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Guide to BEN Reports

BEN Reports is a web-based application that allows you to run predefined reports against the Data Warehouse as well as link to other University applications (such as BEN Financials, or Position Inventory) via the web. BEN Reports is restricted to authorized individuals.

This page provides a navigation guide to running reports, viewing more detailed information, and exporting report results to Excel. A list of report definitions is also available.


What reports are available?

Reports and links are organized by categories: Facilities, Financial, Payroll / Salary Management, and Sponsored Programs. The following items are currently available:

Facilities:

Financial:

Intellectual Property:

Payroll / Salary Managment:

Sponsored Programs:


Session time limit

For security reasons, your connection to BEN Reports is limited to a 1-hour session. When the time limit is reached, your connection will be terminated automatically. If you need more time, just log on for another session.

Your login information, which includes hidden information about your access level (i.e., for which ORGs you may see data), is saved for the duration of your browser session, and is passed from screen to screen and level to level during your session. It is recommended that you dedicate a browser window for a BEN Reports session - navigating to another site may cause your login information to be lost and your session to be terminated.


Logging on to BEN Reports

Go to U@Penn, and click on the Business tab. You'll find a link to BEN Reports in the Busines Administration channel. Enter your PennKey and password where prompted, and click the "Login Now" button, and then "Proceed to benreports". This will take you to the BEN Reports home page. (For information about getting a PennKey, visit http://www.upenn.edu/computing/pennkey/.)

A note about cookies:
BEN Reports requires that your browser accept cookies in order for you to use any of the reports, including GRAM. The BEN Reports cookie is named "websec_token". It consists of a 40-byte random string of numbers generated by our login procedure. The cookie is sent back only to the BEN Reports server; it persists only to the end of the session; and it is never written to disk.


Entering parameters

Once you click the link for the report you wish, you'll arrive at a page which lists the required parameter fields for the report. (This is the case for most of the reports avaialble - for those that do not require parameters, you will be linked directly to the report results.) You may type parameters directly into the boxes provided, or click the icon to the right of the parameter box to activate a pop-up list of values for that field.

Using the pop-up search window:

A small "Search Dialog" window will appear, displaying 10 values at a time. You may either scroll through the list, using the Next button, or use the search feature at the top of the box. This is particularly useful for ORG and Fund values, as you can search on a part of the segment description to find the appropriate code. For example, entering "%physics%" (without quotes, but with the both % wildcards), will retrieve ORG codes for any organization with physics anywhere in the description (including biophysics). When you click on the value that meets your search criteria, the parameter box will be filled in automatically. Searches are case insensitive.

Click "Run Report" to retrieve the results that match your parameters.


Viewing more detailed information

Most reports allow you to drill down to more detailed information, by means of a link on a balance category, or protocol number, or fund, for example. Follow the directions on individual reports for the drilldown method for that report set.


Export to Excel

At each level of the financial reports you may download the results retrieved to your desktop, for further analysis and manipulation. Click on the "Download full results to Excel" link below the report results, and then choose whether to open or save the results (as prompted by your browser). This will download all the data returned for the particular report, even though the screen display may be divided into multiple pages (through which you navigate using the Next and Previous buttons at the bottom of the report) for ease of viewing.

Although the default file format is readable without any conversion necessary by Microsoft Excel, you'll need to associate that application with the file type (which is SYLK, although downloaded files will have a ".SHOW" extension) the first time you download report results (or choose to view without downloading) or open a downloaded file. Follow the instructions in your browser pop-up windows to associate the application, and, if you choose, that preference can be saved for all future use.


Running another report

You can use the drilldown links, as described above, as well as your browser "Back" and "Forward" buttons to navigate within a report set for the same parameters. To enter new parameters, or to go to the parameter screen for a different report, click the report category link (i.e., Financial, Salary Management, or Sponsored Programs) on the BEN Reports navigation bar, on the left-hand side of the screen.


Cancelling reports

Please note that clicking your browser "Stop" button will halt the communication between your browser and the BEN Reports server, but will not actually stop your query running in the database. To be sure that your query has been canceled as well, contact Data Administration.


System availabiity

BEN Reports is available the same hours as the Data Warehouse. In a normal week, this means that BEN Reports will be available from 8am - 8pm weekdays. Since they are based on different data collections, you will be able to use some reports while others are unavailable due to a collection refresh. For example, while the financial reports will likely be unavailable on Saturdays, due to the General Ledger collection weekend update, you may still use Salary Management or Protocol reports during that period. In addition, all reports will be unavailable late Sunday night (11:30pm) through early Monday morning (6:30am) during the weekly Data Warehouse backup.

University of Pennsylvania
Last modified:  23 April 2013