What is the best way to get information out of
Terry Borchardt, Applications Consultant and first line correspondent in customer support for DFC Consultants, took the time to simplify the reporting tools for us. His goal is to help us understand just when the right time is to use each tool, or a combination of them, to get the info we need.
Here is a list of the more common reporting tools available in Dynamics GP and a little about each one.
1) Report Writer – this has been the default reporting tool since Dynamics was first released in the mid 90’s. Modifying reports in Report Writer (for example - adding columns) can be a little tricky but it definitely can be done. (Report Writer is included in your GP purchase at no additional cost.)
2) FRx – this is the financial reporting tool that was great for reporting all your common financial reports prior to version 2010. With the release of version Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010, FRx is no longer supported by Microsoft on v2010 and future versions. It has been replaced with Management Reporter. (FRx is included in your GP purchase at no additional cost.)
3) Management Reporter ( MR) – is the replacement for FRx going forward 2010 and beyond. It utilizes many of the same concepts that FRx had. If you have an understanding of Microsoft Excel this tool should be very easy to use due to the familiar column and rows structure. You’ll also use Management Reporter for financial reporting such as Cash Flow, Balance Sheets and Income Statements. You don’t want to use MR for printing a list of goods sold. You’ll do that in SmartLists, see below. (MR is included in your GP Purchase at no additional cost.)
4) Smartlist – This is functionality which comes with predefined queries that one can provide multiple restrictions in to get out the desired data. Once the data is retrieved, it can be exported to Microsoft Excel or Word with the click of a button. (Sweet!) This is where you go print your list of goods sold or an employee list. (SmartList is included in your GP purchase at no additional cost.)
5) Smartlist Builder – At times the predefined queries don’t provide you with the information that you a looking for, so you need to go and create additional tables, views or queries that will give you that information. If using Payroll and HR many of our clients purchase SmartList Builder to run “what if” scenarios with salary increases as well pricing scenarios.
6) Word Templates – At times you may have a situation where a Report Writer works just fine for almost all your needs. Then, as an example, your company expands and wants to have a different logo for your Invoices and A/R Statements. Word Templates lets you use existing Templates, modify them with a different logo, then save them with a different name. When it comes time to run the Invoice you can pick which Template should be used based upon the company you are in. (Word Templates is included in your GP purchase at no additional cost.)
7) SQL Server Report Services (SRSS) – this tool expands report writing flexibility with more than 90 built in reports. If you want a prettier report (fancier than Report Writer) you can use the wizard which makes it easy to deploy also. Those of you that are familiar with Crystal Reports may feel very comfortable using SRSS also, as they are fairly similar.
So really what is the correct reporting tool? Well the answer is “it really depends”. If your needs are very simple, using the prepackaged Report Writer tools may be enough. However, if you want more detailed financial information, Management Reporter is the way to go. If you want something prettier, but need more flexibility, then you might want to look into SQL Reporting Services (SSRS).
Exporting Data to Excel?
If you need to get information out of Microsoft Dynamics GP quickly and be able to “play” with it in Microsoft Excel, Smartlist or Smartlist Builder will be your tools of choice.
Personalize your Reports
Finally, if you have multiple needs for the same type of information but it needs to look slightly different, the Word Templates would be something to look into for including company information or logos on Invoices and A/R Statements.
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