Have you ever needed to print a report or extract data out of Dynamics GP and wondered which reporting tool you should use? Before you decide which reporting tool to use you should ask yourself some critical questions:

  1. How often is the data updated/new data posted?
  2. How often do I extract the data or run this report, and how often is the data analyzed or presented?
  3. What is the optimal method of preparing/presenting the data (e.g. PDF, Excel, pivot tables, graphical)?
  4. Who is the audience viewing or analyzing the data?
    • How often will the end user need to have access to the most recent version of the data?
    • How will the data be consumed by the audience? (report, columnar, subtotaled, grouped, pivot tables, charts)?
    • How often does the audience want to receive/review the data? (email as requested, automatic delivery on a regular basis, access the data on their own)
  5. What tools do I have access to?
  6. How comfortable am I with the Dynamics GP data and table structures (in case I need to build a custom SmartList or report)?

 

Once you have answered these questions it will be easier to determine which reporting tool to use to best achieve your goal. This will provide you, your end user or stakeholder with the data delivered in the best format for ease of use.

Report Writer

If you just need a report such as a posting journal, then a report using Dynamics GP’s inherent Report Writer will suffice. Posting journals, analysis and historical data reports are located under the reports menu of each module. If you need to view or report on more data than the out of the box reports provide, these reports can be modified.

SmartList and Excel Reports

If you need the data in a columnar format that can be exported to Excel, then SmartList or Excel Reports would be optimal.

Did you know that all posting reports can be turned off (Tools > Setup > Posting > Posting) as they can always be reprinted using the report menu of each module? I am a big believer in not wasting paper, so I turn off all reports knowing that if I need them (which is very rarely) I know exactly where to go to re-print them.

Listed below are the many types of reports that are available to Dynamics GP users:

Type of Report Report Description
Dynamics GP Reports
  • Reports found under the reports menu for each module.
  • Can be exported to *.txt or *.csv files; also PDF if Acrobat Writer is installed.
  • Easy for the everyday user to build limited restrictions and generate.
  • Reports do not cross companies.
  • Must be logged into Dynamics GP.
SmartLists
  • Real time data queries for all master and transactional records (posted, unposted or voided).
  • Easy for the everyday user to create custom SmartLists (favorites) or queries by adding columns or shifting the order of the columns.
  • SmartLists do not cross companies (out of the box).
  • Must be logged into Dynamics GP.
SmartList Designer (custom SmartLists)
  • A way to build custom SmartLists or enhance current SmartLists – allows you to join tables and bring more data into your queries.
  • Real time data queries for all master and transactional records (posted, unposted or voided).
  • Relatively easy for the everyday user to create more advanced SmartLists by joining tables based on primary keys (have to be somewhat comfortable with the Dynamics GP tables and fields).
  • Custom SmartLists do not cross companies (out of the box).
  • Must be logged into Dynamics GP.
Navigation Lists
  • Real time data queries with limited data.
  • Easy for the everyday user to add limited columns and save custom navigation lists.
  • Must be logged into GP.
Excel Reports
  • Excel reports with live data connections to the databases.
  • One set of reports for each company.
  • Relatively easy for the everyday user to update Excel reports by adding fields (have to be somewhat comfortable with the Dynamics GP field names and updating a SQL select statement).
  • Reports do not cross companies (out of the box).
  • Do not have to be logged into GP to access.
Reporting Services Reports (SSRS)
  • Reports available through a web url mirroring many of the Dynamics GP reports.
  • Can easily be exported to Excel, PDF, etc.
  • One set of reports for each company.
  • Must have programming experience to write custom reports and be comfortable in Visual Studio or the SSRS report designer.
  • Reports do not cross companies (out of the box).
  • Do not have to be logged into GP to access.

 

How many of these reports are you aware of? How many of these reporting tools do you actually use? In my next post I will discuss the two most commonly used reporting tools: Report Writer and SmartList.

To learn more about how you can take advantage of this and other Dynamics GP features, visit RSM’s Microsoft Dynamics GP resource. To make sure you stay up to date with the Microsoft Dynamics Community, subscribe to our Microsoft Dynamics Community Newsletter. For more information on Microsoft Dynamics 365, contact us.

By: Tracy Jo Dance

Tagged with →