WebSan Solutions certifies Microsoft Dynamics GP interface for CSA Software Solution

WebSan assisted Mercury E-Portal Solutions Inc. in certifying a Microsoft Dynamics GP standard interface to it's CSA Software Solution.

See the full blog press release here : Mercury E-Portal Solutions Blog

The press release is on PRWEB here : PRWEB MEPS Press Release

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Emailing Customer Statements

I am constantly searching for ways to help my clients save money & improve performance.  Often the answer includes automating a particular process.  One of such process includes Emailing Customer Statements.  For clients with a large number of customers, the savings can be extensive.  Clients save on paper, ink, wear & tear on printers, envelopes, postage & most importantly, employee time.

Automating the customer statement process is very simple to setup.  First, enter the Customer Maintenance window & click Options.  Enter the email contact for the customer in the ‘To’ box in the bottom right corner of the screen & check the ‘Send Email Statements’ check box.  Now, when creating customer statements, check the ‘Send Email Customer Statements’ under the Email Options heading.

The return on users’ time investment will be realized after the first statement run.   So automate the process of sending customer statements & free up your time for more important tasks.

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FRx Calculations

For more advanced FRx users, I thought I would cover some calculation formulas that are available for use in FRx.  Much of FRx is fairly self explainable & easily learned with a little exploration.  One topic I had a little trouble with when first learning the system was Calculation Formulas on Row Formats. 

Simple adding & subtracting are fairly self-explanatory.  Simple take the columns to add & place a plus sign between them.  For example, B + C. 

However, did you know FRx can perform complex calculations such as adding & multiplying all at once.  The formula (A+((B+C/2)+(C*.8)/2))+(F TO H) is a valid entry.

IF/THEN/ELSE Statements are another handy tool.  These allow one to build logic into the column.  For example, the formula "IF B>1000 THEN B ELSE C*2" translates to:

If the amount in column B is greater than 1000, place the value from column B in the CALC column. If the value is not greater than 1000, multiply the value in column C by 2 & place the result in the CALC column.

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Year End Procedures

Year-End can be a hectic time for all & it is fast approaching.  In many instances, we are tired from or preparing for the holidays.  Everyone is out of their routine & sometimes, performing tasks they only think about once a year.  Here is a brief summary of performing year-end in any ERP system.

Prior to performing year-end tasks:
1 - Post all receivables, payables & financial transactions.  Future dated transactions should be held off if possible until after the year has closed.
2 - Perform a stock count, send out customer statements & complete all reconciliations
3 - Make any adjusting entries needed.
4 - Print necessary reports to maintain in the companies permanent records for audit trail purposes
5 - Make a backup of company database before starting the year-end processes.

Ensure all users are out of the system when performing year-end processes.  Additionally, users are often given the opportunity to purge obsolete records during the year-end processing.  One should consult company policy & ensure local law reporting laws are followed prior to deleting any records.  Once complete, it is good practice to close old fiscal periods from posting to prevent any accidental postings.

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Year End Timeline

Here is a brief timeline I have put together to help users determine when to process Year-End closing routines.

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Printing Reconciliation Report

Do you often find yourself canceling reports that automatically print after you have posted a document?  Or even changing the default destination of these reports?  Well, one can set the default destination of these reports or even stop them from printing all together.

Try entering  the Posting Setup screen (Microsfot Dynamics GP > Tools > Setup > Posting > Posting).  In this screen, you can select whether or not a specific report will print by selecting or de-selecting the checkbox in the Print column.  Also, one can specify destination for a report by making the appropriate selection in the Send To column.

See the attached screenshot below & save yourself all that extra clicking when you next post a transaction.

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Printing Invoices (Quickly!)

Next time you are printing Sales invoices, try this time-saving alternative:

Select Options > Quick Print, or simply CTRL + Q on your keyboard

This will print your invoices according to the settings in the Quick Print Setup screen (also under the Options menu).  Default can be created for:

· Orders
· Invoices
· Packing slips
· Picking tickets

Select a print Destination & number of copies to be printed.  Print options available for documents are:

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Aging Documents

Everyone is different.  The same goes for clients, who often asked me how to modify aging periods.  Most Dynamics GP users stick with the standard 30/60/90 day aging periods for both receivables & payables.  However, many businesses have the requirement to insert a 45-day break into the aging process.  This is a two-step process wherein users often forget the second step.

