Archive for January, 2009

Connecting remotely to Dynamics GP, Terminal Server, Citrix etc.

Ever have the need to work from home? Do you have multiple sites needing access to Dynamics? Ever travelling or on vacation (I hope not) and need access to you system just for a few minutes?
Connecting remotely to your accounting system is becoming a must have in the world today. Many employees work at home (I’m in Montana and our office is in San Diego) or travel and need access to their system. I will discuss a few technologies that make accessing your system remotely convenient and efficient. All of these products require a fairly speedy internet connection to get the performance you desire.

  1. Remote Desktop Connection (Terminal Server)- (Start>>programs>>accessories>>communication>>Remote Desktop Connection). This will connect you to a terminal server and if GP is installed you should have full access to your accounting system. Advantages: One install to maintain. Pretty decent performance. Usually easy to set up. Disadvantages: By default limited to number of users that can launch sessions
  2. Citrix- This is the perferred application solution for those hosting Dynamics GP. Advantages: Many users, multiple sites, great performance (if your Internet connection is sufficient). One installation (Typically) to maintain. Disadvantages: Need someone on staff to that knows how to implement Dynamics on Citrix. A few companies host Dynamics with Citrix if you don’t want to do this yourself. See Rose ASP.
  3. Access to computer at work- These products will log you into your workstation and you can work as if you are sitting in your office. Log me in or PC Anywhere are examples of these type of tools. Advantages: You have access to your own workstation, typically a desktop computer. Disadvantages: You have to leave your workstation on all the time. Every workstation has a local install of GP making updates and upgrades more time consuming.
  4. Support tools – We use Go to Assist for our technical support team. There is also live meeting, Webex etc. Advantages: You can access any workstation (as long as firewall allows access). Disadvantages: Typically you need someone to accept request to launch application so unless you hire a temp to stay all night at the office, it’s not to reasonable. There is some delay depending on Internet connection.
  5. Virtual Private Network (VPN) – You would set up a VPN that connects to the server then use your local workstation install of GP. Advantages: Can be anywhere and access data. Disadvantages: Typically performance suffers. Especially during reporting and processing transactions. Every workstation has a local install of GP making updates and upgrades more time consuming.

Certainly not an exhaustive discussion on this topic. I’ve been asked numerous times what the options for remote access are. I’m sure there’s others. Anyone want to comment with more info I’d be happy to update this entry.

Resources and Websites

Format Issue with FRx Service Pack 10

Depending on how you format your FRx reports, you may want to skip FRx Service Pack 10. Consider these 3 questions:

1. Do you round your FRx reports to dollars?
2. Do you want to have the dollar sign ($) on only certain rows (such as the first and last row)?
3. Do you have reports with columns that have different formats (for example: amount columns and percent columns)?

If you answer is “Yes” to all three questions, you don’t want to install FRx Service Pack 10. With SP10, FRx prints amounts with 2 decimals for rows that have “CS” in the print control field. You can add a format mask to the TOT or CAL rows that you want a dollar sign on, but that will mess up the columns that should have a different format, such as the % columns. You can, format the amount columns on the column layout but that would result in dollar signs being on every singe row.

Microsoft Tech Support has said that this issue might be fixed with FRx Service Pack 11. I sure hope so!

Project Accounting – Deferred Revenue

The Project Accouting module in Dynamics GP can be used to accurately manage deferred revenue. Many of our clients use this function when their business involves a mix of project related activity and subscription based or contract based revenue.

To use Project Accounting for manageing deferred revenue there are a couple of rules:

  • Use a “Service” Fee Type
  • Use a “Time and Materials” Project Type

Project Accounting will allocate the fee amount evenly over the duration represented by the start date and end date of the project, or as identified in the Fee Entry screen.

This is an example of a Fee for which the revenue will be deferred over 12 months:

These three accounts will handle all accounting for the invoicing and revenue recognition of the fee:

Here’s an example of the fee in a project:

To invoice the fee, you just use the standard invoicing process in Project Accounting. To recognize revenue you use the standard revenue recognition process. You can use Cycle Revenue Recognition or create the transaction manually by navigating to: Transactions >> Project >> Billing >> Revenue Recognition.

But what happens with a service fee that spans a period of time, is that revenue will be recognized for the fee amount, from the start date, up to the Cutoff date specified. This will then effectively defer the revenue associated with the fee, from the last time the revenue recognition process was run for the fee, and the current Cutoff date.

