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7 Best Record to Report Automation (R2R) Software in 2023

Susan Honea

Susan Honea – 8 years experience helping businesses with bookkeeping, tax preparation and auditing

Last updated: March 7, 2022

Record to Report functions let you analyze a business’s performance and also compile financial statements. We investigate the best tools for the job.

7 Best Record to Report Automation (R2R) Software in 2023

Your business logs all of its transactions in your ERP and gets those records translated into journal entries. You can use the opportunity presented by all of the structured data to take the performance soundings of the operation. That data is also available to be summarized for financial statements. This data flow through to analysis and statements is called Record 2 Report (R2R).

Automating the process of data collection and collation to get reports out of the system adds extra value to your IT investment, so these utilities are worth investigating. Chances are, the accounting packages that you already use are capable of performing R2R for you. If it doesn’t you have an incentive to look for a replacement system.

R2R is one of the benefits of centralizing data processing. Although it isn’t necessary to place all of your business process support into one IT package, you will need an orchestration package on top of those individual systems to flow data through and benefit from the R2R strategy. R2R means reusing data that you have already collected.

Here is our list of the best R2R automation software available on the market today:

  1. Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM): Best Record 2 Report automation software for large organizations. This is a module of the Oracle ERP system and it offers data analysis and reporting functions.
  2. BlackLine: Best Record 2 Report automation software for orchestration. This SaaS platform coordinates the activities of third-party software for supervision, compliance audition, close management, and reporting.
  3. Redwood Finance Automation Record to Report: Best Record 2 Report automation software all-rounder. This SaaS platform offers orchestration and links together your existing business and accounting software to flow data through to reporting.
  4. FloQast: Best Record 2 Report automation software for close management. This is an orchestration system that is particularly focused on closing but it also provides reporting functions.
  5. Oracle NetSuite: Best Record 2 Report automation software for medium-sized businesses. This ERP system serves business transactions, assembles journals, and produces financial reporting and data analysis.
  6. Dolibarr: Best Record 2 Report automation software that is free to use. A great ERP, CRM, HR, and Web management bundle that is worth paying for, but is completely free.
  7. Intuit QuickBooks: Best Record 2 Report automation software for small businesses. An online system that specializes in turning business data into accounts and financial statements.

Record to Report data flows

R2R isn’t about examining each record in your ERP database. Instead, it involves aggregating data. You probably do this yourself already and, no doubt, over the years, you have put together a series of sorting and grouping steps in Excel that has given you a pretty good idea of how issues such as sales turnover, cash, and profit margins are doing.

Getting an R2R system in place means pushing those ad hoc queries up to the next level.

A Record to Report system has three basic elements:

  1. Business process transactions
  2. Journal entries
  3. Financial reports

Data flows from one system activity to the next. The information you need to produce your financial statements at the end of the year all comes from your set of books. The data in your journals are all translated from daily transactions, obligations from the invoices you receive, expectations from the invoices you issue, and the completion of transactions, represented by payments.

All of that necessary data is available in the system and you don’t need to wait until the end of the year to benefit from it. An R2R system lets you query and summarizes data to help you run the business and spot when things start to go wrong. Adjust your budgets and identify the scope for improvements by getting interim snapshots of the company’s financial position at any point in the year.

The best Record to Report Automation software

Getting data flows from data-to-day activity through to an accounting database for R2R querying is easier with an ERP. However, you could also keep your existing air-gap tools and join them up with an orchestration system. Looking at the best options for R2R systems can’t be approached as a universal list because software packages cater to different business types and sizes. Therefore, we have identified the best for a range of scenarios.

What do we look for in the best Record to Report automation software?

When looking for the best Record to Report automation software, we prioritized the following factors:

  • Market sector – We created a diverse list of products that address different market sectors.
  • Platform – We looked for a range of products that offer different deployment options.
  • Integrations – As a priority, the packages on our list must either be ERPs with internal data flows or orchestration systems that link together third-party systems.
  • Security – We would only consider a software package for this list if included strong security. That includes user accounts for tracking and data access limitation as well as protection for files at rest and in motion.

1. Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM)

Website Oracle Fusion
Free Trial Demo

Best Record 2 Report automation software for large organizations

Oracle produces a very comprehensive ERP system. This service is composed of modules and you don’t have to buy all of them. However, the modules that you do have will store data in a single database, which makes sharing data between functions automatic and very easy.

The accounting functions in the bundle generate journal entries automatically from business process data. So, that takes care of an important requirement of an R2R system. The EPM module is a management oversight system that can mine that central database for reporting. That reporting capability includes closing and financial statements generation.

The EPM can be used for cost management investigations, account reconciliation, and closing, financial reporting, profitability analysis, tax reporting, and many types of corporate performance reviews.

The full ERP system imposes working practices and reduces the opportunities for fraud and data hogging. The more ERP modules that you use, the more data you will have available to the EPM system.

Things we liked:

  • Provides reconciliation and closing functions
  • Stores data for all functions centrally
  • Cloud-based with multi-site and multi-organization data centralization
  • Access rights management through user accounts
  • Good for performance analysis

Things we didn’t like:

  • Takes time to set up
  • No free trial
  • Requires expert technicians to manage the package

2. BlackLine

Website BlackLine
Free Trial Demo

Best Record 2 Report automation software for orchestration

BlackLine is an orchestration system that connects your existing packages and facilitates data flows. This enables businesses to construct an ERP from individual software systems that would otherwise be incompatible.

BlackLine is particularly good at automating processes because it can set up scripts to start applications, extract data from them, and transfer results to another application that it starts up. The tool can be used to centralize data, which eases activity auditing and accounts validation for regulations such as SOX.

Apart from activity reporting, the system is good for accounting tasks, such as three-way matching, bank reconciliation, account reconciliation, and closing. These capabilities replace many manual tasks with automated processes, improving staff efficiency and removing human error.

BlackLine keeps expanding through acquisition, so there are regularly new modules coming online. The tool is particularly useful for businesses that use the SAP ERP system because the BlackLine SaaS platform includes an SAP data management module.

Things we liked:

  • Connects software packages from different providers
  • Can create deadlines for tasks and generate intermediate step deadlines
  • Will start-up and run applications, passing resulting data on to other packages
  • Encourages data reuse and aggregation
  • Useful for closing and financial reporting

Things we didn’t like:

  • No free trial

3. Redwood Finance Automation Record to Report

Website Redwood
Free Trial Demo

Best Record 2 Report automation software all-rounder

Redwood is an orchestration system that links together third-party packages so that they can flow data through an organization. There is an edition available from this SaaS package that is tailored to financial data. The work that the Redwood package performs provides a Record 2 Report service.

As in the classic R2R scenario, Redwood gets data out of supply and inventory systems, sales and invoicing systems, and bank account managers to create journal entries. It then automates the reconciliation process, getting the accounts to closing. From there, the Redwood product can generate financial statements.

Once all of that financial data is in a database and validated, it is available for analysis and ad hoc reporting. You don’t have to wait until the period ends to get an accurate picture of your business’s turnover and profitability.

The Redwood system doesn’t just move data, it also performs a lot of validation steps automatically. It takes care of 80 to 90 percent of reconciliation work. Letting the computer do all of the repetitive checkings also removes human error. This system saves you time and money while improving the data that you can have at your fingertips to assess ways to improve and expand your enterprise.

Things we liked:

  • A SaaS package, so nothing to install
  • Uses your existing software, so no employee retraining
  • Replaces manual steps with automated processes
  • Removes human error
  • Pre-formatted reports

Things we didn’t like:

  • No free trial

Redwood Finance Automation Record to Report is our #1 pick. This system connects separate packages to create an ERP without requiring you to retrain staff to use new systems. Most users won’t even know that Redwood is in use. Instead, data will appear from one application into another. The Redwood platform can also run separate packages automatically with a script.

