Three Trends Impacting ERP in 2016

Enterprise Resource Planing System

2015 brought many advances and changes to Enterprise Resource Planning as the industry continually seeks to improve product and service offerings for companies doing business in a global economy. Some of the trends we spotted last year may impact any ERP implementation you have planned for this year. Make sure that your ERP vendor keeps you abreast of all the latest trends and understands how it affects your particular business.

Here are three things to consider as you move forward:

  1. As more organizations (including small and medium businesses) continue to adopt ERP solutions, cloud solutions have become easier to deploy and more cost-effective. In fact, “cloud” is no longer just a trendy buzzword within the industry but a viable option for many organizations; cloud ERP implementations may eventually become more the rule than the exception. Weigh the benefits of cloud vs. on-premise ERP implementation If you haven’t already.
  2. While 2015 saw plenty of ERP implementation success stories, it also saw a rising number of failures. Even an experienced project manager may not have the skill set required to get a difficult ERP implementation back on track if something goes wrong. Your ERP implementation partner should have project recovery specialists on their team as these are becoming more critical to successful implementations.
  3. Success depends largely on how well your organization is willing to effect the necessary business process reengineering and change management that should accompany any ERP implementation. You can’t expect to roll out an enterprise-wide solution without a significant amount of planning, training and ongoing support. Make sure training sessions are tailored to meet the needs of each department or function and that your ERP vendor will continue to work with you through and beyond the transition.

Accountnet has helped hundreds of companies adopt an ERP solution that matches their business goals and has deployed it according to our clients’ timetables and within their budgets.  We are Gold Certified Partners for Microsoft Dynamics in New York City, serving the Northeast from Boston, MA to Washington, DC.  Contact us today for a free needs assessment or to learn more about Accountet’s services.

What to Expect for ERP in 2016

Back in May 2014, while reporting on the growth of cloud ERP systems, like Microsoft Dynamics, we cited a study conducted by Gartner, Survey Analysis: Adoption of Cloud ERP, 2013 Through 2023, which looked at the adoption rates among organizations moving their core ERP systems to the cloud.  In addition to predicting that half of the surveyed companies would eventually embrace cloud ERP, the Gartner survey saw an increase in the number of small and medium-sized businesses embracing both ERP and mobile-accessible solutions.

Great Mobility & Accessibility

ERP in 2016

With mobile device use now outpacing desktop computing, it’s inevitable that ERP products will continue to make remote accessibility a priority in 2016. Business professionals in any size company need the ability to retrieve and share information through mobile devices which has led more ERP players to build apps and/or mobile-friendly user interfaces to access reports and dashboards. User experience has come a long way since ERP’s early days, with a minimal, intuitive design built around the user’s role and needs.

Smaller Companies Adopting ERP Solutions

With products like Microsoft Dynamics offering greater customization and mobile-accessibility, small and medium businesses have greater incentive to adopt ERP solutions for their organizations. Cloud-based options (which offer quicker implementations and fewer internal IT requirements) mean that ERP is no longer just for the large enterprise; even small start-ups can consider ERP options without having to make a large investment in IT infrastructure. Expect to see more SMBs getting on board with cloud ERP in the upcoming year.

Continued Focus on Security

Data breaches and security threats are pervasive and growing, particularly when it comes to large-scale enterprise data (think banks and retailers). Last week we addressed some of the concerns around security of cloud ERP systems, and expect that providers will continue to improve data encryption and security practices, and work on additional safeguards to ensure your business data is not compromised.

Whatever the New Year may bring, Accountnet (a Gold Certified Partner for Microsoft Dynamics) will continue its long history of working with clients to ensure their ERP selection, implementation and rollout goes smoothly. Contact us for a free needs assessment.

Three Ways Cloud ERP Can Cut Costs

For the past few years we’ve witnessed cloud ERP solutions, like Microsoft Dynamics, become widely adopted and hailed for their ability to save money on upfront licensing and hardware costs. But there are other savings to be had when deploying ERP in the cloud, including these three things you might not have thought of when considering Microsoft Dynamics in the cloud.

