9 reasons why CFOs, controllers and accountants prefer Excel over Acumatica ARM for their financial and project reports
I have been demoing our Acumatica Excel Reporting tool to CFOs, controllers and accountants for a while and one of the questions I often get asked by prospects is why they should use it instead of Acumatica’s built-in financial reporting tool, ARM. ARM (“Analytical Report Manager”) is a good tool for companies with basic financial and project reporting needs, but as you’ll see in this post, there are many reasons why our users love Velixo Reports and prefer the intuitive power and flexibility of Excel for their financial reporting needs.
1. Excel is everywhere and everybody knows how to use Excel
Excel is everywhere you look in the business world — especially in areas where people are adding up numbers a lot, like marketing, business development, sales, and, yes, finance. For all the talk about end-to-end financial suites like SAP, Oracle, and Peoplesoft, at the end of the day, people do financial analysis by extracting data from those back-end systems and shoving it around in Excel spreadsheets.
— James Kwak (professor, research fellow and author)
Fifteen years ago, I was working on my very first ERP package, Dynacom. No matter how flexible and customizable we tried making our reports, users kept exporting them to Excel. That’s when I first realized that we should embrace Excel rather than fight against it. Fast-forward to the cloud era, Excel is still as popular and the same need exists. Velixo Reports solves it by adding a set of tools and functions that are specially designed to work with Acumatica.
The beauty of Velixo Reports lies in its simplicity. Installation takes just a few minutes, and anybody familiar with Excel can immediately start building professional-looking reports with live Acumatica data. No manual exports are needed, and your completed reports can be refreshed in one click to view data of another financial period, year, branch, subaccount, etc.
Acumatica ARM uses the row/column/unit set concept that users of FRx may be familiar with. There are benefits to this concept, however, the process is not very intuitive for new users and constantly going back and forth between 3 pages can be time-consuming.
2. Better editing capabilities
Excel allows you to do everything from the same window and use all the editing capabilities that you already take for granted: copy/paste, fill down, find & replace, undo, etc. Do more in less time with tools that you’re already familiar with.
3. Advanced visuals and formatting
Excel includes very flexible and powerful visuals and formatting capabilities. Borders, icons, conditional formatting, colors, charts and graphs are all possible with Excel. Last but not least — your company logo can be embedded easily. At least one Velixo customer would have made this the #1 benefit in this post!
4. Multiple tabs and reports in a single package
Use tabs to show different branches or business units, or use them to include completely different reports (P&L, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Statement) inside the same workbook and financial package.
5. Collapsible Sections and Groups
It often does not make sense to show a fully detailed P&L; logical groupings and major headings make your financials easier to read and interpret. The built-in reporting tool in Acumatica forces you to make a decision at design time, and you can’t switch from expanded to collapsed view without having to change the report definition or create two separate reports.
The Excel grouping functionality allows you to show a summary and then lets you expand a set of rows or columns to view more details. It can be a “Sales” line that gets expanded into dozens of sales accounts, or a year to date column that you can expand to see a month-by-month amount. It’s very simple to use, as you can see in this video:
6. Combine GL, PM and External Data into a single report
ARM is limited to a single data source. With Excel, you can include functions that retrieve data from all the supported Acumatica modules and mash-up the numbers with external data embedded in your spreadsheet through external data connections (OData, SQL, etc.). One of our customers is retrieving HR data from an external system and using headcount data in their calculations.
7. Easy consolidations, all the detail
If you have used the consolidation feature in Acumatica before, you know that it creates a single consolidation transaction per financial period and that you loose visibility on the detailed transaction history when drilling down. Velixo Reports overcomes that limitation by making it possible to build reports that include data from multiple and companies and tenants, without having to consolidate them beforehand. The powerful Smart Drilldown feature fully supports consolidations, allowing you to drill into the different tenants and companies involved in a calculation.
8. Granular subaccount filters
Out of the box, Acumatica only provides a from/to filter on subaccounts for ARM reports. Velixo Reports gives you the ability to use the same range identifiers across the application, allowing you to list specific subaccounts, include multiple non-contiguous from/to ranges, use wildcards, and even exclude specific subaccounts with the “-“ prefix (another Velixo Reports exclusive)
9. Advanced formulas
Excel can be used for complex simulations, calculations etc. You’re probably not launching a manned mission to Mars, however, you certainly enjoy the power of the Excel calculation engine. Some calculations that are impossible to do using the formula engine inside Acumatica can be done easily from Excel. A recent example that we did for a demo is a royalty calculation spreadsheet that uses an external rate table for the calculation.
Sign up for a Velixo Reports webinar — be happy
If Acumatica reporting is important to your organization, then the choice is obvious: Velixo is the only reporting-tool of its kind designed for Acumatica, by Acumatica experts. You can be up and running within a few minutes.
Visit our web site at www.velixo.com to learn more about Velixo Reports or sign up for one of our upcoming webinars and see why so many Acumatica customers trust Velixo for all their financial and project reporting needs.