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The Long (Summarized) Journey To Custom Reports for QuickBooks

For some, there’s a love-hate relationship with QuickBooks.

People love QuickBooks because it’s relatively simple, and lots of people are familiar with it.

People hate QuickBooks when they need to see their financial data in a custom format. The truth is, as many soon learn, businesses can’t always function efficiently with the standard layout.

With QuickBooks you’re forced to export to Excel and then copy and paste and recalculate summaries and reformat and … well, you can see that’s an arduous and dreadful process.

You can stop going crazy. Get custom reports for QuickBooks.

 Here are the side effects of running manual processes like this:

  • Errors
  • Fraud
  • Professional Reputation – when your reports are incorrect or look crappy
  • Stress – who has the energy to futz around with Excel like that?
  • Wasting your valuable time and career expertise

Maybe QuickBooks should come with a warning label.

I have a confession to make

Until 2015, I had avoided financial reporting for almost ALL of my career as a custom reports specialist. It seemed boring to me. Dead boring. (No offense to CPAs, controllers, and CFOs in the audience.) It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

When I first attempted custom reports for QuickBooks, 4 years ago, the main requests were for Sales and Commission Reports. It took another year before someone asked for a custom P&L (also known as an Income Statement – but at the time, I still didn’t know that!).

Then it dawned on me, I needed to do a crash course in financial reporting – because a good report developer needs to understand the meaning and purpose behind every element displayed on a report.

Coincidentally, and extremely fortuitously, the next assignment in a business program I was taking was to complete an online course called Financial Intelligence. (Actually – we’ve made that course available for you at a reduced rate. Find out more here.)


The lights went on for me. I could now define financial jargon and acronyms like EBITDA.

I could also appreciate the reasons a business owner might like to see expenses for Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization displayed separately from regular operating expenses.

It gives a different perspective on Net Income. A more realistic perspective.

I quickly realized QuickBooks alone wouldn’t cut it

Luckily, the solution wasn’t out of sight.

Adding QQube® by Clearify is like adding jet fuel to QuickBooks.

When you combine QQube with expert report designers using tools like Crystal Reports, you’ve got rocket fuel – and no need to upgrade QuickBooks to a more sophisticated system. Why? Because we can program the existing data to appear just about any way you need it.

Here are just some of the custom reports solutions we’ve provided:

  • Custom Cost Of Goods Sold percentages – for any account, and placed anywhere on the page
  • Rolling 12 months of P&L results
  • P&L with Budgets AND Forecasts (sure can’t do that in QuickBooks!)
  • Inventory + Sales History – in the same view
  • Construction/Job Cost Report with Gross Margin $ and % with drill-down to every line item that makes up that total – including Journal Entries
  • Consolidated Financials for any number of QuickBooks company files

Custom Reports for QuickBooks – the way YOU want them

Exporting to Excel to get what you need makes me cry for you. You’re better than that.

You should at least talk to us to find out if relief is available – and determine what that relief is worth.


Consolidated Financials for QuickBooks!

  1. Client overview

Cochner Garvey Capital Partners, Inc. (CGCPI) is a Wichita-based private equity firm with an investment history of over 50 years, focusing its investment on middle market companies. CGCPI holds nine separate entities, each with its own QuickBooks company file.

QuickBooks limitations

CGCPI recently moved to QuickBooks Enterprise from Sage and FRX Reports and discovered a showstopper limitation.

Within QuickBooks, it’s impossible to get consolidated financials from more than one company file. To make matters worse, QuickBooks couldn’t be customized to provide financials for a partial owner entity.

CGCPI’s situation was even more complex because the account groupings needed to display in a different order and with different labels than in their chart of accounts.

QuickBooks just couldn’t cut it

With QuickBooks alone, the only way to consolidate financial reports for multiple company files is to export each P & L and Balance Sheet to a spreadsheet, manually cobble together the pieces and create conditional calculations.

This would have to be done every month, a massive waste of time, with a process rife with potential for error – and fraud.

