A new approach to business applications with Dynamics 365 for accountancy practices

Accountex

Now more than ever, your clients need today’s accountants to become tomorrow’s business advisors. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a totally new approach to business applications, giving you the opportunity to work, retain and grow with your clients.

The annual Accountex Exhibition & Conference is just around the corner; being held at the Excel in London from 10th – 11th May 2017. Accountex is the leading exhibition and conference dedicated to the UK Accounting Industry and is the place to get up to speed with the latest business application offerings and best practice tips.

Visit us at Accountex on Stand 143, where we will be in support of Microsoft, to help demonstrate why Microsoft Dynamics 365 will become the new revenue stream for your accountancy practice.

Accountex will be your first opportunity to preview Microsoft Dynamics 365 before its UK release, expected this summer.

Come and talk to us to discover how Dynamics 365 can help you retain clients throughout their business lifecycles, regardless of size and functionality requirements with business applications to support everything from Financials to Operations.

You can find more information on how Microsoft Dynamics 365 will benefit your accountancy practice, at http://www.d365foraccountants.co.uk/ 

And if you haven’t already registered for Accountex, you can click the link below for your FREE pass https://registration.n200.com/survey/01tyd1rdcvlg1

We look forward to meeting you at the show!

How to harness the power of Outlook for stronger financial control – in the manufacturing & distribution industry

According to a recent Aberdeen Report “What do Manufacturers look in an ERP solution, March 2017, 50% of the manufacturers surveyed citied “Ease of Use” as the top criteria for selecting an ERP solution – maybe somewhat surprisingly ahead of functionality (48%), total cost of ownership (43%) and time to value (27%).

But what is the software solution that business users are most familiar with, and therefore find the easiest to use? Well, Outlook of course!

With the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics business software, namely Dynamics 365 soon to be available here in the UK, you will be able to go from “quote to cash” without leaving your inbox.  You can create customers, suppliers and quotes as well as process orders and submit invoices without ever switching applications. All of which makes it easy for everyone in your organisation to execute ERP transactions in a more familiar and productive manner. As a result, all your business activities are quickly and easily recorded, so you have up-to-minute visibility of all business operations.

Another interesting statistic I noticed recently is that 55% of all emails1 are now opened on a mobile device (plus another 19% via webmail) illustrating how important it is for people to be able to access information on the move or somewhere other than their usual office environment.

So if you are looking at new business software how do you best respond to these end users’ demands i.e. ease of use and access anywhere?

With Dynamics 365 available on your mobile device of choice, no longer is your mobile working confined to answering emails and phone calls. Now you can also sign off quotes and purchase orders, review the latest reports or dashboards or catch up on the latest visit report with a key client at a time and location to suit.

Only Microsoft Dynamics business solutions can bring the ease of use of Outlook to the perceived (and sometimes real) complexities of ERP to deliver the financial and operational control needed by growing manufacturing and distribution businesses.

Download our eBook The Director’s guide for replacing accounting software to see how easy it is to simplify your business processes and improve financial control.

1 https://litmus.com/blog/webmail-increases-to-29-for-november-email-client-market-share

Supplying to the retail sector? Poor communication between field sales, merchandisers and your team in the office holding you back?

CPG intro slide

Get a joined-up way of working for every member of your team – from field sales through to customer service.

There isn’t a Consumer Goods company out there that doesn’t want to grow their sales and a big part of that is getting the most from your sales team.

But it’s sometimes harder than it sounds to make sure that your internal people and external sales people are working in a cohesive, joined-up fashion in dealing with both the independents and the major retailers, but that’s where Dynamics Consumer Goods can step in.

Give your team the right tools to be effective – work smarter, not harder

There are many aspects that Dynamics Consumer Goods can help with to make sure there is a smooth transition from customer site to back in the office.

Having Dynamics Consumer Goods at the center of your sales operations means that field sales, before every visit, can get contextual information against each account that shows exactly the performance of that account, what merchandising has been agreed or what promotions are in place. They also get to see any issues against that customer, so that they understand what’s been happening and what questions they might face during that face-to-face conversation with the client.

Get instantaneous updates for your 24/7 customer view – pair your field sales team with internal resource

Then when your account manager leaves the customer site, they can quickly and easily fill in a visit report on their device of choice, and that logs the information back into Dynamics Consumer Goods. This initiates the actions that are required to be done by the people following up back in the office.

