Why Companies Need an Accountant To Implement Microsoft Dynamics

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When hiring a Microsoft Dynamics GP or Business Central consultant, what is more important, technical or accounting skills?

The answer is both.

If you look at the websites of a dozen Microsoft Dynamics GP or Business Central Partners, they will all say, “We know accounting, and we know technology.”

In my experience, you need to ask more questions, especially about accounting skills.

What Questions Can A Buyer Ask To Determine the Accounting Expertise of Microsoft Dynamics Partners?

Do you have a CPA on staff?

Actually, I don’t believe this is a good question. There are a lot of accountants out there who are CPAs and/or have a master’s degree, but that doesn’t mean they are good at the day-to-day practical accounting.

So, what questions can you ask to determine who you should work with?

One question you can start with is to ask your potential Microsoft Dynamics Partner:

  • Sometimes, we run into accounting problems, and it gets very complicated. Even though we know what we're doing, we sometimes have trouble figuring out how to do something in the system to ensure that the accounting is correct. When we get into situations like that and need accounting help related to GP or BC, can you assist us, or do you prefer to work more on resolving error messages, mapping integrations, and writing custom reports?
  • What issues would you recommend we discuss with our external accountants instead of going to your GP or BC team?

Also, ask to speak with a company’s referencable clients. Of course, you should ask about the software's functionality, implementation, and ongoing experience. Then, go ahead and deep dive into the accounting part, too.

  • When you have challenges with something on the accounting side, not necessarily with the software, how does your Partner handle that?
  • Is your Partner able to pinpoint accounting problems and diagnose set-up issues? For example, if there is a default general ledger in one of the modules, whether it's payables, purchasing, or sales order processing, can they identify what was set up incorrectly?
  • For monthly routine tasks, such as reconciliations, if you are stumped and it is taking you a long time to figure something out, can your Partner help you, or do they tell you to contact your outside accountant?

Remember, it is unlikely that one person can do everything. At DLD Business Solutions, we have team members on staff who are practical accountants who are used to getting down into the weeds and details to solve problems. We also have others on our team who are SQL experts and developers.

You should work with a Microsoft Partner who tells you what each team member can do and make sure that they refer you to the right team member for your question or project.

With that in mind, some people evaluating Microsoft Dynamics Partners might ask this question.

 3 Things An Accountant Can Do

Most of our clients have accountants on their finance team. They come to us when they do not have the time to research the issue and like the ability to delegate this task to us, or when they come across a complex accounting issue, they want us to help walk through the “flow” inside of GP or BC.  DLD can usually diagnose issues faster due to the hundreds of clients we have worked with since 1999. Other clients have limited accounting expertise on staff and rely more heavily on DLD consulting. Here are a few reasons why.

1) Examining Historical Accounting Transactions To Resolve Stubborn Issues

We had a large client dealing with over a hundred thousand receivables transactions that had not reconciled their AR account for over a year. They had some employee turnover and could not figure out why the Accounts Receivables Aging was out over $250,000 compared to the General Ledger (GL) account.

The typical reconciliation functionality inside GP did not find the issue, and we had to spend several hours figuring it out. We had to know where to look at the reports and compare the source documents by period. But if we had not turned this over to the Accountants on our DLD team, our other team members would not have been able to “flow out and review” the data to resolve the issues.

It took us a couple of days, not hours, to resolve. However, it would have taken someone else a lot longer. After working with hundreds of Dynamics GP systems, we know where to look, and a lot of it is intuitive. It is hard to train somebody to do that.   BTW: It turned out that there was a GP issue with some previous year's payments that were unapplied in the current year and then reapplied to different invoices and, in some cases, different related customer accounts.  Some of the original payments were not fully reapplied.   This should have resulted in some credits (payments that were not fully applied), but these payments were displayed as fully applied inside of GP.  After identifying the issues, DLD was able to run GP file maintenance along with GP reconcile utilities for the payments affected, which resulted in GP recalculating and setting the right amount as unapplied (credit balance).

