QuickBooks

QuickBooks 2015 Advanced Reporting

Advanced Reporting Technical Information

The Advanced Reporting feature makes a copy of the QuickBooks database into a separate data store that is located in a folder that is relative to the location of the QuickBooks database itself. For example, I have a QuickBooks company file “Academy-14Enterprise”, and you can see that there is a folder “Academy-14Enterprise Advanced Reporting” at that same location.

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Note that this is a Windows “hidden” folder, so you have to enable Windows Explorer to show hidden folders if you want to see it (there is no need to see this folder, though).

The data is encrypted and is not accessible through any other program.

Intuit has licensed an existing reporting product, QlikView, to be the engine that drives the analysis. Intuit’s programmers are responsible for creating the data export, organizing the tables and views, creating the basic reports and objects. I’m not familiar with QlikView, but the good news is that Intuit didn’t try to build their own product from scratch in this case. Did Intuit select the best product? Time will tell.

Fortunately, Intuit did modify the user permission setup to add a new option to cover Advanced Reporting.

QuickBooks 2015 Advanced Reporting Permission

Since this is a separate executable program from QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions itself, Intuit will be able to update this product independently of the “R” level revisions that QuickBooks releases. This is good, as that means that updates can probably come out more rapidly. I’m a bit concerned, though, about how users will be notified of updates.

Note that Advanced Reporting will also be available for the 2014 version of QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions as long as you have a current Full Service Plan, and you are using the R6 revision or later. You will have to contact Intuit to enable the feature there. Also, at this time, Advanced Reporting is only available in the US edition.

My Thoughts On QuickBooks 2015 Advanced Reporting

There will be four keys to the success of Advanced Reporting: Price, Layout ControlData Capabilities and Education.

I will note, at this point, that this is a “early release” of the product. As is often the case with Intuit, the first release of a new product or function tends to not be fully featured. Intuit already has plans to address many of the shortcomings that I’ve pointed out here.

Intuit has the Price right – it is free, other than the cost of a Full Service Plan. Most Enterprise users will have a service plan, I believe, so this shouldn’t be a huge issue.

By Layout Control I’m referring to the ability to make whatever changes you want to the report. Adding any column, easily creating filters, controlling fonts, being able to include graphs instead of just charts, and so forth. Anyone who has tried to make changes to the inventory reports in QuickBooks will know the frustration of the limited capabilities that the program has. From what I’ve seen so far Advanced Reporting is a good step forward in this regard. Again, I’ve not had the chance to dig into the details, but it appears that you have a lot of control over every aspect of the report.

I’m not sure that the Data Capabilities are satisfactory yet. I’m talking about what data elements are available – the tables, the fields in the tables, and what higher level elements are included to make reporting easier. Again, I’ll admit that I’ve not used this very extensively at this time, so I don’t have a detailed analysis of what data elements are included, what kinds of analysis features are available. It looks like they have most of the basics, but they have to do more. If I’m going to work with a complicated reporting tool I want access to all data. While their list of data elements is long, it doesn’t seem to be complete. Where are the “custom fields” that I rely on heavily in QuickBooks? Do you have tables for the alternate ship-to addresses for customers? In addition to the basic tables, has Intuit created the proper “views”, aggregates of multiple tables that organize information into simple to use but powerful packages? Going beyond that, has Intuit picked the right reporting/analytics tool when they picked QlikView? I’m not ready to say if QlikView is what we are looking for, at this point.

Education is going to be a major key to the success of this product. This is a complicated program to work with, most people won’t be able to just sit down and start creating highly customized reports. Of course, if Intuit dumbed it down it would have been disappointing – they had to make as much data available as is possible, and they had include the capability to create complex cross-table views and reports. This is going to be a tool used by people who understand databases and complicated data queries. That creates a great opportunity for accounting professionals to provide additional services to their clients. At the time I’m writing this the educational tools aren’t ready, but I know that Intuit is putting a lot of effort into developing them.

