Archives for March 2014

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): A Couple of Frequently Asked Questions

Among the many questions we get from clients and potential customers who are searching for an ERP solution, there are three we can count on hearing every time:

Is there a difference between ERP and accounting software?

Generally speaking, accounting software handles only business functions relating to the financial operations of a company, whereas an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) package is used to manage the entire range of business functions of within an organization.  An ERP system is a fully integrated business management system covering functional areas like Finance, Supply Chain, Human Resources, Sales, etc. ERP systems are made for organizing and integrating operational processes and information flows to make the most efficient use of resources such as people, materials and equipment.

A good ERP system should enhances a manufacturer’s ability to accurately schedule production, fully utilize capacity, reduce inventory, and meet promised delivery dates.  Project-based companies, such as consulting or construction firms, might have additional needs around cost tracking and/or regulatory reporting.

What steps are involved in a full ERP Implementation lifecycle?

Accountnet recommends starting every project by:

(a)   assessing the potential solutions and

(b)   coming up with a shortlist of products for testing.

Preparing for the venture involves:

(c)    conducting a gap analysis and

(d)   thinking about any required business process reengineering that might need to be completed prior to

(e)   designing the system

Once a basic plan has been mapped out, it’s advisable to:

(f)     bring in the team that will provide in-house guidance for the vendor. Stakeholders should include the lower level employees who will be using the system on a daily basis as well as any responsible managers.

(g)    Preparing the employees to use the new ERP is vital to its success.

How can ERP systems improve company’s performance?

ERP Software | Accountnet | New York, NYThe idea behind ERP is to consolidate all business data in a central repository where each department or staffer can see and access the information that is important to them in their role.  When a salesperson receives an order from a customer, he or she should have all the necessary information to complete the order. When the department responsible for fulfilling the order has finished their work, the order is automatically routed via the ERP system to the next department for the next process. In this fashion, the order process operates smoothly with the fulfillment process, so customers get their orders faster and with fewer errors. ERP extends this particular application to the other major business processes, such as employee benefits and financial reporting.

In a nutshell:

  • ERP facilitates company-wide, integrated information sharing covering all operations areas of a business such as manufacturing, sales and distribution, accounting, human resources and inventory. Business process automation and information sharing happen in real-time, increasing productivity and improving customer service.
  • ERP bridges information gaps across a company and focuses on key issues such as productivity enhancement, customer service, cash management, inventory, quality control and prompt delivery.
  • ERP can improve project management, and can provide for information sharing not only across departments, but also across companies under the same management.
  • ERP can include business intelligence tools like data-mining, early-warning systems and robust reporting, enabling people to make better decisions and improve business processes.
  • ERP addresses not only the current requirements of a company, but can also provide insights and opportunities for improvement and refinement of business processes on a continual basis.

To learn more contact us for a free phone consultation.

eBanking Suite for Microsoft Dynamics SL

As electronic banking services become increasingly widespread, we find that our clients want their Microsoft Dynamics SL systems to provide them with the tools they need to take advantage of this technology. The modules available in the eBanking Suite for Microsoft Dynamics SL can not only help you reduce your costs through automation, but they also provide improved security and fraud protection.

The new modules include the A/P Electronic Funds Transfer (APEFT) which allows for automatic payment from your business checking account to your vendors’ bank accounts.  This type of system, known as ACH, or Automated Clearing House, eliminates the time-consuming process of printing, signing and mailing checks.  APEFT is the perfect solution not only for paying vendors, but for reimbursing employee expenses, too.

ebanking-screenshotThe Wire Transfer Plus module works similarly to the APEFT, but is used for foreign payments or for paying vouchers via wire instead of ACH.  Depending on your bank’s capabilities, the Wire Transfer Plus module also supports bank drafts, corporate checks, CTX and other out-sourced banking functions.

The Positive Pay or “Safe Pay” module reduces your exposure to unauthorized paper check transactions and is quickly becoming required by a growing number of U.S. banks.  It works by producing an electronic file as part of the check printing process and transmitting that file to your bank. The bank will then only honor checks that are listed in that electronically transmitted file.

If you have recurring accounts receivables or monthly contracts, then the A/R Electronic Funds Transfer (AREFT) module will allow you to debit your customers’ accounts electronically. The same ACH system used to make payments can be used to send an electronic instruction to your bank to make a withdrawal from your customers’ accounts and deposit the fund into yours.

If you are using a lockbox service to collect checks from customers, the Lockbox Processing module saves time and effort applying cash receipts against invoices where remittance information is complete.  For cash receipts where the matching document is questionable, the payment application workbench tool lets you easily match the receipt to the appropriate invoice.  You will never need to enter transactions individually. Even if you don’t use a lockbox service, you can use the module to speed up payment application processing.

Accountnet is a Microsoft Dynamics Gold Certified Partner and can help you determine whether the eBanking Suite for Microsoft Dynamics SL is right for your organization.  Contact us for a free phone consultation.