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Tuesday, 30 August 2011 03:44

Introduction to Dynamics GP: Quick Journals

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Welcome to the second entry in a series of posts focusing on some of the basic functionality within Microsoft Dynamics GP. This guide will cover the creation, use and advantages of Quick Journals.

Quick Journals are extremely useful for creating recurring journal entries in which the accounts stay the same each time, but the amount differ. A simple example would be an entry of wage expenses.

To create a Quick Journal, open the Quick Journal Setup window. From the main menu select Microsoft Dynamics GP >> Tools >> Setup >> Financial >> Quick Journal.

Quick Journal Setup

Give the Quick Journal a unique ID, a description, a source, and reference. Next, select an offset account. This account will be used to balance the debits and credits of the transaction. If you would to give users the ability to change this offset account during transaction entry, mark the Allow Override checkbox, otherwise, leave it unchecked. Finally, add the accounts to be used in the transaction. Note that not all accounts entered in the Quick Journal Setup window need to be used in the transaction. Click Save to complete the creation.

To make an journal entry using a Quick Journal, open the Quick Journal Entry window. From the main menu select Transactions >> Financial >> Quick Journal.

Quick Journal Entry

Select a Quick Journal ID. Then, simply enter the amounts for accounts to be used in the transaction. In this example, I am not entering an amount against account 100-5100-00. Note that unlike regular general journal entries, Quick Journals cannot be saved to a batch. They can, however, be saved individually. Click Post to complete the transaction.

Here the Quick Journal that was posted in this example:

Journal Entry Inquiry

 

Notice how the account I did not enter an amount against was not used in the transaction? This makes Quick Journals incredibly flexible. Also note that the total was entered against the offset account to balance the transaction.

To learn more about the advantages of classes in Microsoft Dynamics GP, check out our training video on Quick Journals, and for more topics visit our GP training videos page. Also, read the previous entry in this series here to learn about the advantages and use of classes in Dynamics GP.

If you're a business owner and frequent user of Dynamics GP, you might think, "I have a lot of data in my Dynamics GP system. I need to analyze my data, extract a new knowledge from it and make decisions based on this analysis. I want to see  the KPI of my business in real time mode to drive my business better. I want to have a tool which will help me see hidden trends in my business and industry...". If you already have these thoughts, there's good news - the Business Intelligence technologies (BI) will help you.

Basically, you need to have three things:

  1. The data warehouse. It is a special data base which has a star-schema data model (info cubes). Also, this database is in read-only mode for users and it is optimized for reporting and multidimensional analysis.
  2. Extraction, loading and transformation  process (ELT) which loads your data from OLTP system like Dynamics GP to your data warehouse. Generally speaking this ELT process "cleans", transforms and loads your daily operation data from Dynamics GP into your data warehouse.
  3. Tools to create analytical reports and KPIs based on data from your data warehouse.

There are alot of BI tools which can help you to create a whole process of these 1-2-3 steps. However, if you have ERP based on MS SQL Server (i.e. Dynamics GP - you have a simple way of studying the system and pretty powerful BI tool right out from the box! It is SQL Server Reporting Service (SSRS) which actually is the part of MS SQL Server installation.

So, let's see what SSRS can provide you:

  • Simple access to your Dynamics GP database and use it as a data warehouse, you just need to write a bunch of SQL-statements and SSRS will transform on the fly the results of these queries to BI reports
  • Loading and analyzing data from MS Analysis Services which is more powerful solution to build data warehouse from Microsoft
  • Special tool for building in drag-n-drop mode you BI reports - Report Builder 2.0 It is free and can be downloaded from Microsoft site
  • Creating beautiful graphic dash-boards with KPI's in Report Builder 2.0
  • Different filters for your BI reports
  • Access to your reports, dash-boards and KPIs via Web, you can see all your BI stuff just in your internet browser
  • Generating your BI reports in off-line mode and sending them via e-mail on a schedule. (Do you want to see some daily reports every morning in your inbox? No problem, SSRS will do it for you. Just create your reports in Report Builder, then publish and schedule them)
  • Integration with your MS Share Point portal, yes you will be able to build reports and analyze data right in your portal
  • Built in export of reports to Word, Excel, PDF and TIFF-format

MS SQL Server Reporting is very simple for installation and studying. You could get BI tool and start analyze your data in Dynamics GP in two or three days. Simple, powerful and ready for use right out from the box.

