Tricks for Taming the Specter of Month-End Reporting

In almost every business, the end of the month inevitably brings with it the need to generate and distribute a variety of reports. Many products market themselves saying they make month-end reporting simpler and more efficient. Some even promise to automate the process. Yet somehow, the month-end reporting always ends up in the lap of the office’s Excel guru.


Click HereRegister today for the "Catapulting Finance to Boost Corporate Value" Webcast to be held on Thursday, October 13th, at 2 p.m. ET. Listen to a customer panel discuss how using Microsoft® FRx® and Microsoft Forecaster for their financial reporting, budgeting and planning have propelled their financial management and boosted their corporate value.

FRx Software Home Product Information
Training & Consulting Product Demo
FRx Express Customer Testimonial Video

The trick to month-end reporting is making the most out of the capabilities of all software applications used to create the report in order to improve the process and the final presentation. For instance, if your firm or client uses Microsoft’s FRx software and Microsoft’s Excel, Trish Saunders, a contributing writer to Microsoft® Momentum newsletter, recommends building the report using FRx then refining the presentation in Excel.

She offers these simple instructions for doing this:

  1. In FRx, open a Row Format.
  2. Select Add Rows from Chart of Accounts from the Edit menu. The task pane opens.
  3. Enter or select the account numbers to be included in the report. FRx will add accounts and account descriptions from your Solomon GL system.
  4. Copy and paste the report data into an empty Excel worksheet.
  5. Use Excel’s Spellcheck feature to verify that all words are spelled correctly.
  6. Adjust the format and capitalization of the report text using Excel’s formatting features.
  7. Copy and paste the data back into FRx to print and save your report.

Although it is often easier to format information using Excel, information can be graphically divided using either Excel or FRX. According to Alan R. Earls, another contributing writer to Momentum, users can create a solid horizontal line crossing a report in FRx by:

  1. Selecting the format code: LNE.
  2. Entering the type of line to be used in the description column (TYPE=1 is a thin line; TYPE=2 is a thick line; TYPE=3 is a dotted line; TYPE=4 is two thick lines followed by a thin line; and TYPE=5 is two thin lines followed by a thick line).
  3. Selecting the font and color to be used.

Excel allows horizontal and vertical divisions of information use shaded rows and columns using Conditional Formatting. The Journal of Accountancy offers this technique for shading alternate columns:

  1. Highlight the area you want the formatting to apply to.
  2. Select Conditional Formatting from the drop-down Format menu. The Conditional Formatting pane for Condition 1 displays.
  3. Select Formula is from the drop-down list in the first field.
  4. Enter the formula =mod(row(),2)=1.Shading will begin with the first row. (To begin shading with the second row use the formula =mod(row(),2)=0.)
  5. Click the Format button on the Conditinoal Formatting pane to change the font, color, border and pattern to be used in the shaded regions.
  6. Click OK to apply the shading to the spreadsheet.

These are just a few of the ways you can defeat the specter of end-of-month reporting and even turn your reports into more readable, and therefore more usable tools for everyone.

You may like these other stories...

IRS must take oath on Lerner emails: judgeMackenzie Weinger of Politico reported on Thursday that a federal judge ordered the IRS to explain under oath how it lost emails connected to Lois Lerner, the ex-IRS official at the...
Credit Suisse says pension assets at risk unless court delays sentencingJohn Letzing of the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Credit Suisse Group AG says its management of billions of dollars in assets for...
The prospect of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) being fully adopted in the United States in the near future are growing less likely, as the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 16
Hand off work to others with finesse and success. Kristen Rampe, CPA will share how to ensure delegated work is properly handled from start to finish in this content-rich one hour webinar.
Jul 17
This webcast will cover the preparation of the statement of cash flows and focus on accounting and disclosure policies for other important issues described below.
Jul 23
We can’t deny a great divide exists between the expectations and workplace needs of Baby Boomers and Millennials. To create thriving organizational performance, we need to shift the way in which we groom future leaders.
Jul 24
In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the integrity of your spreadsheets, but reduce maintenance as well.