I am a bit disappointed in a few things right off the bat:

  • I wish that there was a more modern, dare I say more intuitive user interface. When I look at some of the modern data presentation and user interface tools that are available, I think that there could be something better.
  • I wish that they would make this reporting database accessible to third party reporting and business analytics developers. There is a lot of data here, already packaged up and separate from the QuickBooks database, it seems obvious to me that there are wonderful opportunities for add-on companies to tap in to this data and provide users with other ways of massaging the data. Then you could have a simpler to use user interface for some situations, you could use this with business analytics and dashboard tools that you are already familiar with.
  • I wish that there was a way to create reports that combine information from multiple company files (I don’t believe that is possible in the current package, although I could have missed it).

We’ll have to see how this works; how responsive it is, how complete the access to data is, how flexible the system is when trying to create complicated reports. How good a job do they do in creating useable advanced data objects? What kind of educational elements will they have to teach us how to make this dance? There are a lot of good reporting and business analytics tools for QuickBooks already, so Advanced Reporting will have to provide more than just the right price.

However, Advanced Reporting looks to be an interesting step forward, and I applaud Intuit for not charging an additional subscription fee.

About the author

Charlie Russell

Charlie Russell has been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70's, and remembers releasing his first commercial accounting software product when you had an 8-bit microcomputer with one 8 inch floppy disk drive. He has a special interest in inventory and manufacturing software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor with additional certifications for QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Enterprise, as well as being a Xero Certified Partner. Charlie started blogging about QuickBooks in 2008 (Practical QuickBooks) and has been writing for the Accountex Report (formerly the Sleeter Report) since 2011. He retired from accounting and QuickBooks activities in early 2018.

Visit his CCRSoftware web site for information about his QuickBooks add-on products. He is also the author of the California Wildflower Hikes blog.

42 Comments

  • Finally! I hope that this extended capability will be brought into the QB desktop versions, making this resource available to most of my clients. If QBO would more reporting capabilities like this, QBO would be a winner.

    Quick note: When I saw you at the Scaling New Heights Conference in San Antonio, I was suddenly too intimidated to tell you in person that you are my hero! Thanks for all the ‘tire kicking’ you do!

    Leslie

    • Leslie, “intimidated”? I must work on not scowling all the time.

      I’m not sure what you mean about hoping that this will be brought into the “QB desktop versions” – this is a feature of at least one of the desktop versions, Enterprise. You won’t see this brought into Pro or Premier, I’m sure. This particular product won’t be brought into QBO either, as it isn’t web technology (but something else could be done there).

  • So is this supposed to be available in ProAdvisor copies of QBES and usable on Sample files? All I’m seeing is “Learn about Advanced Reporting.”

    • Wayne, if you are a regular (and current) ProAdvisor, or subscriber to QuickBooks Accountant Plus, this feature has to be turned on in your account. Mine was turned on as a part of the beta test. I’m going to speculate that at this time, Intuit has to go through all the eligible accounts and turn the feature on. This has happened in the past with other similar features – and it often takes some time to get everyone’s entitlement enabled. However, that is speculation on my part – I’ve asked the Product Manager about this and will come back with a comment when I hear from them.

    • Wayne, I got confirmation from Intuit. They are working to get the “entitlement” for this feature enabled in ProAdvisor accounts (as well as for end users who have a full service plan) but that conversion hasn’t happened yet. I believe that if you call ProAdvisor customer service they should be able to enable the feature in your account, although I can’t promise that. Otherwise, wait a bit while they get this resolved.

      Happens every year…

  • Ok, Charlie you got my attention. My head is also swimming on this one. I wish I could bribe you to help my client and come visit her office. But in the mean time I will read thru your examples and hope to help her with these reports. I will try calling ProAdvisor Customer service to enable this for my account. I really need to learn this stuff.
    Thanks

    • Sorry if I’m causing you problems, Rebecca! Keep in mind, though, that with Advanced Reporting:
      1) It isn’t available to your clients, yet
      2) Personally, even when it is available, I don’t recommend converting customers to it until we find out if there are any hidden issues. R1 releases are generally problematical.
      3) I am not ready to endorse Advanced Reporting ready for use by a client – it is still too raw in my opinion, at this point.

