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I am posting here because I can't find anything that will tell me step by step what to do to get Dynamics GP up and running. There are things everywhere but nothing is organized enough to make me feel good about doing this myself.
So... I joined the forum and will post my journey here. I am sure if anyone sees that I am doing something wrong or could do it another way they will reply and then there can be a real place where someone can go and get started on their own.
We are a small manufacturing company about 15 employees. However our needs to improve the production process have driven me to create MS Access databases to do the things that Quickbooks just will not do. It has not been fun. After lots of looking and knowing that I wanted a solution that would be all supported under one umbrella...or in otherwords the software was all made by the same company I settled on Microsoft Dynamics. This way we can use Outlook, CRM, and GP to replace QuickBooks, Goldmine, and my two home grown applications that would take years to perfect and make them do what I need them to do.
However being a small company I don't have a lot of up front capital. Therefore, an implementation of this size is very problematic. Where do I start?
In the beginning:
I contacted a partner. They made it clear they were very busy, but were willing to help. After speaking with them about what we wanted to do, what we needed and didn't need, connectivity issues we were having, and costs involved. I settled on this plan.
We would go with Dynamics GP (we didn't need the complexity of AX). I wanted to go with a hosted environment. I am trying to get out of the IT business here and the up front costs of hardware and licensing was way more than we could take on.
I decided to go with Dynamics CRM online. This got me the hosted environment we needed and access for my sales person who travels from time to time.
I also decided to setup Office 365 Online. This seems like it will give me a complete solution from email to invoicing to production management that I can deal with.
I talked to several people. Frankly for those partners out there. Those who were not too busy and got right back to me and still could provide what I needed where the ones who have my business. As I said we don't have a lot to dump into starting this thing up so I made it clear to any partner that we would be doing as much of the setup as possible.
Now that being said. There are other reasons why we decided to go this way. The biggest being after 13 years in the same Quickbooks files our growth has required some changes in the Chart of Accounts, Item, vendor, and customer numbering that has made things a mess. Especially with QuickBooks build assemblies and such. That was a big part of the fact that we didn't want to just move everything over. We decided to enter everything new as we go.
So I then went on the hunt for places to host. At our size and current needs I found that it was best and easiest to go with out of box solutions. So we went with CRM Online hosted at Microsoft and GP online hosted through mygpcloud.com (Rose Business Solutions). I was setup and checking things out in a few hours. It was fantastic.
Now I had to turn to initial setup. Holy cow there is a lot of stuff to think about. Frankly the first partner that I talked to was very honest and up front with me....Maybe too honest...I was in a position where I wasn't going to be able to pay a partner $35k and up to set everything up for me so hearing about how bad it could be if I didn't was just too much for me. They were a great help in the beginning but I run my own company here and I don't like hearing why something can't be done I like to hear what the challenges are and how we WILL overcome them. So, I moved on.
Please let me be clear. If you can find someone to do this who implementation from start to finish and you don't have to worry about anything. Go for it. I would have done it in a heartbeat. But, as I am not one of those I hope to make it easier for the next guy and get some advise from this forum on the way.
So after some study and research. The Chart of Accounts is the first thing that needed to be setup. I also found it suggested that you should take the reports you are used to seeing right now and work backwards into a chart of accounts. I also found cautions from letting your accountants and others go crazy with the reports they would like to get in this new system and complicating the chart of accounts.
We only have one office so multiple site, multiple currencies are not an issue for us. Segments where just beyond what I could grasp. I setup what I think would be a good chart of accounts based on our current reporting needs and then was trying to find someone who would give me the thumbs up or some advise on what to do next. I couldn't find anyone. The more I researched the more I realized that the hours of work that we will put into this system getting things setup the Chart of Accounts must be right. It is the foundation.
So I found a post or two somewhere talking about how Silicon Digital Systems, Inc. converted data for other and they were so happy, so I checked them out. I sent them my QuickBooks file and they fired right back a quote for a full conversion that was half what others were quoting. After talking with them I told them I needed to send them my reports, They create the COA for me. They are also going to import just monthly total data so that I can have comparison reports for the previous 13 years. If I want detail I'll go back to my quickbooks file.
Note: We changed quickbooks files 13 years ago to the one we use now. After the first 2 years or so we didn't even open the old one anymore. At this point I have the numbers I like to refer to in a spreadsheet and I never open up the old quickbooks. The point is: as time passes historical data is less and less important, at least the detail.
The costs for the above services were more than reasonable so that is where I am at right now. They are setting up the conversion for me and I am playing in the Fabricam Database to map out my next steps. It would be fantastic if someone had a flow chart that mapped out, if starting with and empty database here is what you do first and here is what you do next. For example it is clear that you must setup at least your known classes before setting up customers, vendors, Items etc.. This will make entry of those items quicker.
