Dynamics SL is the Best Accounting System for Cloud or On Premise


This is a bold statement, I know, but let me tell you why.   I have been in the financial systems business for over 30 years, I have worked intimately with over 500 businesses to translate their business processes and goals into financial and operational systems to manage their businesses.  I have implemented Peachtree, Quickbooks, Dynamics SL, Dynamics GP, Dynamics CRM, Goldmine, Deltek and Acumatica.  I have also evaluated the shortcomings of the systems my company replaced and we have replaced almost every financial system you can name, from small and homegrown to Oracle and IBM mainframe systems.  I know the pros and cons.

Let’s start with new generation web or cloud based financial systems.  The most dangerous word in that last statement is “new”.  New has the benefit of new technology and is not bound by thousands of lines of old code, so if designed and written well, it should be able to avoid design limitations that hold back older financials systems and deliver some new exciting features and a friendly user experience.  In my mind, a financial system is “new” until ten years after they have a complete product line that includes financials, distribution and project management.  It takes that long for applications to mature and get deep market support and experience.

The downside of “new” is what I call the “dumb blonde” rule.  These new systems often look pretty, but they are not very deep.  Sure, they produce financials, can write checks and create invoices while you are using it from your cell phone, but they do not handle the odd issues that all businesses have.  It will be 10% of the issues that keep your people doing manual/spreadsheet work to handle the exceptions.  It could be special billing rules, government contract rules, compliance, price checks, audit control, special allocations, intercompany rollups, commissions, vendor rebates, investor equity rules, credit card purchases, employee incentives, and the list goes on.  All businesses have these special needs and only a financial system that has been around for 30 years has solved most of them.  The new systems will say, “We can program that feature!”  And they can, but the cost of programming a one off change for your business is far more expensive that having that feature standard or as an off the shelf add on that typically costs $595 to $2595.  It is hard to get a programmer, or more likely a development company, excited about doing a customization for $2595.  Development firms like to think in 10, 25, and 50k increments.

The other downside of “new” is frequent updates, new releases and bugs.  Because they are new, they are improving, learning, fixing and changing their system.  Each of those changes, which come frequently, impacts your business with new bugs, new process changes, and downtime.  To put salt in the wound, their new changes may break the customization that you purchased to solve a 10% issue that I mentioned above.

Finally, another downside of “new” is experience implementing and solving your business’s special needs the first time.  Since the package is new, most of the experience, tricks and tools are being created the first time, and on your nickel.  The consultants can be very skilled but you cannot compare the experience of implementing a couple of “new” systems with the experience of a consultant who has implemented a hundred or more.  You cannot compare the customer base of a new system with 500 or 1000 businesses to a time tested system like SL with 10’s of thousands of businesses.  The pool of knowledge, resources, consultants, trained employees, tools, utilities, integrations, and add ons for Dynamics SL dwarfs a new web based financial system.

Dynamics SL has several structural advantages that other legacy systems do not share and some new technology that puts it on par with the “new” web based systems that have come onto the market in the last five years.

The first core structural advantage of Dynamics SL is that is has used Microsoft SQL as the database for decades.  Microsoft SQL has grown into a powerhouse, low maintenance database system that supports the business world and is used by all the fortune 500 businesses.

Second, Dynamics SL was rewritten from the ground up for Windows in 1993 and unified with one programming language in the early 2000’s with .Net.  Although SL has been around a long time, it has been rebuilt with today’s technology and does not have any legacy code to hold it back like many other financial systems do.

Third, Dynamics SL has had web based, time and expense and project management apps called Business Portal for over a decade.  In just the last two years, it has replaced the old Business Portal apps with .Net and HTML apps that support all browsers, smart phones and even Macs.  Microsoft has expanded the web based apps from six to over forty five, with the goal of web enabling all SL features in the next four years.  SL is even available on a subscription basis of $95 per user, per month, if you would like to buy it that way.

SL is not for everyone, but if you do not consider it, you would be making a big mistake.  SL is feature rich, backed by Microsoft, integrates out of the box with many Microsoft products and other industry software solutions, has a rich library of add ons, and has web access for all the common uses.  Dynamics SL has a powerful database, large customer base, experienced implementation teams, web services and can be purchased on site or hosted as a cloud solution.

If you are considering upgrading or making changes to your current system, we have a discovery process that can quickly point to whether SL is a good match for your business.  Make a free call to Michael Milligan 614-568-2119, I am more than happy to talk financial systems and process improvement.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Dynamics SL Payroll and 1099 updates… coming soon!