Implementing an ERP Solution | AccountantCost Efficient Scalability

When you purchase any on-premise software license, the cost of scaling up or down can be surprisingly expensive.  Most software licenses apply to a single individual so if your bookkeeper leaves the company you can’t just pass her license on to her replacement. Security and user access concerns dictate that you purchase a new user license for a new employee.  Costs can also mount if you fail to renew your annual maintenance plan. On premise software installations will require you to pay back fees before you can add new users, modules or updates.  With a cloud solution you can easily terminate a subscription to one user license and add another without losing any money, and your cloud ERP provider handles all the user onboarding so your IT department is not bogged down with the routine set-up tasks of every time you add or remove a user.

Upgrades, service packs and hot fixes

Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions installed on premises give you the ability to purchase a maintenance plan that lets you upgrade to newer versions of the product and install service packs and hot fixes. Pricing for an annual plan of this kind can range between 16% and 25% of the total cost of the system.  Compare that to a cloud-hosted system where updates, hot fixes/patches and services packs are included as part of your monthly subscription. Here again, not only is there a savings on the cost of an annual maintenance plan, but internal IT resources spent on ongoing management and maintenance of the system are eliminated.

Identical experience regardless of location

Perhaps the least obvious (but most important) cost savings occurs when you consider remote access and mobility. Think of the cost of deploying Dynamics in house and having to build, secure and maintain a secure VPN connection to allow employees to connect to the system. In addition to the additional expense, you may see decreased functionality and usability of the tools. This, in turn, may slow down remote users’ productivity. A cloud-based ERP system allows you to provide a seamless digital experience — the same environment workers would find in the office.  Again, because cloud ERP solutions are maintained and secured by host, you save significantly on the resources required to support remote users.

Want to know more about Microsoft Dynamics in the cloud?  Contact Accountnet.

Accountnet Inc Receives 2015 Best of Manhattan Award And Accounting Today Magazine Top 100 VAR

Accountnet Inc. has been selected for the 2015 Best of Manhattan Award in the Computer Software category by the Manhattan Award Program. Each year, the Manhattan Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Manhattan area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2015 Manhattan Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Manhattan Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Manhattan Award Program

The Manhattan Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Manhattan area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

Accounting Today Magazine Top 100 VAR

Accountnet, Inc., an ERP provider and ERP consulting and development company announced today that it has been named to Accounting Today’s 2015 VAR 100 List for excellence and growth in the ERP industry. Each year, Accounting Today Magazine develops a special report featuring an exclusive list of companies from the extensive network of ERP VARS. The companies listed are recognized for their expertise in aiding customers through the ERP selection and ERP implementation process.

“We’re honored to be named to Accounting Today’s VAR 100 list again this year,” said John C Peace, COO. “We’re thrilled to consistently appear on the list due to our team’s hard work and customer-centric attitude continue to set Accountnet apart as an industry leader.”

Each year, the prestigious report not only ranks the top ERP VARs, but also examines the current trends and topics in the industry. This year, the report covered the challenges and opportunities faced by companies in the industry and discussed the increasing emergence and growing popularity of cloud ERP systems.

Two Simple Points to Consider When Implementing an ERP Solution

Enterprise Resource Planning systems are complex to implement, which is why value-added vendors like Accountnet exist.  We have helped hundreds of clients with the planning, rollout and on-going support and maintenance of their Microsoft Dynamics ERP systems.

Implementing an ERP Solution | AccountantAmong the biggest challenges we see for companies implementing ERP systems is a failure to think beyond the needs of financial/accounting departments.  While the backbone of any ERP system is its financial data, other areas of operational information need to be made available to business users, with an easy way for them to see what’s happening in their respective areas of the business. Meaningful reports usually combine information from multiple sources combined into a simple-to-use format.