Until the Chart of Accounts is done and uploaded I can't do much as the classes need to have accounts associated with them. So while that is happening I am making a flow chart of my own and defining my classes so that we can start data entry as soon as we are up and running. I am also moving everyone over to my Office 365 Exchange servers and playing with CRM Online to see how this will all merge together into one large system.
I am hoping with the CRM GP connector that contact information imported from Goldmine into CRM will allow me to create the customer and vendors in GP without too much trouble and on an as needed basis. We don't plan on entering everyone. We will enter customers as they place orders and enter vendors as we order from them.
As if setting up GP is not complex enough, you are also adding manufacturing. You need to work with a partner. If your current one will not help you contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can recommend a few. The investment you make will save you more than you spend correcting mistakes.
You should also look at our web site as we have a number of books on the various modules of GP.
As I stated above. Anyone who is taking this one should work with a partner if they can afford it. Unfortunately need and the capital funds to fill that need the easiest way do not always present themselves in todays economy for the small business and servicing dept to the tune of $35k - $100k is just not in the cards.
However, thanks for the suggestion. It was not an issue of a partner not wanting to help it is finding one that can help me on an as needed basis to answer questions without a huge time lag or enormous hourly or project costs. My company is not that big, we are not that complex. Partners tend to want to make the one size fits all process which makes things far more complex and costly in my opinion.
I do have the benefit of being a business owner and a long time IT guys for 2 + decades so this process is easier for me to understand than your typical financial person in an office somewhere.
I will check out your site and will see about giving you the opportunity to give me bids on parts of this project that need doing as we move forward. At this point the environment is all setup so no worries there. My chart of accounts is being created by a partner and will be uploaded with basic historical data for those accounts.
The way I see it. We now have a blank company file and we are starting all new. While I still need to learn the best way to enter and setup items. I have time to learn that and am not shy asking and paying for a little help and advise as I move forward.
Thanks again for your comments.
May I throw in the suggestion that it is not too late to sign up for Convergence in Atlanta next month. From what I can see there will be 12,000 other folks there most of which will be either customers or partners of GP. I know I will be there along with other GP MVP's. Convergence is a great way to not only learning about GP but to see what other products are out there that work with GP. Being a small GP reseller plus being the owner I know exactly the situation you are in at this time.
Have you taken a look at Victoria Yudin's book: www.packtpub.com/.../book
I didn't read your whole post - but I got the idea you needed some implementation guidance. Victoria's book steps you through the installation and setup of the core financial and distribution modules.
I wholeheartedly agree with Leslie's advice. I've reviewed Victoria's books and you can definitely sit with the book in one hand and keyboard in the other and install and configure GP, with the exception of GP Manufacturing. Victoria's book does not cover that. However, no one else on this planet knows more about GP Manufacturing that Richard Whaley. Avail yourself of his knowledge to the extent possible.
Good luck and let us know how the project goes for you.
I only want to say we are Microsoft Partners too and we provide Dynamics GP and CRM consultancy in considerably low rates, you should check things with me on my email address, maybe you will find what you are looking for. BTW our two consultants will be there in convergence too. :-)
Thanks for the suggestion. I have that very book on my desk.
Hey Leslie - you have worked on a GP book as well.
Gunther I cannot recommend highly enough the advice of ladies like Victoria and Leslie. I've been a GP user for 20 years and still sometimes have to call on their websites message board posts and yes books.
Happy reading. (Y)
Well, I read the entire post this time. I think you are up for the challenge of implementing this software. Heck, we know you're smarter than the average bear simply because of your software choice! :).
I know there are many fine consultants in this community and I urge you to buy a day of somebody's time so that they can sit down with you and provide an overview of how Dynamics 'works'. Get someone with experience, and yes, they cost more, but they are worth it. You need some insight that you just cannot get from a book. If you do not think this software is complex, you are mistaken. The human you consult with will make Victoria's book a real resource you can follow because you will have an overall perspective before you start.
There aren't that many 'lifetime decisions' in GP, but there are some choices that are incredibly difficult to change after the fact. 'Difficult' translates directly into dollars. Off-hand, the 'base unit of measure' comes to mind as a mistake I see made too often. Do NOT follow the popular opinion that it should be the smallest unit in which you sell the product. That's just wrong. It's that kind of acuity I think you could use.
I've been at this a long time and I go to all of the conferences, nevertheless, my advice is to skip the conference and buy some time from a good consultant. Spend the day listening to them tell you the GP approach to things. This day is not the day for configuring anything, but rather to give you the insight on what questions to ask and what the answers could mean. Let them talk to you and you will have a whole lot more understanding of what's important.
Another suggestion is to join GPUG (Great Plains User Group). It's cheap, and the information available to you is stupendous. Nearly all of the MVPs are presenters and, for sure, some of the best in the business are constantly contributing content and giving Webinars. If you want a Webinar on a subject, all you need to do is ask - chances are good that you'll see one come up on that topic.
