Financial reporting has been the leading Business Intelligence process since the inception of analytics – and this is no different for non-profit organizations. If you’re using Microsoft Dynamics GP, you’re aware of the accounting system’s built-in financial report writing functionality. That said, several of our non-profit customers are shopping for independent software vendor (ISV) solutions for their financial reporting processes. Why? ISV financial reporting solutions are designed as a direct response to customer calls for expanded and streamlined analytics for a richer understanding of organizational data, trends, opportunities, and threats. This article will discuss the benefits of a third party financial reporting tool for not-for-profit organizations utilizing Microsoft Dynamics GP.
There are a few top characteristics that should drive your search for a financial report writer. The top priority for a financial reporting software should be ease of use, so your business end users, specifically accounting and finance team members, can manage the tool without depending on IT department involvement. Next up: collaboration is such an important aspect of decision-making, even for littler not-for-profit teams, so you should shop for a technology that empowers impactful teamwork, shifting out of the manual process of merging disparate spreadsheets and lengthy back-and-forth email threads. Teamwork then takes the importance of security up a notch. Password-protected access rights is just one way to ensure that sensitive information doesn’t get in front of the wrong eyes. These three characteristics should be the overarching criteria when evaluating a variety of reporting options for your non-profit Dynamics GP analytical processes.
In addition to these top characteristics, there are plenty of aspects to modern software that you should be analyzing when shopping ISV financial report writers. Pinpoint how you want to pull your data; what kind of platform you’d prefer; if mobile reporting is essential, considering your team dynamic; and whether a complete BI suite fits your analytical goals. Beyond these considerations, you should be looking to see how a financial report writer can help you achieve your organizational goals that are specific to not-for-profits.
How you integrate your data can be a good starting point in your search for the right software. Modern report writers enable you to query your Dynamics GP information in more than one way. The built-in Dynamics reporting functions, like GP Report Writer and Management Reporter, offer a live integration directly from the Dynamics GP ERP database, so you can generate a report with real-time data. This is a great option for some of our customers who depend on up-to-date information for urgent deadlines, but you might slow down the Dynamics GP server if you have multiple users querying larger data sets, sometimes simultaneously. However, you don’t have the report design flexibility that you can achieve with ISV reporting options, some providing direct integrations from GP. If you’re concerned about flexibility, a BI data store integration, like a data warehouse or an online analytical processing (OLAP) cube, delivers a more powerful performance for your analytics. A BI data store is an additional technology investment, and you have to replicate your data from Dynamics GP and other data sources for an up-to-the-minute financial report. If you’re not sure when it comes to deciding between an OLAP cube and a data warehouse, it’s important to do your research, so you can narrow down which products you can choose between to deploy.
To continue learning more about non-profit reporting with Dynamics GP, read the rest of this article here.