Reporting Tools for Dynamics 365 Business Central

In Dynamics 365 Business Central, there are quite a few different reporting tools, and each one is best for a particular set of use cases. Below are brief descriptions of each of the most common reporting tools available for Business Central, to help you select the right one for your specific need.

Business Central Financials

Business Central Financials lets you create a variety of financial statement reports in Dynamics 365 Business Central, and display the data in different ways. These reports are designed using a combination of rows, columns, and analysis views as building blocks for each report. The reports leverage General Ledger categories, so any new GL accounts are automatically added to the appropriate reports.

Analysis Views

These views are utilized by Business Central Financials but are also useful for ad hoc querying of dimensional data from within Business Central. This allows pivot table analysis on up to 4 different dimensions per view. See our instructions on setting up Analysis Views.

Business Central Reports

The out-of-the box reports within Business Central can utilize either Word Templates or SQL Reporting Services report layouts. The system will allow for multiple different layouts per report, and you can assign different layouts to individual customers or vendors.

SQL Reporting Service Reports

With SRS report layouts, you can create, deploy and manage reports for your company. They have broad reporting functionality for multiple data sources.

SRS can be used to make graphical, interactive, free-form, or tabular reports from data sources that can be relational, multidimensional, or XML-based. Reports visualizations can include sparklines, charts, and maps. Note that these will be stored in RDL format and may be referred to as RDLC layouts.

Word Layouts

Word layouts let you leverage the data from Business Central Reports, but with much greater control over the appearance. This lets you create more professional, on-brand reports for your company right through Business Central, by leveraging the familiar features of Word.

List Pages

A list page within Business Central displays data from an underlying table or query, either as rows and columns or as individual tiles. The user can easily customize the list pages to add, hide, or move columns around. Each column can be sorted or filtered with unlimited filters per page, and these filters can be saved for later use. From a list page, the user can either:

List Pages: Export to Excel

Data from any list page as well as numerous reports can be exported quickly to Excel. When exporting data from reports to Excel, the user will have the option to use custom Excel layouts.

List Pages: Edit in Excel

List pages can also be edited in Excel. This is a powerful utility that enables the user to export the data to an Excel workbook, make changes to the data, and then publish the changes back into Business Central. Note that the publishing of data is subject to the same business rules that a user would have if directly updating the information in Business Central itself.

Power BI Reports

Power BI offers a company a powerful data visualization tool that can be used to build dashboards and reports based on Business Central data.  These reports enable you to drill down and customize the visualization, and even merge data from different companies within Business Central or with outside sources. The reports can also be embedded in Business Central, allowing your team to view them without leaving the system.

Word Merge Templates

Word templates can make it easier to mass communicate in print or via email with contacts, customers, or vendors. For example, you could create brochures to alert customers about a sales campaign. The templates can be dynamic and utilize data from within Business Central and are printed and emailed directly from a Business Central list page.

Third-Party Solution: Jet Reports

Jet Reports by insightsoftware embeds reporting and business analytics functionality into Microsoft Excel. That enables you to create custom layout reports from any Business Central data, even third-party add-ins and external sources.

Choosing the right Business Central reporting tool for your particular need will depend on what data you want to include, how you want to display it, and what options you have in the rest of your tech stack. Please contact us if you have any questions about how to best leverage Dynamics 365 Business Central reporting tools for your business.

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