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Excel based reporting tool

I am part of a small group of people in collections who spend their days creating and parsing out excel spreadsheets containing invoice status information. Customer, invoice, file number, amount, status (to be paid, processing, not received by customer, etc...), and various other bits of invormation. Creating these isn't bad - essentially matching several data sources in Excel by invoice number with a vlookup or index formula, then using pivot tables to sort through it all.

However, parsing them out is a MAJOR time sink: Number of customers multiplied by the number of business units, local managers, and area controllers involved in each account. Not to mention reports for each customer. All of these people want and need slightly different views of the world.

I am looking for an affordable tool which can be used to design reports, then reference a series of large~ish Excel Spreadsheets (a few hundred up to 15 thousand lines by 20~30 columns) as a data source to automatically create those reports for the different internal consumers. A near-perfect solution would also be able to use Outlook to automatically e-mail them out to pre-defined recipients with some kind of standard message: So the Area Head gets a message saying "Dear Sir, attached please find the bi-weekly...", with an attachment containing his report on everything in his span of control. Business Unit Managers get the subsection pertaining to them. All the way down to the guy in Operations who may get something like "Heya John, attached, please find the billing errors rejected by...", and his attachment tells him what he needs to get done. Automating this would save DAYS of time for each of the individuals tasked with creating these reports. Time which obviously could be used for other tasks.

I fully understand that such a thing can be written in Visual Basic by any competent programmer. But the IT people we do have are tasked with other, higher priority, tasks and have politely communicated they do not have the cycles to create it. Therefore we will need a commercial product which can be used by someone who on a really good day might begin to approach "power user" status, but who certainly is not a technician. (This means me)

Is anyone familiar with a product or tool like that?? Google is my friend, but the nearly all of products I've found so far (Crystal, Windward, Jasper, etc) seem to be a lot heavier duty than we actually need.

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Excel seems the wrong tool for all of this.

In reply to: Excel based reporting tool

I'd go looking for a stamdard accounts receivable application, possibly as a part of your overall financial application or ERP application.
Most come with flexible reports or report generators based on data in a consistent database.


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I've seen that happen.

In reply to: Excel based reporting tool

The company used Excel for all uses including writing memos to coffee grinding (just kidding.)

This sounds like a wrong turn was made long ago and the process was never thought out so they are paying the price in low productivity. There is no such software available today. This is what we call a custom application. But the real solution is to fix the process.


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