Financial reporting and analysis for businesses nowadays is not just about traditional financial statements such as Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss report and Cashflow statement. These reports are still the fundamentals of financial reporting, but organisations must look beyond the standard financial statements and harness the power of data visualisation, business intelligence and even artificial intelligence for making timely, forward-looking, data-driven business decisions.

With Business Central in the cloud, the data recorded in the system is used in multiple ways for financial management and reporting:

  • The out-of-the-box Role Centres can be easily personalised to present a Finance dashboard with statistical cues, graphical charts, and key financial information for tracking financial performance and monitoring costs and financial risks.
  • There are prebuilt financial statements and analysis reports that can be viewed on screen or saved in PDF, Word or Excel format, which can be run on demand or on schedule.
  • With Intelligent Cloud, the financial data is further analysed to provide insights into financial KPIs and the historical data fed through Azure Machine Learning enables future projection of the company’s financial wellbeing, such as providing cashflow forecast and prediction on customer’s payment statuses.
  • By combining Analysis by Dimension view with General Ledger in Account Schedules, finance users can utilise this report writing functionality to produce financial reports in different composition and structure.
  • Power BI is closely integrated and embedded in Business Central, which fills in the gaps of some reporting and analysis limitation, specifically enabling business users to slice and dice the financial data in a flexible and dynamic manner.

We have already shared a cheatsheet with all reporting modalities available in Business Central in Part 1 (link) of this blog.

  • Our viewpoint for financial management is to use the Role Centre as the primary interface for each user to begin her day-to-day interactions within the BC environment. Thus, this needs to be personalized for her benefit and only show the information and enable actions that directly improve her productivity.
    • This link provides more details on how to design the Role Centre.
    • In addition, our recent webinar (link) also presents Walkerscott’s view of a best practices Role Centre.
  • Next, financial reporting should be enabled using the right reporting solution – whether reporting only on a single entity in Business Central or over a collection of entities within a Group that use different source ERP systems.
    • Aspects to consider include:
      • Ease of managing multiple reporting hierarchies (management, statutory reporting and so on)
      • Automatic consolidation and intercompany elimination rules
      • Sharing & report distribution, including addition of relevant commentary
    • The attached deck (included at the end of this blog) covers these options and decision points in detail. Check out the final 10 minutes of the webinar where we go over these as well.
  • Finally, we envision a change of mindset for financial reporting from voluminous decks of data sent across at the end of the month and analysed post-facto to ongoing, real-time, self-service reporting and analytics to collaboratively keep a finger on the pulse of the business and take actions proactively.

Download the full slide deck here.