Financial reporting is an essential part of managing operations, maintaining credibility, and making important business decisions that impact growth. From capital expenditures to cash flow, you need accurate and reliable financial statements to show you how your business is performing and help identify new business opportunities.
Whether you’re new to Microsoft Dynamics AX or a seasoned veteran, you have likely experienced one of the many challenges in the area of financial reporting. As an ERP solution, Dynamics AX is the cream of the crop, designed for fast-growing, complex companies who need a flexible platform. However, what you gain in every other area can be diminished when you are not able to quickly produce the reports you need to run your business. To help you resolve these issues, we are going to go through some of the reasons why these reporting challenges in Dynamics AX exist and how you can get around them moving forward.
Built-in Reporting Tools in Dynamics AX
Reporting in Dynamics AX is difficult because of the reason why migrating data is hard – the data structure is highly complex and requires technical resources at every turn. Most users complain that they can’t do anything themselves, from creating a new report to a simple change to an existing report – everything requires a developer or reliance on a consultant. The result is a highly time-consuming, expensive, and unreliable process.
The Microsoft stack of reporting tools that comes with Dynamics AX is extensive. Here are 4 of the key reporting tools used by Dynamics AX users:
- SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)
Native reporting tool used for standard out-of-the-box operational reports and custom reports. Requires technical knowledge of SSRS, Visual Studio, and Dynamics AX database structure
- Management Reporter (MR)
A financial report writer designed to create, maintain, share and view financial statements. Only includes GL reporting, without real-time web reporting or Excel integration. Slow to update reports and difficult to use without the proper technical background.
Well-known, commonly-used analytical tool used for data exploration. Highly manual process, with no data governance and version control.
- Power BI
Analytical tool used for dashboard creation and visualization. Easy to use as long as all data sources are connected to centralized data storage.
While these tools are some of the best options on the market today, they are useless without the right people and technical expertise to use them. When it comes to reporting, all companies need access to reliable data in the specific format they are looking for. When your executive team requests an operational report to help decide on production levels, they need that information as soon as possible. Unfortunately, these executives are forced to wait weeks or months for this report to be created, if at all. The bottom line is that each of these native tools is powerful for developers but has pitfalls for the average business user. Some of the challenges Dynamics AX users experience are:
- Dependency on highly technical developers to build and edit reports
- Long wait times on IT department
- Lack of self-sufficiency results in exporting and manual updates
- Cost of frequent data errors
- Lack of flexibility in report formatting
- No sharing or collaboration capabilities
As a result of these costly and inefficient challenges, many companies opt for third-party integrations that are built to resolve these issues and help you tap into the tools Microsoft has made available. At OnActuate, we want you to get the most out of your Dynamics AX investment. That’s why we strongly believe in using the tools you are given, but finding ways around the dependency on development and IT. What you need is a front-end reporting tool that every person in your company can use.
Luckily, there are plenty of alternative tools that offer easy data accessibility, report flexibility, mobility, and collaboration. There is a huge ISV partner network with financial reporting tools specifically designed for Dynamics AX. For more information about other reporting and analytics solutions available for Dynamics AX, please ask our experienced team for product recommendations.
Trust Your Reporting to an Experienced Dynamics AX Team
Flexible financial reporting tools not only produce better, more profitable decisions – they also actively engage and empower your entire company. Every employee will have full visibility into the data in Dynamics AX and have the capabilities to create better reports and dashboards on their own.
Implementing a new financial reporting solution is not always straightforward, depending on the complexity of your infrastructure and multiple data sources. We strongly recommend working with a partner with the experience and resources to help you select the right solution for the job and deploy without any business disruptions.
Improve your financial reporting in Dynamics today. Schedule a quick phone call or meeting to discuss your requirements and we will help you select the right tool for the job!