You can’t underestimate the impression that it gives the customer – that you are an organisation that’s on the ball.

So instead of your external account manager sitting in laybys trying to make calls, trying to follow up queries that have come up in the meantime, pair them up with an internal resource that’s much more cost effective. This means that person can not only make appointments but also follow up on actions and can ensure that agreed objectives have been achieved – from both the customer’s side and for your people internally.

Dynamics Consumer Goods allows you to assign and keep track of any of the actions that normally would tie up your external account manager for a considerable period. It also means that when an existing account needs a visit, the internal person can try and open up several new accounts in that same area and make appointments for that same period of time.

Smoothing the way for modern technology – making the most effective use of your resources

Here’s a question, how do you get those members of staff who have been with you for years and are stuck in their ways to transfer to the new technology? Well it could be just one quick easy solution!

Dynamics Consumer Goods can be used on an iPad (and other tablet devices) – a tool even the most traditional of sales staff are used to using. By giving your sales people a tablet, it allows them to use Dynamics Consumer Goods while they are with the customer, in a way that’s not confrontational as if they were using a laptop. A tablet device also allows them to scribble notes in the same way as they would with a paper notebook as they would have done in the past.

What this now means is that the information can be captured and shared instantly, even with photographs embedded into the visit report for reporting on merchandising for example, and makes it available to either management or their colleagues who need that information to follow up correctly.

For more information on how Dynamics Consumer Goods can support your internal sales, external sales and merchandiser teams, watch our video.

Hitting the limits of your accounting software? The risks of doing nothing.

Whilst your existing accounting solution has served you well to-date, as your business grows, it may not be able to keep up. There are normally tell-tale signs you’ve hit your limits with your current systems and when those signs start to show up, it’s likely your future growth is at risk.

Growth means change and not many of us are keen on change, especially when it comes to changing business software. So what are the real costs of doing nothing and continuing to operate as is?

In a recent survey by the Aberdeen Group “The Cost of Doing Nothing: Why You Can’t Afford to Sit on an ERP Software Decision”, there is tangible evidence that delaying the implementation, or upgrade, of a new solution can cause an organisation to perform less effectively across a variety of metrics:

Aberdeen Group  Cost of Doing Nothing Feb 17

strongly suggesting that inaction is not an option.

Even stronger evidence for implementing a modern ERP solution comes from another analyst report this time by IDC and entitled “Gaining the ERP Edge”. This research looks at quantifying the productivity benefits of a new ERP solution when compared to companies not using any or an ineffective ERP system:

Gaining ERP Edge IDC 2015

Starting to think you might need to make the move to a new business software solution?

To discover the tell-tale signs that you are outgrowing your accounting software and how Microsoft Dynamics 365 could can help deliver a smooth transition to greater productivity and success in your organisation, download our infographic “Is Your Business Outgrowing your accounting software?

Increase First Contact Resolution and Customer Loyalty with Dynamics 365

Customer expectations are rising and will continue to do so at a rapid rate.  The result of this is that more and more pressure is being placed on organisations to meet these rising expectations. Customers are no longer influenced on price and product alone, they are also highly influenced by the emotional experience they have with an organisation. 

One of the significant contributors to the customer experience is ease of doing business.  Today’s customers are often time poor so they want us to acknowledge that their time is important by making interactions with our organisations as effortless and seamless as possible.

First contact resolution involves resolving a customer’s need on first contact.  If a customer has an issue or question, they want to contact you once and only once.  If they have to contact you again, chase for an answer or repeat themselves then this can quickly become a source of irritation and frustration leading to a negative service experience. 

First contact resolution is therefore linked to customer effort and can be a powerful way to improve customer loyalty and satisfaction. 

Harness Your Organisational Knowledge with Dynamics 365

Knowledge sharing and knowledge management are important factors in increasing First Contact Resolution.  By giving employees access to the right information at the right time it will empower them to deliver fast, informed and effective solutions for customers. 

Dynamics 365 allows you to capture and share knowledge via Knowledge Base.  Knowledge Base is a library of information that can be set up and accessed by users.  It might contain things such as installation instructions, frequently asked questions, policies & procedures, product datasheets, terms and conditions etc.  You can also embed videos and images in the Knowledge Base.