Begin in the Setup menu, selecting either Purchasing & then Payable or Sales & then Receivables. You will find the ability to add up to a total of seven aging periods.  One can adjust aging periods here as desired.  The second (and more difficult) part of the process involves modifying your reports.  Standard GP reports only display four aging periods.  If your company inserts a fifth period, the last period will populate with the report but will not be printed.  If you have experience in Report Writer, you should be comfortable changing the necessary layouts.  If not, try contacting WebSan.  We are experienced in helping companies with this very issue.

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System Alerts

“Corporate Accounts Payable, Nina speaking, just a moment.”  If you’ve ever seen Office Space, you know how annoying THAT person can be.  What if your system did that same thing?

Dynamics has a small quirk that can annoying to those in Accounts Receivable.  Since invoices can be entered in multiple windows.  Both the Sales Transaction Entry & the Invoice Entry windows perform the same essential function of populating sales invoices.  As such, Dynamics warns users when entering these windows.  Well, that warning can become annoying after viewing it for the 463rd time.  To get rid of this warning, run your GP Utilities (from your Start menu).  In the Additional Tasks window, select the ‘Remove SOP and Invoicing message’.  Proceed to uncheck ‘Warn in Sales Order Processing’ & ‘Warn in Invoicing’.  When complete, your little annoying warning will be gone forever.

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Setting the Default Company in Business Portal

Earlier this week, I talked about annoying configuration that can be found in Dynamics GP.  I tried to show that users don’t have to be annoyed because they are the ones that control what the system does.

A similar situation exists in Business Portal.  Recently, I was watching a client access Business Portal & every time they entered the system; they had to change the Company ID.  I explained to them that this is easily configurable in the system.

To set your default company, select the Welcome drop-down menu from the top right corner of the screen while in Business Portal.  Select My Business Portal Settings & adjust your default company as desired.

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Write-Off Documents

Take a penny; leave a penny.  I think these are the greatest invention.  Personally, I don’t carry change.  When offered 2 cents change, I usually tell the clerk to keep it.  The only time this comes back to hurt me is when I’m short a cent or two.  That’s where the beauty of the ‘take a penny; leave a penny’ system shines.  It helps people avoid breaking a bill only to receive a bunch of coins. 

The worlds of ERP & accounting have their own ‘take a penny; leave a penny’ jar.  Writing-off immaterial amounts of money is a common practice that occurs when small over or under payments are made.  To access the Write Off Documents window in Dynamics GP, look in the Sales Routines.  This window will create debit or credit memos that are then posted & applied to the documents you’re writing off.

Using this window is fairly simple for most novice GP users.  Select the Write-off Type, Write-off Limit & other restrictions as appropriate.  I advise using the Preview button as it provides a listing of documents to choose from.  Click Process when you are ready. 

Note:  This screen does factor in Maximum Write-off from the Customer & Vendor Options.

Maybe you have an inactive customer that has a very small balance remaining on their account or you accidentally underpaid a one time bill by a small amount … write-off these documents & clean up your system.

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Correcting Entries

Normally, once an item is posted, it is in the system.  Posting is the be-all & end-all.  It is kind of like writing with pen.  And let’s just say, there is a reason they invented whiteout.

Dynamics GP does have an exception to the posting rule in the form of Correcting Entries.  The one caveat is that only open year General Ledger entries can be corrected.

To make a correcting entry, select Transactions > Financial > Transactions.  Click the Correct button.  Select an Action of:

Back Out a Journal Entry
Or
Back Out a Journal Entry and Create a Correcting Entry

Select the appropriate journal entry to correct using the lookup feature & select OK.  Remember, only general journal entries can be reversed.  Review the Batch ID in the lookup window to determine if an entry is a general journal entry.

