matter of hours.

Accountnet has helped a number of customers convert from Microsoft FRx to F9. F9 can do the things people like best about FRxand more. Our clients have found that F9 helps with business analysis far beyond what FRx could ever address. And most importantly, F9 uses Excel as its reporting environment and dynamically links to the live General Ledger, integrating with any accounting or ERP solution that FRx supports.

Download the datasheet, or contact us if you would like to know more about F9 or any of the other Excel-based reporting tools for MS Dynamics ERP systems

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.

Business Reporting on the Go

Every day we hear from consulting firms that are seeking better access to their business’s operational and financial information. “Better enablement with visibility” is the number one need identified by our clients when it comes to how they get and use their business data. Visibility means getting the right information into the hands of the right people at the right time. The right people are those who know what to do next. The right time is wherever and whenever they need it. That’s the process of enablement.

accnetIn today’s world, it’s all about flexibility and mobility when it comes to managing and analyzing your company data.  We’ve all been in transit – at a conference, working remotely from a hotel room, or just running around meeting with clients – and many of us need to check on our company’s financials with real-time analysis.  Relying on traditional on-premises systems requires that you be physically in the office or use clunky remote software like Citrix. While that worked well enough in the past, it’s not a true solution for modern global organizations.

Accountnet has been assisting our customers implement and deploy Business Intelligence (BI) solutions that enable them to access reports on the go.  We understand the demand for mobility and offer best-of-breed BI tools that can be used with Microsoft Dynamics for reporting, budgeting, dashboards, and data warehousing.  The best BI products combine Excel familiarity with web and mobile capabilities, ensuring the seamless back-and-forth flexibility you need on the road. We also train our clients to use the software themselves to create their own custom reports, empowering both technical and nontechnical people to analyze the information they need wherever they are, in whatever application they choose to use.

Ask us about Management Reporter and BizNet for Microsoft Dynamics.  We can give your managers and employees a way to review reports whenever needed, and share or broadcast them to others. Get more out of your financial reporting today. Receive our first-come, first-served Accounting Technical Review (ATR) for a limited time.

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

Acumatica Cloud ERP and Reporting

As smaller businesses come to embrace Enterprise Resource Planning software (either as an on-premises installation or by leveraging the growing number of cloud ERP providers), we see that systems are often badly implemented.  Perhaps it’s because the vendor miscalculated the implementation costs, or poor planning ran up the budget, causing the customer to scale back on functionality and sacrifice the more powerful features. Or maybe the customer hadn’t taken steps to ensure adoption of the new system.

Regardless of the reasons, one area that is often overlooked during the planning and scoping of an ERP implementation are the reporting needs.  Reporting is a clear point of frustration for smaller companies, many of whom may have becoming used to the flexibility of reporting in QuickBooks.  The majority of small business users will have no internal resources to work with products like Crystal Reports.  So it’s important when considering any ERP software solution to take a look at the reporting tools that are available for the platform.acumatica

One ERP system with a very good set of reporting features is Acumatica.  Acumatica offers cloud-based ERP applications for small and midsized businesses including financial management, distribution, CRM, and project accounting suites.  Acumatica also includes a set of general purpose reporting tools that and tailored to meet the information needs of all roles and people in your organization and can be used to deliver customized views of business data to every department in your organization.

Acumatica’s reporting dashboards present summarized views of key information using tables, pie charts, and other graphics. Clicking on a web-based dashboard element enables users to drill-down to successively higher levels of detail. Each user can design their own dashboard with little or no training to deliver real-time information, customized for their particular needs, and each can create their own “home” dashboard as well dashboards for different modules.

Acumatica provides a desktop application and web based tools for developing new reports.  The desktop application allows you to create new reports or customize any predefined report using a visual report designer. The web based reporting engine allows you to create reports which are tightly integrated with your general ledger account and sub account structures across multiple ledgers. The report writer allows you to specify row sets, column sets, and unit sets to create complex reports with a hierarchical drill down structure.

Interested in learning more? Contact us at Accountnet for a free phone consultation.