Learn more about Dynamics GPView Dynamics GP PricingFree Dynamics GP Training

Welcome! This is the first entry in a series of posts focusing on some of the basic functionality within Microsoft Dynamics GP. This entry will cover the creation, use and advantages of classes.

Stated simply, classes allow various record types, such as customers, venders, items, users, or employees to be grouped together by a certain characteristic. For example, a New York customer class could be setup to group all customers based in New York together. To create a new customer class, browse to Microsoft Dynamics GP >> Tools >> Setup >> Sales >> Customer Class.

Enter a Class ID to identify the customer class, a description, and the properties associated with the class, including payment terms, salesperson, shipping method, and so on. In this example, I am creating a NEW_YORK customer class to group all of my New York-based customers together. Click the Accounts button to open the Accounts Setup window and to assign distribution accounts. Save the class when completed.

Customer Class Setup

Now when creating a new New York customer, all I need to enter is some basic name, address, and phone information, and then assign the NEW_YORK class. The properties entered for the NEW_YORK class are carried over to the customer, including the distribution accounts. If I had to enter ten New York-based customers into Dynamics GP, I’ve just saved myself a lot of time and from a lot of tedious data entry. If there are properties that default from the NEW_YORK class that do not apply to the specific customer, I can still modify the individual customer.

Customer Maintenance 

In the future, if a new salesperson needed to be assigned to all New York customers, I would make the change to the NEW_YORK class. Dynamics GP would then ask if I would like to roll-down the changes to the customer records. Selecting “Yes” will apply that change to every customer record the NEW_YORK class has Again, I’ve avoided a large amount of tedious data entry.

Window Confirmation

To learn more about the advantages of classes in Microsoft Dynamics GP check out our training video on classes, and for more topics visit our GP training videos page.

Visit often to see our latest posts and videos!

PHP is one of the most versatile programming languages for building web applications.   However, one of the problems with PHP is that there is more than one way to do the same thing.  This might not sound like a problem, but PHP's ease of use is also its downfall.  Because there are less restrictions on the structure of the code you write, it's much easier to write bad code. The solution to this problem is to use a framework and design pattern such as Model, View, and Controller (MVC).

There are many PHP frameworks out there.  Here, at WebSan, one of the PHP frameworks we use regularly is Codeigniter.  The reason is that it is well documented, small footprint, exceptional performance and has a large user community.

Here are some resources to get started with Codeigniter:

Tutorials:
CodeIgniter From Scratch: Day 1, Nettuts.com - Getting Started With the Framework
CodeIgniter From Scratch: Day 2, Nettuts.com - Database Selecting Methods
CodeIgniter From Scratch: Day 3, Nettuts.com - Sending Emails
CodeIgniter From Scratch: Day 4, Nettuts.com - Newsletter Signup

IBM developerWorks - Getting started with CodeIgniter

The foundations of ERP are found in manufacturing resource planning, traditionally used by companies which produced tangible goods in factories. The adoption of ERP and MRP systems was initially quite slow – management were content with the status quo and saw no reason to change what seemed to be working. However, the recession experienced in the late 1980s and early 1990s forced many companies to make a choice: Either find new ways of operating more efficiently and effectively, or go under. This created a massive boom in the ERP market, which lead to massive changes in the ways in which fundamental business operations were conducted, and those organizations that made it through the recession came out stronger.

North America is no longer the goods-producing collection of nations it once was and is instead dominated by service industries. However, many of the same problems that existed in manufacturing organizations twenty years ago still exist in these businesses: Lack of integration, inability to respond and take advantage of environmental change, time and money wasted on data entry and redundancies, and so on. Much like the recession twenty years ago, the economic downturn caused by the subprime mortgage crisis has forced many modern companies to find new ways of performing more effectively and efficiently.

