An Alternative to Managing Multiple Company Databases in Microsoft Dynamics GP

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Managing multiple databases can be a cumbersome task for companies that are operating and transacting for many separate legal entities.  This is true from a backend perspective in areas such as new version upgrades and from a user perspective by having to log in/log out within databases and the setups required within each database.  If master records such as vendors, customers, inventory items, are shared among the companies, the most efficient solution would be one that provides access to those shared records while maintaining the structural divisions for transacting and reporting purposes all within a single database.

Binary Stream’s Multi-facility Processing (MFP) product allows this multi-company, centralized-solution scenario. The general concept is that facilities are defined based on the reporting structure of the said company.  Facilities are identified based on a segment of the chart of accounts; master records are defined as shared or specific to the facility; transactions are assigned to a facility when posted; and, finally, security and access is granted to the facility using the relationship linking feature and/or with the addition of account level security.

Proper access rights to the transactions and records are critical in this type of environment.  MFP requires relationships to be created between each master record (customers, vendors, items, sites, and employees) and the facility that should have access to those individual records.  User access is defined by creating the relationship between the user ID and the facility.  It can be a one to one relationship or one to many. Because MFP only works within Dynamics GP, the access does not carry through to FRx for reporting.  As such, account level security is configured to accommodate the restrictions in FRx.

Transactions are assigned to a facility during transaction entry.  This allows reports to be processed at the facility level or at a consolidated level.   The product allows for centralized AP, AR, GL, and payroll processing.  For example, AP invoices and employee time can be posted at the facility level and corporate processes the checkrun for those entries. There is also an intercompany feature to accommodate the due to/due from for each facility, if applicable. Account substitutions can be setup for efficiency during transaction entry.

The MFP solution not only provides a solution for companies managing multiple entities, it’s also a great product to handle security access to master records, transactions, reporting, and inquiries based on a division within a single legal entity.  As an example, this product has been used successfully by a healthcare company that provides behavioral health services.  In this sector, there is only one legal entity; however, the operations are processed purely by program administrators that manage the programs and initiatives.  They have their own staff to enter transactions while corporate processes the centralized functions.  In this scenario, it is important that the mental health division does not have access to the alcohol and drug division’s records and transactions.  MFP handles this requirement perfectly.

By:  Regie Eastman, RSM McGladrey, Inc. - Microsoft Dynamics ERP Specialist

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