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NetSuite Reporting with Microsoft Excel: An Introduction

In this mini-series we discuss NetSuite reporting. Specifically, instances where you have all the data you require in NetSuite but want to enhance the impact of the solution by introducing a more flexible way to view, analyse, and share critical information. All in a format which is easy for everyone to access, understand and drive better strategic decisions.





From month-end templates and statutory reports; to budgets, variance, and forecasting; accounts payable and receivable; to advanced scenarios such as OneWorld Consolidations, we review the option of integrating your NetSuite financial reporting with Excel to create a suite of instantly refreshable reports, dashboards and pivot tables. All designed specifically for your requirements.


In this first article we take a look at:


Setting the Scene for Reporting in NetSuite

It’s difficult to discuss any aspect of NetSuite without encountering four key components which have made it the market-leading ERP solution it is today:


  1. The Cloud: It was the first and is still the number one cloud-based ERP solution. The foresight to create the system in 1998 and resulting 15+ year head start on infrastructure and interface gives NetSuite an enviable platform, regardless of the advances competitors have made since circa 2015.

  2. Single Data Source: Arguably NetSuite’s most innovative and defining feature. This is the one. When implemented correctly, it empowers businesses of all sizes to function like Apple, or Amazon - seamless processes, zero duplication, and complete, live visibility of their entire operation.

  3. World-Class Financial Foundations: Did you know NetSuite was originally launched as a financial system called NetLedger? From the beginning, NetSuite’s financial capabilities have always been at its heart, and for us, is what gives NetSuite its strength. By combining the multi-dimensional structure of account code, department, class, location, and the ability to further slice and dice data using Custom Segments, NetSuite empowers even the most complex business to streamline and re-define their Chart of Accounts, improve accuracy, and shorten period close routines.

  4. Reporting and Dashboards: Along with the single data source comes data - and boat loads of it! Off-the-shelf NetSuite provides hundreds of standard reports and dashboards which can be customized at an individual, subsidiary, or group level. And that’s all before we get into the world of saved searches or SuiteAnalytics Connect and ODBC.

All of these components come together to form the central discussion when reporting from NetSuite: the cloud ensures that the system, and therefore the reporting, is available to users anywhere, everywhere and on any compatible device; the single data source and world-class financial functionality gives accurate, timely, 360-degree reporting without needing to integrate multiple data sources; and the reporting and dashboard interfaces are there, off the shelf, to facilitate all of this.



Common NetSuite Financial Reporting Requirements

So, you have the right system. It improves the flow of processes and data through your organisation, and your people, most likely, have improved visibility into their individual and team performance - great!


The conversation then becomes about taking all this class-leading technology and data, and enhancing it in a simple way to tackle a few common challenges:

  1. Not everyone in the business or the board has access to NetSuite.

  2. Operating completely within NetSuite reduces the flexibility you need to add things such as additional criteria, standalone data (e.g. ‘what if’ forecast numbers), or narrative to your reports, without creating custom fields and routines.

  3. Creating and amending reports within NetSuite requires a certain skillset which is generally more technical than finance oriented. This can lead to a dependence on a few individuals and create bottlenecks when trying to build key reports.

  4. Good reports are a little bit moreish. Generally, the more information presented, the more questions asked, and this is a good thing. But if it compounds the previous three challenges, it can lead to a cycle of resource-heavy creation of bespoke or one-off reports.


This is where Excel (every finance user’s friend) may be just the ticket!



Adding Excel to the Toolkit

As we have already covered, NetSuite’s native reporting functionality is one of its most comprehensive and appealing off-the-shelf features. So, it’s important to note that we are not talking about a move away from native NetSuite reporting, but instead, adding another tool to your toolkit (which most finance professionals are pretty handy with) to tackle a different requirement, and ultimately get more from your NetSuite data.


In short, integrating NetSuite with Excel flips the common challenge of ‘not knowing your way around NetSuite reports’ on its head. We know that you know Excel, and we know that with Excel, anyone in the finance team can harness the power of NetSuite to create reports without needing to understand NetSuite’s internal data structure, or report building interface. So, you keep NetSuite at the heart of your whole operation and spend less time and effort to produce better information, it’s a win-win-win (and don’t let the party poopers tell you otherwise)!


In the next article of this series, we discuss the common misconceptions relating to Excel and ERP, and how to integrate NetSuite and Excel to create refreshable bi-directional reports. In our third and final instalment we will look at common NetSuite financial reports and the advantages of managing these in Excel.



About Solution 7

Solution 7’s award-winning SuiteApp provides finance professionals with all the power and capability of NetSuite’s reporting within the familiar and flexible interface of Microsoft Excel. Recognised by NetSuite as ‘SuiteApp of the Year’ in 2018, Solution 7 is one of the most, and highest, rated apps on SuiteApp.com, with an average rating of 4.8/5 from almost 100 reviews.