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Read more on "Closing Your Year in Microsoft Dynamics GP: Inventory Control" »

It’s hard to believe an entire year has passed since you were finishing up last year’s year end closing procedures. With 2016 already here, we know you want to make your Microsoft Dynamics GP year end processes move as quickly and smoothly as possible.

If you’re a manufacturer, retailer, or any business that deals with inventory, this inventory control close out procedure is something you’ll be using.

First things first: Plan your upgrades for this year or next. Your end of the year closeout is a great time to start planning which systems or services you’ll need to upgrade.

One thing to take into account is the support calendars for each system. If you’re running Microsoft Dynamics GP, for example, extended support for their 2010 edition ends in October of 2017 (mainstream support ended last year, in October of 2015).

If you’ve got the 2013 edition, you’ve got a bit longer: mainstream support for that ends in April of 2018, while extended support ends in April of 2023.

That sounds like a good deal of time to make your decisions, but remember that upgrading to a new system takes time and money. You want to have a plan in place early – you don’t want to be scrambling to decide what to do a month before your support plan runs out.

And if you have any other software that will need to be upgraded this year, take some time to figure out how much it will cost and how much downtime it could potentially mean for your business.

What do these close out procedures do?

When you close out your inventory for the year, the system does several things.

  • All your summarized current-year Quantity, Cost, and Sales amounts are transferred to last year for those items for which you’re keeping a summarized Sales History.
  • Each item’s Beginning Quantity is updated from your Quantity at Hand at each site.
  • The Quantity Sold field in the Item Quantities Maintenance for each site is zeroed out.

And you also have the option to Remove Discontinued Items, Remove Sold Receipts, Remove Sold Lot Attributes, and Update Item’s Standard Cost.

How do I close the year?

When you’re closing your year, you’ll want to follow these 7 steps.

  1. Enter and post all remaining Purchase Order Processing, Invoicing/Sales Order Processing, and Inventory transactions for the current year. Make sure that you’ve entered all of these transactions before you close the year so you can maintain accurate historical data. This will also ensure that your year-to-date quantities for the new year are accurately stated.
  2. Then you can reconcile your Inventory using the Reconcile Inventory Quantities window. For detailed steps on how to do this, you can refer to Microsoft’s step-by-step explanation here.
  3. If you’re using Sales Order Processing or Purchase Order Processing (or both), then you’ll need to reconcile these numbers as well. These two modules should be reconciled before you reconcile your Inventory.
  4. If any discrepancies are found when these items are reconciled, the system will adjust the recorded quantities and record the changes in the Reconcile report.
  5. You’ll want to perform a physical inventory count as well, whether by physically counting the number of each item you have on hand, or by utilizing the system’s Stock Calendar Maintenance or Stock Count Cycle window. Make any needed adjustments through the Transaction Entry window.
  6. Print any reports you’ll need for your permanent records. Microsoft suggests printing the Stock Status Report, Purchase Receipts Report, Turnover Report, Transaction History Report, a Serial Number List, and a Lot Number List.
  7. Back up your data. This is one step you absolutely don’t want to skip. What if your system goes down as you’re finishing closing your year? What if the power goes out, or your computer suffers a glitch? Ensure that all the time you’ve already put in won’t be wasted and back up the information you’ve got.

After going through these steps, you can officially close your year.

We hope this guide helps you go through your year end closing procedures with confidence. If TGO can help you and your staff make the most out of your GP system with an in-person or online training session, contact us!

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Read more on "How to Choose the Right CRM for Your Company" »

CRM, or customer relationship management systems, have been in use since the 1990s. Although today they can perform a number of useful functions, at the start, CRM tools were simple databases that collected and analyzed customer information.

That’s still the most important function of CRM – collecting, analyzing, and tracking customer information across an organization. No matter what kinds of bells and whistles a system has, if it makes those functions difficult or tedious, there’s really no point in using it.

But with so many different CRM tools on the market, how do you choose the right one for your business? As Microsoft Gold certified partners with expertise in Microsoft Dynamics CRM as well as other CRM tools, we’re well-versed in helping companies go through the CRM selection and implementation process. Here are a few things to think about when you’re deciding.

Why do I need a CRM tool?

You may have all kinds of reasons for wanting to invest in a CRM tool – maybe you want to expand the channels through which your salespeople can contact customers, or keep better track of repeat interactions.

Those are good reasons to want CRM, but when you’re starting your search, it’s vital to start at the very beginning. Simply put, businesses need CRM when they have more prospects or clients than their salespeople can easily keep track of on their own. Giving your employees a tool to manage and analyze their customer interactions is the most basic reason to get a CRM tool. From that point, you can go on to decide what other things you want and need from your system.

Another thing CRM tools do is give you a view into your business’s future, by allowing you to see trends, events, and more that are indicators of your future revenue.

Choose a tool that your entire business will use.

Sure, that’s easy to say, but how do you know whether or not your whole team will use a particular CRM?

