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How many reports can you get out of QuickBooks - Never Enough...
QB Custom Reporting
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QuickBooks Enterprise Advanced Reporting Reports
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QuickBooks Enterprise Advanced Reporting
The big news in the world of custom reporting at the moment is the exit of Xpanded Reports which ended operations at the close of business yesterday. I will not go into the what, why, how and all that comes with that news primarily because I don’t have any answers whatsoever.
Honestly, I can’t really speak to pros and cons of Xpanded Reports because I have not been a user myself. I had an interest in the software when it was a desktop application early on, but lost interest when it was taken to the “cloud”. I’m also not a big fan of the monthly service fee aspect either. I understand why it exists but in the end I have always been a bit of a control freak when it comes to things like software. I would rather own the software and have the data under my control. Again, I can see how some might like and even benefit from using the cloud and paying monthly to do so, but when I have a choice that is not the option I would choose. You always have the possibility that the software you are using will no longer be supported, or that the company will go out of business; but if you own it and it lives on your systems you can choose to keep it up and running as long as works. However, in this environment you have no other option but to find a replacement as soon as possible, but until you do you have to live without whatever it was you had and I prefer not to be in that situation.
Another reason I was not a user of Xpanded Reports is that our company does a lot of custom reporting work that goes above what Xpanded Reports was capable of doing, so when companies come to us we find a tool that can get that job done. There are quite a few reporting tools out there on the market and I am learning about new ones from time to time, but I think the one that comes closest to Xpanded Reports at the moment is probably QQube. QQube does not live in the cloud and it does not have a monthly fee so you don’t have those issues lingering in your mind. After some initial training and guidance I think a typical Excel user can figure QQube out and use it quite effectively. My favorite tool is still the Custom Advanced Reporting (CAR) tool built within QuickBooks Enterprise, but as “Murph” has pointed out it is only available to Enterprise users. There may be more options out there and if I come across a new one that looks like a good replacement for Xpanded Reports I will be sure to share it with you.
There are other discussions about what can be used to replace Xpanded Reports. “Murph” wrote a brief article called Alternatives to Xpanded Reports (http://www.intuitiveaccountant.com/vendor-news/alternatives-to-xpanded-reports/) so there really is no need for me to mention or review the products he has already covered. What I do want to talk about is another tool entering the market by Intuit, but it too will be only for Enterprise users. This new product is an add-on, similar to Advanced Inventory and Advanced Pricing called QuickBooks Enterprise Advanced Reporting or QBAR. Because it is an add-on I assume it will have either a monthly or annual fee but at this point it is still in Beta and available to users in QBES v14 R5 for “free”. Even though this new product is still in Beta, Intuit reviewed the content of this article and approved the limited information I am discussing.
The Beta for this new product is open to hundreds of existing QuickBooks Enterprise users at this time and the tool is still in its early stages, hence the word Beta. For those that would like to learn more about the product visit the site that Intuit has created on their Enterprise site (http://enterprisesuite.intuit.com/products/advanced-reporting/).
At this time there are only 8 reports that a user can build upon and those are A/R Aging Summary, A/R Aging Detail, Deposit Detail, Sales by Item Detail, Job Profitability Summary, Job Estimate vs. Actual Detail, Inventory Valuation Detail and Profit & Loss by Job. This may not cover every reporting need that is out there, but it is a start and this list will almost certainly be added to as the program grows (see image 2).
You may be wondering what makes this any different than the reports currently inside QuickBooks. Well, the idea is to open up ALL data fields available inside QuickBooks and to allow the user to group the report by any of those fields as well and currently you can do just that. The resulting report has the look and feel of Excel (see image 3). You currently cannot add any formula fields directly into the reports but you can export the report to Excel with two simple clicks. I can’t say for certain that you will be able to add formulas directly in the product in the future, but I do know there is a lot of room for growth and all we can do is watch to see what they do with it.
Finally, I want to touch on something that I find very important, performance. I don’t want to have to wait for much of anything let alone a report. That’s what I love about the Custom Advanced Reporting Tool and its direct access to the QuickBooks data. QBAR is not a “direct access” program even though you access the program directly from inside QuickBooks. The first time you run QBAR it builds its “database” and it has to refresh every time you want to work with it, this is the same behavior you have with most other reporting tools though, so it isn’t anything new. I’m not sure exactly what performance will look like with this tool when it comes to larger files but it will be something to keep an eye on.
I would almost bet that this article has created more questions than it has answered, but hopefully at least for Enterprise users there will be another option to replace Xpanded Reports.