Search Not Just Numbers

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Why all finance directors need to know about ODBC

I regularly come across companies that are paying a small fortune to their software providers for any reporting they want from their ERP system. This is not only expensive, but usually takes a great deal of time and effort from the company's employees in explaining their requirements.

Often no-one at the software provider mentions a free route to report from their software using a tool that staff are familiar with. A quick email or phone call (asking the right question) to their support team and this can be set up - free of charge.

This is not some specific tool from the software provider, but one that is available (free) for almost every software package out there. The tool I am talking about is ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) which allows you to automatically use Excel to report from all of the database tables. For most databases this is already installed on your PC, although you might not know it -for more obscure databases there may be some software to install, but this is usually included on your initial installation disks.

If you have any issues reporting from your software, ask your provider about using the ODBC links - they will almost certainly be available. If you want to read more about what you can do with the data you access, read:

Do your management accounts take weeks, days, hours, minutes…or seconds to prepare?

Good luck!

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