Business Central Reporting Tips and Tricks
Do you feel like you’re not making the most of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central’s reporting capabilities? Read on for some top tips from David Clarkson, one of Bam Boom Cloud’s Business Central Consultants.
”Filters is probably one of the most powerful features of Business Central. Master filtering and you can really make the most of your financial data.
How to use filters
In your Chart of Accounts page, the filter button enables you to really drill down into your data. For example, rather than exporting a trial balance to Excel simply to generate a Balance Sheet, you can use filters. Filter the Income/Balance column by ‘Balance Sheet’, filter ‘Account Type’ by Posting Accounts only, or even add a Dimension code to get a Balance Sheet by cost centre. All of this can be done in Business Central without any data manipulation. If needed, you can then take your filtered data to Excel to perform additional analyses such as pivots.
One powerful feature of Business Central is that it lets you filter by multiple fields, and you can also add ‘filter totals by’ which allows you to filter the numerical data that is being pulled through, e.g., by date or by global dimensions.
In Business Central you can also save and name your filtered views for easy future access (note these are personal views only). All saved filter views are listed in the left-hand menu on your Business Central Chart of Accounts page.
Our customers benefit from access to a cheat sheet of our consultants’ most helpful filters (e.g., ‘not equal to 0’ filters out any lines with a zero value). Microsoft also have a useful explainer on how to work with date and time filters in BC here.
Out of the Box Reporting in Business Central
To use the pre-defined reports in Business Central you need to click on ‘Report’ in the header row in the Chart of Accounts view. You can also search for a particular report by name using the global search bar.
Be aware that whenever you run a report in Business Central, you will always get a pop-up window before running it, which allows you to define the layout, filters and other options for the report. It is worth investing some time to test all the options available here – you can keep re-running reports until you’re happy!
Once you are happy with your report, you can export it to various document formats. Exporting to PDF is recommended, and it is worth noting that if you do want to export to Excel you will need to spend time checking the formatting. There are third party reporting extension tools available that can help you extract data into Excel for further analysis. Get in touch with us if you’d like to know more about these extensions.
If there is a particular report you use often, you can set up report schedules to run that report on a regular basis. You can also bookmark the reports you use regularly – they are saved to your role center and added to your BC home screen. You have a report inbox in your BC role center to view all reports you have run.
Analysis Views (and how they work with Account Schedules)
Account Schedules analyse data in your G/L accounts and drive your core business performance reports e.g., Income and Expense reports and Balance Sheet reports. You can use Analysis View in Account Schedules to set up templates and build your own reports. These can be filtered by up to 4 dimensions and allow you to create reports within them. For example, you can set up a department analysis report to view the performance of your business by department.
Click on ‘Show Matrix’ to view your filtered data, and you can click on individual values to drill even further down into the figures. The matrix view lets you change dimensions to view different reports (e.g., sales by month, or sales by department), and you can export the data into Excel for further analysis.
One point to note when using the analysis view section, is that it has a ‘last entry number’ set so if you want to ensure all your latest data is included in the analysis view you need to manually update the report to include recent posts or enable the ’update on posting’ feature. This auto update feature may slow down the report slightly but will ensure all data is included.
Account schedules (recently renamed Finance Reports) are a whole topic in themselves so if you want to learn more, check out Learning Lab #21 on 15 December. Register for future learning labs and watch recaps of previous sessions here: https://bamboomcloud.com/events-learning-labs/. The Learning Labs series was created to provide detailed overviews of some of the best and most useful features of Business Central, to help existing users brush up their skills and provide additional training resources for new users.
Want to learn more about reporting in Business central? Download our free ebook discover more of the powerful reporting features.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more, then get in touch, we’d be happy to chat.