Management Reporter – Understanding How It Works

Management Reporter (MR) is the financial reporting tool that comes with Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains (GP).  This is the replacement for FRx, and when companies go to Dynamics GP 2015 they have to use Management Reporter or a third party product for reporting.  We get many questions concerning this change:  Why is FRx going away and why do I have to use Management Reporter?  What are the differences between the two?  Is everything that was available in FRx available in Management Reporter?  What is new in Management Reporter that was not available in FRx?  Let’s answer these questions, thereby helping with the decision on moving to Management Reporter or looking for a third party product for financial reporting.

Why is FRx going away and what is Management Reporter?

The future of Microsoft systems environment is a 64-bit operating system, and FRx did not support this environment.  This is the largest reason why FRx is being replaced by Management Reporter.  The design of Management Reporter was a bundled module with the Dynamics ERP solution, and that was why it replaced FRx.  There have been some shortcomings with Management Reporter, e.g. not having all the standard features of FRx, however the versions of MR have changed and grown from its original design.

What are the differences between Management Reporter and FRx?

The largest difference between FRx and MR is behind the scenes.  FRx is an access database that stores reports and spec. sets.  Management Reporter is a sql database and is stored on your sql server along with your Dynamics and ERP database.  Once you log into Management Reporter for the first time, you will see the similarities between the two and that they look the same; however the terminology is different.  Here are some of the terminology differences:  in FRx there is a Specification Set and in Management Reporter it is called a Building Block Group; Row formats are called Row Definition, Column Layout is a Column Definition, Reporting tree is a Reporting Tree Definition; and Drill Down Viewer is Report Viewer.  The format headings for a Row format are a little different in the Row Definition in Management Reporter; there is a format override, row modifier and the link to the GL is now called Link to Financial Dimension, which means the same thing.

Is everything in FRx available in Management Reporter?

This is the most often asked question. There are some things that are done in FRx that just cannot be done in Management Reporter.  The main item that is in FRx and not in MR is a report cannot go directly when generated into Excel or a printer.  All reports for Management Reporter, when generated, go into the report viewer, and from there the user can export to Excel or print to a printer.

What is new in Management Reporter that is not in FRx?

What I consider the best feature in MR that is not in FRx, is the comment field on a report within the report viewer.  This feature allows the report designer and the user of that the report to have a conversation thru comments directly on the report in the report viewer, and when a new version of the report is run, the user can copy the notes over from one version to the next.  This solves a lot of back and forth thru email during the reporting process.  Another feature that is not necessarily new, however upgraded in Management Reporter, is the missing accounts report.  This feature in Management Reporter is a lot easier for a user to see if there are accounts missing from reports.

Above are just some of the questions to ask when looking at Management Reporter as a replacement for FRx.  There are other reporting tools out there that do more, so the first step is to see does FRx cover all my reporting needs. If the answer is yes, than you can look at using Management Reporter as a possible solution.  However, if the answer to that is no, than you need to look at the alternatives.  The two most common alternatives to MR are Jet Reports, as well as BI 360 from Solver.


COLLEEN WILLIAMS | COO, Consultant Lead

Colleen graduated with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Accounting from California State University San Bernardino. She has extensive accounting experience over the past years working as staff accounting and controller. Colleen has over 10 years Great Plains experience which includes many implementations for private companies. She also has extensive experience with Business Intelligence, budgeting and report writing while working on BI360, QuickBooks, Oracle, PeopleSoft,Timberlineand Solomon. Colleen has worked in various industries that include: real estate, property management, timeshare sales,publishingand insurance. These various industries have given her the necessary experience to handle large company consolidations and report writing, budgeting and forecasting, project accounting, sales invoice processing, and fixed assets.

 

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