While we were working with this client, another client had an issue with their bank statements. Their CPA on staff was becoming frustrated. He said, “Fix it.” So, we analyzed the monthly activity, figured out the timing issues and found the general ledger coding issue. Then, we documented how to correct these issues in GP. Happy client!

2) System Setup Done According to Accounting Principles

Sometimes, we follow behind another consulting company, where we see issues when a non-accountant consultant does the financial setup process without also bringing in a team member who is also an accountant.

This is one of the most significant things our clients love about us: we ensure set-ups are done correctly. For example, we run through the GLs, the inventory items and more.

Years ago, I came behind another GP partner who had incorrectly set up the default GLs assigned to inventory items.  The former partner did not ask for help from accountants and had entered revenue GL accounts in error as the default COGS for the items.  This continued for other GL defaults.  For every sales transaction, the client had to manually change the distribution accounts until I was able to set this up correctly.  BC and GP can automatically assign the right GL accounts to every transaction when set up correctly.  This setup is very powerful so that a Sales Order team member, for example, can spend their valuable time entering the order correctly and ensuring it is fulfilled timely – not having to worry about accounting.

When instructing a client on setting up Dynamics GP or BC default GL accounts, you must know how it relates to the accounting flow. At the end of the day, everything should flow through the general ledger correctly. Even if you get the bills out correctly, if inventory is not flowing in and out correctly and/or the general ledger is also not being posted to the correct GL accounts, you have major issues.  Management will not receive correct financial statements, and you may find yourself out of core inventory stock at critical times.  You're going to spend more time at the end of the year with auditors correcting mistakes and finding out the reason.

Initial setups are so crucial. Of course, you do not have to have an accountant on every setup and training session, but on certain setups and the overall flow of every module, you must bring in that accountant team member who knows not only the software but also accounting.

3) Translating to Accountant Language

When I started working with Microsoft Dynamics GP several years ago, then known as Great Plains, I had experience as a CPA and Controller, but I had to learn Great Plains.

It was easy to get a trial balance out of Great Plains, but I had trouble getting journals, such as the cash receipts journals and the disbursements journals, out of GP.  Accountants want to see both the debits and the credits of a transaction.  So I asked one of my fellow consultants, "Susan, how do I get the journals? I see where to print the trial balance; I don't see where to print the journals.  She kept pointing me to the trial balance, which just shows the end of the month balance for each general ledger account.

But Susan worked primarily with training and custom reporting writing.  She was not an accountant and did not realize the importance of reviewing journals.  I finally had to figure out that in Dynamics GP, the journals named “cross-reference reports,” which is more of an auditing term, while accountants just call it journals.

When we train them on Microsoft Dynamics GP and BC, our clients do not intuitively know that cross-reference reports are journals. This is why we add this to the training agenda, along with other “tips and tricks,” to ensure that users cannot only enter data correctly but also understand the data flow in both GP and BC.

The same is true for fixed assets. Everyone knows what accumulated depreciation is. The programmers who wrote Dynamics GP fixed assets call it “reserves.”

So, I think that what DLD brings to the table is the ability to translate. No matter the terminology or the software, we can translate it to your industry, not just accounting terms like accumulated depreciation and disbursements journal but also being your translator for whatever term it is called in GP or BC.

All ERP/Accounting software has some unique terminology you may need to get accustomed to, and a DLD accountant can help. This is also true for the terminology in GP vs. some of the terminology in BC. Our clients who switch to BC love that we provide them with “cheat” sheets and discuss the differences between a particular process in GP compared to BC during training.

The DLD Business Solutions Advantage

At DLD Business Solutions we are ERP software implementers. We don't do CPA-type work. You should use your outside CPA for audited financial statements, reviews, compilations, taxes and related items.

But if you have accounting issues inside your software, we put on our accountant/CPA hats and figure it out for you, and then you'll know how to do it next time.

It's not just any accountant that is needed; it is an accountant who knows the software system.

DLD Business Solutions is the right choice if you want Microsoft Dynamics GP or Dynamics 365 Business Central software implementators who know accounting.

By Dennis Day, CPA DLD Business Solutions, https://dldbsi.com/

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