BTerrell Group Blog

Eliminating Financial Risks by Eliminating Spreadsheets

Posted by Keith Karnes on Mon, Jan 26, 2015

Spreadsheets have become a way of life for many growing companies. With overwhelming workloads, many finance professionals rely on spreadsheets because they are easy to set up and familiar to them. Many times, it is easier to believe that familiar equates to an indispensable resource; however, I believe the tool finance professionals choose should not just be familiar. I believe the tool should reduce risk of financial errors, streamline processes, and allow rapid delivery of critical financial information, ultimately freeing up time for finance leaders to focus on strategic initiatives and big picture goals.

As familiar as spreadsheets are, they are also error-prone and time-consuming. Errors in spreadsheets are more common and costly than you think. In fact, a recent study by Ventana Research shows that 35% of companies regularly find data errors in their most important spreadsheets. That number doesn’t include additional formula errors and formatting errors. Unfortunately, these small errors add up to big mistakes, and untimely information and costly decisions based on incorrect information are just the tip of the iceberg.

SpreadsheetErrors

The study by Ventana Research also states that replacing desktop spreadsheets with software designed for and dedicated to finance activities is the most practical solution a finance organization can make.

I agree. In my experience working with small- and medium-sized businesses, those who replace spreadsheets with a proven financial tool, such as Intacct, save time and money as well as increase control and auditability. By reducing your reliance on spreadsheets and the financial risks associated with the process, companies can reallocate the time previously spent on repetitive processes to activities that add value to the overall company. After all, isn’t that the goal for which we, as finance professionals, should strive?

Tags: Financial Reporting

Financial Dashboards in Sage 300 ERP Using PowerPivot

Posted by Tony Zhang on Fri, Dec 20, 2013

This blog is a continuation on the Sage 300 ERP business intelligence journey using PowerPivot. I will focus on the financial statements in this blog.

Let’s begin by looking at the tools. Many tools are used to prepare financial statements, namely Income Statements, Balance Sheets and Cash Flow Reports. In the Sage 300 ERP (formerly Accpac) world, the three, Excel based, tools widely used are: FR (Financial Reporter), Sage Insight and Sage Intelligence.

FR is included with Sage 300 ERP at no additional cost. FR reports on GL data, however does not support reporting on multiple companies and does not have a distribution function.

Sage Insight (now Spreadsheet Analyst) is a comprehensive solution for financial reporting, bugeting and distribution – via email or shared folder. This tool conceptualizes row and colum groups and features like roll-up, sheet order by and column order by.

Sage Intelligence was introduced within Sage 300 ERP's version 5.6 and offers out-of-box reporting templates and tools like, Financial Report Designer, which comes in two options – Layout Generator and Add-in.


The three options in designing a Sage Intelligence report are:

• Excel functions like v-lookup, which matches and indexes pulled data into a hidden worksheet
• Layout generator
• Add-in

In deciding which one best suits your work environment, I recommend checking out the FAQ in this link. Pay attention to Q7 and Q11. I, you use these tools or other tools for financial reporting, I would like to hear your comments. If you are unsure about which tool you need, please contact me to discuss your requirements and I'd be glad to help.

PowerPivot is not designed for Financial Reporting. Microsoft’s solution to such requirements, after dismissing FRx, is Management Reporter, which is similar to Sage Insight with the concept of row group, column group, consolidation and the distribution function.

With this foundation being provided, PowerPivot is great for financial reporting. You may find live examples here. Below is an example using Sage 300 ERP Sample Company, Inc. PowerPivot’s main benefit is the flexibilty and performance.

PowerPivot

Sage 300 ERP

Financial Reporting

I hope this blog is helpful as you continue to understand PowerPivot’s position and the level of professional services we provide here at BTerrell Group. Feel free to view the report in static form here to grasp the look and feel.

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Tags: Sage 300 ERP, PowerPivot, Financial Reporting