NetSuite reports and saved searches

| 1/30/2023
NetSuite reports and saved searches

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When businesses want more data – whether it’s to make better financial decisions, or to understand where employees’ time is going, or even to get email notifications for important processes – reports and saved searches can make a significant impact.

These tools can be helpful to organizations, but businesses need to determine whether they need a report or a saved search.

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The difference between a NetSuite report and a NetSuite saved search

Reports provide the status of a business, while saved searches are more customized “data dumps.”

At a high level, a report is easy to use and already built into NetSuite. The pre-built reports offer a lot of common information that many businesses need. They’re also formatted to be easier to understand for users who make financial decisions.

Saved searches, on the other hand, are used when businesses need more specific data. With saved searches, they can customize how they get data. Saved searches are not pre-built, though, so it takes more knowledge to create and use them.

For common data like financial reports, NetSuite reports are much more efficient for what they do. But when organizations need data that reports don’t provide, saved searches typically will be able to supply it.

Reports are the interstate highways of data, and saved searches are the back roads. Back roads can get you to a lot of places an interstate won’t take you. You just need to know how to navigate them.

How NetSuite reports work

Reports are simple to use and customize. Within minutes, organizations can find trial balances, balance sheets, sales reports, and more. They quickly and easily can find needed data and set it up in a clear way.

NetSuite reports have two modes: summary reports and detail reports. A summary report will provide a comprehensive big-picture view, and a detail report can help businesses get into the particulars.

So for instance, an income statement in a summary report would show a single row for income and total amount. The detail report would show a list of each transaction that made up that total amount.

What kinds of data can a NetSuite report be used for?

  • Financial reports
  • Income statements
  • Balance sheets
  • Sales reports
  • Purchasing reports
  • Inventory activity
  • Aging reports

How NetSuite saved searches work

If an organization wants more customization than a standard report can offer, that's when a saved search becomes very useful.

Some reports can be replicated in a saved search – but not all of them. For instance, financial reports rarely can be converted. Aging reports also have a specific filter that can’t be replicated in a saved search.

Saved searches are significantly harder to create because of their complexity. It takes months, if not years, to master the art. However, those attempting to do so should have a basic understanding of structured query language (SQL) and make use of NetSuite help guides.

What can NetSuite saved searches be used for?

  • Gathering customized or niche data
  • Sending email alerts for things like sales orders
  • Helping scripts do their work better
  • Performing data dumps involving formulas (like SQL)

Tips for creating saved searches in NetSuite

Reports are simple – users likely won’t need help with them. But for saved searches, here are a few things to think about:

Understand what table the data lives on.

For instance, an invoice exists on a transaction table. If a saved search is built around a different table, the search won’t find the needed data.

Be comfortable with trial and error.

Patience is required when learning saved searches. Users might feel like they are being dropped in the middle of a lake without a life preserver. But the key is to keep coming back and keep using help guides.

Don’t be afraid to hire a consultant.

Saved searches can be complicated, and a consultant can demonstrate how to do things an organization might not have even considered.

Depend on a NetSuite implementation partner that goes the distance.

We’ve got an implementation model for every need. And when you need continued NetSuite support, you'll still be talking to the same Crowe team you started with. 

NetSuite consulting services

NetSuite consulting services

Avoid these mistakes when using NetSuite saved searches

Again – reports are simple, and saved searches can have quite a few pitfalls. Those using a saved search should watch out for these mistakes:

Using the wrong type of search.

Let’s say an organization wants a list of all customer invoices, sorted by customer. The user might think, “Well, that’s a customer transaction. So that should be a transaction search.” In reality, an entirely different type of search is required to get the needed information.

Entering contradicting data in the criteria tab or filters.

For example, dates in a date range should not contradict. Trying to grab all of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023 before the first quarter of 2023 has happened will produce an error.

Using the wrong syntax.

When using formulas, if a user does not follow the right syntax, an “invalid expression” error will occur.

Dividing by 0 while using formulas.

It’s not possible to divide by 0 in a saved search, so users should take steps to make sure the denominator is never 0.

Mixing number and text field types in formula fields.

Some fields want letters. Some want numbers. If the wrong one is used, it will cause an error.

Generally, these errors can be avoided if the user double-checks the information being entered.