Exception Reporting: Automating the exception management process

Exception Reporting

Exception reporting is critical for businesses to quickly identify and address key business process issues before they become a problem. Automating the exception management process ensures that potential issues and the manual monitoring of data is removed.

It’s not uncommon for organisations to have an employee to manage exceptions by monitoring systems for data anomalies and potential issues. This approach to exception reporting can be an extremely risky and costly avenue to take. So, how are businesses overcoming the risks associated with exception reporting?

Automated exception reporting

Automating exception reports enforces best business practice and removes the manual monitoring of critical data to ensure that potential issues are avoided. Removing the associated costs and the risk of human error through automated exception handling can be achieved through TaskCentre, which enables:

  • Exception reporting via email or SMS
  • Automated exception reporting with attachments
  • Exception reporting with added workflow functionality

TaskCentre provides the ability to monitor and generate management exception reports on critical business processes. This functionality allows organisations to make informed decisions on exception based events immediately and can automatically create and distribute detailed exception reports by scheduled or database event for the following formats:

  • Crystal Reports
  • Microsoft Reporting Services (SSRS)
  • MS Word
  • HTML

TaskCentre users, such as Morgan Motor Company Ltd use TaskCentre to perform event-based, management exception reporting. Automated exception handling in-real time helps them to identify cars that have been sold below a specific margin or when a new part is created. Depending on the information needed by a team or individual, emails and SMSnotifications are personalised to the users exact requirement.

“TaskCentre saves us having to check data manually because it will automatically send an email to say this has or hasn’t happened, depending on the criteria that has been designated.”
Caroline Gudgeon, System Implementation Team, Morgan Motor Company Ltd

Exception handling using TaskCentre

TaskCentre’s drag and drop Tools enable organisations to streamline business processes for the exact business requirement. TaskCentre is based upon Tasks and Tools. Tasks perform as part or all of a technical or operational process which is triggered by one or more Event or inbound/outbound SMTP email. Tasks can contain any number of steps within a business process which, in turn, are created with easy to use, drag and drop Tools.

The TaskCentre Tools expose and consume information to and from each other in any combination which can be easily expanded as and when required to meet business needs. TaskCentre Tools are used to create steps within a Task which allows any number of database structures to interact. As a result, the Tools are then joined together to build the automated exception report. TaskCentre Tools can be grouped into six categories which are:

  • Event
  • Input
  • Format
  • Output
  • Execute
  • General

Click here for a detailed explanation of TaskCentre Tools.

Exception handling example using Crystal Reports

TaskCentre’s ‘Run Crystal Report Tool’ is a Format Tool which is used to create a Task Step to automate the running of Crystal Reports. Exception handling examples can include locating accounts in a database which have exceeded their credit limit, running a statement for a list of inventory sold, or producing an order acknowledgement for new orders.

When executing an exception report to identify accounts within a database which have exceeded their credit limit, the customer account number will be directly mapped to a parameter field within the Crystal Report. Crystal Reports will then use the customer account number to complete a database query of its own. Data can be extracted from anInput Step such as a Database Query (ODBC). This enables Crystal Reports to obtain additional information on the customer account in question to complete the report. The number of accounts which have been located by the TaskCentre query dictates the number of exception reports that are generated.

Each document exposed in the Step can then be delivered by using Output Steps such as Send Message (SMTP), File Transfer (FTP) or Save as File. As a result, the exception report can be used to present management information which can be distributed by email (as an attachment), SMS or published to form the content of a web portal or intranet.

Where a report requires access to data tables that have specific security associated with them, all relevant login details can be passed by the Step to the report concerned. The drag and drop process can be seen in the image below.


TaskCentre Tools used in this process:

  • Event > MS SQL Server Trigger Tool
  • Input > Database Query Tool (ODBC)
  • Format > Run Crystal Report Tool
  • Output > Send Message (SMTP)

For more information on running a Crystal Report using TaskCentre read this article.

Exception reporting with Workflow

Exception based reporting consists of four distinct phases. These can be identified as:

  • Identification
  • Evaluation
  • Action
  • Review

Unfortunately, many business applications lack the functionality to perform the action and review phases. TaskCentre not only provides the ability to address the identification and evaluation phases through its Notifications and Alerts and Document Automation Tools, but its wokflow functionality also allow businesses to create unique employee workflows and report on process closures.

In many businesses, workflow remains a manual driven process where authorisations are unique to departmental structures and business rules. Controlling workflow processes by implementing workflow automation ensures that business rules are adhered to whilst removing unnecessary administration tasks. Below is a small selection of common automated workflow processes that have been created by TaskCentre users.

  • Expense approvals
  • Single and/or multi authorisation workflows
  • Authorisation of Purchase Orders
  • Price change approvals and discount authorisations

Benefits of automated exception reporting

Automating management by exception processes ensures that data is provided to the right people at the right time. Exception reporting through automation reduces the risk of relying on employees to monitor and report on business exceptions. It also provides detailed management exception reports and related workflow tasks via email or SMS. The common benefits TaskCentre users experience through automated exception management processes include:

  • Reduced exposure to financial risk
  • Enforced best practice and procedures
  • Consistent and detailed information to support exception reports and decision making
  • Risks associated with employees spotting exceptions removed
  • Automated business processes beyond exceptions identified


[Source:- orbis-software]