A feature that has been long requested (and even more so recently) is yearly comparison reporting. Comparison reporting is designed to provide a year-on-year comparison between prior year and current year results.

Considerations

The major consideration for comparison reporting is determining the best method of implementing such a feature.  We reviewed a number of options:

  • Graphs vs Numbers - some people prefer visual stimulus such as graphs, pie charts etc where as others prefer to see the numbers.
  • Reporting levels (detailed and summary) - volume of data means some reporting levels may work but for others it may contain too much information to provide any benefit
  • Number of reporting years - how far back do you go? one, two or more years and how would this be displayed?
  • Selecting comparison information - how can this be done? manually, automatically, both?

The changes

After investigating how we could implement this feature we decided on the following:

  • Prior year only - due to the information involved, we have implemented just the prior year for comparison purposes (for now - let us know your thoughts!). Including more years made reviewing reports not as simple as we had imagined (or hoped).
  • Automated - during rollover an additional task is now performed transferring the required reporting information from your prior year entity to your new current year entity. Also if your consolidation includes entities containing comparison information this will be aggregated for you.
  • Manual - for those of you who have already rolled over (for this year) or those who start fresh, you can manually select a prior year entity to compare against your current year (using a similar wizard driven process to choosing a rollover entity). This includes an ability to select standard or consolidated entities.
  • Refresh - you can refresh your existing comparison information (depending on availability and access to the prior year entity) if you have made changes in the prior year entity.
  • On-Screen and Printable reports - utilising our existing reporting features we have included them in both of these options for reporting purposes.

The reports

When determining what could be reported on we decided on the following reporting areas:

  • FBT Reconciliation (across all Employer Types: FBT Taxable, Exempt PNPH, Exempt PBI and FBT Rebatable). These comparisons include two reports - one grouped by Employee and the other grouped by Employee and Workpaper.
  • Fringe Benefits Provided - compare Type of Benefits Provided result against the prior year (Q23 on the ATO form).
  • Payment Summary (RFBA) - compare employees against their prior year RFBA results.

So taking our base existing reporting areas above, we have included prior year comparisons across all key fields within these reports.  Each comparison field is broken down to the following:

  • Prior Year - information from the prior year entity
  • Current Year - information from the current year entity
  • Variance - the numerical (+/-) difference between the prior year and current year
  • Variance % - the percentage difference between the prior year and current year

Comparison-OnScreenReport

Workflow

To utilise comparison reports you have the following options to get your data:

  • Rollover
    During rollover we'll take care of all the work for you - sit back and we'll transfer your comparison information automatically as part of the process.  Note: Already rolled-over for 2016? If so check out the Properties and Settings area below to find out how to complete this manually. 
  • Properties and Settings
    Open the Comparison Reporting panel in Properties and Settings (available from the Setup section in the Workflow Manager) of your active entity.  From here click on the Select comparison entity button to display the wizard.  Follow the prompts to select an entity from your prior year entities (if available on your PC), external data sources (if available) or from a backup or export file.

PropertiesAndSettings-Comparison

Once you have some comparison data, it is just a matter of opening the required reports. Within the On-Screen Reporting section you will see a new Comparison section. If you are after a printed report, open the Reporting Manager and again you will see a new Comparison group filter.

Outcome

We've taken steps towards providing a robust comparison reporting option, giving you a quick and easy way to compare your key data against the prior year. Like the rest of the product, we've attempted to make the process simple and straight-forward but also offer flexibility for a bit more control over the process.  No doubt going forward you will have some suggestions and enhancements for this area so we are looking for your feedback on how we can enhance this feature going forward.

Availability

This feature is included in the April 2016 release of easyFBT 2016 and is available to Professional, Enterprise, Tax Agents and Motor Vehicle Dealers.

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