This is the time to get ahead of the competition, and Microsoft Dynamics GP is the perfect solution for organizations looking for more than simple accounting and reporting features without high maintenance costs and complexity.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010 14:17

Microsoft Dynamics GP newbie: SmartList

As promised from my last entry, I will be discussing SmartList functionality this time – how to use them to your advantage and how to build/modify your own.

SmartList in a nutshell is a powerful means of accessing your Dynamics GP data in simple to read form for reporting and analysis. They can be found right in the Microsoft Dynamics GP dropdown menu. There are predefined SmartLists for all modules, which means there is one for everybody. Examples of a few that come with the system are PA Cost Categories found in the Project Accounting folder and Open Purchase Orders, which is located in the Purchasing folder. Using a SmartList is as simple as clicking on the SmartList icon in the desired module. After the data is generated, you could then export to Excel for further data manipulation. There is also an option to export to Word if required.

If the standard SmartLists do not satisfy all of your analysis purposes, there is an add-on tool called SmartList Builder that allows you to customize the standard SmartLists as well as create your own to query a customized set of information. If available, the tool can be found in Micrsoft Dynamics GP-> Tools-> SmartList Builder->SmartList Builder. SmartList Builder allows you to link up to 32 tables in the system and configure your own column headings to suit your reporting needs. I will go through the steps of creating a new SmartList for my own purposes: Contract ID with Project ID and Project Name. To begin, name your SmartList and choose the Product that the data will come from. Project details are found in Project Accounting so that was the product I selected.

To start adding tables, simply click on the “+” symbol on the left panel and select “Microsoft Dynamics GP Table”. From there, you can choose and/or link up to 32 tables of your choosing to incorporate your desired set of data. There will be some research to be done in order to link the right combination of tables for your own purposes. The information I need is found in the PA Contract Master File and PA Project Master Files so I need to first add the PA Contract table and then link the Project Master table based on a common field (Contract ID):

I can then select the fields I require to be displayed in my dataset:

Just save the SmartList and it will be good to go in the SmartList window!

You can also choose to further filter your dataset using the Search button on the SmartList menu:

I hope this helped! My next blog entry will cover the Report Modifier feature in GP!

Steven Lu
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
416-499-1235 x. 209

The Setup Checklist in Microsoft Dynamics GP is a great little tool to guide you in the configuration of a new client on the system because it provides a systematic and efficient list of tasks for a complete deployment. I found the tool to be excellent in ensuring the proper setup tasks were completed in the right order because many latter and complex tasks such as in modules such as Sales and Project are dependent on initial setup such as GL account creation and Currencies to be finished first.

When opening up the checklist using the path Microsoft Dynamics GP -> Tools -> Setup -> Setup Checklist, you will find a nifty Setup Guide that pops up right beside the Checklist. I found this to be very helpful in the explanation of the task at hand and how to find more information in the related links below the task description. Here is the Guide that appears when configuring System Security:

As you can see, after the brief task description follows a list of more information that the user can click to further learn about the task and its relationship and effect on various other functions. Since System Security is related to users directly, you would find links for personal security and security roles in links. I noted in my first entry that the Help menu does a superb job of providing necessary information when stuck on a task and it continues to be as I am continuing with my configuration duties.

One complaint that I do have so far is the inability to maximize every single setup window when doing configuration. Usually the first window in a path can be easily maximized (i.e. Account Maintenance) but say if you wanted to Lookup the accounts, the results list must be manually enlarged instead of using the window maximize button. Although a small complaint, I believe that one-click window maximization should be found on every drilldown window in the system for added convenience.

My next issue will cover the concept and handiness of Smartlists and how they can help you with your production in Dynamics GP. I will be sure to provide an example of a custom one and the type of data that can be derived from it.

Steven Lu
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
416-499-1235 x.209

As the newest member to the Dynamics GP Consulting practice at WebSan, it is my responsibility as a junior analyst to learn how the system works through Microsoft E-Learning and actual hands-on practice in QA environments. My goal with my blog entries is to take you through my learning process with the system. It is my intention to provide any new users or potential future users of the system an objective view of how I perceive and adapt to Dynamics GP.