      But it is worth looking at for solutions down the road…

  • Thanks for the comments and great article, Charlie. I have a client currently using QQube and CCRQBOM, and I’m hoping some of the new 2015 features will help them!

  • We maintain our QBE data on a “server”. Where exactly does Advanced Reporting create the second set of data? On the “server” somewhere in where the QBE data resides? Or does it create the reporting data on each of the users’ desktop computers for those that require it?

    • I don’t expect QBAR to be able to do all that you can do in QQube for a long time. If ever.

      It is still very early for QBAR and it isn’t reliable (crashes on my test system often), nor do they have all the database objects and files set up yet. And there needs to be a lot more instructional materials written for it. It is going to take time for it to catch up.

      Then, too, QQube is advancing, it isn’t a stationary product, so they will be adding things as well. And, QQube works with Pro and Premier as well, not just Enterprise.

      I’m not yet convinced that the QBAR system is going to be able to do as good a job as QQube, but I will admit that I haven’t spent enough time with it.

      On the other hand, QBAR is free for people who already have a full service plan. That gives it a bit of an advantage.

      Generally, I find that when Intuit releases a feature like this it tends to be a lighter weight feature than what you will find with add-on products. You generally can do more with addons. We’ll see that with the “Insight” dashboard feature as well. These features don’t compete with the addons, usually – instead they “validate” the concept to users, expose users to the ideas, and then when they find that they need something more comprehensive they are ready to look at add-on products.

  • I had purchased Enterprise 2015 for my client, specifically for it’s Advanced Reporting and Advanced Pricing capabilities. We had decided to wait util the first of the year to launch it. However, I found out after spending 6 hours working with Support on Friday that, because we had at one time activated the Advanced Pricing, the Advanced Reporting will not work. It sounds like it is a known issue based on the information provided to me by Intuit, but I could not find this actually stated anywhere, not even in the support articles on Intuit. And nobody at Intuit could tell me whether or not this is an issue they are actively trying to resolve.

    Am I overreacting to think that this is a big deal? The advanced reporting module was one of the big reasons we decided to move forward with the upgrade. And now it won’t work? And I had to spend many, many hours of my time to find that out, even though it is a known issue?

      • Charlie,

        Thank you very much for this information. My client’s business has expanded significantly in the last couple of years, and the custom Access reports we have been using up until now to get the data we need no longer fit the bill without a lot of additional tweaking. That’s why I was so intrigued with the Advanced Reporting. I’ll look into this to see if it may be a good solution for us.

        • Hi Lori, thanks for your post. I am the Product Manager at Intuit working on Advanced Reporting. The incompatibility between Advanced Pricing and Advanced Reporting was resolved relatively quickly. Please make sure your client is on the latest version of QuickBooks Enterprise (v15, R5) and if there are still issues please reach out to us. Our team is hunting down all issues and fixing them as fast as possible.

          Thank you!

          • Thanks for the comment, Joseph. My apologies for not verifying if this was still an issue. I know that Intuit has a fairly rapid update cycle for this product, so issues like this are being dealt with quickly.

          • Joseph,

            I literally spent 6 hours working with support to resolve the issue, including:

            Making sure the software was the latest version
            Testing out the issue on two different machines
            Testing out the issue on both our company file as well as a QB sample company file
            Uninstalling QuickBooks, doing a Clean Installation and reinstalling QuickBooks
            Verifying and Rebuilding our data file (although since the issue was replicated using a QB Sample company file, this was probably not necessary)

            Both the final tech I worked with on Friday, as well as the online support person I contacted this past Monday (Carlo, quoted below) said it was still an issue. At this point I’d like to have $500 of my subscription refunded so I can purchase a standalone solution such as Qqube.

            “Carlo: at 9:09:09
            I am sorry to hear that your advanced reporting module is not working. Yes, you are correct.
            Advanced reporting will not work along side with advanced pricing.”

