Justifying the Replacement of FRx with a Microsoft-Excel Based Report Writer

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You may be asking, 'why should I purchase a Report Writer when Management Reporter is free.'  If you review the choices of alternative report writers, one thing stands out:the majority of report writers use Microsoft Excel as their platform.  Why is that, and is it worth the extra cost?  Here are some convincing reasons why it is worth the extra cost:

  • How many times have you exported an FRx report to Excel and spent countless hours massaging the data.  What if the report originated in Excel in the format you desired?
  • Most Excel-based report writers allow you to report on additional Dynamics modules like Accounts Payable and Sales Order Processing.
  • Many Excel-Based Report Writers also report on user defined fields, custom data warehouse, and CRM data.
  • Excel is used as the presentation workspace for your reports so you can take advantage of all Excel features and functionality as well as your knowledge of Excel.  Complex calculations and formatting options like conditional formatting are endless!
  • You can eliminate time spent exporting to Excel since your report is already in Excel.
  • It is easier to see the information you want and apply groupings, filters, and sorts in drill downs.
  • Many Excel-Based Report Writers offer budgeting solutions allowing you to do budgeting in Excel instead of in separate software.

Below is a list of Excel-Based Report Writers:

Report Writer:                                  GP                          SL                            Website:

  • BI360                                               X*                           X                             www.solverusa.com
  • BIZInsight                                       X                                                             www.biznetsoftware.com
  • F9                                                      X                             X                             www.f9.com
  • JetReports                                       X*                                                           www.jetreports.com
  • Vivid Reports                                  X*                                                           www.vividreports.com
  • deFacto Performance Mgmt        X                                                             www.defactoglobal.com

* Ability to report on Analytical Accounting data.

UPDATE: Vivid Reports also integrates with Dynamics SL. 

Things to consider when researching an Excel-Based Report Writer:

  • Is it compatible with Microsoft Office 2013?
  • What is budget functionality? An alternative to some of their budgeting modules is to use Full Circle Budget, a simple tool that automates the budgeting and forecasting from Excel into Dynamics.
  • Some report writers like BI360 and JetReports also integrate to CRM.
  • Are Dashboards a requirement?
  • How do they handle consolidations and multi-currency?
  • Do they use active-directory based security?  Do they offer role-based security?

Your time is valuable and if you are spending time exporting reports to Excel, consider a Report Writer that starts in Excel.  Since you are already comfortable with Excel, an Excel-based Report Writer allows you to build reports more intuitively and efficiently.

Want to know the more about Financial Reporting Software?   Visit our website for our schedule of free webinars like FRx Replacement Options.

by Mary Schmidt, Senior Consultant at T3 Information Systems a DC Microsoft Dynamics Partner and BI 360 Partner of the year

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