How do I connect Power BI to AFAS Online?

Execute the following steps to connect Power BI to AFAS Online. You only need knowledge of Power BI and your own business.

AFAS Online is online accounting, ERP and payrolling software for Dutch companies. AFAS Online has approximately 15.000 customers, including most of the top 30 accounting firms in the Netherlands. AFAS Online is the cloud version of the AFAS Profit business software. AFAS Online runs on a hosted Windows remote desktop session - similar to AFAS Profit - providing easy access to large volumes of business data. AFAS can manage hundreds of companies per environment.

No technical knowledge is needed nor knowledge on the AFAS Online APIs to connect AFAS Online to Power BI. This step-by-step plan will tell you exactly which steps you need to go through on Invantive Cloud to create your own dashboard with data from AFAS Online.

The steps to connect Power BI to AFAS Online are:

  1. Register an Invantive Cloud account.
  2. Create a AFAS Online database.
  3. Make the AFAS Online database available through the Microsoft OData connector.
  4. Connect Power BI to AFAS Online through the connector.
  5. Load data from AFAS Online into Power BI.
  6. Build your dashboard.

Invantive Cloud offers a AFAS Online connector to download data from AFAS Online into Power BI, but there are over 75 other connectors available also for SQL, Power BI Desktop, Power BI Service, Power Query and/or Azure Data Factory.

Do you have a large environment? For effective downloads, you can of course also filter the data using the filter step or the transform button in Power BI.

When you are having questions, please check the forums for AFAS Online. Every organisation is entitled to 1 hour of free training to help you get started. This free hour also applies to free plans.

Register Account on Invantive Cloud

Skip this step when you already have an account on Invantive Cloud. Otherwise execute the following steps one time to register an account on Invantive Cloud:

  1. Go to Invantive Cloud start page.

  2. Select the Log on-button.

  3. Select the Sign Up-button. Sign Up to Invantive Cloud.

  4. Enter your business email address. Enter business email address.

  5. Select the Next-button.

  6. Enter your personal data. Enter personal data.

  7. Select the Next-button.

  8. Enter your password and repeat the password you entered.

  9. Select the Next-button. Enter two identical passwords.

  10. You will receive a six-digit verification code by email within 2 minutes.

  11. Enter the six-digit verification code. Six-digit verification code to validate email address.

  12. Select the Sign Up-button.

  13. Log on now. Sign Up.

  14. Make sure you have an authentication app installed on your phone. Select the Next-button. Prepare TOTP-configuration.

  15. Add the displayed QR code to the authentication app, enter the current verification code, and choose "Finish". Scan QR-code into TOTP-app and enter current code.

  16. Skip registration of the organization. Skip company registration.

  17. Complete your personal information and choose "Save". Complete personal data.

  18. Go to the dashboard. Navigate to dashboard.

  19. The Invantive Cloud dashboard will be shown.

You now have a login code on Invantive Cloud with which you can set up the connection with AFAS Online and numerous other platforms. You will use the same Invantive login code and workflow for all other platforms.

Create AFAS Online database

In this step, we set up a database with data from AFAS Online. The database is "virtual" because it is not a traditional database, but is fed real-time from AFAS Online. Invantive Cloud provides Power BI with a real-time link to AFAS Online. The database will be used for all your AFAS Online reporting with Power BI. So you only need to perform these steps once.

You now have a login code on Invantive Cloud with which you can set up the connection with {0} and numerous other platforms. You will use the same Invantive login code and workflow for all other platforms.

  1. Click the Add Database button. Add database.

  2. Select AFAS Online from the list. Select AFAS Online connector.

  3. Please fill out the form with login information for AFAS Online.

  4. Select the OK-button.

Congratulations! You can now process data from AFAS Online within the Invantive Cloud website. You can do this for example with the interactive SQL editor.

Grant connection from Power BI access to AFAS Online

To retrieve the data from Power BI we create a link via Invantive Bridge Online. This creates a "bridge" between the cloud of Invantive and the standard OData connector that is available in every version of Power BI. You do not need to install anything locally: no connector, no ado.NET provider and no Power BI add-on neither.

Execute the following steps to safely use the data from AFAS Online outside of Invantive Cloud:

  1. Next to the database you will find an orange text requesting you to allow access from your current location (IP address). Select the nearby orange button.

  2. If you want to use the data through the web versions of Power BI, you must completely disable IP address checking by entering an asterisk ("*").

You are now ready to import the AFAS Online data into Power BI.

Configure Power BI connector for AFAS Online

You will now pull in Power BI data from AFAS Online through the established link.

Execute the following steps:

  1. Start Microsoft Power BI and click on "Get Data". Use Get Data in Power BI

  2. Choose "OData Feed." Choose OData feed

  3. Enter the Bridge Online URL of the AFAS Online database in the window. Select the OK-button. Configure OData URL for Invantive Bridge Online

  4. Sometimes Power BI does not accept the URL and a yellow warning sign appears. If so, add a '/' to the end of the URL and remove it again. Select the OK-button.

  5. A message about missing authentication will appear if you have not previously recorded your login credentials in Power BI.

  6. Select the "Basic" tab on the left. Configure Basic Authentication

  7. Enter the user name for Invantive Cloud.

  8. Enter the password that you have set for Invantive Cloud.

  9. You do not need to change the "Scope" under the "Choose which Level" menu unless you have specific reasons.

  10. Select the OK-button.

You only need to perform these steps for linking AFAS Online with Power BI once. From now on, you will find the linked data source in Power BI beneath "Recent Sources" in the menu.

Load Data in Power BI from AFAS Online

A list of AFAS Online tables appears for use in your dashboard. You can find these tables and their meaning on documentation.invantive.com. A limited number of tables from the AFAS Online documentation of Invantive are not visible from Power BI because they have parameters.

Execute the following steps to load data into your dashboard:

  1. Select the table you want to use in the Navigator. You can also select multiple tables at once.

  2. A preview of the data from AFAS Online appears to the right when you select a table.

  3. Select the OK-button.

  4. All data from all selected tables are loaded directly by the connector into Power BI.

  5. Loading can take a short or long time depending on the amount of data. The first time it takes noticeably longer anyway because the data is not yet in the "cache".

  6. Advanced Power BI users can use the "Transform" button to increase the loading speed from Power BI by applying filters.

The AFAS Online connection will cache the data. Your data will be stored encrypted. Power BI, especially during dashboard development, often retrieves the same data again. This cache provides a noticeable acceleration. The cached data is refreshed according to the duration you set at the virtual AFAS Online database. By default, the duration is set to 4 hours; therefore, you will receive the same data for 4 hours via the connection.

Build a AFAS Online Dashboard

In Power BI the data is now ready for use in the dashboard.

Now build your reports or dashboards.

Click "Refresh" to refresh the AFAS Online data from Invantive Bridge Online.

Additional features

After an initial success with new insights through a custom report or analysis on AFAS Online, you are going to create multiple dashboards on your AFAS Online data. It is then more efficient to use Microsoft data flows so that the data is shared between the different dashboards within the online Power BI platform.

You might also use other Invantive connectors for a report or analysis. For this you can follow the steps described above. All Power BI connectors of Invantive work identically; only the registration of the database depends on the data source.

Finally, using Invantive Cloud you can also build software in the form of small web applications. This software can use the data in your database.