How to Decrease the Number of Report Writers in Your Company

How many of us have more than a handful of reporting solutions across our business systems? I know it’s shocking, but most companies do use that many reporting tools across their ERP system and other databases. When looking to invest in a reporting solution, how you integrate and present your data is very important. It is the foundation when it comes to making smart business decisions. This article focuses on several options for consolidating various reporting tools to navigate your company-specific issues in managing your data.

A financial report writer allows users to build customized reports that use transactional information from the users’ data source, integrating live from your ERP system, a data warehouse (DW), or an online analytical processing (OLAP) cube. Of course, an increasing number of modern financial reporting tools are just as good at reporting from CRM systems and other operational data source, thus reducing the need to buy, install and learn multiple report writers.

Reporting tools provide many benefits. For instance, report writers give updated and consolidated information as well as give an effective means of internal communication about performance. Report writers also solves current issues faced by the company and helps directors in decision making and policy framing. Finally, they provide data that is reliable, permanent, and otherwise unknown to shareholders, the Board of Directors, among others. These are all great benefits, but as mentioned above, if most organizations have more than five report writers across their business systems, that leaves room for challenges. Organizations usually have many reporting tools for separate needs, such as financial statements, sub-ledger transaction reports, a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, a payroll system, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution and more.

There are multiple problems when investing in numerous reporting tools. For instance, to name a few, it gets pricey to maintain and purchase each reporting tool. It’s complex to maintain different user security models and related user management, and hard to learn all features in every reporting tool.  Finally, it is almost impossible to consolidate the information from the different report writers into one place, so usually users resolve to manually exporting to- and formatting reports in Microsoft Excel. This makes the reports prone to error and costly, as it takes a large amount of time in delaying information because users have to manually compile everything. Report writers that offer Excel add-ins, provide Excel users a jump start on learning the reporting module as most business users already have a lot of spreadsheet skills, and there are no manual Excel reporting problems involved. Web and Cloud computing are becoming more prevalent as they are increasingly becoming the present and future of Business Intelligence (BI). Many of them work in conjunction with Excel.

A common solution to modern software is to invest in one flexible report writer that can perform statistical and operational reports and financial statements, offer a DW where your data and information from different sources are compiled in a single database and the single reporter writer has access to all the information through the DW, and can distribute e-mails to end users or provide access through a web browser for end users, so they can use reports to answer any questions they may have without asking other people to run reports for them. You can consolidate your report writers and achieve additional BI capabilities by aiming for a single BI solution that covers financial and operational reporting, data warehousing, budgeting and forecasting, and dashboards/analysis. This is also known as a BI suite. A tip to consider is to make sure the BI suite eliminates or reduces the need to maintain many report writers as well as many BI tools.

To continue learning more about reducing the number of reporting tools, read the rest of the article HERE:

Sage Business Intelligence Versus Third Party Solutions

Choosing the best Business Intelligence (BI) solution for your organization is a lot like choosing what you need to eat for a healthier lifestyle. BI gives knowledge into consumer behavior, it improves efficiency, it increases productivity, and it turns data into actionable information.  Gartner defines BI as “an umbrella term that include the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.” The objective is to provide organizations the right knowledge in the hands of the right people at the right time to make informed decisions. BI increases the ability to identify trends and challenges, as well as fine-tune operations to meet business goals.

Let’s explore Sage Business Intelligence (BI) offerings and then, cover third party solutions. According to Top Sage Resellers, Sage Intelligence takes real-time financial and operational data from Sage ERP and transfers into templates in Microsoft Excel, which users can easily view and customize. The Excel-based interface enables users to analyze and utilize your enterprise resource planning (ERP) data in graphs however they would like. This gives users a much more hands-on and visual experience than standard reports can give. If you do some research, you will see the most recent option, Sage “Enterprise” Intelligence. Similar to Sage Intelligence, Sage Enterprise Intelligence also provides a visual experience to reporting that allows users to perform advanced “slice-and-dice” analysis on Sage ERP data. Sage Intelligence is solely based on Microsoft Excel and is primarily for financial reporting and budgeting, whereas Sage Enterprise Intelligence does offer an Excel add-on, but its focus goes to a web-based user interface for data visualization. Also, Sage Enterprise Intelligence provides more advanced features for businesses that really want to use a broad range of analytics tools for BI analysis and data mining.

You might be wondering why Sage offers two separate BI solutions. It is to provide a range of analytics and reporting options to customers depending on their industries and needs. The two BI solutions offer a different set of interfaces to help better business insight through flexible reporting and analysis. Clearly, depending on your needs, if you’re looking for an all-in-one BI solution, Sage Intelligence or Sage Enterprise Intelligence may not be the right solutions for you. Furthermore, Sage Intelligence has been quoted by users to have a quite old and clunky Excel add-in.

