In finance and accounting, we are always trying to conduct better financial reporting and analysis in a timely manner so we can make effective decisions in a realistic timeframe. However, for Dynamics GP users, this goal can be more difficult depending on the tools you have available.
Problem #1: Data in all the wrong places
Dynamics GP users know that the general ledger ends up having an incredible amount of information from numerous places in GP. This data is accessible, but it is disjointed and hard to accumulate. It can be difficult to produce the right information in the right format at the right time under these circumstances.
Sure, GP has various reports available, but these reports normally don’t have all the desired data and are optimized for printing, not analysis. SmartLists provide data that exports to Excel cleanly, but you’ll have to wait a while for it to finish and you won’t be able to save your filter choices. SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) has powerful reports and analysis, but it is not meant for ad hoc analysis and unless you know SQL you won’t be able to add fields or make changes without help from IT.
Bottom line, GP users need a tool that gives them quick access to all fields for all GL data in an Excel-friendly format, preferably with savable filters and easy editing.
Solution: ActivReporter’s HD Views for Easier Data Access and Analysis
ActivReporter, a reporting tool for Dynamics GP, provides all this and more in three views: Chart of Accounts, Journal Entries, and Journal Detail. Here is a list of features you can expect when working with these three views.
- Add a column for almost every piece of information in the general ledger, then drag and drop to arrange and click on the header to sort (exceptions: MDA and AA data not included)
- Use a SmartList-like grid presentation, with simple copy/paste functionality into Excel for further analysis. Prefer an Excel table instead? Right-click to copy to Excel as a preformatted table.
- Data in HD Views populates FAST. As in, 3 million records in about 22 seconds fast.
- If you have 3 million records, you’ll enjoy the built-in data filters for dates, subsidiary journals, segment items, amounts, descriptions, unposted vs posted entries, etc. Plus, build your filters using any of the pieces of information that flows into general ledger.
- Relative dates allow you to ask questions of your data that you must answer each month without having to bother with changing the date. Want to see all employee expenses over a certain amount for every month? Create a filter with relative dates and get an itemized list of debits and credits for last month according to your computer’s system date without ever having to move the date forward in ActivReporter.
- In the Chart of Accounts, get a clear view of where each account will land on your financial statements.
Problem #2: All Report Roads Lead to Excel
In an attempt to harness the magnitude of financial data contained in Dynamics GP, numerous solutions have been presented to users for the creation of financial statements. There are the free options – Management Reporter, SSRS, Excel Refreshable Reports, as well as a plethora of solutions available to purchase. These products can all read, process, and present accumulated GP financial data with great success. However, at the end of the day, no matter where the reports originate, they almost always end up in Excel for final formatting, calculating, or analysis.
Solution: ActivReporter’s Financial Designs within Excel
With ActivReporter, you build your financial statements in Excel from the get-go. It’s the best of both worlds: live GP data paired with the powerful capabilities of Excel. Anything an Excel document can do, now your financials can too. Use formatting, calculations, data from external sources, charts/graphs, and macros with data pulled from GP’s general ledger.
To tackle financial statements, the ActivReporter stand-alone application allows for set-up, versioning, security, and publishing. From the application, you can create Financial Designs in Excel as your financial statement templates, then publish with a variety of options without having to enter Excel.
Building Financial Designs in Excel is made possible by the ActivReporter Excel add-in. With the add-in, Excel now has additional functions that can return values and information from all GP companies that have been configured with ActivReporter. Creating a simple financial has just a few steps:
- Decide how to define the rows:
- Import a row definition from Management Reporter as a rollup in ActivReporter
- Create a rollup in ActivReporter
- Use a built-in rollup of your account categories
- Create a new Financial Design and enter Excel
- Click the Layout button and choose a statement and columns
- Choose your rollup from the list
- Add titles, subtotals, grand totals, additional columns, formatting, etc.
Of course, you’re not limited to simple financials. Because ActivReporter uses Excel as its report writer, financial statements have great flexibility. For example, you can add data visualizations with Excel’s charts, put a balance sheet and income statement on one page, pull in data from another Excel spreadsheet, or use departments/divisions/projects as columns and periods as rows.
Once you’ve built your Financial Design just the way you want it, you can publish financial statements from it in the ActivReporter application without entering Excel. The publishing process allows you to choose what period to report, what file format and directory, which currency, and if you want consolidated or segmented reporting. ActivReporter replicates Management Reporter’s Reporting Tree feature by allowing you to indicate you’d like a copy of the report for each segment item, such as department, and whether you’d like them in separate files or a combined file. Just like Reporting Trees, you can also create custom reporting groups as well as choose at publish time which groups you’d like to generate.
And finally, both Financial Designs and financial statements published to Excel have drilldown capability for ActivReporter users as well as drillback capability for GP users. Clicking the drilldown button next to a value in Excel will pop up a window showing the Journal Detail HD View with lines for all debits and credits that add up to that value. You get all the same functionality mentioned above for HD Views here in drilldown, including filters and easy copy/paste to Excel.
ActivReporter provides a very cost-effective solution to both commonly encountered analysis and reporting problems in Dynamics GP. It is a solution for any size company, running any number of GP companies. Contact us to learn more about how you can use ActivReporter to make decisions with a high level of confidence in your financial data.