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DataDear to Acterys Migration – The Best Alternative Excel Add-in for Xero Accounting

Over the past decade, there has been a lot of debate around Excel not being the optimal fit for recurring, standardized financial reporting, analysis, and planning processes (also known as FP&A: financial planning & analytics).

Specialized cloud solutions to address this are typically not flexible enough and end with finance pros copying and pasting data into spreadsheets. This typically ends with the well-known chaos with hundreds of spreadsheets “flying” ungoverned through an organization causing extensive maintenance efforts and risks.

A better option is add-ins like DataDear and Acterys that combine the flexibility of a spreadsheet with automated integration to the accounting and ERP systems. Reports are automatically updated from the source and do not have to be recreated in offline spreadsheets. In addition, these tools offer writeback and planning options to the accounting system respectively a central database separate from Excel.

DataDear has been acquired by Intuit / QuickBooks recently. Following that, it has been removed from the Xero Appstore.  Xero is a direct QuickBooks competitor. While the existing Xero customers are likely to get support for the near future, DataDear will not be further developed for the Xero platform.

Acterys is perfectly placed as a replacement that does not just include very similar functionality in Excel but a variety of other benefits for streamlined finance processes that we will outline below.

Acterys Excel Add-in – The Better DataDear Alternative For Xero & other accounting / CRM systems

Acterys is an integrated ecosystem for FP&A and corporate performance management that streamlines financial consolidation, planning, forecasting, and reporting processes by automating data integration and creating digital workflows with cloud-based accounting systems and other sources.

It offers a dedicated Excel add-in that serves as the perfect DataDear alternative. Some of Acterys’ key features include:

  • 1-Click Connectivity to Unlimited Xero Companies: Acterys offers seamless one-click integration with unlimited Xero companies and 3-way communication to pull data into Excel and send updated tables to Xero, data warehouse, and Power BI models.
  • Unparalleled Planning: DataDear is mostly focused on handling and manipulating Xero accounting data. Acterys takes it to the next level and provides you the ability to perform top-down, driver-based, and integrated planning, all from a single platform.
  • Consolidate Xero and Business Data: Acterys provides the quickest and most flexible way to implement management and statutory consolidation for unlimited Xero companies and integrate it with data from any ERP, CRM, GL, and other systems. Advanced requirements like multi-currency handling, intercompany elimination, and other consolidation features can be configured exactly as required.
  • Read AND Write Enabled Planning and Modelling: You can enter as many planning scenarios as needed and write back from standard Pivot Table or Acterys Excel formulas to central data models in SQL Server (Azure) or Power BI at speed.
  • Seamless transition between Power BI, Excel, & Web: Acterys enables you to use the 2-way (read and write) reporting and planning features in Excel or use the advanced interactive dashboard and analysis functionality on the same “single source of the truth” central, cloud database. ( DataDear is only available for Excel’s desktop app and there is no integration with Power BI)
  • Available for both Online and Desktop Versions: Unlike DataDear, the Acterys Excel add-in is available for all versions, whether you are using Excel Online in the web browser, the desktop app for Windows or Mac, giving you the flexibility to access data tables, build reports, and perform analysis where you like it the most.
  • Governance and Audit Trails: Though DataDear provides basic audit trails, it does not allow creating governed workflows for planning, reporting, and forecasting with detailed access rights. Acterys provides both capabilities and complete audit trails to easily track errors and unintended entries.
  • Automated PDF Distribution: In Acterys, you can completely automate PDF report distribution with the ability to personalize content for specific recipients, ensuring that only the right users see the relevant sections of the report. A feature that is not available in DataDear.
  • Go as Granular as You Need: With DataDear, you can view datasets, but it doesn’t go any more granular than that. Acterys allows you to get both a consolidated view of all Xero companies and a single organization with the ability to drill through and receive a view with single transactions in Excel.

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Acterys vs. DataDear Excel Add-in Comparison

Here we have provided a complete comparison of capabilities of DataDear and Acterys for extending Excel’s functionality for planning, reporting, and analysis:

Category

Feature Acterys

DataDear

Data Management
Posting of transactions to Xero

Data Storage Excel (limited to Excel max records of 1m)

Frontend
Drill through to single transactions

Data Storage Enterprise Cloud Data Warehouse (Azure)

Adding/Editing of hierarchies e.g. account grouping, product hierarchies, tagging, etc. in the central / data model (not Excel sheet!)

Server based user rights management/ row level security

Automated loading of accounting/CRM data Xero, QuickBooks, HubSpot, MYOB, NetSuite, Dear Inventory Xero, QuickBooks
Option to automate scheduled loads from any source

Logic / Workflow
Advanced Planning & Budgeting (Top-down / bottom-up entries, allocations, driver-based)

Time intelligence financial calendars, time comparison, Year to date, etc.

Scenario management, copying (copy between scenarios, adding new scenarios)

Consolidation
Multi Organization handling

Statutory Consolidation (Intercompany elimination)

Automated Currency Conversion

Distribution/Integration

Automated personalized PDF distribution

Best Practice Templates for Power BI

8 Power BI Custom Visuals for Planning & Financial Reporting

Migrating from DataDear to Acterys

The Acterys Excel Add-in provides similar features that enable access to your accounting data either on a single company or consolidated level. As opposed to DataDear, the data is not stored in Excel but securely on a central server governed by detailed user rights. Using the refresh function, authenticated users can automatically refresh all their reports.

As you are working with a central database your team has dramatically improved collaboration: everyone with user rights can immediately use standardized mappings and calculations. These can also be maintained directly in Excel. For example, users can add mapping hierarchies of how accounts are classified or tagging of accounts (e.g., what FX conversion should be used) that are then automatically available on every report.

Ready to Replace DataDear with Acterys for Xero-based Accounting and Planning?

Finance pros and accounting teams that are using Acterys typically experience dramatic productivity improvements, saving efforts spent on manual spreadsheet maintenance. If you are already using tools like DataDear, you can continue with nearly all existing functionality but also benefit from Acterys’ enterprise-grade features like central data storage and integration with the leading analytics platform, Power BI. This will not just make your team more productive but also become the basis for new revenue streams from analytics services for your practice.

Want to take the Acterys Excel Add-in out for a spin? Download the free trial and get started with a free guided onboarding session that includes initial training and migration support to transfer your DataDear reports to Acterys. We are also offering 30% off on the annual subscription for DataDear users.

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