Payroll and 1099 updates are scheduled to be released the week of 12/21/2015.  Since W2s and 1099s are not due until the end of January, you do have some time to apply these updates.  Like last year, we are focusing all the year-end updates through one person, Michael Coman so he gets very good at the task.  If you would like to schedule Michael Coman to apply the updates for you or to give you instructions on how to download the files, call or e-mail Michael at 614-568-2108 or mcoman@accu.com.

Here are the major changes on 1099s and W2s this year:

Changes

These year-end updates include the following changes.

Accounts Payable 1099s

  • 1099-MISC Form Changes
  • FATCA filing requirement – Foreign tax paid is no longer used to report foreign tax paid on payments. The form layout remains the same. However, Box 11 is now dimmed and no longer used.
  • Filing 1099 Forms: You can file 1099 forms electronically or on paper. For more information, see “Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE)” on page 15.
  • 1099 Electronic File Changes
  • Payer “B” Record Changes:
  • Box FATCA filing Requirement – Added field position 548. 1 if checked, space if not checked.

Payroll W-2s

  • No changes were required for the layout of the W-2 form or the W-3 form.
  • Filing W-2 Forms: You can file W-2 forms electronically or on paper. For more information about filing electronically, see “Business Services Online (BSO)” on page 15.
  • W-2 Electronic File Changes
  • RA Submitter Record Changes:
  • Location Address in positions 274 – 295 is no longer a required entry field

 

If you have any questions on Dynamics SL, AccuNet, integrations, or process improvements, please contact Michael Milligan, 614-568-2119 or mmilligan@accu.com.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

The Rocky Road from FRX to MR…


Microsoft has replaced FRx with Management Reporter or MR for short, in all their ERP systems; AX, SL, GP and NAV.  FRx has been around for decades, is generally reliable, but could crash, pop up odd connection errors, and depending on the number of trees and complex accounts, could be slow.

Microsoft MR promised to be better integrated with the SQL backend of the financial system, faster, include an FRx conversion utility and to quickly surpass the features of FRx.  So far, MR results have been mixed but are improving. Initial users have generally experienced slower performance compared to FRx, and the conversion utility for FRx to MR has been only partially successful.  However, Microsoft has committed to – and is delivering – a steady flow of releases containing patches and performance improvements.

There are positives in this story however that are making MR the best option for many of our Dynamics SL customers. First, it is included with SL at no charge and will be enhanced and integrated with future features that Microsoft releases.  Additionally, if you have complex trees, MR’s data warehouse is faster than FRx when generating reports.  Finally, MR offers a web link publishing feature and includes the ability to detect and warn if you have gaps in your accounts preventing errors in your financial reports.

Here is a pro and con comparison from one of our consultants, Beck Kukis:

 

So what should your business do when it comes time to upgrade to MR from FRx?

 

For the smaller segment of our Dynamics SL customers, Management Reporter has one requirement that may be an issue.  MR requires a domain, it expects you to be on a network.  If you are a single workstation installation, then you have two options, you can elect to host your ERP system in the Cloud to provide the domain environment, or you can replace MR with an Excel based report writer.  These include solutions such as JET, Power Pivot, F9, BI 360, Full Circle Budget and others.

If, like most of our customers, you are already on a network or are in the Cloud, then you should weigh the cost and benefits of the MR upgrade compared to starting fresh with an Excel based report writer.  I generally ask if you consider yourself an Excel power user.  If so, you will like the Excel report writers.  If not, then MR maybe a safer bet and offers the more economical long term solution.

If you want to do more than just financial reporting, then the Excel based systems start to look better, F9, BI 360 and Full Circle Budget come with enhanced budgeting features.  If you want to get into more business intelligence, combining data from CRM, HR, operations systems and other disparate systems, then BI360 checks all the boxes, but you pay extra for those features.

I see MR going through the typical Microsoft product release process.  The first MR release, with SL 2011, had lots of promise but also a few bugs and performance problems.  The second release that works with SL 2015, contains fixes, a data mart for performance and additional features making it a better solution for most SL customers.  There have also been several additional MR releases independent of the SL releases.  Based on prior Microsoft products, MR will continue to get better and a couple of years down the road, will be the dominant, market leading solution.    The question is, can you handle the bumps in the road until the product feels like a freshly paved expressway?

Each business has unique needs, on top of the day to day work we all do.  Call or drop me a note and we can discuss the options that best fit your business.  mmilligan@accu.com  614-568-2119

Best –

Michael Milligan

 

Posted in Uncategorized

ACA compliance reporting required with 1099s!


