One of the things that QuickBooks—particularly the powerful Enterprise version—does very well is offer an extensive degree of customization through various add-ons. Certain add-ons in the older versions of QuickBooks Enterprise (2014 and prior) such as Advanced Inventory are built into the software and can be activated for a fee. However, Advanced Reporting is only available in QuickBooks Enterprise 2015 where it is an included feature starting with the basic Silver subscription plan. This is a huge benefit to existing and new potential Enterprise users because it means that it is no longer necessary to purchase “bolt-on” third party reporting software. For many that have been clinging to their older versions of Enterprise, this may provide the catalyst to make the jump to 2015.
Limitations In Older QuickBooks Reports
QuickBooks Enterprise already has reporting capabilities, of course, as any accounting software does. However, many users have complained in the past that if they needed a report beyond the “canned” reports that are available (which are, granted, extensive), the process to customize a report to meet certain criteria is not exactly user-friendly. Moving beyond the customization of existing reports means using Custom ODBC Reporting (found on the Reports > Custom Reports menu).
Unfortunately, fully utilizing Custom ODBC generally means having a grasp of how relational databases work. If your eyes began to glaze over at the words “relational database,” chances are Custom ODBC reporting is not going to be for you. At best, you will likely have difficulty getting satisfactory results when building reports, especially given the time investment you will likely make.
Unlock Your QuickBooks Data
Advanced Reporting instead provides a powerful yet user-friendly report builder that is based on the QlikView platform. The tool does have a small learning curve, but that is a natural trade-off when using such a capable system. The degree of report customization that is possible is unmatched by anything previously available in QuickBooks. Even such minor details as the report’s appearance and text styles can be manipulated.
The system can start from reports that you already commonly use to provide a basis for new ones—no sense reinventing the wheel, after all. However, Advanced Reporting will also walk you through creating an entirely customized report from scratch if that is what you need. Every business is slightly different, and while management metrics may be generally similar across an industry, deriving those metrics from your company’s particular mix of products, suppliers, customers, and distribution methods will likely mean capturing subtle but crucial data points.
As with any reporting suite worth its salt, Advanced Reporting features interactive charts and reports that make “what-if” analysis and drilling down much easier. The suite’s search tools are also powerful, which becomes particularly important as your company grows and its data file grows along with it. Finally, users have the ability to create dashboards for management purposes, with an accounts receivable aging dashboard already built into the system.
Side Notes To QuickBooks Advanced Reporting
There are a few very minor caveats associated with Advanced Reporting. First, the first time you use the system, it will go through an initial setup process that can take an hour or longer for large company files (as in several hundred megabytes or more). Fortunately, the QuickBooks file can still be used while this process is running in the background. Second, odd though it may seem, the company file must be in multi-user mode to run Advanced Reporting. Finally, because of the way Advanced Reporting stores company data for analysis (it will actually create a sub-folder named Advanced Reporting in the folder that holds your QuickBooks file), it will be necessary to refresh that data before generating new reports, although you will have the option to use existing data. In short, Advanced Reporting is a powerful, user-friendly reporting tool that provides a welcome alternative to the existing reporting tools in QuickBooks for management tasks that require more than just basic information.
Have Questions? Need Help?
Have more questions or would you like help with QuickBooks? Just give us a call at 866-949-7267 or click here to send us a message. We understand how to make QuickBooks give you the information you need and can help show you how to use it to make your business run more efficiently.