Achieving Best Practices in Accounts Payable with Microsoft Dynamics GP

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Steven Bragg wrote an excellent book on improving the efficiency and accuracy of the Accounting Department called “Accounting Best Practices” (6th Edition), published by Wiley (ISBN 9780470561652).   The book offers many ideas on improving accounting functions and provides the advantages and disadvantages of each.  The suggestions cover many facets of the accounting process and a number of them can be incorporated into Microsoft Dynamics GP or in some cases involve add-on products from Microsoft Dynamics GP ISV community.

Throughout 2012, I will address the practices that can be used in Microsoft Dynamics GP and provide specific instructions on how to achieve those best practices within Dynamics GP.  For the complete list and in depth explanation of the best practices, please see the book.  The section numbers and titles follow the section headers in the book.

First up, Accounts Payable

(3-49) Clean Up the Vendor Supplier List 

Over time vendor lists can become corrupted with different Vendor IDs for the same vendor, missing information such as TIN numbers or other obsolete information.  Cleaning up the vendor list on a regular basis may take a little effort each quarter but will save time and frustration in the long run.  Consider these options to improve your vendor list:

  1. Create a SmartList that contains the critical vendor information such as Vendor ID, Vendor Name, Tax ID Number (TIN), Account Number with Vendor and Created Date.  Look for missing information.  Filter on Created Date to look at vendors added since the last verification.
  2. Run the SmartList in different sort orders to look for duplicate names or Tax ID Numbers.  Verify which entry has the correct information.
  3. Create a SmartList that includes Last Purchase Date or Last Check Date; determine if vendors that haven’t been used in over two years should be inactivated.  Lookup lists can now be set to exclude inactive vendors, making for easier lookups.
  4. Take advantage of the website to verify TINs for newly added vendors.  Correct the TIN or contact the vendor if it does not match the IRS.
  5. Create a SmartList that contains Address Information (Address1, Address2, City, State, and Zip).  Look for duplicates and verify that they are legitimate vendors.  This is a simple way to catch fraudulent vendors.

(3-50) Adopt a Supplier Naming Convention

Microsoft Dynamics GP allows the use of all letters, numbers and characters in the Vendor ID field.  Although convenient, it is best to design a convention that is easy to use and provides a clue to the vendor name.  I like to use the first three letters of the first word of the vendor name and first three letters of the second word in the vendor name, and ending with three numbers starting with 000 for sequentially adding vendors that would have similar Vendor IDs.  Depending on the size of your vendor list, four or more letters may provide better identification.

Additional guidelines/considerations include:

  1. Removing any special characters from the Vendor name such as ampersands (&), at signs (@) or apostrophes (‘).
  2. Skipping words like “and”.
  3.  Determining how to treat state names – whether using three letters or the standard two letter postal abbreviation.
  4. Ignoring spaces and punctuation marks.
  5. The main idea is to be consistent and make the list easier to use.

Now that Microsoft has released the Professional Services Tools Library for free, vendor lists can be cleaned up using the Vendor ID Modify, Vendor ID Combiner or Vendor Name Modifier tool.  (You must be on version GP2010 SP2 (11.00.1752) or higher or GP10 SP3 (10.00.1193) or higher.)

RSM has been implementing Microsoft Dynamics ERP Business Solutions for more than 30 years and provides a full range of Microsoft Dynamics services.  Please contact us at for more information on capabilities or how we can help you with Microsoft Dynamics GP implementation.

By:  Claude Frymark, RSM – New York Microsoft Dynamics Partner


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