Finance users often find the SAP standard reports insufficient. The processes are integrated, but reporting is not. The reports are module specific and don’t support merging data from different sources into one report. This explains the enormous popularity of Excel sheets.
Over the years SAP has added ALV (ABAP List Viewer) functionality to several reports. ALV enables interactive layout functions for such as sorting, filtering, summation, moving or hiding columns, etc. Yet many FI reports offer very little flexibility.
Of course there are BW, Business Objects, BPC plus non-sap reporting environments for custom reporting. But their use requires a professionals, report definitions, interfaces, mappings, blueprints, projects… What if you only want an answer to a simple question or need an urgent ad-hoc report for your boss. Or your Company has not invested in these tools.
SAP does provide also reporting tools that enable users without programming skills to build their own reports. Data Browser (SE16/SE16N), SAP QuickViewer, SAP Query, and Report Painter are examples of these. They are great tools for ad hoc reporting, problem solving and error hunting in the daily work of the financial and controlling departments. Also SAP has used these tools in standard reports. Most CO reports are Report Painter reports. Drill Down reports are common in financials, profit center accounting and COPA. HR and asset accounting reports are SAP Queries.
If you are a programmer, you are probably laughing. Why not quickly make an ABAP-program? Well, first of all I am not a programmer, secondly I never had a budget. The tools I had access to were SAP Query and Report Painter. Luckily in the early SAP era, I had the luxury of SAP ALL authorization. Very seldom I had to admit that it is impossible to get the information my organization wanted out of SAP.