Do-it-yourself approaches don’t work well with ERP implementations so it’s important to select a vendor who can offer you a choice of business intelligence and reporting tools and help you select and configure the right one for your organization.  Reports should not be highly technical – your managers and operational staff should not have to be analytics experts in order to glean information that helps them do their jobs better. There are many good stand-alone reporting tools for ERP on the market today, including some that include the ability to report on real-time data.

Two simple points to keep in mind as you start your planning:

  • Don’t assume a bundled product will meet your needs. Native ERP reporting tools don’t always have the necessary capabilities and are often difficult to use.  Failing to provide easy-to-use reporting tools can lead to low adoption rates and a failed rollout.
  • Think carefully about your business users – will the selected reporting solution meet their needs?  Look for solutions that deliver real-time reporting and consolidated financial and summarized operational views and provide the ability to drill into supporting details or related data.

Proper assessment in the early project stages ensures an efficient and successful implementation of ERP systems and reporting tools. Let Accountnet help. Contact us today for a free Needs Assessment.

Stand Alone Reporting Tools for ERP Systems

Scribe | Stand Alone Reporting Tools for ERPIf your company uses an enterprise resource planning (ERP) or general ledger system, you may already be aware of how these systems connect to and are fed by other data sources, sometimes via real-time integration with other systems or servers. That’s what makes ERP such a powerful tool for collecting and consolidating information.

But you may also be one of many ERP users that’s discovered that native reporting functions aren’t always sufficient to give you what you want and need, especially when it comes to real-time data.

That’s where stand-alone reporting tools for ERP systems come into play.  More and more report writing products are appearing on the market each day, including many that offer live integration with the general ledger.  These report writers provide the perfect complement for any ERP system, with intuitive interfaces and dynamic design and output that go above and beyond what native reporting functions offer.

Accountnet works with clients to help them sort through the options. And as demand for flexibility in terms of cloud and mobile accessibility for financial reporting increases, Microsoft is leading the way by making more of these stand-alone reporting tools available for use with their Dynamics ERP product line. For example, Scribe Software allows for live-time sharing of financial data while maintaining control and access to Microsoft Dynamics GP, giving you the ability to:

  • Synchronize data automatically to sales, service, and support systems.
  • Eliminate the need for reports, CSV file exports, and ad hoc requests from other areas of the business.
  • Enhance customer information with key financial data to help the business make better decisions when selling servicing its customers.

Account can help you evaluate what is most important to the success of your team: data integration methods; Excel, web-based and/or proprietary interfaces; the ease of use for business professionals, among other considerations; in order to help you select the right reporting tool for your particular ERP system. Get in touch when you’re ready to take a step toward better financial reporting.

Infor F9: Excel Based Reporting Tools for ERP Systems

Over the past two decades, we’ve seen Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems mature from their origins in manufacturing to become a serious business tool for all sizes and types of companies across a range of industries. Microsoft Dynamics GP is an example of ERP that grew from of a desire to reduce dependencies on Excel spreadsheets and break down information silos. So it’s ironic that now, after having accomplished what it set out to do, ERP end-users want nothing better than to pull that data back into Excel.

It’s not really that hard to understand. The usual reason to pull data out of the system into Excel is to perform further manipulations and analysis.  If the information that is needed can be presented via the existing ERP interface and exported into the format needed for end reports, then that’s an easy solution. But if data needs to be sliced and diced and further processed, then Excel is probably the way to go.

We’ve discussed a number of Excel-based reporting tools for Microsoft Dynamics in recent months and today we add a new product to the mix. Infor’s F9 is a powerful financial reporting and analysis tool that dynamically links general ledger data to Microsoft Excel and presents a real-time view of business information with just the push of a button. No exports or manual entries are required, eliminating labor-intensive reporting and giving you more time to analyze data and focus on strategic planning.

Infor F9 Reporting Tools | Accountnet

The beauty of Infor’s product is that everything you know about spreadsheets can be applied to the reports you create using F9. F9 provides an intuitive interface so staff can learn how to use it in just a matter of hours.

