So, you’re running Dynamics GP, entering invoices, paying vendors, and keeping the business running. But at some point, you wonder if maybe there’s a better way to get data out of your system to start making better decisions based on the performance of your business. You’re already paying to keep GP up and running; shouldn’t GP be able to do something for you?
The answer, of course, is yes. Below, I have outlined three easy-to-use methods for getting data out of the system. Except for Smartlist Builder, all of these options are native to GP. Meaning, no additional software would need to be purchased. If you have a basic knowledge of how ERP systems work, these tips should get you started on your way.
The reason I love Smartlist is that it’s very user-friendly and doesn’t require an in-depth knowledge of SQL or Excel – although such knowledge never hurts. Smartlist Designer was built by Microsoft and comes with every installation of GP. Smartlist Builder is essentially an enhanced version of Smartlist Designer that comes with some additional functionality. You can access Smartlist by clicking Microsoft Dynamics GP>>Smartlist. The neat thing is that it comes pre-loaded with several default smartlists defined by module, which you can then open and begin adding columns and search parameters to get exactly the data you need. Here’s a link to a video from Microsoft on getting started with Smartlist.
Here’s another article with several new templates from Microsoft for even further data mining (if you need help getting these templates downloaded, please reach out to me at the email address below.)
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Refreshable Excel Reports
Microsoft includes these reports as a standard part of your Dynamics GP installation. Unlike Smartlist, the refreshable Excel reports do need to be deployed, but this is as simple as navigating to Microsoft Dynamics GP>>Tool>>Setup>>System>>Reporting Tools Setup and selecting Excel Reports. The reports can then be accessed via the side tab of the Navigation Pane for each module. These reports are often underestimated for the amount of value they bring to the table. Not only can you refresh them at the click of a button to have up-to-the-moment data from GP, but they’re also printed directly to Excel. This means that you can utilize all of the functionality of Excel to refine and present your results. Here’s a great write-up (with screenshots!) from Click Dimensions on the Excel reporting functionality in GP.
Account Rollup Inquiry
Sometimes, all you need to see to begin making data-driven decisions is what has been transacted against a given account segment. You may already have a reporting tool that does this, but often these reports can be slow and finicky when you just need to view a quick rollup. This is where the Account Rollup Inquiry comes in, accessed via Inquiry>>Financial>>Account Rollup Inquiry. This tool allows you to define one of your account segments and report on all of the transactions recorded against it. You can then drill back on the amount for a given period and see the supporting transactions. What this allows you to do is view budget, actual and variance amounts from within a single window in GP for any period/year and segment you choose. A common scenario for using the Account Rollup Inquiry might be when reporting on a series of inventory accounts. For example, say you had several inventory accounts defined for different locations/departments but wanted to look at an overview of a particular segment of the business at a glance. You could define and save an option in this window and come back to it anytime you wanted a quick look at the health of this segment.
Here’s a short article by a Microsoft MVP on how to get started with Account Rollups in GP.
The above are just a few of the many ways that you can get data out of your GP implementation to begin making informed decisions about your business. If you’d like to learn more about any of these options or set up a 1-on-1 to take a deep dive into mining data from your ERP system, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
JOHN NORBERG | Business Software Consultant
After working a variety of jobs through college, from dishwasher at an Italian café to gravedigger and caretaker at a cemetery, John graduated from North Dakota State University and Minnesota State Community Technical College with degrees in Philosophy and Information Technology. In 2014, John began working as a Support Engineer at Microsoft in Fargo, ND, the birthplace of Dynamics GP. He discovered a passion for delivering excellent customer service, and he often lead the team in cases resolved and positive feedback. After two years working Technical Support for GP, John accepted a position at KTL Solutions as a Business Software consultant. Unlike his previous position which had afforded few personal meetings, the deep interaction with clients at KTL Solutions has allowed John to identify and analyze their problems, leading to the implementation of solutions suited to their individual needs.