F9 Financial Reporting

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F9 Financial Reporting
Developer(s) F9, an Infor company
Written in C Programming Language
Operating system DOS and Microsoft Windows
Type Reporting software
Website F9 Financial Reporting

F9 is a financial reporting software application that dynamically links general ledger data to Microsoft Excel through the use of financial cell-based formulas, wizards, and analysis tools to create spreadsheet reports that can be calculated, filtered, and drilled upon. The F9 software is developed, marketed, and support by an organization also called F9, a division of Infor Global Solutions (Canada) Ltd. which is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia.

History[edit]

F9 - The Financial Reporter was originally developed by Synex Systems Corporation, a subsidiary of Synex International (Symbol SXI, TSX) and first released in 1988 for Accpac as a Lotus 1-2-3 Add-in for DOS and subsequently F9 was developed for the Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet Platform. In 2002, Synex Systems was acquired by privately owned Lasata Software of Perth, Australia. In 2005, Lasata was acquired by UK based Systems Union. In 2007, Systems Union was acquired by privately held Infor Global Solutions,[1] a U.S. company that specializes in enterprise software.

What was Synex Systems Corporation now operates as an independent business unit (IBU) within Infor Global Solutions called F9 and continues to develop and partner with new and existing ERP and Accounting Software solutions. The latest product release (December 2008) is F9 Version 5, includes business intelligence reporting and an optional web reporting module, marketed as F9 Connect.

Overview[edit]

F9 Shipping Box and Promotional Pen

F9 was developed to allow a non-technical user, typically an accountant, to create a dynamic, customized general ledger financial report using a spreadsheet that is 'hot-linked' to an accounting system's general ledger.[2] By removing the previously required step of exporting data from the accounting application and then importing data into the spreadsheet or retyping all of the numbers using data entry a great deal of time and effort is saved. Also, if the data in the accounting system changed the spreadsheet could be updated simply by pressing the 'F9' function key (in both 1-2-3 and Excel).

F9 software consists of three modules. The first is the user interface which is an addin installed into the spreadsheet. This part processes the F9 formulas and passes the data to the parser. The second module is the parser which is a program running independent of the spreadsheet and evaluates the data requested (query) by the function and either rejects it as invalid and returns an error message or processes the query into a format used by the accounting application interface (AAI). The AAI is a DLL that is programmed as a specific interface for the target accounting application.

This three layer design (basically a variation of the standard Model–view–controller architecture) allows F9 to support different spreadsheets with the same non-addin components and access any number of different accounting applications simultaneously. All that is required is that the DLL built for the target accounting applications is available for the parser program to access and the query specifying the accounting system requested. This accounting system definition parameter is optional. If there is only one accounting interface available F9 knows by this through a table look-up and scan of available DLL modules.

Since its introduction F9 has become to be considered as one of the accounting industry standard reporting tools.[3]

Significance[edit]

F9 has become a well known tool for adhoc accounting reporting being available for many of the small and medium enterprise accounting systems in the world and provides basic OLAP and Information integration capabilities through its Excel interface and adds natural language query capacity not commonly available when added to F9 in 1990.

As of 2012 F9 was used by over 30,000 financial accounting professionals in more than 20 countries worldwide[4][5] and was named one of Accounting Today's "Top 100 Software Products" for 2001.[6]

Products[edit]

Original version[edit]

Originally entitled: 'F9 - The Financial Reporter,' F9 was released in mid-1989 as a Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS addin that allowed dynamic access to the Accpac General Ledger software data. The first interface used the same syntax as Accpac for specifying the reporting period. This was soon replaced by a simpler to understand and more flexible generic natural language interface that used a temporal trinary (three part) phrase parsing syntax composed of a modifier, a period specifier, and a temporal index. For example: "starting balance last quarter" is broken down to 'starting balance' (modifier) + 'last' (temporal index) + 'quarter' (period). The temporal index can be relative or absolute and the modifier can determine if the value returned is differential or cumulative.[7]

The first F9 addin was a significant software effort in that it used a coding trick to break the small memory model limit 1-2-3 imposed on addins and allowed F9 to be run as a compact memory model program. This allowed F9 to be written in C (using a Microsoft C DOS compiler) rather than assembler allowing easier changes and debugging.

On or about the year 2002 F9 was renamed 'F9 - Financial Intelligence.'

Excel Dominates 1-2-3[edit]

An F9 addin was developed for Excel in 1989 and with the lack of a 1-2-3 version that supported Windows[8] and problems with the Lotus Programming Language (LPL)[9] the Excel version of F9 soon far outsold the 1-2-3 version.

Current versions[edit]

There are two major types of F9 products, Hotlink products which link directly to specific accounting databases and Professional which links to an intermediate database which is populated from the source ERP systems by various means.

F9 has an Excel add-in client and provides new Excel functions as well as some of its own UI driven functionality. There are versions of F9 that are compatible with Excel Versions 2000 through 2007.

Supported accounting/ERP Systems[edit]

By 1994 more and more accounting system vendors were signing to have a versions of F9 built to work with their general ledger product.[10] By the end of the 1990s ever more and larger companies recognized the benefit of F9 and started using the product.[11]

Over 150 different accounting/ERP systems are supported. Products are available as either a live link to the source accounting database, marketed as a "hotlink", or via F9 Professional and the F9 data mart database which is refreshed periodically with the source accounting activity. F9 "hotlink" products are available for over 40 different accounting systems. F9 Professional is available for over 100 different accounting systems and can be integrated over new accounting applications.

Supported accounting systems include:[12]

  • ACCPAC
  • ACCPAC Professional Series
  • ACCPAC Vision Point
  • AMSI/Geac
  • AccountMate Pro
  • AccountMate products
  • Acuity
  • Adonix
  • American Fundware
  • Best (MAS90, MAS200, Enterprise, Businessworks)
  • Business Vision
  • BusinessWorks
  • CYMA
  • CYMA IV Accounting
  • DacEasy
  • Data Pro Accounting
  • Data ProAbacus Accounting
  • EIC - Foodservice Complete
  • Forefront
  • Freedom Financials
  • Great Plains Accounting
  • Great Plains Dynamics SQL
  • Great Plains Dynamics Versions 4 - 6.0
  • Great Plains Small Business Manager
  • Great Plains eEnterprise
  • Macola
  • Macola Progression and ES products
  • Microsoft Dynamics products including GP, SL (formerly known as Solomon)
  • Small Business Financials
  • Navision
  • Netcellent
  • Open Systems
  • Platinum SQL
  • Platinum for DOS
  • Platinum for Windows
  • RealWorld
  • RealWorld Visual Accounting
  • Red Wing
  • Ross
  • Sage products including Accpac, MAS, Business Works, BusinessVision, and ERP X3
  • Skyline
  • Solomon III
  • Solomon IV
  • Solomon IV SQL
  • Southware
  • SympaqSQL
  • Syspro Impact
  • TIMS
  • Visual AccountMate

Features[edit]

Supported platforms[edit]

Competition[edit]

The major competitor of F9 is Microsoft's FRx.[15] However starting in 2011 FRx is now in a state of phased discontinuation.[16] and Microsoft’s official FRx replacement is Management Reporter. Other reporting systems competing with F9 are Alchemex , Bizinsight, Renovofyi and SmartView by Solution 7.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]