How we implemented Consolidated Financials reporting

QQube for QuickBooks handles the issue of consolidation very simply: all QuickBooks company files loaded into the QQube data warehouse are available for reporting.

Once CGCPI provided their report layout sample, along with the custom account groupings, Datisfy used Crystal Reports to build the formulas and structure that result in an accurate, single-click consolidated income statement and balance sheet – including budgets. With the QQube Multiple Company Add-On, any number of company files can be accommodated.

And it’s future-proof

If and when CGCPI invests in new entities, only minor edits will be required to include these new entities in the reports. This solution saves the team at CGCPI at least two days of effort every month, and enhances the reputation of the Director of Financial Reporting when she delivers the financials with such velocity, reliability and accuracy, month after month.

CGCPI was ecstatic

The Datisfy team was very successful in building the custom reports that we now use to consolidate several wholly-owned subsidiaries, one controlling interest, and a joint-venture with their respective parent companies. They were a very quick study once we finalized our requirements.

The reports are now in production and working as expected.

Datisfy’s team members were always patient, very professional, and quite pleasant to work with. I highly recommend Datisfy and their solution.

Cindy Ascanio - Director of Financial Reporting

Cindy Ascanio
Director of Financial Reporting


Why DIY is for Losers

And by losers, I mean people who aren’t winning in the game of business. (The totally generous definition of loser.)

The sad truth is that DIY is a seemingly harmless trap that so many of us fall into.

A few months ago we created a great job cost report for Jack. We made it look so darn easy, Jack thought he could save money by learning Crystal Reports himself.

Jack’s anything but incompetent. He’s a highly accomplished, professionally licensed engineer/business owner in the Oil & Gas industry. His company earns about $10,000,000 in revenue.

After we met for breakfast a few months ago, here’s what he wrote to me…

It seems Crystal Reports is harder than it looks. The irony of this all is I am now $2000 deep into using a different programmer to write another Crystal Report for us. It looks great and the data is finally there…but in hindsight…as always…I should have used Datisfy.

Swallowing a humble pill right about now.

Name Withheld (to protect the not-so-innocent)

To create powerful, well-designed custom reports for QuickBooks®, it takes the following abilities:

  • an understanding of QuickBooks® transactions
  • a deep knowledge of what fields are made available by QQube® in each subject area
  • 5-10 years of focused specialization on Crystal Reports
  • 5-10 years of working with hundreds of customers to understand how to ask the right questions and get a report exactly how a customer needs it
DIY is for losers

Don’t be a loser.

Are you planning to invest that kind of time and effort?

No? Then the DIY route is certainly a good way to lose.

This simple calculation might make your cringe. Sum the amount of time you spend trying to get reports the way you need them, and then multiply that by the number of times you need those reports in a month or year. And then multiply that by several years.


Do what counts – not what costs.


Top 5 Components Of Datisfaction

… And at least two of which you wouldn’t have thought to even be possible.

In the past three years we have worked with over 40 companies, solving very specialized and highly important problems.

The general reaction of our customers is something like,

“Wow! That’s even better than what we had envisioned. Thank you for saving us so much time and frustration!”

In my experience, that is a rare reaction for I.T. solutions. Yet it happens again and again for our customers – and I’ll never tire of hearing when a customer is totally Datisfied.

It’s why we exist.

Here are 5 main ways we provide Datisfaction

Pay close attention because any of these may be the ticket you need to get the most out of QuickBooks and end the headache.

  1. Reports at a Single Click on Your Desktop – no need to go into QuickBooks
  2. Consolidating data from multiple QuickBooks company files
  3. No more exporting to Excel!
  4. Company-specific layout or design – or conditional formatting
  5. Automating complex calculations – like conditional commissions

Imagine the surprise of our clients when they realize how efficient they are after we’ve implemented these “luxuries”. And that’s only five of them!

What industries do we serve?

