Technology Software

Dynamics Gp Frx: Installing, Implementing, Supporting

As you might know with Microsoft Dynamics GP version 2010 there is alternative to FRx Microsoft Management Reporter. However there is not such a big news to mention that most of the Controllers and Accountants are reasonably conservative and at this time, September 2010 FRx is dominant in such reporting area as Financial Reports: Balance Sheet, P&L, Statement of Cash Flow. Some facts about FRx it was available over fifteen years for Great Plains Software Dynamics, later on (since the time when Microsoft acquired GPS in the time of Century change) for Microsoft Great Plains and now for Dynamics GP. FRx is also available for other Microsoft Dynamics products, such as AX-Axapta, SL-Solomon and even for non-Microsoft Corporate ERP system (out of scope in this paper)

1.Installation. For recent few versions of Dynamics GP, including 2010/11.0, 10.0, 9.0 and even 8.0 you can install FRx 6.7 from the CD and then apply required service pack (download from Partner Source or Customer Source web portal on the Microsoft website). In order to deploy FRx in multi-user Great Plains environment you need to know some basics about FRx architecture. First of all FRx Financial Reporter has so-called metabase, stored in Sysdata folder, which should be placed on the Server. In Sysdata you normally create your reports in default specification set, or in more advanced and flexible scenarios, you may create several specification sets on several servers (files with .FRL extensions in fact these are password protected Microsoft Access databases, if you have normal curiosity of the IT professional). Default FRx installation creates Sysdata directory in Program Files FRx folder, when you are done with first machine, you should move it to the server and then change path to it in FRx interface: Admin->Organization->Sysdata. When you install second machine, you do all defaults and do not change Sysdata folder, until required Service pack is applied, otherwise you may force FRx to think that it is not on the current version and exit with error (in some cases we saw even FRx metadata corruption, caused by trying to connect from older version of FRx workstation)

2.Implementation. What to do if may Balance Sheet doesnt balance? Well, we recommend you to take some FRx training, where you will be walked through such procedures as Row Format, Column Layout, Reporting Tree, Account Set and final Catalog (it is report in FRx terminology) creation and troubleshooting. If Balance Sheet doesnt balance, you print with missing accounts report and go from there. You are not the first and you are not the last one, but to our observation, FRx is very simply and intuitive to most of Controllers and Financial Accountants and they are comfortable to build reporting blocks on their own after reasonable introduction to FRx by Great Plains Consultant

3.Support. We would classify FRx support calls to two categories. First is Sysdata catalogs corruption (one of the most frequent is GL indexes rebuilt failure, where this process goes into limbo phase - the cure is to log off FRx and delete files with .G32 extension in the Sysdata, however this procedure is kind of surgery and we recommend it to be trusted to Dynamics GP consultant hands). If Catalog is corrupt (various error messages, we recommend you to search your specific case in Customer Source knowledge base), first step to try is to File->Compact FRx Database, and that one doesnt help you go for more radical measure Company->Specification Set->Export, then you select all the objects there (Catalogs, Row, Columns, Trees). When export is done, try to import it back to the same specification set or to the new one. And the second category of FRx support cases is associated with IT infrastructure changes, such as moving all Dynamics GP and FRx users to Citrix, Microsoft Terminal Server, moving Great Plains to new hardware (especially when you are sticking to older versions of Great Plains Dynamics/eEnterprise and FRx). We will split these issues into several paragraphs below

4.FRx support issues on Citrix. One of them is very annoying for accountants FRx Drill Down viewer may not recognize your default printer. This could be replicated in the following scenario. In your FRx catalogue select Output to FRx Drill Down Viewer (enhanced XML, or older one for Win 2000/98), generate report (this process will open Drill Down Viewer) and try to print. You may get the dialog, suggesting select printer, where you see the printer suggested first to not your Citrix set default network printer. This is known issue with FRx, even if you have Great Plains working correct and printing to the Citrix user assigned printer. Sometimes the issue is further complicated, where Drill Down Viewer doesnt keep FRx catalog specified Landscape paper orientation (especially for P&L 12 months type of reports). The fix is fairly simple in FRx catalog in Output Options change (destination) from Drill Down Viewer to Printer (and also change Detail Level DDL settings to Financial Report this should save you a lot of paper, otherwise if you keep it as Financial & Transaction each detail level case as you might go there via FRx Drill Down Viewer would be printed on the separate paper page)

5.Supporting old FRx versions. Here you may have issues with installing FRx for new users, where you are not familiar with such concept as switching Sysdata from default to the one on the network, see paragraph one. Second popular issue is ODBC connection to Pervasive SQL 2000 (or even older version Btrieve) databases. You might be facing that kind of issues if you are on Great Plains Dynamics version 6.0, 5.5, 5.0, 4.0 or earlier with FRx 6.5 or even earlier. Problem is complicated by the fact that Microsoft Business Solutions doesnt support these GP and FRx versions directly and you have to find local or regional FRx consultant to do the job. In our opinion all FRx versions are supportable, we carry consultants to do the job in case when you need it

6.Under the hood of your FRx. Sometimes, this is especially possible for Corporate Dynamics GP customers, we hear the request, something like that listen, we are moving away from FRx to something more powerful in Linux/Unix or MS SQL Server Reporting Services. What we need from you is export FRx Row Formats, Column Layouts, Reporting Trees, and other FRx reporting blocks to Excel, from where we could import it into our Financial reporting tool of the future. As we already mentioned above FRx is very primitive it its database structure FRx specification set is based in MS Access file (password protected, but hey do your homework on how to go inside)

7.Multinational Reporting in FRx. First to mention is the fact that FRx supports multicurrency and it is in synch with GP multicurrency for your companies. There are some cases, where Great Plains customer has subsidiary in the country, where Dynamics GP is not localized and they do accounting over there in something like SAP Business One, Axapta or even locally known ERP or accounting application. FRx is definitely available for Axapta, however when you are dealing with something like SB1 or proprietary international accounting application, we recommend you to consider exporting GL trial balance to Excel and hook up Excel worksheet in FRx Row Format. If you think that it is too simplified and you would like to see more GL details, second recommendation would be consider creating foreign subsidiary as phantom company in Dynamics GP with overnight GL transactions integration via Integration Manager

8.To request further support, please call us 1-866-528-0577, [email protected] By the nature of our service we are available for WMS implementation USA, Canada nationwide. Local service is available in Western Michigan: St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Holland, New Buffalo; in Chicagoland, North Western Indiana, Southern California (Los Angeles, San Diego, Irvine, Orange County), Houston and Dallas areas of Texas

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