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The Future of Dynamics GP

Last week, I wrote about the major benefits of upgrading to Version 10 of Dynamics GP.  This had me thinking about future releases of GP & what they would have in store.  Peering into their crystal ball, Microsoft let their Partners know what exactly they foresee for the future of Dynamics GP.

SP4 for Version 10 is the last service pack users will be seeing for a while.  This is because in the second quarter of 2010, Microsoft will release Version 11 of Dynamics GP.  Highlights include Role Tailored Business Intelligence & further integration with Microsoft Office.  Then around 2012 or 2013, Version 12 of Dynamics GP will be released.  The focus of this release will be on improving user productivity & the simplicity of the system.  This is all in an effort to further target mid-market buyers of ERP software; a market Microsoft feels they have a competitive advantage in with Dynamics GP.  Lastly, 5-6 years down the road, Microsoft will release Version 13.  This version will have a revamped user interface as well as incorporate the next generation of Microsoft technologies, potentially a large shift for many users.

As always, if you require assistance, WebSan has years of Dynamics GP expertise & (Microsoft Certified) knowledge to help clients with both upgrades & implementations.  Feel free to contact us with your support issues.

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Checklists

Lots of us make checklists for a variety of tasks from grocery shopping to complex projects.  Microsoft Dynamics GP offers built in checklists in the Routines section of every module that can help walk users through a diverse range of topics.

Once you have accessed the appropriate Checklists window, ensure the frequency is appropriate for the checklist you are about to create.  Click Add to create a link to a Microsoft Dynamics GP window.  Name the checklist item & select the appropriate in the Command (Dynamics GP window).  Once your list is complete, order the items appropriately by using the Up & Down buttons.  Now every time a user performs this particular task, all they are required to do is click the checklist item in order & populate the fields with new data.

Checklists are particularily beneficial when turnover is an issue or roles require extensive training.  Two tasks I recommend clients create checklists for are performing payroll & completing year-end.  Mistakes made performing either of these functions can have wide-reaching effects.  In my next blog, I will cover a few tasks that should be on your year-end checklist.

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Cash is king! How to improve cash flow by focusing on your invoicing process.

I've seen it numerous times...it happens in law firms, accounting firms, consulting firms, and any company where employees are the "product" upon which revenues are based.

The problem with the professional services industry is that a large key to success is cash flow management. That means that you must effectively manage the time between when your resources perform the work and when the customer pays. Let's take a look at the whole process.

Part 1 : Time and Expense reporting

To effectively get your personnel to report their time and expenses, it must be simple. Some of the ways to address this are :

- enable your team to enter their time and expenses through a simple to use web portal, or even a mobile device. That way it doesn't take a significant amount of time out of their day to "get their paperwork in".

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Service Pack 4 for Dynamics GP 10.0 Released

Don’t miss out!  Last week, Microsoft released Service Pack 4 for Dynamics GP 10.0.  The lastest Service Pack contains a long list of fixes, reaching almost every GP module.  Updates in Service Pack 1, 2 and 3 are included in Service Pack 4.  For GP 10.0 customers, Service Packs require the modified forms and reports to be updated using GP Utilities.

As always, services packs & patches can be downloaded from CustomerSource (https://mbs.microsoft.com/customersource/).  CustomerSource also includes detailed instructions on installation & features, however, please test your system prior to implementation.  Of importance to our Canadian customers, the latest tax patch should now be installed in order to account for changes in CPP & EI deduction maximums.  If you missed the boat, please give us a call!  WebSan is one of only a few Dynamics Partners in all of Canada certified in Payroll.

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What is CustomerSource?

In my last entry, I discussed downloading the latest Service Pack from CustomerSource.  Since then, I have had people asking me, how to I access CustomerSource & what is it?  So I thought I would provide a little more insight on your new best friend.

