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Software Solutions Group

Tips from the Trenches – Top 4 Signs That An Accounting Software Will Meet Your Needs For The Next Decade (Or More.)

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No one wants to reinvest in new accounting or ERP software.  That is why it is called an “investment”. We want our package to support our business now AND in the future.  But how do you evaluate an ERP system for longevity?

Let me share some “Tips from the Trenches” – a few signs you can look for – lessons I have learned the hard way.  Sure I am a consultant now, but my background is in a family business that is celebrating its 40th anniversary next year.  I have been a part of every accounting /ERP software implementation for this business the past 25+ years – 5 different software packages – ending with Microsoft Dynamics GP in 2005.  Hey, based upon that track record – it is about time to look for new accounting software! 

I am happy to announce that their needs are still being met by GP.   Here is why:

  1. Compatibility: know what is the next big issue – Remember Year 2000?  How about the DOS to Windows transition?  Today this is 64 bit compatibility.  Does the software have a roadmap to meet this challenge?  What is the time table?  Honestly, do they have the resources and commitment?    (We all know how many accounting packages were never re-written in Windows.)GP has been planning for 64 bit for years.  For example, Management Reporter, the 64 bit replacement for the 32 bit financial reporting module FRx, was released with GP2010 (after having a beta version for GP 10).  Since GP is part of the Microsoft family, GP is always compatible with current (and often about to be released) versions of SQL Server, Windows and Office.
  2. Opportunity for Growth – If your business triples, what might your needs be?    Does the system have other modules or features that you might use?  How about support for several users and complex accounting (workflow, approvals?) Microsoft Dynamics GP can support a 1 person accounting team or a staff of 1000.  The system can be set for complex or simple accounting procedures as needed. With Business Ready Licensing, you own a suite of modules, often with lots of future growth, and adding additional users is simple.
  3. Flexibility – Sure many systems can be customized, but what does that mean for future versions of the software?  Are there options to configure the system to work different ways without customization?  Are there Add-on modules?Configurations are a key part of the setup of each module in GP.   Customizations made with Modifier or Extender modules migrate untouched.  Additionally, GP has literally 1000s of ISV software options, third-party software, to seamlessly add features and functions right within GP.  
  4. Reporting, reporting, reporting  – Sure, you are going to evaluate if the software has the reports you need today, but what about reports you want in the future? There are lots options for financial reporting in GP:  SmartLists, Word templates, SQL Reporting Services,  SSRS Home page Metrics, Excel Reports, and more.   In many of these tools, users can write their own reports.

So, learn from my past “mistakes” and plan to invest in an ERP software that will support your business for many, many years – Microsoft Dynamics GP (Great Plains).

By Devon Southall, Software Solutions Group, Inc - MS Dynamics GP Partner for New York

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