In order to remain competitive in the modern business world, your company needs a powerful financial reporting tool to help inform your decision makers in dealing with the economy and the marketplace, while developing your brand by depending on data. This article will take on the task of focusing on the best financial report writers of today by zooming in on the best feature and functionality offerings, so you can invest in the right reporting solution to get impactful and accessible reports with data from Intacct and other sources.
Third party software manufacturers have created software that can query financial data from Intacct and/or other data sources, either through a live integration from Intacct or depending on a Business Intelligence (BI) data store. Like most enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, Intacct is equipped with its own reporting functionality, but more corporations than ever are implementing independent software vendor (ISV) reporting software due to their modern, dynamic, and easy-to-use report design. You can design reusable templates for financial reporting with the premier ISV tools, which empowers your team to manage and analyze your data in order to better inform your decision-makers. After speaking with several accountants, I’ve noticed that a lot of organization try to stick with the Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) stack or software that is “free” when they’ve outgrown the built-in report writer. But financial reporting is too important to depend on basic products just because that is a trend. You need to consider what is essential to the success of your team: data integration types; platform options; and how business user friendly the product is for professionals at all levels, in addition to other aspects.
Let’s begin with data integration types, which is a fundamental element to financial reporting. You’ll want to evaluate which method will effectively meet your team’s goals, whether querying data directly from Intacct, or depending on a higher performance integration, pulling data from a BI data store, like a data warehouse or an online analytical processing (OLAP) cube. Integrating live from Intacct means that you can achieve real-time data analytics without ensuring that your company data has been replicated to the data warehouse or OLAP cube for an up-to-date financial report.
Whether you go with a cube, a mart, or a warehouse, data stores are an additional investment. If your company has several Intacct users who, at times, are simultaneously running substantial data queries, it slow your Intacct server down, which is where a BI data store can help, housing multiple types of data in one space.
While the native report writer in Intacct provides real-time reporting on the accounting data, some tools, like Solver’s BI360 software, offers a pre-built integration to harness the BI360 Data Warehouse for any and all of your reporting, budgeting and dashboards. Most reporting software is typically only available for either live reporting or BI data store-based reporting, but not both. Beyond determining which integration method you’d benefit the most from, you should also weigh platform options to help you make a software decision.
In terms of your software platform options, times have changed. While most finance teams have been relying on Excel for decades, web is the present and future – just look at Intacct. It’s important to consider if you would prefer Excel familiarity, the flexibility and accessibility of the web – OR need to have both. BI360 uniquely provides financial reporting on the Web that is powered by Excel formatting, bringing familiarity to the flexibility of on-the-go of browser-based analytics. Another option is a solution that is proprietary in nature, which means your team will be learning non-Excel features, functions, and formulas, but it could be worth it if it is a dynamic Cloud-based tool, and your goal is to stage your ERP system and your BI solution in the Cloud.
Cloud technology, or software that is hosted on the Web by a vendor, enables you to securely access your information anywhere you can connect to the internet. You are still able to run reports on the Web, and some tools allow you to drill down into your data and collaborate effectively. Generally, pure Cloud ISV report writers tend to only be browser-based and only query their own BI data stores, so reporting live off an ERP database is not an option, which isn’t always the case with hybrid software, which can be both Excel-powered and Web-based.
In the business culture of today, more and more teams are expected to collaborate from multiple locations. Web reporting answers the need to flexibly access decision-driving data. Both Host Analytics and Adaptive Insights are pure Cloud solutions, but there are some hybrid Web-based tools, like BI360, that are Excel-powered AND Web-based. This means that you can design and generate financial reports with Intacct information inside of Excel, in a Web portal, and/or with a mobile application on your tablet or smart phone. You can also decide whether you want BI360 deployed on-premises or in the Cloud. You might think that all web platforms are advantageous because their flexibility in access, but make sure that the product is still easy-to-use for your business end users to build financial statements, especially when it comes to your on-the-go professionals. If you try to implement a technically complex software, you’re not going to get the return on your investment, in addition to possibly reverting back to manual Excel spreadsheets – and overall, not meeting your particular BI analytics goals.
Web and mobile accessibility in terms of financial reporting is going to become more prevalent, and Intacct serves as a great Exhibit A for the success of a web-based ERP offering. Remote team members and road warriors will benefit from access to company information that can help them in contributing to decision-making. There is a long list of things to consider when seeking the right financial reporting tool for your team, but the main aspects entail your data integration types, platform options, and particularly, the accessibility and ease of use that you have enjoyed with Intacct. Solver, Inc. is happy to answer questions and generally review BI360’s easy-to-use Excel, web, and mobile platforms for self-service, integrated analysis and collaboration, with the option of email distribution of reports, as the best report writer for Intacct.