Reports, Financial Reports and Saved Searches
The value of any good ERP system, is closely tied to how well you can get meaningful data out of it. In NetSuite, three of the most common ways are, through the use of regular reports, financial reports, and saved searches. We will take a look at what each of these are, in this chapter, and the next. As well as the differences between them. We will also look at some of the more popular out of the box reports, of which there are a lot, in the next chapter.
Both saved searches and reports are found under the reports menu. Typically reports are used when dealing with data where formatting matters, and when there is less concern for bringing the data outside of the system, for further manipulation. Saved searches are used when the formatting does not matter as much, and the data needs to be manipulated further. Whether to use a saved search, or a report, is often also determined by which one can get to the data you need the most easily. And, which one can get you to an end result that is usable, or can get you the closest. But the lines blur easily, and there are many other reasons you would use one over another.
There is really only one type of saved search, but there are two different types of reports. Those are, the Financial, and the Non-Financial ones. Financial, and Non-Financial tend to look similar, but there are a few differences. The biggest one being that the financial ones are really either Income Statements, Statements of Cash Flow, and Balance Sheets. Now, this does not mean that the other reports are not financial in some way, nor does it mean that saved searches cannot be financial. It is just that there are no financial reports, that deal with managerial accounting. I will go ahead and open up a financial, and a non-financial report in new tabs. I will also open a saved search. Let’s take a look between these.
The balance sheet is an example of a financial report, and this should look familiar to any accountants out there. We will be covering what all of this is, later in this chapter, but for now, compare this to the Current Inventory Status, which is a non-financial report. These look massively different. Now, the truth is, I picked these two because I knew they looked very different. This one for example is in a matrix format, but I could easily make it look a lot more like the other report if I wanted to, by changing the design. This saved search here, looks different as well, and we will cover creating this exact search a few videos from now. For now though, you can at least see the difference between the way that searches look, vs financial and non-financial reports.
Whether to use a saved search or a report is often dictated by which one provides easier access to the data. I’ll go ahead and close all of these tabs, and I will start to create a new report, and a new saved search so you can see the difference between the two processes. And, I will open each of these in a new tab as well. When looking at creating a new report, we have one set of options. When creating a new saved search, we have a different set of options. There is some overlap. For example, cases are listed for both. But there are also some areas that are available to one, but not to the other. This isn’t entirely true either though, because in some instances a term has just changed. For example, Sales are not listed under saved searches, but they are listed under reports. Except, that they really are listed under searches, but there they are lumped under transactions. In fact, the search we just looked at was a sales search.
Another reason you may determine to use one over the other, is based on functionality differences. For example. Reports, and saved searches can both be sent through email, however reports can have multiple schedules attached, and saved searches cannot. Saved searches often have more options available for highlighting and filtering, vs their report counterparts, but this is not always the case.
So, why am I pointing out differences that seem to exist, but then sometimes don’t really exist? Well this is all because when you use a search and when you use a report, is really going to depend on what you need to do, and there are so many variables that there are no perfect rules as to when to use one over the other. In a few years this may not even matter anyway. NetSuite has talked about the idea of combining saved searches and reports into a single combined format, but has not done this yet. So, for now, you really just need to know how to use each of these.
Now that you understand the differences, and lack of differences, between saved searches and the different report types, we can dive a little deeper into each of these, and we’ll do that in the next videos.