Crystal Reports has been a standard for many years amongst many players in the accounting software market.
Sybiz Vision to version 10 uses a run-time of the crystal reporting engine (version 9). This means that a developer can write a report that can then be embedded in the Vision Reports menu, so the report can be run from inside Sybiz Vision without the need to own a copy of Crystal Reports.
This is a very effective way of achieving the desired outcome for the user.
Advanced Business Manager as of version 2010 uses a run time version of the crystal reporting engine (version 2008). This also means that reports can be added to the reports menu inside the program. There are a number of advantages in the later version of crystal and coupled with the MS SQL database some very good results can be had.
Outside the Square
One of the great advantages that Crystal Reports has is the ability to allow the support technician (who generally has no access to the hard code) to imagine and achieve outcomes that work in business but which had not been considered by the writers of the software package. Examples that come to mind are the importer and distributor who wants to make reference to the value of the foreign currency in which he imports the goods as part of a condition on the accepted quotation. By linking back you can relate the purchaser to the sale in the report, though clearly from any reasonable accounting standard the two are separate issues. On another occasion the was a need to produce a Inventory transfer docket which clearly spelled out the conditions of bailment and title, which was possible using crystal and match the location code to a customer, even though that linking only made sense in this narrow situation.
If the data environment is constrained by the vendor, and you don’t have a tool like crystal then you are [pretty much at the behest of the software developer. If the issue is only for you in a list of clients of more than a thousand, then you may be up against it.
I am an absolute fan of the use of crystal for the production, not simply of Reports, but also for the production of transaction forms such are orders, invoices and picking slips, as the quality, professionalism and opportunity to meet real needs are very much more possible.
Developer Express Reports
Alongside Crystal DevExpress is the ‘new kid on the block’. Largely built around the .Net framework, and designed for developers to be able to provide advanced reporting features to their products in a database neutral environment the DevExpress report writer has definitely made an impact.
Sybiz VisiPay.Net uses the DevExpress Report Writer for the primary reporting engine, and whilst it does provide some legacy functionality of Crystal there is no doubt for the current moment the DevExpress environment is what Sybiz have decided to use and this the reporting engine we expect to see them use for the new Vision.Net Product when it arrives as well.
The Advanced Service Manager also uses the DevExpress report engine. From the user point of view there is very little difference and most users neither care nor want to know how the information is being retrieved, the just want the report.
I am happy to offer report writing services for those who need DevExpress reports as well.
Why does it matter what they look like?
I was once accused by a Bishop of believing in Salvation by Good Taste – it was a little unfair however I did suggest that there was little merit in believing in salvation by bad taste. Reports that are correct may in fact not be as beneficial as reports that are well laid out and easy to read. And when it comes to documents that leave you premises whilst the numbers are what matters at the bottom of the invoice, a good looking well laid out document with all the information will lift the esteem in which you clients view your organisation.