Cloud Financial Reporting for Acumatica

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This article will focus on financial reporting software options for Acumatica users.

reportingFinancial reporting is arguably the meat and potatoes of corporate performance management (CPM) as your company goes about the work of summarizing the financial well-being of your organization. In the modern business world, there is no way we can avoid financial reporting. It is mandatory, whether we like it or not, so why not automate the reporting process and streamline the report content? As we make sense of all the data that we can collect from our cloud and on-premise technology, reporting is only becoming more important.​ In this article, we will discuss the second generation of cloud reporting tools and how that will benefit your organization in managing and analyzing data from your Acumatica ERP system.

Cloud reporting has reinvented itself, and although financial reporting in the cloud has been quite limited in the past, we are seeing an immense change in the world of cloud. Today, investing in a modern report writer typically means accessibility in collaborating with offices and teams from multiple locations, automated financial statements, modern security, and self-service analytics. Industry leading enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, like Acumatica, always offer a built-in financial report writer, but it is often limited and not the most celebrated part of an ERP system. There are three things that businesses are typically missing in their reporting software: Microsoft Excel formatting, rich Excel formulas and business rules, and the familiarity of Excel, hence there is a learning curve as well as limitations in the report design itself. Also, what seems like a headache is that these report writers are web based and Cloud based, but they are rarely familiar and super user friendly. A web interface can be viewed as successful due to its flexible access, but it is essential that it is user friendly for the user and the user’s team to create financial reports, specifically because the mobility means you very well could be on the go. Keep in mind that if you invest in a software that is not easy to use or not flexible enough to handle all your financial statements from end to end, it will most likely mean that part of your reporting processes will end up back in manual Excel spreadsheets. This becomes a waste of your time and money as well as not hitting your specific organizational goals, but these limitations are no longer considered limitations with a new breed of cloud financial reporting vendors. These report writers offer the best of both worlds.
Cloud corporate performance management (CPM) vendors are much newer to the financial reporting arena than their on-premise counterparts, and they have invested large sums of money and expertise to make financial reporting better for cloud reporting systems. Now, while the initial cloud reporting solutions where browser only, there is already a second generation of Cloud reporting technologies on the market and it is special because they have made it able for Excel add-ins to connect to the cloud. Another benefit of this new wave of cloud CPM vendors is that they are built with flexible databases also known as a cloud data warehouse (DW). Companies can store all data in their DW to eliminate the need of a unique report writer for each data source.
As for Cloud-based Acumatica deployments, solutions like BI360 and Adaptive Insights offer pre-built integrations to load data from the Acumatica cloud and into their specialized analytics clouds, which is where you can produce reports, budgets, and dashboards. Not many products offer live integrations, but a solution like BI360 also can be used for live reporting with on-premise installations of Acumatica as well as with  a cloud-based Acumatica installation, making it easier for customers that migrate from on premise to cloud (or the other way!) as well as for partners that only need to learn one reporting tool to help all their Acumatica clients with reporting. Clearly, Cloud technology has taken its time in terms of becoming trusted and widely adopted in the world of business. Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS), two of the biggest cloud service platforms, are offering data management, web applications, virtual machines, and more, so that your company can work hard from anywhere with an internet connection, all while being managed by the cloud vendor.
The modern business world has their employees work together from different locations around the globe. Web reporting is the answer to the need for flexibility and decision-driving data. While vendors like Adaptive Insights and Host Analytics are only available as Cloud platforms, there are also hybrid solutions like BI360, that is Excel-powered and Web-based, which means that users can create and run financial statements with data from their Acumatica ERP system right within Excel, share them with end users in a web portal, and your company can choose whether to deploy BI360 on-premise, in the cloud, or both (“hybrid”).
CPM vendors with report design in a Web interface usually have acceptable traditional reporting but not as good as an Excel add-in. Without an Excel add-in, you’re not able to create highly customizable, highly formatted financial reports such as profit and loss (P&L), cash flow, and balance sheets to name a few. Cloud- and web-based tools are definitely the present and the future of BI, and third party reporting tools add flexibility for Acumatica. Finally, a common concern for corporate performance management solution consumers is security. Second generational financial report writers are aware of this concern and understand the importance of security in the Cloud. They have invested a lot of money into making their services protected and to make it easy to set up and manage security by user and role. Security has always been a top priority in terms of managing user access and data privacy.
If you have read this article up until this point, you are probably interested in expanding your financial reporting processes with Acumatica right now, but I suggest that you should not just look into stand-alone report writers. If you are planning for growth, investing in a complete CPM suite that also provides budgeting, dashboards, and  a data warehouse to combine Acumatica with your other data sources will likely be a smarter investment in the long run. There is a lot to learn about the cloud, and there are many things to think about when investing in the best financial report writer for you and your organization, but Solver, Inc. is happy to answer any questions and generally review BI360’s easy-to-use Excel, web, and cloud platforms for real-time or data warehouse integrated analysis using Acumatica.
Solver enables world-class decisions with BI360, a leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.