Hanna Kim
Excel- and Web-based Reporting for Microsoft Dynamics GP

This article will discuss your financial reporting options for your Dynamics GP.

reportingdynamicsgpYour organization needs a powerful and dynamic financial reporting tool to help you stay competitive in your industry by managing and analyzing your data without any disruptions. Navigating through Business Intelligence (BI) is much like maneuvering through the streets of a foreign country without a map or any directions. In this article, I will explore Excel-based and web-based financial reporting options, so you are able to select the best reporting tool to navigate your organization in managing and analyzing your data using Microsoft Dynamics GP. Continue reading

Nils Rasmussen
Top Reasons Why Most Companies Are Far From Business Intelligence Nirvana


What happened to the vision of the easy, self-service, one-stop shop business intelligence (BI) capabilities that countless companies across the world have been seeking? After years of investing in new ERP systems, including cloud-based solutions, home-grown data warehouses and even sexy, new dashboard tools, the vast majority of companies are far from BI Nirvana.

The sad truth is that most organizations I talk to have 5 to 7 different reporting tools between their ERP solution, CRM, Payroll, Web site data and other systems. It does not make it better that more than 90% of them do all- or a majority of their budgeting and forecasting processes in manual Excel sheets. Oh, and then the sales team or certain other departments have sometimes implemented an analytics tool to provide them with dashboards and easy ad-hoc analysis. This will often fix short term pain, but it will not take you to BI Nirvana. In some organizations, the IT department has spent a year or more to build a so-called “enterprise data warehouse”, often with only some of their data sources included, such as General Ledger data and Sales data, and most of the time with IT-dependent report writers, OLAP cubes or pivot tables as the only means of reporting on the data.

companiesfarfrombinirvanaSo, what is the status of companies’ BI capabilities as of today? The bad news is that it is far from the BI Nirvana that managers have been dreaming about for years now after watching slick demos from one BI software vendor after another. But, the good news is that things are getting better. You only need to step back and compare your BI capabilities today with what they may have been in 2005, 1995 or, if you were even around in….1985. Chances are that your information workers now have more and better reporting tools available to them. Of course, today you have more data sources than ever, and market dynamics change faster than at any time in history. So, somewhere along the way, business users took matters into their own hands and the result was that…..Excel became the world’s most popular report writer and budgeting solution. But, although Excel is quite user friendly, extremely flexible and familiar to almost every business user on the planet, it was never meant to be an enterprise-wide BI tool. So, how do one get to this utopian place called BI Nirvana? You might need “a little help from my friends” as Joe Cocker sang in his popular rendition of the original Beatles song. In other words, do your homework, talk to your friends both inside and outside your company and educate yourself. Although every organization should stake out their own BI journey based on their needs, available data sources, internal talent, platform strategies (i.e. database type, cloud versus on premise, etc.) and more, a few things seem to fall into a common formula for BI success:

1) Strive for a single BI solution that covers all or most of these: Reporting (financial and operational), budgeting and forecasting, dashboards/analysis and data warehousing. If some key functionality is not covered by the BI suite you select, then make sure it integrates directly with a powerful 3rd party add-on for whatever functionality is missing in the suite. The last thing you need are more reporting tools in your company….so make sure the BI suite eliminates or reduces the need for your other tools.

2) Don’t ignore the power, flexibility and familiarity of Excel. But it should not be a manual Excel model, it should be an Excel add-in that allows you to build reports and input forms that dynamically retrieves and even saves data to a database. Oh, and it should be web-enabled or be able to convert the Excel templates to dynamic, browser-based templates for easy end-user access.

3) Repeat after me: “I promise not to implement more proprietary BI tools with unfamiliar user interfaces and that also may require all my end users to install client software or use Terminal Server or Citrix to access a remote desktop”. Using cloud, hosted or on premise architecture is not the most critical question. What you need to empower your growing number of end users that are seeking BI Nirvana is a single, self-service, web-based BI portal where each user can run reports and drill down to answer their questions without bothering IT or the accounting department, they can enter their budgets and they can discover trends and answer Who? Where? What? questions in interactive dashboards.

4) Finally, and this is a no-brainer….your BI capabilities are only as good as the data available in your BI suite. So, if you don’t have a well-functioning data warehouse yet to give you that sought-after, single version of the truth, start planning for one. You are going to need it if you want to get to BI Nirvana. It is an exciting road ahead for organizations seeking a competitive edge through BI excellence, even if you meet a few bumps along the way. Vendors like Solver with its BI360 solution as well as several other software providers with modern BI suites are continuously investing to help companies’ BI visions come true. Good luck on your journey!

Hanna Kim
Reporting for Manufacturing Companies with Sage 100

This article will explore financial reporting features and functionalities in today’s solutions for manufacturing organizations looking to expand their Sage 100 experience.

manufacturingforsage100reporting

In today’s business world, Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics are becoming the modern way of turning valuable company data into rich decision-making for a company’s future. Navigating through BI is much like maneuvering through the wilderness without a map or a compass. It can get overwhelming, but I’m here to help. This article will focus on what users should know about in modern reporting solutions to improve your Sage 100 experience, specifically zooming in on manufacturing data management and analysis.

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Hanna Kim
Budget Consolidation in Multi-Entity Organizations (Budgeting Series)

This article focuses on consolidating finances from multi-entity companies.

Photo taken from Shutterstock.

Photo taken from Shutterstock.

