Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Coming Regulation Revelation: Why Microsoft Dynamics GP and SL Users Should Be Well Prepared

Use the words "Madoff," "economic meltdown," and "new Administration" in one sentence, then try to convince somebody that increased accounting regulation isn't coming.

Of course there will be abundant new initiatives to keep tabs on, and control of, company finances. What we don't know is precisely how increased regulation will impact our corporate books-or how soon.

Such entities as the Securities and Exchange Commission and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board will be front and center in the effort to ramp up regulation. Expected outcomes tied to the incoming Obama Administration include increased scrutiny of financial institutions coupled with more strict accounting procedures.

Recently-heard political rhetoric offers more than hints at what's coming. Such comments as "outdated and weak regulatory system," and "failure of regulators to adequately police the markets" no doubt will set the tone of efforts that ultimately will ramp up reporting and tracking requirements of companies throughout the country.

This scenario makes an extremely strong case for preventive medicine-in the form of accounting software with the power and resources to stay on top of expected regulations. In turn, this will help prevent SMBs nationwide from being crushed beneath the weight of new measures as they are enacted.

Users of Microsoft Dynamics® products--in particular, Dynamics GP and SL--should be prepared to meet challenges posed by increasing accounting regulation. Among the ways this robust accounting software will help in the coming days are:

1. Putting into place stronger processes and procedures that will make compliance with new regulations more of a natural outgrowth of existing systems, versus having to rework and refine accounting systems to place them into compliance.

Think of this in terms of the taxpayer informed of a pending audit. A company that has kept its books up to date and accurate can, in essence, hand over complete records. Otherwise, work hours-and costs-pile up trying to put together the necessary after-the-fact information for the audit. Besides the direct cost of these hours, there's the consequent disruption of normal work routines, which also can prove very costly. By using such Microsoft Dynamics components as SmartView in Audit Trails, a company can keep compliance reviews efficient and cost-effective.

2. Instilling confidence by virtue of its reputation for accuracy and reliability. Who do you think an auditor or regulator will have the most confidence in: a company providing hand-scrawled financials, an enterprise using entry-level software, or a company that has made a serious, substantial commitment to accounting excellence? Obviously, this confidence translates into less confrontation when facing an audit or regulatory review.

3. Providing comprehensive documentation and security. Microsoft Dynamics enables companies to implement highly-complex security protection, develop complete audit trails, track changes and approvals, and safeguard against errors with sophisticated control processes.

4. Ensuring seamless connection with other Microsoft applications to create consistent, smooth communication of information and data. This heightens ability to share information with those possessing adequate security clearance, and lessens chances of data losses that sometimes occur in transit from one application to another.

5. Providing automated compliance processes and procedures. Such programs as Analytical Accounting for Microsoft Dynamics help keep companies in the know about compliance issues.

6. Offering a regular stream of information and alert updates. Role-tailored alerts, SmartList, and Key Performance Indicators all help propagate up-to-date information to everyone authorized to see it, and dependent upon it for compliance excellence.

Re-regulation is coming big time. Get your ducks in a row now, so you don't have to duck when regulators and auditors take aim down the road.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Free CustomerSource Webcast

Would you like to see what CustomerSource can do you for you? Microsoft Dynamics CustomerSource is a password-protected site for customers using Microsoft Dynamics products, provided as a benefit of a service plan. Use it to search the Knowledge Base, download updates, view online training, and find other information resources virtually 24 hours a day. To learn more about how CustomerSource can help you save your business money view the online webcast recording presented by Arlin Fisher, Senior Product Manager –Microsoft Corporation. (Duration: 60 min)

Webcast Agenda:

  • Self-help tools
  • Product updates and downloads
  • Training and support services
  • Business news
  • Community information

If you are a looking for a quick tour of CustomerSource, you can view our online demo.

CustomerSource is one of the many benefits of a service plan. Click here to send me a request for more information on CusomerSource.


Russell Yearwood

601-264-0969 ext 112

Monday, April 6, 2009


PepsiCo, producer of Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice, recently replaced their iconic packaging (the orange with the straw) with a glass of orange juice. While a seemingly small change in the company’s brand, loyal Tropicana orange juice drinkers immediately responded and expressed their disdain for the new packaging. They emailed, tweeted, blogged etc, their complaints with the new logo. In effort to appease their angered consumer base, PepsiCo quickly reverted to the old logo.

The Tropicana orange juice debacle clearly illustrates how important it is for companies to involve their existing consumer base in brand -related decisions. Rather than being retroactive by changing the product after the backlash, Tropicana should have taken into account the opinion of the buyer. In doing so, Tropicana would have not only avoided the backlash but also established a stronger relationship with customers.

While, Tropicana solicited professional logo design advice, in the end it was the customer who had the last say. By hearing and responding, Tropicana did ease upset customers. However; had they involved their loyal customers in the process in the first place, the whole situation could have been avoided.