Accountnet has helped a number of customers convert from Microsoft FRx to F9. F9 can do the things people like best about FRxand more. Our clients have found that F9 helps with business analysis far beyond what FRx could ever address. And most importantly, F9 uses Excel as its reporting environment and dynamically links to the live General Ledger, integrating with any accounting or ERP solution that FRx supports.

Download the datasheet, or contact us if you would like to know more about F9 or any of the other Excel-based reporting tools for MS Dynamics ERP systems

What’s an ERP System and Does Your Company Need One?

Enterprise Resource Planing SystemWhen your business grows from a few employees to a dozen or more, it can become time consuming to track and monitor all the details that need to be attended to by each department or individual.  Having an ERP system – that is, an “Enterprise Resource Planning” system — is one way to improve the functioning of your business processes, both daily and long-term. ERP systems are used by companies of all sizes – the larger the enterprise, the greater the potential need.

A good ERP system helps you to view and manage day-to-day operations from a single interface, providing you with better decision-making ability. It can help your business streamline workflows, saving time and effort wasted by employees having to access multiple sources of data for everything they need to complete their daily tasks.

An integrated ERP system allows for automation and interaction among various departments to coordinate respective activities, for example, sales department with marketing department; inventory management with warehouse or suppliers; all departments with accounting.  Not only does this help streamline workflows, but it reduces errors by eliminating the need to aggregate data manually.

Accountnet is a value-added reseller and Gold Certified Partner of Microsoft ERP software: Dynamics GP and Dynamics SL. We help our clients select, install and configure an ERP system that best matches their business’s needs.

Depending on the industry you’re in, ERP can be configured with different modules, for instance, a service-based organization may be heavily dependent on tracking project costs across multiple client accounts; a manufacturing will want integrated production planning, goods movement, purchases and inventory functionality.

If your curious about ERP, you can check out one of Microsoft’s live or recorded webcasts.  Of interest to those who haven’t yet explored how an ERP system can benefit them, we recommend “Evaluating Microsoft Dynamics ERP for Your Small or Mid-Sized Business? Get Answers to the Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions.” This session is targeted to any business that believe it is outgrowing entry-level accounting software, rubber-banding an outdated legacy solution or simply tired of paying annual maintenance fees to a vendor that provides little to no value for your money.

Regardless of industry or where you are in your vendor selection cycle, Accountnet can help you assess your specific business needs and propose a solution that makes sense and will allow for continued growth. Contact us to learn more.

Microsoft Dynamics Business Intelligence

Getting the right information into the hands of the right people at the right time — and ensuring that the information they receive is relevant and accurate. This is only one of the most basic benefits of a good Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.  Over the past few years, ERP systems have evolved to offer more features and better access to accurate and timely data.  But your employees need more than that – they need tools to help them analyze the data in context and the ability to uncover trends. Microsoft Dynamics GP business intelligence functions provide all the insight your managers and staff need to see where they stand, make informed decisions quickly, and pursue new opportunities.

UntitledThe SmartList feature allows employees to organize, search and display data from their accounting system in a way that makes sense to them, and they can save their searches as SmartList favorites.  Being able to share SmartList information is another added benefit, and with reporting tools like Management Reporter and BizNet you can generate and review reports whenever you need to – even after every journal entry if that’s required.  Reports can be scheduled for review by others and broadcast once they’ve been approved.  Microsoft Dynamics GP has more than 500 customizable Excel reports right out of the box that give you access to real-time data.

Analysis Cubes are another feature of Microsoft Dynamics GP that gives your employees virtually unlimited ways to look at data. Using standard, preconfigured, online analytical processing (OLAP), this powerful, interactive tool can serve as the basis for Reporting Services reports, Excel PivotTables or interactive dashboards built with the Office Excel Add-in for Analysis Services.

At Accountnet, we help train our clients’ staff to use Microsoft ERP software that we help them select, install and configure.  We show them how to create the reports they need based on their own role and function within the organization.  Our solutions give both technical and nontechnical employees the information they need wherever they are, in whatever application they use for their daily tasks.

Contact us for a free needs assessment today!

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.