Time to reset “autopilot” and rethink how you work in finance

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Are you on autopilot? Doing something the same way every time without thinking? You have a stack of transactions to process and you don’t think about the how or why, you just do it. And if it can be done on autopilot, it must be the best way - or is it? It’s time to rethink your Accounting processes with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.   Everything “seemed” fine until recently, then enter COVID-19 and work from home directives. Suddenly, the processes we were doing on autopilot are exposed as not the best way. Maybe what we are doing requires too many manual steps, involves too many people, or requires paper documentation to be passed around to complete the task. Working remotely can expose redundancies, inefficiencies, and other opportunities for improvement. It’s forcing change for the better!   Finance, often overlooked for automation, is suddenly prime for an automation overhaul. Let’s begin our journey of autopilot reset with the accounts payable process. Here is a list of a few ways you can use standard Dynamics 365 Business Central functionality to reduce dependency on paper and support a fully or partially remote work environment:  
  1. Attachments - Replace paper copies of receivers and vendor invoices with attachments. Files, pictures, and documents can be attached to purchase orders. Users can reference the attachment on the Purchase Order until they find it on the final invoice posted from the Purchase Order. Ask vendors to email documents, making receipt of the documents timelier and saving the step of scanning paper documents for attaching.
 
  1. Paperless Purchase Order Approvals – Set up and enable Workflows in BC. Start with a workflow requiring approval of purchase orders prior to release. Approval requests can be sent via email or as a notification to approvers based on amount or other criteria. The approver will have access to the not only the order but also the supporting attachments. An approval releases the order, and changes to the order will require a reopen and a new approval request. A similar approval workflow can be set up for purchase invoices if purchase orders aren’t being used.
   
  1. Paperless Payment Approval – Another opportunity to set up and enable Workflows in BC. If approvals cannot be used from orders or invoices, you can require approval of payment journals. However, if you require approvals on orders and invoices you should have no need for an approval process when preparing payments.
 
  1. Make Payments via ACH – Historically NAV has had the ability to set up and use Electronic Payments for many versions. Beginning with NAV 2018, a developer is no longer needed to configure the ACH export file to meet your banks requirements. Data Exchange Definitions are used to design the file output. Put together a payment method transition plan to begin paying via ACH to eliminate printing checks and more importantly the cost of mailing them. Paying via ACH not only saves time, it saves money and provides a more accurate representation of your cash position at any given point in time.
   
  1. Payment Reconciliation Journal - This functionality allows you to import a file of amounts paid from or received to your bank account. Business Central can then auto match the amounts to posted transactions to not only apply the payment to the invoice but also reconcile and close the related bank entries. This paperless reconciliation tool significantly speeds up the monthly bank reconciliation process.
  This list is just the beginning! There are many other tools available in Business Central designed to help you work with less paper and more efficiently. At New View Strategies, we coach companies on transformational change with their business processes, leveraging Business Central / NAV. If you’d like to read more on how you can do more with BC / NAV and start rethinking your Accounting processes with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, check out Kerry Peters’ series on Working Remotely, and Cari Corozza’s blog on Closing Month-End. If you’d like to chat, I’d love to help you discover opportunities and rethink your accounting processes – contact me at cynthia@getyournewview.com.   Blog by: Cynthia Priebe, New View Strategies – Rethink Today for Tomorrow.

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