We’ve done amazing reports in the following subject areas/industries:

  • Construction – Job Costing
  • Manufacturing/Sales – Inventory
  • Customized Financials (any industry)
  • Restaurants – 13×4 Week Profit & Loss Statements with Budgets

There are, of course, many other ways we deliver Datisfaction, but these are the ones for which we are the only known solution on the market.

As a small business owner myself, I imagine that time savings, productivity, and stress reduction are worth a lot to you.

If so, let’s talk to find out where you’re struggling and how we can make you Datisfied.



How QuickBooks Can Hurt Restaurants

This year, we performed a miracle

We helped two restaurant groups to get consolidated profitability reports for the QuickBooks files from multiple locations.

Why did this require a miracle?

It seems QuickBooks is not known for easy consolidation of multiple entities; in fact, they are known for the exact opposite. But using QQube for QuickBooks, we are able to provide accurate Profit & Loss Reports that allow the user to instantly select one, several, or all entities – and run the report either consolidated or standalone with a single click.

Seriously – that’s a miracle in QuickBooksLand.

If you’re a restaurateur, you already know how important it is to compare apples to apples, so to speak.

Are you comparing apples to apples? Great profitability reports are critical to your restaurant's success.

Are you comparing apples to apples?

Think about it. Typically, what are the best nights for a good bar or restaurant? Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The problem is, every month has a different number of “hot nights”. If every year started on a Monday, and every month had 28 days, planning for the future and comparing to the past would make total sense—and it would be simple.  No miracle required.

Sadly, it’s not so simple with QuickBooks alone

In 2015, October had the maximum number of Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays—five of each. This year, October had just four Thursdays and Fridays, and five Saturdays. Comparing the sales and costs for those two month periods is like comparing apples and ravioli!

That’s why many successful restaurants operate on a different kind of calendar. It’s called a 52/53 Tax Year—made up of 13 four week periods. Fortunately, QuickBooks can handle that when it comes to the Actuals (revenues, costs, and expenses).  Rather unfortunately, it cannot handle more than 12 months of budgets.

So, if you want to compare Actuals to carefully calculated Budgets, you’re out of luck.

Restaurant owners who fail to take this into account can often make poor decisions. Poor decisions based on what they thought was accurate analysis. But then they’re left wondering, “what went wrong?”

Here’s how Datisfy fixes this problem

There are three tools we use, in conjunction with QuickBooks desktop, to pull off this miracle.

  1. QQube for QuickBooks—to get the Actuals into the correct 13 four week periods and allow for consolidation.
  2. An external data source—to store the 13 budget period amounts to match with every account in your QuickBooks Chart of Accounts. We usually use Excel because it’s cheap and cheerful—and easy to edit.
  3. Crystal Reports—to combine the two data sources and then present the Actuals in comparison to the Budgets in their 4 week periods.

It’s not entirely the fault of Intuit. It’s can’t be everything to everyone! But here is a link to how they DO help restaurants: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/restaurants/

What our customer said about us

For years we posted requests for help here AND called Intuit the developers of Quickbooks and begged for a Budget vs Actual report based on a 13 period year. Intuit told us it was “under consideration” but did nothing. We were lucky to find new friends at Datisfy that created real time Budget vs Actual reports for all 6 of our venues. We couldn’t be happier with their work. We incorporated the budget template on this site and now with a few clicks we can see where we are against our budget. Happy to share the good news!

Kevin Fitzpatrick – Restaurant Owner

Why are Profitability Reports so important to restaurants?

If accurate planning is important to you, comparing the same set of weekdays for October 2015 and October 2016 would lead you to extremely precise ordering, staffing and advertising.

Accuracy and certainty in these areas makes everyone less stressed and the customers happy and relaxed.

And this subtle—but important—tweak makes restaurants much more profitable! Who wouldn’t want that?

Bon appetit!


Stop leaving money on the table! Profitability reports will give you the truth.

Stop leaving money on the table!



We get it, At this point in your career, every hour, even every minute you spend wrestling with a spreadsheet is costing your company a pretty penny. Datisfy is here to give you back what you need most - your time, improve your bottom line, and make you and your data look even more competent. Just like we did for these fine folks: