Comparing oranges with apples: Why Sage PFW ERP Intelligence is different to FRx

Sage PFW ERP Intelligence is an excellent product with which to replace FRx. It is however, a different product to FRx which means that inevitably there are many ways in which it can and will be perceived as “superior” or “inferior” to FRx. The purpose of this blog post is to share with you the details of the Intelligence financial reports so that you gain a better understanding of how and why they differ to FRx reports. PLEASE NOTE: Intelligence goes way beyond just financial reporting  and can provide a single holistic view across the enterprise, delivered real time at the click of a button in Excel

1. How report layouts are built

Sage Intelligence financial reports extract 2 years of financial account balances by default, and have this delivered real time into Excel based on the fiscal year chosen at run time. Please note that Sage Intelligence is not limited to extracting 2 years of data, but that the standard financial report templates are designed to limit the extraction of data to 2 years only for the common requirement of ACTUAL vs. PRIOR report layouts. The standard reports can be modified to cater for more than 2 years of financial data. The purpose of having 2 years of data, including budgets, is so that within a single report, a variety of report layouts can be supported from within the same Excel report workbook. These can be the out-the-box layouts such as Actual Budget Variance month on month layouts, to Actual Budget Prior for the current -month and year to date layouts, or can be variants thereof.

With FRx you have to build a layout from scratch according to the specific financial layout required. With Intelligence, you have the flexibility to choose a standard report layout that most closely resembles your desired layout and work off that base to achieve your desired result via some customization. Alternatively, layouts can be created from first principles, if a user prefers to create a financial layout in this way.

2. The way the data is retrieved

The standard Intelligence financial reports extract data to the lowest General Ledger account level by default, and are not aggregated to higher levels as with FRx. This means that the number of rows that exist in your financial report effectively equate to the number of GL accounts you have in your General Ledger. FRx differs vastly to this in that each row definition contains aggregated GL accounts based on the rules applied in the FRx layout interface, resulting in the reporting running more quickly as it is dealing with less data.

This is a common misconception when comparing FRx reports to Intelligence reports – if an Intelligence report was aggregated to the same level as that of the FRx report, the run times would be the same. Experience suggests that users like to have all GL detail available, and roll or hide that data using Excel grouping functionality, as it supports decision making rather than working with high level balances.

3.      Access to detailed information

The Intelligence financial reports all ship with pre-defined drill down reports, allowing users to drill down real time and interrogate the General Ledger account balance in question from within Excel by receiving a detailed listing of general ledger transaction details for the chosen account.

With FRx, transaction drill down on most summary and/or aggregated reports is supported.

4.      Viewing the data differently

Based on the fact that the Intelligence financial reports have 2 years of financial data existing in the Excel report workbook, users are able to change period/month within the Excel financial report, and view different period/month movements and different year to date or accumulative results, offering great flexibility to the user and eliminating the need to have to rerun the report for other periods.

More data is required to support the Intelligence report than that of a standard FRx report which is specific to the chosen base period, which can result in slightly longer run-times.

5.      How data is presented

All Sage Intelligence reports are delivered real time into Excel as the default frontend delivery platform, offering users the ability to leverage their existing Excel skills and knowledge to format, manipulate and present their reports in a professional way that is meaningful to their business, and save this format for future use. FRx returns the financial results in its proprietary front end and, although it has the ability to export output to Excel, is not considered or intended to be a true Excel-based reporting solution.

In conclusion, it is important to note that one cannot really compare an FRx report to an Intelligence financial report as they are so vastly different in the way that they are constructed. Once you understand these differences and are aware of them when designing your reports, you will be able to embrace the change and gain tremendous value from Sage PFW ERP Intelligence as an alternative to FRx, as well as benefit from Excel-based reporting  that goes beyond the GL and across the enterprise.

About Sage PFW ERP Intelligence

Sage PFW ERP Intelligence provides immediate insight into meaningful information from across your business, delivering automated financial, payroll and management reports in the familiar environment of Microsoft® Excel®. The reports can be accessed at any time and are fully customizable with drill-down capabilities, allowing for enhanced collaboration and decision-making.

Intelligence integrates with your Sage PFW ERP package, pulling real-time data directly from the database, thereby eliminating manual report preparation and repetitive data extracts.

Intelligence is also the Sage BI offering for Pastel Accounting Evolution, Partner and Xpress, Pastel Payroll, Sage ERP Accpac, Sage ERP MAS 90/200, Sage ERP MAS 500, Sage Peachtree, Sage Simply Accounting and VIP Payroll.