Nobody likes growing pains, but every company wants to grow. Growing pains are symptoms that an organization needs to make a transition. It is the nature of business. There is a way to alleviate these pains through automated consolidation of your company’s budget. Budget consolidation, just like financial consolidations, is growing in significance because of reasons such as globalization and the popularity of acquisitions and mergers. Nowadays, it is not uncommon for a mid-sized organization to own many legal entities in different locations. Although a business’ budget consolidation requirements may not be that complicated, creating a set of consolidated accounts can be time consuming and prone to many errors if done in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. There are many financial consolidation tools and solutions that can also automate the consolidation of your budgets and they can replace or improve existing processes and systems. This article is the second installment of our series on budgeting: Budget Consolidation in Multi-Entity Organizations.

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Hanna Kim
Best Report Writers for Microsoft Dynamics Users Using Management Reporter

This article will focus on Management Reporter (MR) and the options for investing in a new reporting tool.

Management Reporter

Management Reporter (MR) is an interactive reporting application that was designed for business professionals that can use the application to create, share, maintain, and view their financial statements. Microsoft offers MR for their ERP customers as a native General Ledger (GL) report writer in Dynamics AX, GP, and SL, almost aided by the more technical reporting tool, SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) to solve ERP reporting problems. If you attended Microsoft’s Amplify conference in May this year, you probably have heard that MR will no longer have any major releases, but rather go into maintenance mode with only minor updates. In other words, the product is clearly heading for the sunset. Many companies who have used MR and its predecessor, FRx, are already looking for an alternative. This blog article will zoom in on the concerns regarding the impact of this change and the solutions to these concerns.

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Hanna Kim
Not-for-Profit Financial Reporting and Roll-ups with Dynamics GP

This article focuses on financial reporting and roll-up solutions for not-for-profit organizations utilizing Microsoft Dynamics GP.

NFP Fin Cons GP

Financial reporting and consolidations can mean different things to different people. Many larger Microsoft Dynamics GP not-for-profit customers are managing the finances of a parent organization with multiple locations rolling up to it. First things first, let’s define financial roll-ups or ‘consolidations’ as it is typically called in the corporate world. It can simply mean that an organization is combining data from multiple locations either as part of the planning process or for reporting purposes. It can also mean a lot more than just combining data. Financial consolidation is the process of aggregating transactional data from several departments and from multiple business entities within a company for the parent company. In these cases, simply combining data can be complex for multiple reasons. For instance, legal entities can have different charts of accounts or fiscal years. They may also be partially owned. This article will explore the elements and functionalities of financial consolidation for your non-profit organization using Microsoft Dynamics GP.

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Hanna Kim
How Do You Know If You Need a New BI/Analytics System?

This article will help organizations identify signs that they need a new Business Intelligence system.

Trend in Business Intelligence for H2 2015

Today, plenty of large organizations, as well as small and medium-sized companies, are stuck using old or manual Business Intelligence (BI) tools that are in desperate need of a replacement. BI translates to technology-driven processes for analyzing data and presenting information that will help companies improve the decision making processes at all levels of management. Well, how do you know if you need a new BI/Analytics system? You should begin by constructing the right set of questions. What tool(s) does your organization have to have right now? What are your BI goals, and what is your schedule for building the BI toolbox to meet analytical goals? Also, outdated BI systems show several warning signs such as wasting time, harming decision-making, and keeping organizations from taking advantage of their data.

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Matthew Felzke
Data Warehouse and OLAP Cube-based Reporting for Microsoft Dynamics

How you access your data can determine the speed and efficacy you can achieve in your financial reporting processes.  This article will discuss data warehouse and OLAP cube based reporting.

Data is driving decision-making at all levels because data continues to grow in size and significance.  Logging, storing, and evaluating data has become a big part of the business culture today.  In order to produce rich, helpful financial reports for an analysis of a company’s opportunities and challenges, you will have to routinely store, access, and manage your data.  Because of this reality, you might feel overwhelmed your technology options for storing your data.  You have a few options, but they vary in functionality, and one might be better for your company than another, depending on what analysis goals you are trying to achieve.  This article will explore data warehouse and OLAP cube based reporting.

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Matthew Felzke
Useful Business Intelligence Add-on Products for Dynamics GP

Ever wondered why third party products are necessary with all the features and functions in Microsoft Dynamics GP for data analysis and management?  This article will explore the concept of best-in-breed software for corporate performance management.

Recently, I saw a user on LinkedIn pose a question, asking fellow Microsoft Dynamics GP users if they had some documentation regarding why the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system needs Independent Software Vendor (ISV) products.  It was an interesting discussion, perhaps a challenge to ISVs, and a legitimate question for Microsoft fans.  Several people chimed in, and a couple recurring comments seemed to organically surface.

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Matthew Felzke
Financial Consolidations for Microsoft Dynamics and Other ERPs

A financial consolidations tool is essential for any parent company that manages subsidiaries and wants unified reports to analyze overall company health.  This article will explore the key features and functions of today’s financial consolidation software.

There are plenty of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system users that are managing multiple companies or subsidiaries under a parent company.  Making sense of data from different entities, divisions, and sometimes, with different currencies can be a logistical nightmare without a professional financial consolidation and reporting tool.  As data becomes a bigger and bigger part of corporate decision-making, CEOs and CFOs of corporations that own multiple companies are looking for a Business Intelligence (BI) solution that includes a robust and business user friendly consolidation module.  For professionals in this boat, it can be frustrating, but specifically for the typical ERP users, there are not too many choices that combine power and ease of use.

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