The reason I wanted to send this to our clients is simply this: We are not our brand-our customers are. Without you, we’re nothing. So, if there is something that you would like to see changed, or just something that you would simply like to voice, please let us know. We are hear to listen, and to help.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Now's the Time To Improve Productivity

There’s little you can do to solve our world’s financial woes. So why not focus your effort on something you can control – making your organization more efficient and productive in a tough economic environment. Our Q1 2008 newsletter introduced the Dynamics SL Business Portal and how it could be used to organize and access information from anywhere at any time. In this issue, we’d like to expand on this topic a bit and explore ways to reduce IT costs and improve efficiency.

Your Portal to Efficiency
The Dynamics SL Business Portal is a collection of predefined, Web‐based pages that interact directly with Dynamics SL data. Samples of preconfigured pages include time and expense entry, purchase requests, and employee self‐service. The Business Portal is built on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (“SharePoint”) technology. As such, its utility extends beyond your Dynamics SL system. SharePoint can act as a central repository that manages all of your organization’s documents, allow you to collaborate with others inside and outside your organization, and automate many common business processes. SharePoint also reduces IT administration expense as it provides web‐based access to Dynamics SL, eliminating the need to load software (and subsequent updates) on every user’s workstation.

One View, One Set of Project Documents
SharePoint is a great tool for managing project documents. Think of the productivity gains you’ll experience by merely clicking on a Dynamics SL project and accessing a centralized library containing related consulting contracts, statements of work, change orders, project plans, status reports, and project meeting minutes. No more wasted time digging through file cabinets or searching the network for misplaced documents. Project data from Dynamics SL can be combined with other important sources of information including spreadsheets, graphs, and notes. Perhaps best of all, everyone is working from the same SharePoint portal so your project team is always working with the most recent documents.

Improving Communication
With project calendars, team member information, announcements, and meeting notes all centrally located and available over the Web, SharePoint significantly improves communication within your team. What’s more, you can extend SharePoint technology to your customers. With appropriate security, they can access important project information online and reduce the time your staff spends responding to project status inquiries. You can even include a process for your customers to view and approve your invoices online which will speed‐up payment and improve cash flow.

Who’s Managing This Project?
With a multitude of graphs, tables and even “green/yellow/red” conditional alerts, Project Managers can use Dynamics SL Business Portal and SharePoint technology to track key performance indicators (KPI’s) such as staff utilization, project milestones, and actual vs. budgeted project expenses. Share‐Point can also be used to automate time consuming, manual processes like approving change orders.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Charting Your Course To Success

You’ve probably heard the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The same holds true for your business. Today, there are various “dashboard” tools available that convert huge volumes of raw operational data into visual cues that will enable you to respond more quickly to changes, help you make more informed decisions, and set (or keep) your business on a course to success.

The View From Here is Great!
Business dashboards communicate an abundance of complex information quickly. They translate information from Microsoft Dynamics GP and other data sources into visually rich presentations using gauges, maps, charts and other graphical elements for a quick view of your key performance indicators or “KPIs.” KPIs refer to critical metrics that measure the health of your business. Examples might include total sales, gross profit margins, desired inventory levels, or any other metric you watch closely to quickly determine whether your business is performing within an acceptable range.

While dashboards are extensively used by managers and executives, associates at all levels of an organization (with proper security) can evaluate visual metrics that are important to their role within the company. In addition, most dashboards will allow you to drill down into the underlying details to further investigate an issue and to support a quick and informed response.

It’s Like Driving a Car
Like the dashboard in your car, one glance provides everything you need to know about your speed, fuel level, and other vital gauges. The same can be said about a business dashboard that aggregates huge volumes of data and presents it in a format that’s easy to interpret at a glance. And with flexible personalization options, you can choose which KPIs and gauges are important to you. Dashboard elements can also be arranged in a specific order and display as much or as little detail to fit your needs.

What About My Current Reports?
Traditional reports play an important role in your company. However, dashboards offer advantages that can be used to compliment your existing reporting structure. Dashboards can combine data across multiple databases into a single view … a task that can be a bit more difficult and time‐consuming using traditional reporting tools. Plus the visual cues and graphical charts provide meaningful insight at a glance (it’s a lot harder to “glance” at a 15‐page report). It’s all about empowering you with tools to monitor and evaluate business performance in real‐time, make quick and informed decisions, improve profitability, serve your customers better, and chart your course for success!

What’s the Best Tool for Creating Dashboards?
There are a host of business dashboard tools available for Microsoft Dynamics GP. Depending on your needs and the complexity of your operations, you can leverage a combination of tools that are built‐in
to your existing system and/or add‐on products that take web-based and dashboard‐style reporting to the next level.

Contact us for information about using dashboards to monitor & evaluate business performance or to discuss dashboard reporting options for Microsoft Dynamics GP