There are a number of features that are desirable in a “report writer” today. At the core, it is important to have great calculation features and flexible formatting in order to produce high-quality financial statements, as well as operational (sub-ledger) reports. There is little doubt that Excel add-ins tend to be much stronger in this area than proprietary reporting tools.
On a higher level, there are other features to consider such as:
- Automated report distribution to end-users.
- A web-based front-end option for end users to run their own reports.
- Mobile access for the busy executive that wants to see fresh financials on the go.
- Collaborative features so managers can discuss and explain variances and other pertinent observations while analyzing a report.
- Integration of the report writer beyond the live ERP database, such as to a Budgeting module and data warehouse that also can integrate other data sources.
- Ad-hoc reporting (when a user needs an answer on the fly and it does not make sense to run or build a formatted report).
We designed the BI360 4.0 reporting module with all of the above criteria in mind. Hopefully, we are pushing the limits of the concept of a “report writer” to the next level so financial professionals and end users can help drive efficiency and analytical capabilities in their organizations.