Here are some examples of how alternative hierarchies in accounting can provide better insights: 

  • Increased Flexibility: Alternative hierarchies can be tailored to the specific needs of an organization, allowing accountants to focus on how the information is needed today without worrying about impacting past tax returns.

  • Industry Comparisons: An alternative hierarchy may allow an accountant to compare their company's sales revenue categories to that of similar companies in their industry, providing valuable insights for decision making.  This also provides a shared language and understanding for financial data, making it easier for companies to collaborate and share information with peers

  • Deeper Understanding of Financial Data Relationships: Alternative hierarchies can help to reveal relationships and connections between financial data that may not be immediately apparent using existing, traditional hierarchies. For example, grouping income and cogs accounts related to the same product line can give you more granular gross margin numbers without worrying how the account numbers were created.  (sales reports in QB only report item based transactions)

QQUBE and AHA – better together

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Aha! - Alternate HIerarchy Assistant 

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Step # 3 - Use the file saved by aha in your new reporting model

Aha!  enables you to build new reporting models connected to your existing lists
​to enable new reporting without impacting your historical data.

Step # 1 - Build or select a new hierarchy

I started my professional career as an accountant but over time I morphed into a data engineer because accounting is bursting with data and having no love for collection of said data, I found myself focusing on looking at and analyzing data from lots of angles.

What I have concluded after 30 years of looking at data is that at the lowest level every root transaction has basic facts but while those are important building blocks, we derive meaning from the data by how we summarize that data. I have also seen that frequently how we summarize changes (or should change) over time.  Most will be familiar with a list of accounts but how do we summarize that list?  Each accounting and reporting system has fashioned its own way for how this is done. Some call them hierarchies, some call them segments or groupings or rollups, still others call them dimensions but no matter how you explain it, there is no getting around the reality that putting those building blocks into levels of groups is useful to understand the data

The screen shot shows a chart of accounts that is mapped into a different hierarchy for reporting.  In order to 'map' an account you simply drag the account from the Accounts to be mapped over to a row in the reporting model.

Users say this simple paradigm allows them to see at a glance where every account is mapped plus makes it easy to see if an account is not yet mapped. 

The screen shot shows a simple example in Power BI using the QQUBE general ledger detail template with the AHAACCTS added and mapped to the general ledger detail. The left hierarchy is a simple gaap financial hierarchy added and the hierarchy on the right is the same data using the schedule C tax reporting model.

Step # 2 - Select and map your existing list items to where you want to report them in the new reporting model

In the picture to the above, we are showing a tax return model, a model to show gross margin by product lines and a model that groups things the way the Georgia Commission for the arts demands reports group expenses.