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.

Report writers collect and present data so that it can be analyzed. According to LogiAnalytics, reporting is defined as “the art of collecting data from various data sources and presenting it to end-users in a way that is understandable and ready to be analyzed. In the second sense, reporting means presenting data and information…as well as [acting] on it.” With Dynamics GP as your ERP system and an efficient reporting tool attached to it, your company can collect, interpret, manage, and store data. Reporting makes data more understandable and ready for accurate, easy and efficient analysis.

I asked a BI consultant, Amir Abbasi, about a common reporting problem he faces when talking to his clients. He mentions that their legacy reports are extremely slow and poorly designed. He continues by saying, “the real problem isn’t the reporting usually. That’s just a matter of training them to build better reports. For example, we teach our clients effective techniques during trainings. The issue is that they have really bad data.” Bad data is so much more than missing values and ugly file formats. It is data that eats up your time and energy, data that you can’t access and causes you to stay past midnight at the office. Here’s a tip for your business: check your data.

Here are signs of a bad data structure: the person who built it probably left, multiple people are working on a lot of manual processes, and people don’t get proper training. Normalize and clean your data because bad data causes your organization to have poor data structure. When you have a poor data structure, your organization will most likely design poor reports as your organization has to compensation for a flawed structure. When it comes to accessing your organizational data, it will be crucial for you to explore options such as Excel, Web and/or Cloud platforms.

If you are an Excel user, you can imagine report writing as a way to automate reports based on end user selection. Users no longer need to rely on Excel to view and process data, but they can create a report that is powerful enough to report whatever they need without doing additional work. Excel-based reporting tools are simply an add-in technology that enhances Microsoft Excel spreadsheet function with features that focus on accounting logic, database integration and secure collaboration. There are financial reporting tools that are Excel add-ins, providing Excel users a jump start on learning the reporting module, and there are no manual Excel reporting issues, like broken links or lack of security, involved. There are also other platforms such as browser-based reporting tools and Cloud computing. These platforms are gaining more popularity as they are the present and future of BI.

Not only do some argue that Excel is not secure, they also argue that Excel is inconvenient when it comes to linking spreadsheets and collaborating on financial statements as well as both organizational and departmental budgeting. You can also combine several solutions and platforms. For instance, you can invest in reporting solutions that are proprietary or cloud-based, and also have a budgeting solution that can access and manage from Excel and the web. I advise you to do your own further research to find what will help your organization achieve specific business goals. I also strongly suggest you to seek guidance from an integration consultant.

Web-based reporting offers many benefits. For example, web-based reporting tools have lower IT maintenance, provides on-demand reporting from anywhere,  and better transparency. Web-based reporting has proven to be revolutionary when managing data due to the accessibility from connecting to the Internet from anywhere. This is why you do not have to install the software on your computer. As a creative person, I find it exciting that users can customize the look and feel of their reports in certain Excel-based reporting tools by adding graphics and improving their user experience, yet benefit from the accessibility of the web by publishing the reports to a web portal. You can also add your company logo in the reports, so there is a sense of unity to your financial reports. Although Internet-based platforms are convenient and accessible, make sure they are easy-to-use and have integrations to Excel.

Cloud products are also convenient and accessible as well as becoming more prevalent in the marketplace. Cloud-based solutions are hosted on the web by the software vendor or a third party, usually require a BI data store, and are typically not powered by Microsoft Excel. Organizations can create and run reports online, inviting necessary collaboration into the process because of technology today. Cloud-based reporting tools almost always grab data from Data Warehouses (DWs) or Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) cubes.  Therefore, real-time reports are not an option, but if your company is looking for a reporting tool with familiar formulas, features and functionalities as well as a browser-based interface, there are some self-service hybrid tools that are both web-based and Excel-powered.

Ultimately, you should familiarize yourself with what features and functions would help improve your organization when looking for the best financial report writer for your specific needs. Some key points to look for when looking for a reporting tool are accessibility, security, and version control. Solver, Inc. is happy to answer questions and generally review BI360’s easy-to-use Excel, web, and mobile platforms for real-time or data warehouse integrated analysis and collaboration, with the option of email distribution of reports, as the best report writer for Microsoft Dynamics GP.

 

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