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F9 is Back at the Popular Table – or is it?


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F9 was originally released in the second half of the 1980s – and developed as an add-in for DOS, but was soon converted for Microsoft Windows. This simple Excel add-in financial reporting tool it is experiencing a resurgence of popularity recently, according to talk amongst partners. This boomerang shift is perhaps due to a dissatisfaction with Management Reporter, but if you check out the F9 website, you can clearly see that Excel’s popularity is front and center as they position themselves within the financial report writer market for customers. And this move makes a lot of sense.

For decades, finance teams from around the world have relied on Excel in some capacity, making it the arguably most popular program, at least in the business world. Microsoft’s brand strength, related to consistent success and ubiquity, has for sure helped Excel become the success it is, but another substantial aspect contributing to the spreadsheet application’s status is directly related to the user friendly formatting, formulas, and overall interface. In 2014, Excel continues to progress in ways that gain new fans of the veteran application. All the while, finance departments around the globe have been utilizing Excel to organize transactional data, produce budgets and forecasts, and coordinate organizational information for analysis. In this era of Business Intelligence (BI), and big data evaluation, Excel remains pertinent as Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) construct BI solutions as add-ins to the spreadsheet program.

F9_new

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For the past 20+ years, one of these products has been F9. I have heard of a possible resurgence in popularity for the report writer, despite its age and associated simplicity. The reason for this spike in attractiveness has been unofficially tied to the underperformance of Management Reporter (MR). I have blogged about frustration with Microsoft’s FRx replacement before, particularly regarding alternatives to MR. In this article, I am going to cover the pros and cons of F9 within the angle of what exactly to seek in a financial report writer.

In terms of what to look for in a financial reporting tool, I usually put the solution to a simple feature variation evaluation. If you are going to jump through the hoops of looking for an alternative to Management Reporter, it should be a noticeable improvement. If you have moved from FRx to MR, you have already gone through the trouble of migrating to a new program, despite how disappointingly comparable they are. The feature test I suggest employing on an Excel add-in product encompasses the following functionalities: does it have an online portal and/or a mobile application; does it report off of a warehouse or OLAP cube or is it live on the ERP database; does it offer a fully built, configurable data warehouse that can consolidate data from multiple, diverse data sources; and is it positioned within a comprehensive BI suite? Let’s put F9 to the test.

To continue learning more about what you should know about F9 in the context of what to look for in a financial report writer, read the rest of this article here.

by Solver, Inc.

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