Coming from a systems background with experience in ERP and warehouse management systems, the first thing that came to mind when interacting with Dynamics GP initially was how easy it was on the eyes. This is an attribute that many software developers neglect because they fail to think like a user. I personally believe that more appealing GUI’s are successful than their bland counterparts in the efficiency department. Nobody likes monochrome work environments.

I’ve also found the navigation to be very intuitive. I have been able to get where I need to go in my basic training exercises in usage and configuration. The help menu has been doing a great job covering any questions I had. Any challenging issues I have definitely had to inquire a senior analyst. Although the software has an accounting backbone and I don’t come from an accounting background, I did not have much difficulty accomplishing basic tasks such as setting up GL accounts or running reports.

I am currently working through the configuration of a new WebSan client on Dynamics GP. My next blog entry will describe my experience with it, including any challenges and lessons learned. Stay tuned!

Steven Lu
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
416-499-1235 x.209

In the first volume of this series, we discussed one of the key advantages a well-designed warehouse management system (WMS) delivers – visibility of inventory. For volume two we will touch upon the direct correlations between an effective WMS and increased customer service.

By implementing the appropriate WMS solution to fit your warehousing needs, you are telling your customers through your actions that, “Hey, we really do care that you get your product on time and in an accurate fashion”. It’s one thing to promise your customers that you can do something for them and another to keep that promise.

The simple concept of customer service is very often confused and misplaced in a world full of fancy gadgets and new-age business theories. At the end of the day, just make them happy; it’s really all they ask for.

A WMS increases customer service directly through:

  • Improved warehouse organization
    • Efficient usage of warehouse space means lower storage and overhead costs. This translates into a competitive advantage you can leverage to provide more attractive pricing to customers
  • A return system that actually works
    • An ineffective return merchandise authorization (RMA) program is as frustrating to customers as misleading promotional deals. A returns processing applet is typically integrated in a well-designed WMS
  • Better inventory accuracy
    • If a customer needs to order a product and your website says that it’s available then you should be making sure this is true. A WMS increases inventory visibility, which reduces the number of stock-out confusions
    • By forecasting inventory trends, buyers can determine when a demand spike for certain products will arise and make appropriate purchases to support it
  • Faster order cycle times
    • A WMS is not only software – it is a complete integrated system that works with your ERP system. RF devices can be incorporated to increase order-fill rates. Shipping stations can be established with shipping partners for automation and shipment management

Vernon Johnson is a warehouse management specialist at WebSan Solutions Inc. He can be reached at 416-499-1235.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009 12:01

Getting Started with a Virtualized Testbed

An often-used buzzword over the last few years in the IT sector has been virtualization - the process of turning one server that hosts a single operating system into a super-system that can potentially host 10 or more operating systems. By now most large corporations and agencies have some sort of virtualized infrastructure in place, and for good reason. The benefits to using this technology are numerous: hardware and operation costs are drastically reduced, virtualization provides enhanced flexibility with the allocation of resources, and production environment’s mission critical applications have been noticing improvements of up time. But how can a virtualized server improve your organizations testing and development cycles?

One of the major benefits of a virtualized test server is the ability to swiftly bring new resources online and create new development environments. Cloning a standard template that has been authored with the fundamental tools required by the development team can create these new environments. Procuring, configuring and installing hardware used to take weeks - but all of the sudden your development team’s new environment is up and running in less than the amount of time it takes to get a cup of coffee.

Another true benefit to a virtualized test server is that there is less risk of cross-contamination between environments. There is no longer an issue when development team A modifies core system files that could possibly interrupt development team B from using that code library. Why? Because both teams have completely separate environments using completely different virtual hard drives connected to completely different virtual networks.

So what about the cost? The common perception is that you need a really powerful and expensive server - but this is not the case. Taking into account the timesavings you will experience, you will also find that there is there is not much investment needed to get a virtualized test server online, especially now that VMWare’s ESXi Hypervisor is available as a free download. Perhaps that server sitting in the basement can be used to get your foot in the virtualization doorstep.

Mike Jantz is a Senior Technical Consultant with WebSan Solutions Inc., a professional services consulting firm specializing in helping companies get the most out of their ERP systems and Supply Chains. You can contact Mike at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 416-499-1235 ext. 210.

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