Once you have some data available in the system it is recommended that you view all the reports in order to decide which ones best suit your own requirements. The range of reports available is designed to offer some options. You will probably not need to use all of them and will find in practice which ones serve your own purposes best.
In most cases you will need to define some parameters to narrow down or 'filter' the results:
- Frequently you will need to select either Receipts or Payments.
- You will often have to set a starting point and finishing point for the data to be covered in the report. Some reports will default to the start of the financial year, although they can be changed as necessary.
- You may also need to filter the results by code or by cost centre, and select what order to display the results.
You can select the information you need, you can amend the way you view reports, and you can print or save the report to a file, by using the features of the Report Viewer. All reports will generally contain the date the report was produced and also the financial year.
The title of the report is usually a standard one for that particular report. Changing the filters to narrow down the results will not lead to the description in the report header being amended to reflect the filter, so you will need to record exactly what the printed report is meant to represent.
Some recommended reports are:
- The Transaction list is a great one to use every month, to help report to council re the next listing of all payments and receipts. You will almost certainly need to produce one of the lists of payments for approval, but you can only do this if these are entered prior to making the payment. You will need to be clear about when the payment is actually made and what to do if your draft payment is not confirmed by members. Alternatively you can operate more strictly and only enter transactions when the actual payments are made after approval, but at the cost of not having a list to present.
- Summary reports can be produced as and when required to show comparisons between business to date and estimates. If budgets have detailed monthly profiles, these can also be taken into account in a monthly or quarterly comparison process. Our suggestions are to base most reporting to members on the Summary Report and Summary by Cost Centre reports. These provide a comparison between the budget estimates and the actual transactions for each code or cost centre. To provide good budget control you will need to have divided up your budget between all the codes and cost centres (at the time when you are defining the budget and precept) and have done so for both receipts and for payments. Most councils will divide up the precept between codes so that there is a visible balancing of income and expenditure on each. The report will then show your current variance from budget for each code or cost centre.
- The Detailed Cost Centre is useful to work towards an independent YTD budget sheet, so the council can see at a glance how much has been spent under each budget heading against target.
- You may also find the profiled budget which is reported under Flexed Budget useful. This is a sophisticated process which describes each code according to the likely pattern of payment, e.g. one annual payment or 12 monthly payments etc. This is only recommended when you are fully conversant with the rest of the system, and if you find you need it.
For details on the specific end of year reports, see Year End.
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