In this article, we will discuss options for financial report writing, so you know your best route when shopping for and selecting a financial reporting tool to accelerate your Acumatica experience.

In today’s business world, you need a modern, powerful financial reporting solution if you plan on remaining competitive in your industry, riding out economic dips and blips, while growing your brand by relying on your data to make sound business decisions.  This article is going to zoom in on today’s best financial reporting solutions, focusing on premier features and functionalities, so you can find the best report writing tool to get powerful and user-friendly reports from Acumatica.

Independent software vendors (ISVs) pull financial data from your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and/or other data sources, sometimes via a real-time integration from Acumatica or relying on a Business Intelligence (BI) data store.  Like most ERPs, Acumatica offers its own report writing function, but more and more organizations are deploying ISV reporting tools because of their intuitive, dynamic design and output that go above and beyond the native reporting functions.  You can build and reuse templates for reporting with the better third party solutions, which allows you to tackle your data management and analysis demands and provide answers to decision-makers regarding the future of the company.  Having spoken to several consumers in the accounting world, I have seen a lot of corporations trying to make the Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) stack or “free” software work for them when outgrowing the native report designer.  However, financial reporting is so essential today to rely on general products just because other companies are following that line.  You should be evaluating what is important to the success of your team: data integration methods; Excel, web-based and/or proprietary interfaces; and the ease of use for business professional, amongst other considerations.
Let’s start with data integrations, which is arguably the foundation of your data processing anyway.   You should consider which route will adequately meet your team’s goals, whether running live from Acumatica, or relying on a high performance integration, grabbing data from a data store, like an online analytical processing (OLAP) cube or a data warehouse.  Live integrations translate to real-time data analysis directly from Acumatica without having to make sure that company information has been replicated to the OLAP cube or data warehouse for up-to-the-minute financial reporting.
Data stores are their own investment, regardless of whether it is a cube, a mart, or a warehouse.  That said, if your corporation has many Acumatica users who sometimes simultaneously are running significant data queries, it could make the Acumatica server sluggish.  Some BI data stores are able to house diverse types of information in one place.
Regarding third party software for Acumatica, not a lot of products offer live integrations to Acumatica (as well as other accounting systems), but a solution like Solver’s BI360 can report live on on-premise Acumatica installations and for cloud-based Acumatica customers, BI360 offers a pre-built integration to populate the BI360 Data Warehouse where you then do your reporting, budgeting and dashboards.  Most third party reporting tools are usually only available for live reporting or cubes/warehouse-based reporting, but not both.  In addition to figuring out how you need to integrate your data, another important aspect that can help your decide on a financial reporting solution should involve the platform.
When it comes to software platform options, times are changing.  While most people have been using Excel since undergraduate classes, web is the big buzz, with Acumatica as exhibit A.  It is important to evaluate if you are interested in Excel formatting or web accessibility and flexibility – OR have to have both.  BI360 offers web-based financial reporting that is powered by Excel formatting, combining familiarity with flexibility for truly on-the-go interfacing, while offering you the opportunity to securely link and manage spreadsheets anywhere you have an internet connection.  However, there are also solutions that are proprietary in nature, meaning that you will be learning non-Excel formulas, coding, features and functions, but it might be worth it to you if it is a powerful cloud-based solution and your strategy is to have both your ERP system and your BI function deployed in the cloud.
Cloud computing, or technology hosted off site by a vendor on the web, allows you to securely access your data whenever and wherever you have access to the internet.  You can still run reports online, with some solutions providing drill-down capabilities and collaborative functionality.  In general, pure ISV Cloud reporting tools often only grab company information from BI data stores, so live integrations aren’t an option, which is not the case with hybrid solutions, which can be both web-based and Excel-powered.
Today’s business world tends to require employee teams to work collaboratively from different points on the globe.  Web reporting is the solution to the need for flexible access to decision-driving data.  Both Adaptive Insights and Host Analytics are pure Cloud platforms, but there are also hybrid web solutions, like BI360, that is Excel-powered AND web-based, which means that you can create and run financial statements with data from Acumatica right within Excel, in a web portal, and/or using a mobile application for tablets and smart phones, and you can choose whether you want BI360 installed on premise or in the cloud.  A web interface is successful because of the flexible access, but it is essential that is still business user friendly for your team to craft financial reports, particularly because the mobility means you very well could be on the go.  If you invest in a software that is not easy to use, which for most companies means that part of their reporting processes will end up back in manual Excel spreadsheets, you’re not going to be able to get the most bang for your buck, let alone meet your specific company goals.
Web and mobile flexibility in the context of financial reporting is only going to become more relevant, and Acumatica is a great example of the marketability of a web-based ERP product.  The road warrior or even the remote team member benefits from access to data that can help them contribute to decision-making.  There are plenty of things to think about when shopping for the best financial report writer for your organization, but the main elements involve your data integration methods, platform preferences, and specifically, the flexibility in access and ease of use that you’re used to with Acumatica.  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 Acumatica.

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