Reporting and the Chart of Accounts Structure

Reporting begins with the Chart of Accounts Structure. Business Central can be used to create General Ledger (GL) codes and categorise them into Income Statement or Balance Sheet codes and then further categorise them into Revenue/COGS/Expenses/Assets/Liabilities/Equity.

In addition, you can use Business Central to create further sub-categories for various accounts.  These are flexible and can be changed, but they are usually defined at the design phase to allow reports to be cut out of the box. Typically, they are:

  • GL account structure used for Management Accounts
  • GL sub-category structure for Statutory Financial Statements (GL accounts are then mapped into sub-categories as required).

Find out how Business Central Reporting processes will benefit your business.

Dimensions

Business Central takes the structure further by adding limitless additional Dimensions that can be tagged to any transaction, allowing for a greater depth of analysis and reporting.  Some common examples of Dimensions are:

Department or cost centres

Profit centres

Location

Project code/reference

Dimensions are critical in the design of any system because you need to understand the reporting outputs required first. How you want your P&L’s to be structured and what additional analysis is required on your balance sheet accounts are crucial in ensuring that your system is fit for purpose
and is driven by your business requirements.

Within reason, the design is limitless and flexible. If you choose to add new Dimensions or amend historical Dimensions in future, that’s no problem.

Creating reports

Reports can be created in Business Central using account schedules. Finance users can rapidly create reports due to the system’s similarities with Excel.

For more advanced reports, consolidations and complex reports, there is a range of additional add-ins that can take your reporting to another level. Again, your finance people can quickly pick up report writing as many of them use Excel as the “engine”.

NB: Excel is the engine NOT the system and is linked into Business Central to provide dynamic reporting.

In summary

Agile data presentation

Flexibility of the GL account, GL sub-categories and Dimensions allows multiple ways to present data and limitless reporting options.

Excel is the engine

Excel is often converted into the engine, reporting data from the system and updating/refreshing in real time as adjustments are made.

Continuous accounting culture

There’s no manual updating of Excel reports, which maintains your continuous accounting culture.

Simple and cost-effective

Using Excel means your finance staff can write their own reports. There’s no expensive training or knowledge transfer required.

Better predictions

Budgets can be maintained in the system along with any number of forecasts that can be used to compare actuals against predictive reports.

Accuracy

Spreadsheet errors are a thing of the past and the risk of reporting incorrect numbers is significantly reduced.

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