If your current system is limiting your company from making smart choices for your business, you should consider investing in a new BI system. Third party BI software, such as BI360, BizNet, Host Analytics, and more, are expanding their ERP functionality by offering best-of-breed financial reporting and planning, as well as data visualization and data storage. BI tools are providing business end user choices so that users can access the exact information they need when they need it without having to wait for assistance.

If your company is growing rapidly and is still relying on spreadsheets, modern, best-of-breed BI solutions can be a great option for you. Some of today’s BI solutions deliver real-time accurate data when you need it. Take a look at a key component of BI analytics: the tools. Depending on what your company needs, basic tools, like planning, reporting dashboards, and data warehousing, can make an immense difference. Reporting tools are essential to remaining competitive in your industry, making smart decisions while building the company and the brand. Financial reporting is an important, must-have process and you should see what the best option is for your organization as well as what fits into your BI strategy.

To continue learning more about Sage BI and third party reporting and budgeting solutions, read the rest of the article HERE:

Reporting tools for Sage 100

In a world where data is prevalent, your business needs a solid financial reporting tool to help you stay competitive in your field.  This blog article will explore the Business Intelligence (BI) options you have for software, particularly looking at features and functionalities, so you can choose the best report writer to navigate your company issues in managing and analyzing your data as a Sage 100 customer.

Financial reporting is the practice of building statements that reveal an organization’s financial status. A reporting tool allows the user to produce customized reports that utilize transactional information from your data source, integrating live from Sage 100, a data warehouse (DW), or an online analytical processing (OLAP) cube.

Most enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems have built-in reporting functionalities, but there are third party tools that you can invest in for a more powerful, business user-friendly reporting. Independent software vendor (ISV) solutions enable finance departments to build report templates that give easy and accessible analyses for corporate leaders, for smarter decision-making about the future of your company. When it comes to accessing your company’s data, it will be crucial for you to examine options such as Excel, web, mobile, cloud, and/or proprietary interfaces.

When looking to invest in a report writer, how you consolidate your data is a foundational element when it comes to making business choices. For instance, if you are running reports live from Sage 100 or if you are integrating with a DW or an OLAP cube. Integrating live from Sage 100 means that you will have access to real-time analytics, right from the ERP system. Some Excel-based report writers also provide a live integration to Sage 100 and other ERP systems, while many third party options exclusively integrate information for reporting from a separate reporting database. You should consider the types of platform that will work best for you and your organization to design reports.

Experienced Excel users can view report writing as a way to automate reports based on end user selection. Users no longer have to rely on Excel to view and process data, but they can create a report that can be effective enough to report whatever they need without doing more work. Excel-based reporting tools are an add-in tool that upgrades Excel’s spreadsheet function with features that focus on secure collaboration and accounting logic. Other platforms such as web- and cloud-based solutions enable users to securely reach their data from anywhere as long as users have an internet connection. Web reporting works best for organizations that are structured similarly, particularly where remote users are regularly connecting to the company’s network out of the office.

To continue learning more about the best report writers for Sage 100, read the rest of this article HERE:

Happy Memorial Day

We at Revered Business Solutions want to wish you all a very happy Memorial day and express a heart-felt thank you to all military personnel who are, and have served our country so bravely; particularly those who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we enjoy today.  Thank you, thank you!


Financial Reporting for Non-profit Organizations with Dynamics GP

Financial reporting has been the leading Business Intelligence process since the inception of analytics – and this is no different for non-profit organizations.  If you’re using Microsoft Dynamics GP, you’re aware of the accounting system’s built-in financial report writing functionality.  That said, several of Revered Business Solutions’ non-profit customers are shopping for independent software vendor (ISV) solutions for their financial reporting processes.  Why?  ISV financial reporting solutions are designed as a direct response to customer calls for expanded and streamlined analytics for a richer understanding of organizational data, trends, opportunities, and threats.  This article will discuss the benefits of a third party financial reporting tool for not-for-profit organizations utilizing Microsoft Dynamics GP.

There are a few top characteristics that should drive your search for a financial report writer.  The top priority for a financial reporting software should be ease of use, so your business end users, specifically accounting and finance team members, can manage the tool without depending on IT department involvement.  Next up: collaboration is such an important aspect of decision-making, even for littler not-for-profit teams, so you should shop for a technology that empowers impactful teamwork, shifting out of the manual process of merging disparate spreadsheets and lengthy back-and-forth email threads.  Teamwork then takes the importance of security up a notch.  Password-protected access rights is just one way to ensure that sensitive information doesn’t get in front of the wrong eyes.  These three characteristics should be the overarching criteria when evaluating a variety of reporting options for your non-profit Dynamics GP analytical processes.

