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!

Track every change made on Sales Orders in Microsoft Dynamics NAV – and save the history

Every wondered the value of orders you’ve had today and tried to report on that from Dynamics NAV? How do you track the orders you ship & invoice on the same day? How do you include a change in value where previously placed orders are amended or even cancelled?

Dynamics Additions Sales Input Log can keep track and control of the change to value and quantity made on every sales document (orders, invoices, credits & returns) made in Dynamics NAV between two specified times – down to the second.

Use this Dynamics Addition for Microsoft Dynamics NAV to know who is responsible for each entry, change or deletion and be able to dashboard each salesperson's performance to the second.

Then share knowledge of spikes or dips in demand as soon as transactions are entered, enabling you to better react to maximise your market share.

Watch our video to see how it works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGzWsBxl-d4

Using PowerShell Jobs for Parallel Execution

PowerShell is great and allows us to automate a bunch of tasks that would otherwise be repetitive and boring. Recently we’ve been investigating how to build a Microsoft Dynamics NAV environment (environment = SQL database, service tier and client) on demand on the local machine or separate SQL and NAV servers on the network.

Restoring the appropriate SQL backup, creating and configuring a service tier of the correct build and opening the correct client is all rather tedious and is ripe for some automation.

The details of how to build the environment isn’t really the subject of this post (maybe I’ll write about it one day) but how to make that process fast.

The sub-tasks of

  1. Restoring the SQL backup
  2. Obtaining the required object files from source control

can be relatively* time consuming, depending on how many objects need to be downloaded. However, there is no requirement for them to done in sequence. The whole process will be faster if we can do them at the same time.

We’re achieving this with a combination of sessions and jobs.

$Jobs = @()

$RestoreSQLScriptBlock = { [some code to restore the SQL backup] }
$SQLSession = New-PSSession $SQLServer
$Jobs += Invoke-Command –Session $SQLServer –ScriptBlock $RestoreSQLScriptBlock –AsJob
$CreateServerInstanceScriptBlock = { [some code to create NAV service tier] }
$NAVSession = New-PSSession $NAVServer
$Jobs += Invoke-Command –Session $NAVServer –ScriptBlock $CreateServerInstanceScriptBlock –AsJob
Write-Host 'Waiting for tasks to complete...'
Receive-Job $Jobs -Wait

If the above isn’t clear enough this is how it works:

  1. Create a $Jobs collection
  2. Create a script block variable to store the commands to execute on the target server(s)
  3. Create a remote PowerShell session on the target server(s)
  4. Use Invoke-Command to execute the script block in the remote session as a job and add the job details to the $Jobs collection
  5. Wait for all the jobs in $Jobs to complete before continuing with the rest of the script

Progress bars and output from the remote sessions are received by the parent session as it comes in. The remote server(s) need to be configured for PowerShell remoting, see Enable-PSRemoting.

Enjoy.

*tens of seconds. Longer than I’m prepared to wait – I’m impatient.

Struggling to keep track of promotions or rebates?

Simple management of pricing & promotions – from admin through to sales in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry.

Having the right pricing mechanism to drive sales can always be a dilemma in the workplace. How can you make this a simple enough process for your admin staff to execute, whilst at the same time giving your sales team the flexibility to be able to respond to market demand?

Using Dynamics CPG, with its pricing designed for dealing with independents through to major retailers, allows you to do just this. It means depending on individual customers, you can tailor-make their pricing to suit them best. It doesn’t have to be just one way and one way only.

Flexibility to handle any type of promotion – be it customer specific or across the board

Dynamics CPG pricing functionality delivers a fast solution for all your pricing needs. This can help with all the promotional mechanics that you can normally think of e.g. buy one get one free, discounted items and even rebates. This functionality enables you to create single or multiple-use promotion codes with value or time-based expiry to suit the needs of an individual customer.

Your staff can understand what it means for margin and execute orders right there in front of the customer. It doesn’t matter how the customer chooses to order, straight away they can tell how much they are going to get charged and also what the price would be if they ordered a higher quantity to drive them up to that next price break.

Opening new accounts with tempting offers – accessing new markets

Alternatively, you can use Dynamics CPG to open those precious new accounts, to exploit your competition or get new products into existing accounts by using a purchase discount; enabling the customer to try out your product(s) at minimal cost. It’s about making your company stand out from the crowd with a quick and simple solution.

Company-wide visibility & automatic promotions & pricing – saving time & admin

Using Dynamics CPG it means that all the pricing updates are automatic, your staff won’t need to remember, which means no time is wasted. Your staff don’t have to look up Excel spreadsheets or refer to notebooks to pull out that information. All you need to do is put the order on Dynamics CPG as normal, and if the rules for that promotion are there it will automatically apply it.

This will help keep your customers happy, your staff will have done no more work, and you’ve got the flexibility to be able to drive the market as you need to.

Seems too good to be true? Why don’t you take a look for yourself…?

For more information on pricing designed for supplying through the retail sector watch our video

NEW: Dynamics Super-User Training Course

Are you an experienced Dynamics user? Would you like to become a Dynamics Super-User?

If your answer is yes then take a look at our brand new Dynamics Super-User training course, that can give you the skills you're looking for.

This course is specifically aimed at providing the more experienced user with an appreciation of how to perform presentation and configuration of the Dynamics NAV user interface.

This allows you to control what other users can see and do, as well as how you can track those changes.

Interested? How about coming along to one of our training days?

The next upcoming training days are:

  • 24th May
  • 12th July

For more information take a look at our Dynamics Learning page, where you can book with us today, as well and see what other training courses we have to boost your work life.

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?

Add Current Windows User to a NAV Database

With our proliferation of development databases for our Dynamics Additions products, creating a Microsoft Dynamics NAV user for the current Windows user is something that I do relatively frequently.

Combining as it does my twin passions for NAV and PowerShell I thought it was worth a quick post.

Import-Module ‘C:\Program Files\Microsoft Dynamics NAV\100\Service\Microsoft.Dynamics.Nav.Management.psm1’

New-NavServerUser [ServerInstance] -WindowsAccount (whoami)
New-NavServerUserPermissionSet [ServerInstance] -WindowsAccount (whoami) -PermissionSetId SUPER

This will create a new Windows authenticated user in the database for the current Windows user and assign the SUPER permission set to them.

Replace [ServerInstance] with the name of a NAV server connected to the relevant database. The path in the Import-Module line is the default location for the management module for NAV 2017. Replace with the correct path for your installation if it is different.

Using the VAR tick on your function parameters

Greetings world.

Today, I came across a small feature of Microsoft Dynamics NAV which I had forgotten, and decided to share with the dev team over here at Technology Management.

The result of that, is the below sway presentation, which I thought you, the Dynamics NAV loving public might enjoy, though it’s a slightly different format to the norm. Do consider hitting the ‘full screen’ button if the layout is a tad cramped