Like any best friend, CustomerSource is available 24/7 (although you have to bribe Microsoft by getting on a service plan).  Loaded with tools & information, it can help you increase efficiency & productivity.  How?  Well, the many self-help resources such as Knowledge Base, technical documentation and access to online training are a good start.  CustomerSource is also a one-stop resource for access to news & information to help you maintain your business management solution.  Pay CustomerSource a visit at https://mbs.microsoft.com/customersource/

My favourite section for new users is E-Learning.  Browse the hundreds of training programs available (did I mention they were free!).  Become a Dynamics GP expert.  Or try one your hand at one of the many other products training is provided for.  Maybe it’ll help you solve that one problem that no one in the office can figure out.  Then you’ll have even more friends!

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Why do so many technology projects fail? - Part II

I've been involved in IT and Supply Chain projects all over the world. I've seen projects achieve all of the objectives, come in under budget and ahead of schedule. I've also seen projects fail to achieve the benefits they set out to, or even outright fail to even work.

And what's the #1 difference between success and failure?

Executive Sponsorship

When I am contacted by a prospective client to discuss a new ERP system, I always make sure that the first meeting includes key decision makers. You may say, "well of course! You don't want to sell to someone who isn't authorized to make the purchase." And you'd only be 1/2 right...

The real reason that the key decision maker needs to be in the very first meeting is because if they aren't "driving the bus", then everyone will end up under it. What I mean is that technology projects are complicated and fraught with challenges just by their very nature. If someone at the top of the organization isn't driving the success of the project, then it will not work. It may finish, albeit over budget and over schedule, but I can almost guarantee that it won't meet the business objectives set at the beginning.

Sometimes a CFO or CEO looks at me funny during the first sales meeting because I've refused to meet with the "IT guy" and insist on meeting with them as well. After I explain the reasoning behind it and start the Q&A session that is outlined in the "Unlock Your Potential" program, they are always heavily engaged and demand to be significant contributors along the way. This is because we create value right at the very first meeting and if there is no significant ROI demonstrated right at the beginning for them, then it ends right there. No one is wasting time.

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Mobilize Your ERP

I wanted to take an opportunity to discuss an article I recently wrote for our monthly WebSan newsletter.  The article discusses utilizing mobile devices to access one’s ERP system.  Since mobile devices have become so common, software companies have made great efforts to make their systems available on these devices. 

Here is a quick excerpt:

Salespeople by nature are always away from the office.  As such, most CRM applications are also now available on mobile devices.  When combined with the ability to view data straight from ones ERP, salespeople are enabled to make the best offer to the customer in order to win business.  Salespeople can view real-time data on extended pricing, sales history & quantities on hand help make their pitch.  The ability to view unpaid invoices, credit limits & payment information can help resolve disputes.  And by viewing inventory data on size, weight or other user-defined information, one can help solve the customer’s complex purchasing needs.  All while taking less time to fill out papers & allowing more time to be spent selling product.

Part two can be found in our next newsletter & discusses many of the benefits that can be derived from everyday business professional using mobile technologies.  Visit our website to sign up for our monthly newsletter containing new articles every edition.

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The Homepage

Home sweet home!  It’s a beautiful place.  Its where we feel most comfortable & spend most of our time.  The same can (& should!) be said about your ERP.  The homepage in Dynamics GP has access to everything you need in the click of a button.

Managers are always interested in quick easy access to reports.  The Dynamics GP homepage offers various metrics to the user the second they log in.  Click on the pencil icon to the right of the word Metrics on your desktop to modify what metrics will display.  Although there are dozens to choose from, my fav five are:

  • Top 5 Customers by YTD Sales
  • Top 10 Items by Sales Amount for the Past 30 Days
  • Receivables Aging
  • Payables Aging
  • Gross Profit for the Past 12 Months

Scroll through your metrics using the < & > keys for instant access to the reports you desire.

Try these other tips to help make your homepage a one-stop shop for all your GP needs:

  • Right click on the navy blue banner at the top of the screen to create graphical shortcuts
  • Click on the pencil icon to the right of the Quick Links heading for one-click access to your favourite windows
  • Click the ‘Customize this page …’ button to change layout of your homepage
  • Select the following  icon to add or remove windows from your desktop & even configure shortcuts:

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