First Contact resolution 1

First Contact resolution 2

Each piece of knowledge can be created as an individual Article which can categorised into different subjects and given keywords to make searching nice and easy. When you create an Article you can:

  • Review and approved it before it is published and made available to everyone
  • Give it a version number
  • Give it an expiration dates

All of this functionality helps to minimise the danger of out of date information being given to customers. 

In addition to the above, when a new query or issue (Case) is logged in Dynamics 365 users can search the Knowledge Base for Articles that may help them to resolve it first time (as illustrated below).

Dynamics 365 also encourages knowledge sharing and collaboration by giving users the ability to link the knowledge article to Cases to help anyone else that may encounter similar Cases in future.

First Contact Resoltion 3

Using the combination of Cases and Knowledge Base can act as a key driver for continuous service improvement.  It allows you to analyse and understand which types of queries or issues you can resolve first time and which you can’t.  You can then work on bridging the gaps in knowledge by adding more articles to your Knowledge Base.

Benefits of Harnessing Your Knowledge

Knowledge is one of the most valuable resource in today’s competitive environment.  Dynamics 365 offers you the ability to quickly and effectively build a central Knowledge Base which can be used to empower your staff to provide fast, informed and effective solutions that will ultimately delight customers.

The benefits that this can bring to your organisation are huge and include:

  • Improved efficiency and productivity
  • Cost savings
  • Reduced training needs
  • Consistency
  • Better decision making
  • Competitive advantage
  • Preserve existing knowledge to prevent any single point of failure
  • Increased employee satisfaction
  • Stimulates creativity and innovation
  • Increased customer loyalty leading to increased growth and profitability

If you’d like to know more about how Dynamics 365 can help transform the customer experience in your organisation please visit our website www.tecman.co.uk 

 

Introducing the Power of Recommendations in Dynamics 365

Your Data is a Valuable Strategic Asset

Customer expectations are rising and will continue to do so rapidly.  As such, more and more pressure will be put on organisations to continue to improve and innovate in order to meet these expectations.  Therefore, organisations must focus on leveraging the data they have to gain a deeper insight into customer needs, to effectively engage, grow and retain customers. 

Data is one of the most valuable strategic assets in an organisation.  The real value comes from being able to analyse that data, learn from it and use it to formulate sound strategic insights that can be used to drive an organisation forward. 

However, the quality of the data and subsequently the level of insight you get out of any system is only as good as the quality of the data that gets put in.

Business Rules to the Rescue

Dynamics 365 gives you the ability to create Business Rules.  These work on the logic that when a certain condition is met, it triggers an action.  The types of actions you can trigger include:

  • Show or hide fields
  • Make certain fields mandatory
  • Set field values
  • Set default field values
  • Validate data and show error messages
  • Lock or unlock fields

They are a fantastic features helping to ensure consistent and quality data capture.

Introducing Recommendations

In the latest release of Dynamics 365 Microsoft have included a new business rule called Recommendation which gives you the ability to present users with tailored recommendations when they are working on records.

I have to say I love this new addition because not only does it enhance the likelihood of quality data capture, I think it can also:

  • Enhance the overall customer experience
  • Ensure customers are provided with a consistent service
  • Reduce staff training requirements
  • Ensure everyone is operating in line with the organisational strategy

To show you how Recommendations work, in the example below we’re looking at an Active Case and there’s a section on the form where we can fill in the Resolution to the Case. 

You can see that the Actual Problem for this Case is a product issue.  Once the Actual Problem has been selected you will see there is a little blue information icon next to the Resolution Field.

Recommendations 1

If we click on the icon it presents us with the recommendation shown below.

Recommendations 2

What’s more we then have the option to Apply or Dismiss the Recommendation.  If we click on Apply in this example it automatically completes the Resolution field for us.

Recommendations 3

As you can see, not only have we been able to guide the user to enter the correct information but we’ve also empowered them to resolve the issue quickly, efficiently and consistently for customers.  Customers with issues that are resolved quickly and effectively often turn into loyal customers and even brand advocates which can have a positive impact on an organisation’s bottom line.

So hopefully you can see that this one small addition to the suite of Business Rules opens up a world of possibilities for organisations to not only continue to capture strategically important data but also create outstanding experiences for their customers.

If you’d like to know more, watch our videos and see it in action!

Or find out about how Dynamics 365 can help transform the customer experience in your organisation please visit https://www.tecman.co.uk/Software/Products/Microsoft-Dynamics-365