Here are four key areas to consider during your search and evaluation of the accounting software options. We’ll explore each of these topics in more detail in a series of blogs.
- Fund Accounting
- Budgeting and Encumbrances
In our first blog, we looked at Fund Accounting. Let’s look at Accounting Reporting next.
How Is the Accounting Software With Reporting?
What are some Reporting questions to ask during your accounting software evaluation?
- Is the reporting solution native to the accounting software or is it an external third-party reporting tool?
- Is the reporting solution cloud-based or are there components that are on-premise?
- How is the fund accounting reporting solution able to generate all your financial statements and reports without having to export to Excel and do additional work outside the solution to finalize the reports?
- Be sure and consider all the reports you prepare now, both inside your accounting system and in Excel or other external systems.
- Also consider reports that you’ve never been able to generate.
- How does the reporting solution handle slicing, filtering, and subtotaling your financial data by the different Funds, GL Accounts, and other Segments/Dimensions?
- How does the reporting solution handle Funds or Grants that run on program years that are not the same as your organization’s fiscal year or span a period longer than a year?
- How can the reporting solution handle non-financial or statistical data in reports?
- What calculation or user-defined capabilities are available in the reporting solution?
- Does the reporting solution come with default reports to use as a starting point?
- Are the accounting users, department managers, and executives able to run their own reports with run-time filters and parameters, and are they able to design ad hoc reports without the assistance of IT staff?
- If an external accounting reporting tool is needed for more robust reporting, what reports are available within the accounting software (without using the external reporting tool)?
- Are these reports configurable?
- What Budget reports are available?
- What Forecasting reports are available?
- How does your solution export reports to Excel or other formats?
- Can page breaks and page headers be removed during export?
- Is the export to Excel direct or does it require an intermediate step to save it as a .csv format first?
- If the accounting reporting software solution is external, how does it connect to the accounting system’s data?
- What other data can the reporting solution connect to, such as additional databases, data warehouses, and other types of data?
- What security settings are available for the reports?
- Can you set the security by Fund, GL Account, or other Segment/Dimension?
- How does the solution distribute reports to users who are not users within the accounting software?
That is a lot of questions! But, Reporting is a key factor in your accounting software decision, so spend the time to really understand if and how it will meet your Association’s needs. Provide examples of a cross section of your reports and financial statements during the evaluation process. Mock up any new reports that you want to be able to generate that you don’t currently produce.
Then when it comes time to implement your accounting software, be sure to take reporting needs into account during the design and configuration phase, to ensure that the data will be entered and tracked by Segment/Dimension, etc. in a manner for reporting just the way you need it.
Does your Association need to allocate costs on a transaction basis or costs that are pooled and allocated at the end of each month? We’ll help prepare you to evaluate the Allocation functionality in accounting software in our next blog in this series.
Contact the experts at Sikich to help you analyze your accounting requirements and find a solution that fits your Association’s needs.