NAV AS 101 Lesson 2: Am I anti add-on?

exclamation-pointQuite a few people have asked me if I’m anti add-on. The answer is, “No, I’m not anti add-on, I’m just really pro account schedule.” I believe account schedules can do whatever you need related to foundational financial reporting using NAV. If you are looking to produce your basic financial statements using the software you already own with no additional cost or separate tool, then account schedules are exactly what you need.

There are many more reasons for needing reporting other than financial reporting, and NAV does not fulfill all of these needs. If you are looking for a comprehensive Business Intelligence solution, Key Performance Indicators, Dashboards, sophisticated graphics, beautiful interfaces, or even operational reporting that reaches out to other areas of your ERP system before the information hits the general ledger, then account schedules are not the tool for you.

If you’re a Microsoft Dynamics NAV user, like I am, there are a whole ton of choices to make regarding financial reporting.

  • Account Schedules, the native financial reporting package that reports on general ledger transactions.
  • Analysis Reports, also a native NAV reporting option, that extends reporting to item ledger entries from the sales and purchasing tables.
  • Object Designer, the native C/SIDE development tool used for the NAV application, which includes a report writer.
  • SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services), a Microsoft reporting tool package that uses the SQL programming language.
  • PowerPivot, the free Microsoft Excel add-on that became available with Microsoft Office 2010, allowing data to load from NAV (and other data sources) through a direct connection to Excel.
  • JET Express, a former ISV (Independent Software Vendor) reporting solution, released for NAV 2009 in 2011 as available for NAV users, and included with the Microsoft BREP (Business Ready Enhancement Plan), instead of as a separately purchased add-on solution.
  • Management Reporter, released by Microsoft in 2012 as a free add-on for all Microsoft Dynamics ERPs with the caveat that, for NAV users, it is only available if you already had the licensing for FRx.
  • Any large number of additional ISV solutions, sold as separately purchased add-ons to NAV.

As the Controller for my company, it’s my job to stay informed on what’s available and determine which choices are the best possible given the available skills sets of the employees who use them and the overall cost. It’s also my job to make sure I know what the future direction of the ERP software is, so I can advise on decisions we make as a company with that knowledge in hand.

I have to admit, I’m the kind of person who likes choices, and I’ve sampled every single option on the list above in one way or another. The reporting strategy for my company is based on three principles:  1) the report must balance to the general ledger, 2) it must be consistently replicated in future periods, 3) it must be able to be maintained by someone in the company with the right skill set.

Ultimately, my choice for foundational financial reporting, the reporting that I need to produce as a deliverable for my company each and every month, is account schedules.

This posting is part of the NAV Account Schedules 101 series.  Find the entire list of lessons here.

Don’t forget to visit the Account Schedule Formulas and Account Schedule Examples pages if you’re looking for even more ideas on how to improve your financial reporting using account schedules with Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

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