Here’s an example of the Revenue Recognition Entry screen:

This is the detail of the results of the revenue recognition calculation:

In my example, the revenue was recognized from 4/12/2017, to 5/31/2017: (50-1) days / (365-1) days = 13.46% x $10,000 = $1,346.00.

Why one day is taken off the numerator and denominator is something known only to the developer.

Here are the examples from KB# 885070:

A service fee can be set up for any time period that you specify. The percent complete is based on the total number of days for the service fee. The Begin Date field and the End Date field are used to calculate the number of days for the service fee.

Then, the percent complete is multiplied by the fee amount to obtain the revenue recognition amount. Billing has no affect on the amount that is recognized. The following examples show how the revenue recognition amount is calculated:

Service fee example 1

Fee Amount: $10,000

Begin Date: 1/1/2007

End Date: 4/30/2007

Total Number of Days = 121 days (31 + 29 + 31 + 30)

If revenue recognition is run with a cutoff date of 2/15/2007, the percent complete is calculated as follows:

Percent Complete = ((31 + 15) – 1) / (121 – 1) = 0.375 = 37.50%

Amount Recognized = 37.50% * $10,000 = $3750

Service fee example 2

Fee Amount: $1000

Begin Date: 1/1/2006

End Date: 2/29/2007

Total Number of Days = 425 days (365 + 31 + 29)

If revenue recognition is run with a cutoff date of 2/15/2007, the percent complete is calculated as follows:

Percent Complete = ((365 + 31 + 15) – 1) / (425 – 1) = 0.9669811 = 96.70%

Amount Recognized = 96.70% * $1000 = $967

If you have a deferred revenue tracking issue related to project-type business activities, consider using Project Accounting to manage the whole process.

Contract Administration – Revenue Recognition

Contract Administration is included in the Dynamics GP, BRL – Advanced Management license. We have clients that are using it a lot to manage revenue recognition for parts of their businesses. The key functionality that makes it good for certain revenue recognition applications is that if you invoice your customers less than monthly, the module has a built-in deferred revenue recognition process that will create and post monthly revenue recognition entries.

It’s relatively easy to use.

You create a new contract by navigating to: Transactions >> Contract Administration >> Contract Entry/Update.

In this example, I am invoicing annually.

Click on the “Contract Lines” button and this screen pops up. In this screen you can either select items from the item master file, or just key in an item. The pricing can be set up to default from a separate price book if you wish, or you can merely key in the amount you want to charge.

Click on the “Invoices” button and you get a list of all the invoices that are planned to be created according to the schedule you’ve set up. In this case there is only one, because this is a one year contract, invoiced on an annual basis. This screen will just show the amount to be invoiced for the selected line item in the schedule above.

In this screen you see the revenue recognition transactions; posted, and planned. The top window shows all the revenue recognition transactions that are scheduled to be posted. The bottom window shows the transactions that have been posted.

To invoice the contract, navigate to: Transactions >> Contract Administration >> Contract Billing.
To generate and post the revenue recognition transactions, navigate to: Transactions >> Contract Administration >> Revenue Recognition

One of the advantages of this module for revenue recognition is that the schedule of planned and posted revenue transaction are contained in SQL tables; as opposed to Project Accounting that calculates and creates the transactions as you request them. This makes reporting on future revenue easier.
Generally we recommend one or more of three modules in Dynamics GP to manage revenue recognition: Contract Administration, Project Accounting, and Revenue / Expense Deferral.

Each has its strong points. It depends on the business process you want to control, as to which module you choose.

Dynamics GP Fixed Assets – Start Using It

The Fixed Assets module has been a standard part of BRL licensing since its inception, and we still have many clients that don’t even use it. This amazes me because when I was a Controller, the fixed-assets-in-a-spreadsheet thing drove me crazy. Invariably the spreadsheets would break, and they wouldn’t total properly, or the calculations for depreciation expense wouldn’t extend gracefully into a new year.

These are the benefits I generally see in using the Fixed Assets module:

  • Well integrated into the core financial modules; no duplicate entry required.
  • Decent reporting, in that it easily produces lists of assets for insurance listings, tax reporting, audit requests, etc.
  • All data is stored in SQL so it will be regularly backed up.
  • All calculations are done for you.
  • Great audit trail for depreciation and other asset related transactions.
  • There are transaction types for typical fixed asset events, and therefore creates a solid audit trail.
  • It’s easy to make changes to individual depreciation attributes if needed, and the system will make appropriate transactions to reconcile changes.