ACA (Obamacare) or Affordable Care Act compliance reporting may surprise you on January 31, 2016.  Government reporting is required on healthcare benefits and employee hours at the same time your 1099s are due out.

ACA reporting looks at W2 employees for work any time during the year, whether part time or full time.  So the 50 employee reporting limit is easier to hit than you might think.

AccuNet has partnered with Integrity Data (web based, subscription software) and Plumbline Solutions (an SL add on) to enable ACA compliance reporting.  Both software options, work with SL Payroll, ADP, Paychex and other payroll services.  Contact mmilligan@accu.com today to get information about these options and your potential liability.

Posted in Uncategorized

Microsoft bumps up security on IE after it earns title of “most exploited browser”


Original Story

on August 11, 2014

Last month, International Business Times reported that a study from Bromium Labs found that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was the web browser most often targeted by attackers during the first half of this year – which really comes as no surprise.

After all, versions 8-11 of Internet Explorer, taken together, make up 53.66 percent of the web browser market, according to the July statistics from NetMarketShare.com. That doesn’t even count the 3.52% of people who are still using IE 6.0 despite the fact that even Microsoft itself has told users to stop using it.

More troubling is the stat showing more than twice as many discovered vulnerabilities in IE when compared to Chrome and Firefox. Of course this makes sense when you think about it; if more people are focusing on looking for vulnerabilities in IE so they can attack it, more will be found. Either way, it’s not good news for Microsoft.

The company is well aware of this and has incorporated many new security mechanisms into each subsequent release of the browser. It also regularly releases security updates to patch the vulnerabilities that come to light. This month’s Patch Tuesday is expected to bring us more than just patches; Microsoft is actually adding a new security feature to Internet Explorer. It’s called Out-of-date ActiveX Control Blocking.

ActiveX was developed by Microsoft way back in the 1990s to display animations and other enhanced content through the installation of small programs (controls). Some web sites require that you install certain controls to display their content properly. Many ActiveX controls are created by third parties. The problem is that since these are executable programs, attackers can create malicious controls or exploit vulnerabilities in existing controls.

Even legitimate ActiveX controls can have security flaws like any other software. That means they need to be updated regularly like other software – but many ActiveX controls are outdated. That’s where this new feature, Out-of-date ActiveX Control Blocking, comes in. When a page tries to load an ActiveX control in IE 8 through 11 running on Windows 7 SP1 and later operating systems, the feature will notify you if the control is outdated and let you update the control. Meanwhile you can still use the parts of the web page that don’t use the outdated control.

For consumers, the new feature doesn’t take away your ability to override and run the control as is if you want to. When you get the notice that the control was blocked, you’ll have two options: you can update the control at this time, or you can run it this one time. If you select update (which you should generally do unless you have some good reason not to), you’ll be taken to the control’s web site where you can download the latest version. In a business environment, IT pros will be able to configure the feature to always block outdated controls and not allow users to run them.

This new feature will be configured through four new Group Policy settings. These include:

  • Turn on ActiveX control logging in Internet Explorer
  • Remove “Run this time” button for outdated ActiveX controls in Internet Explorer
  • Turn off blocking of outdated ActiveX controls for Internet Explorer on specific domains
  • Turn off blocking of outdated ActiveX controls for Internet Explorer (turns the feature off completely).

Because exploits of controls represent a large percentage of the exploits that are detected, this new feature should be an important step in making Internet Explorer a more secure browser. You can read more about the new feature in the IE blog on the MSDN web site.

Update: “The feature and related Group Policies will still be available on August 12, but no out-of-date ActiveX controls will be blocked until Tuesday, September 9.”

Posted in Microsoft Updates, Network/IT Support, Uncategorized

Facebook color app? Yeah, that’s a virus


(CNN) – Don’t click on that fake app — it’s a virus!

POSTED 12:28 PM, AUGUST 11, 2014, BY AND

Courtesy: Ferre' Dollar/CNN

An app claiming that it can change the color of your Facebook profile page actually loads malware onto your smartphone or computer.

According to a Cheetah Mobile Security blog post, more than 10,000 people around the world have been duped.

When Facebook users click on the fake app, it sends them to a malicious website that asks them to watch a tutorial video about how to change the color of their profile page.

By agreeing to watch the video, the users give hackers access to their profiles, letting the app spam their friends.

Posted in Uncategorized

Quick Query is FREE!!!


Quick Query is available free to all Dynamics SL users with a BRL license.  This new reporting and dashboard tool is one of the most under used features of SL.  Watch this video and call us if you would like to get some training on this powerful tool.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFyKbMh_Htg

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Posted in Microsoft Dynamics SL, Training