5 Steps to a Smooth Dynamics GP Upgrade

New versions of Dynamics GP are released every couple of years. As new versions are released, older versions eventually fall off the supported list at Microsoft. When this happens, it is a good time to consider an upgrade to the current version of Dynamics GP. Don’t worry; your unsupported version will not automatically stop working. However, you do run the risk of having compatibility issues with GP and the other applications that support or interact with GP. Another reason to upgrade is to take advantage of the features introduced in the new version of GP. A list of new features can be obtained on the www.Microsoft.com\dynamics site.

Many accounting and finance users have the “if it aint broke don’t fix it” feeling about upgrades. This sentiment is rooted in the concern that the upgrade will cause some issues that don’t exist today, so why risk it. As a formal accountant, I completely understand the concerns.

After 18+ years supporting GP, and performing over 80 upgrades, I have put together a list of the 5 things you should follow that will all but guarantee a successful upgrade. If you follow these 5 steps, your concerns should subside, and you will be able to reap the benefits of being on the most current version of Dynamics GP.

1)      Know Your GP Environment:

  1. Which GP Modules are installed and in use – Some modules will require special steps during the upgrade.
  2. Are you using any 3rd party (ISV) products – these will need to be installed and upgraded separately.
  3. Do you have any customizations or integrations with GP – these will need special attention and possible modification as part of the upgrade process.
  4. Do you have modified or custom reports – these may also need to be modified as part of the upgrade.

2)      Make sure your IT infrastructure supports the new version of Dynamics GP – You can acquire a list of System Requirements that provide a detail list of what is compatible with the new version of Dynamics GP.

3)      Perform a test upgrade – Completing a Test upgrade is recommended by Microsoft, and is an especially good idea if you have customizations, integrations, 3rd party products, or custom reports. Performing a test upgrade will allow you to identify and address any unforeseen issues that may come up. This will eliminate the downtime that the issues would have otherwise caused.

4)      Include users in the testing process – Whether you are testing the validity of the test upgrade or the live upgrade, the actual GP users need to be included in the testing. It is easy for consultants and managers to compare reports before and after an upgrade (which by the way is a must), but the users will be able to complete the real stress testing of simulated daily use of GP.

5)      Schedule the live upgrade when you have ample time to complete it – Example, if you estimate it will take 16 hours to complete the upgrade, plan to be down for 20, and give yourself ample time to complete some final validity testing.

Good luck!!

This post was written by Andy Warner, Solutions Consultant at Tridea Partners, Southern California Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner. For more information on Microsoft Dynamics GP, visit our website at http://www.trideapartners.com/.

SmartList in Dynamics GP

SmartList is a powerful querying tool that comes with Microsoft Dynamics GP.  It allows you to view and search through all of your system’s raw data, which GP also conveniently organizes by module in folders and subfolders.  You can choose to set search for data from a wide selection of parameters as well as add additional fields to your SmartList view.  You can create custom reports and set them as reminders to your home page.  So, for example, you could have notifications of any negative customer balances or a certain number of orders past due.  Here are some of the benefits and highlights of SmartList.

User friendly and comes with prebuilt reports

 SmartList organizes all your hard data into folders and subfolders based on which module it originates: General Ledger, Sales/Receivables, Purchasing/Payables, Inventory.  You’ll notice these folders in the left content pane of SmartList.  This makes it easy to filter by module to obtain the data you are searching for.  Within each subfolder, Dynamics GP comes with canned reports.  Some examples of this are views for: posted past due customers, open sales orders and items shipped today.  The benefit of having these prebuilt reports is that it saves users the time of having to create their own from scratch.  Or, if you need a more advanced report, you can use the canned report as a basis to create your view –thereby saving you a bit of time, since GP has done some of the legwork for you.

SmartList in Dynamics GP

Personalize SmartList reports by adding Columns and search criteria

If you click on the Columns button and then Add, you can add additional header fields to your view.  GP provides a long list of fields to select from and you can choose to add an unlimited number of fields to your view.  This makes SmartList very versatile in terms of customizing views for each user and company department’s needs.

One useful header worth pointing out is “Void Status” (Yes or No) for Payables and Receivables.  This field is especially helpful because it allows you to set a restriction that ensures you are searching for only data that is valid.  Often times, users may be viewing incorrect subtotals if they forget to exclude the range of transactions that have been voided.

Personalize GP SmartList reports

If you click on the Search button, you are given a total of four search parameters.  You can use any field as a search criteria and set a wide variety of filters, including but not limited to: date ranges, greater than/less than/equal to rules, contains certain character(s).

GP SmartList search fields

Create Favorites and Reminders on your Home Page

If there is a view that you frequently use, you can set that SmartList as a “Favorite” by clicking on the Favorites button at the top menu bar of SmartList.  Your SmartList will then appear in the folders as a saved view.  You can also set this Favorite as a Reminder.  For example, if you wanted a reminder whenever a new vendor is created, you could set a search parameter of “Number of Records > 0” and set that as a Favorite and Reminder.  Any time this parameter holds true, you’ll see a reminder on your home page.