  • Hi there,
    I am interested in the Advance Reporting for Quickbooks Enterprise. It is now enabled on my system. I can’t seem to find any GOOD info on how to use it. I was hoping there would be more templates. I am looking for a work/construction in process template as well as a template for employees wages broke out. Are there anymore templates out there or a book with better examples? Or do you know someone that understands it so we can see what it would cost to have them create the templates for our use? I think this is what I have been waiting for as I see lots of good things with it if I could just figure it out.
    Thanks
    Andrea

    • Andrea,
      I think should be possible to get what you are looking for out of QBAR. We are working with the product and have a pretty good understanding of how it works and we have been able to create some reports for a couple customers. And if for some reason QBAR can’t get the job done we can create a solution using something like the Custom Advanced Reporting feature in Enterprise (Intuit’s first attempt at an advanced reporting solution) to get the job done. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
      Thanks,
      Donovan Sachs
      [email protected]

  • Charlie, I read your article form Sept. 6, 2012 about Advanced inventory database problems. We are currently using 2015 of the advanced inventory and we are having these problems you mentioned in the article from 2012. Is their and update? How do we fix it?

    Lisa

    • Which article was that, exactly, Lisa? There are many different kinds of problems in Advanced Inventory depending on the features you use. I would suggest that you leave a more detailed comment on the article that refers to the issue, rather than on this one which is an unrelated topic.

  • I get the following error when attempting to run Advanced Reporting:

    “Sorry. Advanced Reporting couldn’t update your report. Please try again later”

    I can’t resolve this error despite updating Quickbooks version (and am using Enterprise Solutions 2015 with no version 2014 installed in my machine)

    • I have has some similar issues, especially with the earlier versions, where I had to go into Add and Remove Programs and uninstall Advanced Reporting and then go into QB and launch it and let it reinstall. I even had to go as far as to manually run the installer outside of QB altogether.

    • Hi Wesley,

      Some good advice from Donovan below. I would add making sure that you have updated QuickBooks Enterprise to the latest version (R6P). If you still get the error, you can call our customer support team or reach out to me directly @ [email protected].

      Thanks,

      Joseph Lasee
      Product Manager, Intuit QuickBooks

  • If anyone needs more info on the function of the advanced reporting feature youtube howto videos on qlikview its basically a advanced pivot table function puling data and reorganizing it by what fields you click on after setting your parameters and giving you the pivotal insights of the data.

  • I have been trying to wrap my head around QBAR for the past 2 weeks and have made absolutely no progress. I have read the “manual” and watched the videos but they are not indepth enough to provide enough guidance on how to build your own reports.

    I have asked an Intuit rep. about a reference guide which will give the specifications on the fields in the tables and what they mean as well as the syntax, etc. for building expressions but have not had any meaningful response.

    My colleague has been on the phone with the QBAR team several times and has not gotten any type of reasonable assistance to his report query.

    I have worked with software for over 30 years and find it hard to believe that Intuit would not have something to make a little easier for users, especially sine most users would be more “front-end” based rather than “back-end” and having to get into the nitty-gritty of learning syntax etc. to write reports.

    I would have hoped that QBAR would have morphed into a drag and drop type reporting tool.

    Anyway, if anyone has any information in terms of the “missing manual” for QBAR, I would appreciate it.

    Thanks

    Steve

  • I am looking to hire someone who can create different types of reports for me using the advanced reporting feature in qbks.

  • Does anyone know if there is a comprehensive list of the fields that are in the database and the direct reference to the fields in QuickBooks? I find myself searching through the massive titles in the data fields and can’t quite pinpoint which field name is going to give me the data that I need.

    I specifically need the “cost” for a service item that is imported in the time fields from Tsheets.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated so I can job cost this particular item with the cost in the item field, not the amount that I pay the employee.

  • Can Advanced Reporting create a table for per item fixed price levels (with rows for item numbers and columns for price levels)? We would like to automate the synching of price changes in QuickBooks with other apps, but the per item fixed price levels make that very hard.

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