Lots and lots of resources will be at your disposal that you just cannot get anywhere else. And other bonus, It’s organized. So much information exists out there on the Web that’s it’s almost too much. It’s hard to wade through it all when time is of the essence.
God knows I love this forum with its sense of community; I am amazed at how much information is available just for the asking. However, when it comes to ‘user’ groups, GPUG is the real deal. It is indeed for the user - not a place where folks are trying to sell you stuff.
You’re off to a great start! You are correct in your assumption that the chart of accounts is perhaps the most important decision you'll make in setting up your accounting system. Everything in the system ends up in the general ledger. You are likewise correct in the approach of looking first to the consumers of the information and working backward to develop the chart.
Conversely, you are not correct in the assumption that you cannot create your classes without a chart of accounts. I am also willing to bet that those classes will not be created in an optimal way without a solid understanding of how GP uses classes.
I don't know when you need this system fully operational, and I understand you don't want to spend any money, but looking to the forum to provide information a piece at a time will cause you to revisit a lot of setups you initially thought were correct. Please don’t put yourself through that.
Like most things in life, it's a balance between time and money. I encourage you to remember the old saying about not "jumping over a dollar to save a dime". You will be far more effective with a little more knowledge of GP's way of doing things. All accounting systems accomplish the same tasks, but their approach can be very different. That difference matters.
You will spend GOBS more money fixing things you would have done differently with a little bit of insight. I know, because I make a good living doing remediation work.
Have you ever had an instructor ask if anyone has any questions, and you thought 'Gosh, where do I start?' I remember that feeling, even after 20 years. Hire someone to give you that ‘start’.
I'll quit now. The best advice I can give to someone tasked with implementing GP by themselves, is to buy someone's time on the front end; not so they can set it up, but to tell you how it works.
Thank you for your insight. I have spoken to one partner about doing just that but they didn't seem too excited about it and took a long time to get me any information.
so I had considered doing that I just hadn't found the right person. Like you said, I don't want to trip over pennies getting to dollars but I also don't want to spend pennies and get worthless information I could have found on my own. I will check out the users group you mentioned and I also purchased a couple of books from Richard's website. I hope those are as good as they look because they cost a few pennies :).
The production side of life is one big reason we switched to Dynamics. So I have been spending some time with item numbers. Since I have a database that will be replaced shortly by the consultants that are doing some initial work for me I am just taking the time to play around and get to know everything. While it has been suggested that I need to get someone to just give me a once over of how everything works. I want to have questions about certain things that will make that conversation go more productively. It has been great to learn terms and such so that I can make a decision about whether I want that functionality or now. GP allows us to track way more detail than we do now. But, I want to make sure I don't leave anything off the table that we can't start using later.
I would say at this point vocabulary is the biggest challenge. There are lots of things in the accounts section on items and classes that I have never heard of before. These are the meat questions to know what to ask, I feel when spending money to talk to a consultant. At least for a person in my situation.
More to come. This is fun :). of course I am a geek that way :).
I've been both a user and a consultant for GP. Currently a user. I started with version 2 of GP. I can tell you that the language can take some getting used to. Sometimes its the craziest of words that get people as well. GP uses the phrase date posted (the date someone hit post) and posting date (the g/l date of the entry). I think that asking here (not necessarily in this post) questions about the basics poses no harm, however as Leslie pointed out becomes less focused. You will find some users here, and a lot of consultants. Lots of very smart people that have been through what you are going through. Sometimes lots of times. As a user this is my 10th implementation of GP. Yes I like GP that much.
in short - ask away it can't hurt.
If I might add, I would tell you what I tell my clients after the initial installation and training. Keep a pad of paper, yes paper, I always find it better to write things down, it helps make it stick and if you get stuck on something or have questions put it on paper right away. Do not dwell on it and get frustrated. If you want, drop separate notes in this forum and we will do our best to get you past the issue. Many of us do pro bono work as long as it kept to a reasonable amount and does not interfere with other work to get done. As you can tell from the responses you have received so far we are an informative and friendly bunch.
The partner who was not interested in helping you is not the typical partner (I hope), certainly it is a phone number I would lose if I were you :)
I think you can tell the difference between the good and the 'not so good' just by the responses you have been receiving on this forum.
Without a doubt, inventory is one of those modules that contain many choices that needs its own vocabulary. Ian pointed out a good one between 'posted date' and 'posting date'. Whenever you see posting date ( with an 'ing'), it means general ledger date.
Exhale, and don't be afraid to ask questions. On this board it is often a competition as to which of us can answer you first! Frank and Richard can affirm to that. They usually beat me :(
If you cannot find someone local, bring someone in. Imagine being able to spend a day with Frank, Richard or Ian focused on your solution.
We look forward to your progress.