In addition to these top characteristics, there are plenty of aspects to modern software that you should be analyzing when shopping ISV financial report writers.  Pinpoint how you want to pull your data; what kind of platform you’d prefer; if mobile reporting is essential, considering your team dynamic; and whether a complete BI suite fits your analytical goals.  Beyond these considerations, you should be looking to see how a financial report writer can help you achieve your organizational goals that are specific to not-for-profits.

How you integrate your data can be a good starting point in your search for the right software.  Modern report writers enable you to query your Dynamics GP information in more than one way.  The built-in Dynamics reporting functions, like GP Report Writer and Management Reporter, offer a live integration directly from the Dynamics GP ERP database, so you can generate a report with real-time data.  This is a great option for some of Revered Business Solutions’ customers who depend on up-to-date information for urgent deadlines, but you might slow down the Dynamics GP server if you have multiple users querying larger data sets, sometimes simultaneously.  However, you don’t have the report design flexibility that you can achieve with ISV reporting options, some providing direct integrations from GP.  If you’re concerned about flexibility, a BI data store integration, like a data warehouse or an online analytical processing (OLAP) cube, delivers a more powerful performance for your analytics.  A BI data store is an additional technology investment, and you have to replicate your data from Dynamics GP and other data sources for an up-to-the-minute financial report.  If you’re not sure when it comes to deciding between an OLAP cube and a data warehouse, it’s important to do your research, so you can narrow down which products you can choose between to deploy.

To continue learning more about non-profit reporting with Dynamics GP, read the rest of this article HERE:

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2016 is here!

We are excited to announce the newest version to the Microsoft Dynamics GP platform – Microsoft Dynamics GP 2016. Microsoft Dynamics GP 2016 is a landmark release that offers immense value to Customers.

Dynamics GP 2016 includes a new HTML5 browser with support for iPad, Android, and Windows Web Client; key additions to the All in One Doc viewers; ODATA service for Power BI, new service based architecture entities, and over 35 functionality features prioritized by customers.

Check out detailed documentation of all the features included in this product release here: Microsoft Dynamics GP 2016 WhatsNew

Building a Best-of-Breed Solution with Intacct

A recurring conversation that we at Revered Business Solutions have with customers has to do with why you might want or need to implement independent software vendor (ISV) solutions on top of Intacct.  ISVs scale this hurdle regularly as the value proposition for Intacct add-ons tends to speak to consumer concerns.  No software or technology, first of all, even the powerful Intacct, can be a solution to every single business-related analytics “problem” for every company.  An easy example would be Apple providing their own built-in Maps app on iPhones, but still offering the Google Maps app in their app store for users to download, just like any of today’s flexible accounting systems do, like Intacct.  As every company who uses Intacct has specific goals, planning objectives and rules, the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system varies in how it helps different organizations accomplish their plans.  ISVs offer companies the ability to customize their data management and analyses.

Another important, buzzy term is “best-of-breed.”  PC Magazine defines best-of-breed as “the best product of its type.”  The best solution of any type is virtually impossible to develop, so “organizations often purchase software from different vendors in order to obtain the best-of-breed functionality for certain key business areas.  While ERP vendors provide a wealth of applications for the enterprise and tout their integrated system as the superior solution, every module may not be best-of-breed.  It is difficult to excel in every niche.”  Translation: if you have a loyalty to Intacct, you’re only maximizing the product by complementing and supplementing your ERP output with an ISV solution to achieve what you want to, regarding analytics.  You might be wondering what exactly your options to expand your processes are.

Some customers might not be aware of all the choices to upgrade analyses, like budgeting, consolidations, data visualizations, and data storage for modern, accessible and business user friendly BI.  This article aims to explore your third party software options to take your Intacct experience to the next level.

The cornerstone of ISV tools has traditionally been financial and operational reporting.  There’s plenty of online reading about Intacct report writers, and Revered Business Solutions is committed to knowing about the latest and greatest.  Intacct’s native reporting tool can’t really compete with modern ISV software.  Today’s technology is equipped with accounting logic, reusable report templates, sub-ledger analyses, and pre-built integrations to Intacct, as well as other data sources, for easy-to-use, rich analytics.  Some are Excel-powered, others are browser-based, and some combine both for ultimate accessibility.  Some ISVs have also developed mobile reporting apps for additional flexibility.  Budgeting is another popular solution for managers trying to build a best-of-breed process for BI and corporate performance management (CPM) tasks.

