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Peter Joeckel, TurnOnDynamics

FRx RIP: Outstanding Excel “Add-In” Alternative

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    FRx rides into the sunset at the end of a glorious career. I for one am a little sad!

    First, some history, I sold FRx back in the 90’s when it was the property of Platinum (now SAGE). How Platinum lost the exclusive rights to the use of FRX is a great story. Those were great days! We could sell copies of the Advanced Platinum General Ledger package by showing people FRx and never showing them a SINGLE screen of the actual GL!

    People would actually say, “I want to buy that software with the (pick one) cleaver/drill”.

    At one point I had two consultants that did nothing but write FRx reports for clients 40 hours a week, week after week. That is also known as the good old days. So now it feels like an old friend is being sent to the assisted living home…and we have to wonder if we are far behind.

    But enough nostalgia, the question for Microsoft Dynamics users is now what? The answer from Microsoft is Management Reporter and from all I have seen it will be a worthy successor, being more technically and functionally robust. There is a ton of great information available on the product; several examples on this site (just type FRx or Management Reporter in the Search box located in the upper right hand of this post).

    For me, the issue with Management Reporter just like FRx before it is that most people are most comfortable working in Excel. It is great that there are so many tools available so that data ENDS UP in Excel but why not START there? That is why we have been working with our clients with a great Excel add-in tool from Global Software, Inc. called Spreadsheet Server (note: it DOES NOT require a “server”…it serves up data into Excel…great software, so-so name).

    What is great about the Spreadsheet Server product is that you create your Excel reports directly in Excel by linking to the Microsoft Dynamics GP data. There is no other tool to learn. That dramatically cuts down on training time and increases the number of folks in an organization likely to use it.

    But wait…don’t buy now…there is more!

    I have seen the products several times now and here is how I see the functionality at a high level. There are five components to the software and I am going to give you a potential scenario for each:


    • Spreadsheet Server - (serves data…does not need an additional hardware “server”). If you do any of your financial analysis/reporting in Excel this creates reports by linking directly to the GP database. Reports are instantly refreshable with drilldown capabilities. This alone is worth the price of admission for most companies.
    • Executive Dashboard – combine data from ANY database in a refreshable Excel spreadsheet for reporting and KPI capabilities.
    • Enterprise Budgeting – set up, manage and control your budgeting process in Excel. Budgeting for most folks is out of control as they try to manage multiple spreadsheets.
    • Distribution Manager – determine to whom, when, and in what format all your reports are distributed.
    • Write back – write data from Excel directly to the GP database. Imagine if you had to do a mass price update to thousands of inventory items. Export to Excel…do a global 10% price increase and write back to the inventory file. Priceless.


    The common denominator here is that there is no rekeying or data manipulation which takes up a lot of time and creates tons of errors. The product has been around a long time in the Tier 1 (Oracle, SAP, etc.) world, so now we are bringing it to the GP marketplace.

    Since Spreadsheet Server links directly to the SQL database all information is current and up to date, just hit the refresh button. But what about the drill you say? That is the best part to Spreadsheet Server…you can drill down into your data directly from your Excel spreadsheet.

    About the Author

    Peter Joeckel is the President and Founder of TurnOnDynamics a Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains) partner servicing the Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas (TOLA) manufacturing firms. Perhaps most uniquely, TurnOnDynamics focuses on the strategic concerns of executives and owners with Dynamic CFO Service.

    One Response to “FRx RIP: Outstanding Excel “Add-In” Alternative”

    1. Hi there. I used a tool a long time ago that people used to LOVE and also pulls data from Dynamics into Excel… The tool is F9 and it is specifically designed as an Excel AddIn that adds formulas to Excel that automatically pull data from Dynamics GP general ledger. There are a good number of formulas and people who use it swear by it. I have absolutely no relationship with that company and I have not seen the product in a while, but it seems it still works (

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