4. FloQast

Website FloQast
Free Trial Demo

Best Record 2 Report automation software for close management

FloQast was started up by a CPA who wanted a package that could both facilitate and organize the processes for period close. The system employs orchestration, planning tools, team management, and project management techniques to identify data flows and extract relevant information from many different sources.

FloQast automates data gathering by moving data between un-related products, removing the need for transposition, which is heavily prone to error. It reconciles accounts as far as it can through automated processes and then flags the remaining entries for manual attention. The team manager needs to set up responsibilities for each action and the system assigns tasks with deadlines for each outstanding manual process.

The benefit of FloQast is that it provides a project structure as well as facilitates data flows. This is a cloud-based package and so its abilities aren’t limited to one location. FloQast ties together geographically dispersed workers into a team and give them a focus on getting the accounts finalized.

Things we liked:

  • Focuses on closing
  • Creates a project structure and allocates tasks
  • Plans a series of task deadlines
  • Moves data between unconnected applications
  • Generates and reconciles journal entries

Things we didn’t like:

  • No free trial
  • No published prices

5. Oracle NetSuite ERP

Best Record 2 Report automation software for medium-sized businesses

Oracle produces a second ERP system, which is also cloud-based and is a lot less detailed, which means that it is easier to set up and run. This is Oracle NetSuite and it includes all of the data flow automation that you need from a Record 2 Report system.

As with any ERP, this package is intended for use by all departments that deal with purchasing, sales, inventory, and fixed assets. The system flows data between modules to perform tasks such as three-way matching automatically. It also generates journal entries from transaction data. All information is stored centrally, which facilitates reconciliation, closing, and reporting.

As well as generating financial statements, NetSuite offers a report creation tool that includes lots of out-of-the-box templates. The NetSuite system can be adapted to suit the accounting practices of many countries.

Things we liked:

  • Provides a process framework to improve working practices
  • Stores transactions in a central database
  • Generates journal entries
  • Automated closing and financial reporting
  • Analysis and performance reports

Things we didn’t like:

  • No free trial
  • No price list

6. Dolibarr

Website Dolibarr
Price from Free/mo

Best Record 2 Report automation software that is free to use

Dolibarr is a package of modules that provides ERP, supply chain and inventory management, HR, CRM, and Web management modules. This on-premises package is free to use. The software for Dolibarr installs on Windows and Linux. There is no SaaS package but you could self-host the system on a cloud account.

As it is an ERP, Dolibarr stores transaction data centrally, which makes journal entry generation easy. The system is also able to provide automated reconciliation and closing and it will create your financial statements.

The package can be networked and used by a team with individual user accounts, which limits access to screens. The service can also be made available across the internet to multiple sites or home-based users.

Things we liked:

  • Free to use
  • Can server multiple sites
  • Account security
  • Web management services
  • Comprehensive bundle of software to support any business

Things we didn’t like:

  • No cloud SaaS package

7. Intuit QuickBooks

Price from $25.00/mo
Free Trial 30 Days

Best Record 2 Report automation software for small businesses

Intuit QuickBooks is designed for owner-operators who know nothing about accounting rules. In this sense, it is the ultimate in Record 2 Report because the package’s entire reason for being is to generate accounting records, and ultimately, financial reports, from the business process data that the user entries.

The users of QuickBooks are running businesses, so they understand about buying things, putting them in storage space, processing them and selling them and them buying more stuff when existing stock runs down. They understand about placing an order, getting the goods, receiving an invoice, and paying it. They also understand equipment purchases and business expenses. They know how to sell things, the bill for them, and take payments.

As long as the user gets into the habit of entering records of all events into the QuickBooks online system, the tool will ripple through and accumulate all of the data needed for reporting.

The QuickBooks system is offered in four plans, which suit different types of businesses, for example, there is a package without inventory management for consultants. This system is suitable for sole traders, partnerships, and even businesses that take on staff. However, it isn’t a system for fully-fledged businesses.

Things we liked:

  • Captures data as business documentation
  • Easy-to-use with lots of how-to guides
  • Runs on the cloud
  • Mobile apps
  • Four plan levels

Things we didn’t like:

  • Not suitable for businesses that employ much staff