To continue learning more about building a best-of-breed solution with Intacct, read the rest of this article HERE:

Financial Consolidations for Retail Dynamics NAV Users

We work with several Microsoft Dynamics NAV customers who are managing a retail parent company’s financials with at least one subsidiary entity.  Consolidating operational and transactional data from multiple entities, sometimes with more than one currency, can be challenging without one of today’s financial consolidations solutions.  As the amount and importance of information steadily grows, company decision-making basically requires a solution that can aid in aggregating data into a singular set of financial reports.  If you’re depending on Dynamics NAV for your retail company, Revered Business Solutions, Inc  is happy to lay out your options for an easy-to-use, powerful consolidations tool.

A definition. The term “financial consolidations” can be defined as a combination of organizational financial figures from separate subsidiaries into a unified set of financial statements.  These reports aggregate information by reconciling whichever currencies are involved, eliminating any inter-company transactions between subsidiaries, and making any additional adjustments, manually or with a modern, powerful BI software – to come to an understanding of the comprehensive status of your parent organization.

But why do I need another tool? There are plenty of motivators for executives to seek an automated financial consolidations solution, but the top couple of reasons seem to be related to product age.  Some executives are seeking to get rid of older tools that are too technically complicated, like Hyperion or Cognos/TM1, which typically mean that the IT team or a technical product expert has to be involved in managing the software.  Meanwhile, others are hoping to upgrade from older solutions that are too simplistic for today’s business demands, like Excel, FRx, or Management Reporter.

At Revered Business Solutions, we were recently talking to a retail exec who uses Dynamics NAV and a third party consolidations solution to manage a number of entities for a global parent organization.  He regularly has to follow rules and meet regulations that are set by each country in addition to currency conversions, like International Financial Reporting Standards to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (IFRS TO GAAP) adjustments, with the dynamic flexibility of a consolidations tool.  He produces statements that report beyond the General Ledger (GL) with a tool that is positioned within a completely integrated, comprehensive suite of Business Intelligence (BI) tools, like ad-hoc reportingbudgeting and forecastingdashboards, and data warehousing.  This article will zoom in on financial consolidations as one of your Dynamics NAV month end tasks, with a focus on how you can find the right tool for your retail organization.

To continue learning more about retail consolidations with Dynamics NAV, read the rest of this article here.


Forecasting versus Budgeting for Today’s Businesses

Recently, Revered Business Solutions, Inc has been hearing a lot of chatter around the differences, strengths and weaknesses of budgeting and forecasting as two separate processes.  We’ve seen the following perspective grow in popularity: forecasting might be more effective to planning for modern business than traditional budgeting.  We’re committed to staying on the cutting edge and intersection of technology and today’s business, as the evolutions change the landscape for professionals and the organizations they are taking into the future, so moving away from the established method of achieving planning goals sparks our interest.  Therefore, in this article, we’ll compare budgeting and forecasting processes with the hope that you can understand which process is more effective and productive for your company.

When you first encounter the term, forecasting, you might assume it is just a synonym for budgeting.  However, budgets and forecasts are two different ways to plan, and differentiating between two is probably a good place to start.  A budget is a complete, detailed aggregation of how management foresees the performance level of the business, regarding results, cash flows, and financial positioning for a particular time period, typically a year.  Budgeting usually happens once a year and results in a set strategy, not usually updated more than annually, depending how often management wants to revisit the data.  Budget contributors compare actual results to projected figures, so they can pinpoint any variances in performance and put together the next year’s plan.  Depending on how the fiscal year unfolds, managers might tweak the strategy and the execution to get back on track in terms of actual results.  The projections to actuals comparison can translate to changes to performance-based compensation for team members.

On the other hand, forecasting estimates what will actually be achieved by your organization.  A forecast usually focuses on just major revenue and expense line items, not typically including financial position, but cash flows might be identified.  Forecasting involves regular updates, whether you choose to do so monthly or quarterly.  You can use forecasting for short-term operational adjustments and considerations, like inventory, production plans, sales performance and/or staffing.  A forecast doesn’t usually involve an evaluation of variances between what was predicted and the actual results, but can be utilized to plan how to allocate your budgets for a future period.  One other way forecasting distinguishes itself from budgeting is that any alterations in forecasting doesn’t impact performance-based compensation for staff.

In other words, budgeting plans for where a company would like to go, in terms of intention and destination, while forecasting illustrates where a business is actually going.  The timelines also differ in ways that affect how you intersect with the processes.  A forecast is updated routinely and often compared to a budget, which usually occurs once a year.  Due to the frequency that forecasting evaluates the state of the business, you can use the data to take action immediately, as needed.  Also, budgeting may consist of objectives that are hard, if not impossible to achieve, particularly as the marketplace changes all the time and can take a business in a different direction.  Depending on the industry you’re working in and how quickly it evolves, your budget can become irrelevant rapidly.

To continue learning more about budgeting versus forecasting, read the rest of this article here.