GP SmartList Custom Reminder

Export to Excel to share reports and for further data manipulation

You can click the Excel button to export your SmartList directly to Excel.  From there, you have the ability to share reports and further organize your data to your company’s needs and liking.

GP SmartList export to Excel

These are just a few of the many features of SmartList.  SmartList’s flexibility and customizability makes it extremely helpful when it comes to things such as, month-end close, cross-checking balances, investigating any reconciliation discrepancies, and troubleshooting your general support issues. For more information on SmartList, please contact Tridea Partners at sales@trideapartners.com.

Written by Renee Leung, GP Application Consultant for Tridea Partners, a San Diego based Microsoft Gold Certified Dynamics Partner.

Posting to a Closed Year in Microsoft Dynamics GP

Recently, we received the question of whether a user could enter a journal entry for an adjustment to a closed year in Dynamics GP.  The answer is that, this is possible depending on how far back you need to post. The rule follows that you cannot post to more than one closed year.  So if I have closed 2012, I can only post back to 2011 and no further.  As such, when closing the current year, it is a good idea to verify that all closing entries and adjustments to the previous year have been made.

Let’s say you are ready to close 2012 but need to post a JE adjustment for 2011.  To do this, you will need to reopen the fiscal period in which you will be posting by navigating to the Fiscal Periods Setup window.  Go to Microsoft Dynamics GP > Setup > Company > Fiscal Periods.

Select the year that needs to be reopened.  Then, deselect the appropriate checkbox corresponding to the period and module you need to reopen. In my case, I have deselected the Financial module for December of 2011 because I need to make a journal entry adjustment to December 2011

General Ledger post to a prior fiscal year in Dynamics GP

Next, you will need to verify that you are allowed to post to history.  Verify that the Allow Posting to History option in the General Ledger Setup window is selected. Go to Microsoft Dynamics GP > Tools > Setup > Financial > General Ledger.

General Ledger

Now, you are ready to create and post your transaction entry for the closed year.  Once you are finished, go back to the General Ledger setup and unmark the Allow Posting to History option (you may leave it marked if that is the default setup), and close the same fiscal period that was opened earlier, using the Fiscal Periods Setup window.

Navigation Paths:
General Ledger Setup – Microsoft Dynamics GP > Tools > Setup > Financial > General Ledger
Fiscal Periods Setup – Microsoft Dynamics GP > Setup > Company > Fiscal Periods

If you do need to post to more than one closed year, Microsoft does offer a service to achieve this.  For more information, please contact support@trideapartners.com.

Balance Sheet Reporting Without Closing YTD in Dynamics GP

It’s almost that time again. Soon it will be time to complete another year-end close in GP. Since GP will only allow adjusting entries to the SINGLE LAST closed year in GP, it can sometimes be a scary process for users. Due to ongoing audits or other various factors, it may be inevitable that adjustments will be needed for more than just one historical year. Without closing a year, the amounts for balance sheet accounts will not roll over as beginning balances for the next year. For those instances, here is a little trick that will allow for accurate balance sheet reporting, without having to complete the official year-end process in GP.

Below is an example of a Management Reporter column definition. In this example, column B is mapped to pull YTD data from the last month of the last fiscal year. Column C is mapped to pull YTD information for the current fiscal year. Both columns B and C are configured as “non-printing” columns. Finally, column D is a calculation that adds columns B and C. Voila! Accurate balances without closing the year in GP.

 

balance sheet reporting

Sales Tax Automation for Microsoft Dynamics GP and Dynamics AX

If you do business in several tax jurisdictions, or in complex states, it can easily become more than a full-time job just to keep up with the ever changing tax rates and product taxability rules. Not only is compliance difficult to maintain, but even the simplest of mistakes can cost you thousands of dollars if audited.

Although you, or Tridea Partners as a Dynamics partner, can configure Dynamics GP or Dynamics AX to handle complex tax tables, we recommend using one of the third party solutions that handles the tax updates automatically.

One of the leading solutions is by Avalara (www.avalara.com), the creator of AvaTax – a cloud-based system – to help address your unique sales tax challenges. With complete integration to Microsoft Dynamics GP and Dynamics AX, AvaTax removes the difficulty of managing sales tax compliance by helping to eliminate the tedious work and complexity that goes into calculating, reporting, filing and remitting taxes.

Sales tax automation software can help:

• Achieve full end-to-end sales tax compliance
• Automate manual processes involved with managing tax tables and updates
• Eliminate compliance holes associated with using a flat state rate or zip code-based systems
• Reduce your audit exposure through ‘bullet-proof’ compliance
• Outsource all of your sales tax filing requirements
• Automate the paperless collection and management of certificates

Managing sales tax can be complex and time consuming. Depending on your unique requirements, a sales tax software application may dramatically simplify things for your organization.