The Fixed Assets module is easy to setup and use, and there’s an easy import function built into the module.

The setup may take some planning time to make sure that the various transactions are coded to the proper accounts, and to ease data entry. But once you’ve planned it out, it’s easy to implement.

The import function included in the module is easier and quicker than the Integration Manager approach, so use the Fixed Assets import utility.

You propbably already own the Fixed Assets module, so if you’re not using, go ahead and set it up, import the data, and start using it. You’ll be happy you made the effort.

MRP Example

This shows you how to set up a simple MRP run, so you can get the idea of how it works. I’ll add a new item, and go through the setup necessary to have MRP pick it up and generate a PO.

1.) Add an item or select an existing one: Cards >> Inventory >> Item

2.) Go to the Item Quantities Maintenance screen and assign it to a Site ID, make that Site ID the default site, and select a vendor for the Order Vendor ID.

3.) Go to the Item Purchasing Options Maintenance screen and select a Default Purchasing U of M.

4.) Go to the Item Vendors Maintenance screen and make sure there is a Vendor Item Number

5.) Go to Item Resource Planning. With the Site ID radio button selected, select the Site ID you defined as the default for the item. Check the “Calculate MRP for this item/site”. And for Order Policy, select “Lot for Lot”. Make sure the Replenishment Method is set to, “Buy”.

Done with setup.

Add some demand for the item by creating a sales order for the new item.

Run the MRP: Transactions >> Manufacturing >> MRP >> MRP Regeneration

Click on “process”.

Open the Purchase Request Resolution screen: Transactions >> Purchasing >> Request Resolution

Highlight the “Qty. Req.” value for your item, and click on “Select Vendor”.

Click on “Create”.

Click on “OK”.

A purchase order will be created and you’ll see a report like this:

Go to Purchase Order Entry to see the new PO.

There are so many options and screens that can become a factor in how you use MRP, but this will give you a start.

Payables Scheduled Payments

The Scheduled Payments function in Payables Management, allows you to create an amortization schedule for an existing payables invoice, calculate interest expense, and then post to GP so that you can recognize a liability for a non-AP amount, and only show the current payment due in the AP aging.

This functionality was developed for the scenario in which your vendor has agreed to accept a schedule of partial payments as opposed to payment-in-full. Some of our clients are also using this to record basic loans and leases, which then allows them to have all the accounting for such arrangements in GP.

This is simple to do:

Navigate to: Transactions >> Purchasing >> Scheduled Payments

Select the posted payables invoice you want to create a schedule for.

Complete the specific attributes of the arrangement, e.g. Interest Rate, Number of Payments, Frequency of Payments, etc. The functionality allows you to solve for Number of Payments or Payment Amount, if you wish.

Click on Calculate. You can calculate and re-calculate until you get the schedule that matches your arrangement.

Click on Amortization to view the calculated schedule.

Here’s the meaning behind the accounts:

Accounts Payable posting account:
Debited with the scheduled payment amount, including principal and interest, when an individual payment is posted using the Post Payables Scheduled Payments window.
Credited with the total schedule amount, not including interest, when the payment schedule is posted using the Payables Scheduled Payments Entry window.

Payables Offset posting account:
Debited with the total schedule amount, not including interest, when the payment schedule is posted using the Payables Scheduled Payments Entry window.
Credited with the scheduled payment amount, not including interest, when an individual payment is posted using the Post Payables Scheduled Payments window.

Interest Expense posting account:
Debited when you post a payment schedule.
Credited with the interest portion of the scheduled payment amount when an individual payment is posted using the Post Payables Scheduled Payments window.

Once you’re satisfied that you have the schedule correct, click on Post. This will back out the AP amount on the GL and move it to the liability account you specified.

Done with the first step.

Now as time passes you will want to post payments from the schedule, to the open accounts payable.

To do that, navigate to: Tools >> Routines >> Purchasing >> Post Scheduled Payments

Just mark the payments you want to move to payables, and post.

If you haven’t tried this functionality out yet, you should. There’s a good chance that it can manage some of your current payment obligations, and you can retire some old spreadsheets.

Similar functionality is also available in the Receivables Management module.

Manufacturing Order Entry in Dynamics GP

Here’s a simple example of creating a manufacturing order in GP. This will give you an idea of how the process works.

You will need two things in order to create a manufacturing order transaction:
1.) Bill of Material (See my example of simple BOM) For this example make the BOM a “Backflush” BOM
2.) Routing

Let’s make the routing first. Create a simple one that has one sequence. Navigate to: Cards >> Manufacturing >> Routings >> Routing Entry.

Look up your finished good item number.

Create a Routing Name.

When the Routing Header Creation screen comes up, check, “Primary Routing” and save.

Enter “100″ for the sequence number.

Select a work center. If you don’t have any, they’re simple to create.

Save, and you’re done.

Create a Manufacturing Order Transaction.

Navigate to: Transactions >> Manufacturing >> Manufacturing Orders >> Entry

Look up your finished good item.

Create a default Scheduling Preference if you don’t have one.

Enter an Ending Quantity amount.

Assuming a “Forward Infinite” Scheduling Method, enter a “Start Date”.

Click on “Schedule MO” button.

Click on “Build Picklist” button.

You are done entering the manufacturing order transaction.

To proceed, change the “MO Status” field to, “Released”, and save.

Create a Manufacturing Order Receipt transaction to add the finished good item and relieve the component items from inventory.

Navigate to: Transactions >> Manufacturing >> Manufacturing Orders >> Entry

Look up your manufacturing order, and enter the quantity of the finished good created.

The Quick MO offers an alternative to the Manufacturing Order, but I like this best, and don’t feel it’s much more complicated than the Quick MO.

Try this out in the Fabrikam sample company, and you’ll see that basically, it’s fairly straight forward.
There are significantly more options and functionality, but this will help you get over the initial feeling of being overwhelmed.

Microsoft Convergence past and present

My first experience with Microsoft Convergence was in Florida in 2002 (maybe it was 2001, can’t remember exactly. Must be getting old.) I do remember being somewhat awestruck with the show Microsoft put on for it’s customers. The expo was top notch, concurrent sessions were educational, and the key note speakers were enlightening. I worked for a .com company at the time and Microsoft choose us for the Pinnacle award for Excellence in Customer Care. Nice honor to be recognized for.

One of the most vivid memories I have was just before the key note speech from Bill Gates. The doors opened and I saw accounting professionals of all ages, shapes and sizes running as fast as they could to the get the best seat possible. Kind of a funny sight really but remember thinking how exciting it was to listen to someone so successful in person. Mr. Gates gave his insights on the industry and gave a road map on how Microsoft was going to help each company using Dynamics.

From that first experience I have attended Convergence in San Diego, Dallas, Florida (again last year), and will be attending in New Orleans this year. Every year Microsoft out does themselves. Just look at the sessions available this year.

The concurrent sessions are a big part of the event but I particularly like interacting with MBS folks directly. Geeky as it may sound I find it great fun to go “Yell” at MBS folks on things that I wanted fixed, corrected, or included in the next versions of GP. I also take all our customers to the tech support area and give demos of modules they are looking for. This is a good time for customers to get “Free” training or tech support.

If someone is looking for a particular module or fix to a business process the Expo is the place for customers. Every year we are able to solve business process pain by finding the best 3rd party products. Last year we looked at several tax solutions offered by 3rd party companies. Ended up moving off of one 3rd party product (implemented by another VAR) to another saving a significant amount of money on a monthly basis on the way with all the functionality the customer needed. Point is, the customer was able to analyze each product in person along with meeting the people that were going to support them going forward.

There’s still time to register.

My own take is if you have GP you should be going to Convergence. It’s a sacrifice to go but the returns are tremendous in education, training, and GP utilization.

It’s also a lot of fun.

Simple Manufacturing BOM in Dynamics GP

The manufacturing BOM is a sophisticated bill of material application, and can be a bit intimidating to use, at first. But here are the steps to create a simple, functional BOM, to give you the feeling of the system; assuming you have your items all set up:

First we want to set up the finished good item so that it is identified as a “Make” or a “Make or Buy” item.

Navigate to: Cards >> Inventory >> Item >> Item Engineering Data, and select “Make” for the “BOM should treat as” value.

Navigate to the Bill of Materials Entry screen: Cards >> Manufacturing >> Bill of Materials

Enter your finished good item.

Click on the Green + to add components. This will activate the component entry area of the screen.

Look up the component you want to add.
Enter the quantity.
Click on the “Add” button to add an additional component item.
When you’re done adding components, click on the “Tree View” button to return to the finished good portion of the screen.
Not too bad.
For clients that have the Advanced Management BRL license, I almost always recommend that they use the manufacturing BOM, instead of the other BOM in the Inventory Control module. It takes a bit longer to learn, but has much more functionality to accomodate future needs.
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