Well, unless you have a crystal ball you can’t be totally sure. However, you can make some educated guesses. One thing to do at the start is to have some clear business objectives as to what you want from your CRM.

Getting these objectives laid out on paper can take a while, but it’s a vital step when you’re going through the selection process. Ideally, of course, you want buy-in from every department, but you absolutely need buy-in from at least one top executive. This person not only needs to be on board – he or she also needs to be willing to champion the software throughout your organization. If you want some tips on how to sell your boss on CRM, read our blog post about it from earlier this year.

Once you’ve achieved that support, you can begin compiling your list of needs and wants (or in other words, a list of mandatory requirements and a wish list) for your CRM. Get input from each department that will be using the system, and expect that you’ll need to manage some conflicting requests and whittle down each department’s list requests before you end up with a final, somewhat realistic list of needs.

Decide whether you want your CRM hosted on-site or in the cloud.

While most systems offer both on-site and cloud hosting – both Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Sage, two systems that we work with frequently, do – cloud software is quickly becoming more popular than on-site hosting.

There are a number of reasons for this. One of the biggest ones is cost – cloud-hosted systems require a much lower up-front investment than on-site systems, since with the cloud, you don’t have to purchase or set up your own servers.

Then, of course, there’s the huge advantage of being able to access your cloud-based CRM from anywhere, any time. As our workforce model continues to change, with employees working remotely from various devices and staying connected at all hours, more and more businesses are deciding that cloud services are a must.

And while security in the cloud used to be a concern, today cloud services are as secure as on-site servers – if not more so.

As we said, these are just a few preliminary things to consider when you’re taking the plunge into CRM implementation. The process can be complicated, which is why so many companies over the years have chosen to work with TGO as their CRM consultant. You can read more about some of our clients in our Case Studies section.

We love guiding companies through the CRM process, and our expertise covers many other areas too – human resources, ERP, financial system management, planning and forecasting, and more. If we can help you improve your business processes, contact us today!

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Read more on "Tips for Painless New Software Implementation" »

The thought of implementing a new software system can spook even the most stoic of managers. It’s an understandable fear. Doing an overview of your current system, then looking at options for replacement, and finally choosing a new system that will fit your business best is no small task.

But when you think about it, what’s scarier: losing out on productivity and profit due to inefficient, clunky software systems, or going through the system implementation process and coming out with a highly effective new system? When you also consider that there’s no reason to go through the system selection and implementation process alone – that’s what systems consultants like all of us at TGO are for! – the idea of new software implementation starts to lose those big, frightening teeth.

Here are a few tips to help you make sure your new software implementation runs as smoothly as possible.

  1. Hire a consulting firm with proven expertise. It pays to do your homework when it comes to hiring a consulting firm to help you with your new system. You want to make sure that the firm you hire has the expertise your project needs. If you’re implementing a new financial system, for example, you don’t want to hire a firm that specializes in human resource management systems.
  2. This can seem like an obvious thing to look for, but it’s not always clear which areas of business a firm specializes in. At TGO, we’re very clear about our areas of expertise because we know how important it is that clients know what we can offer, and what to expect from us.

    As you interview firms, ask for specific examples of ways they’ve helped businesses with similar challenges to yours. This will help you decide whether they have what it takes to get your business the best possible results.

  3. Get input from your best employees at all levels of the business. As you begin the process of working with a consulting firm to choose a new software system, you’ll want to make sure that you have a good idea of what kind of solutions you’re looking for. And in order to do that, you need to get input from people at various different levels in the business, not just your C-level managers. People who use the system on a daily basis will have different needs and expectations from managers or department heads who use it monthly, or on an irregular basis.
  4. To do this, you could host a few discussion or brainstorming meetings with small groups of employees in the weeks before you engage a consulting firm. As the process gets underway, make sure you keep the company at large updated on new developments. That way, they’ll be prepared when it’s time to hit “go” on the new system.

  5. Communicate openly and honestly with your consultant. As in any relationship, honesty is key. You have to be up-front and honest with your consultant about what you’re looking to get out of your new system.
  6. Are you looking for a simpler, more streamlined budgeting solution? Do your financial systems need a comprehensive update? Do you want an ERP system that’s more mobile-friendly? Be as specific as you can, while realizing that what you need and want may evolve as you delve into your business processes with your consultant.

  7. Invest in training. What use is a shiny new system if your employees only have a vague idea of how to use it? It can be tempting to forego in-depth training on your new software once you’ve finally reached the long-awaited moment when you take the system live; however, this will prove unproductive in the long run.
  8. There may very well be certain features that employees can figure out pretty well after a simple overview of the system. It’s unlikely, though, that they’ll be able to use the system to its fullest potential without some real hands-on training from professionals. That could be classroom-based training, webinars, or live online training – the options are many. The important thing is that they know what the new system can do for them, and how it can make their jobs easier.

We hope these tips help you as you begin the new software implementation process. If you’re ready to get started, contact TGO today!

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Read more on "The Top Five Mistakes Businesses Make When Implementing ERPs" »

Successfully implementing an ERP system can work wonders for a business’s efficiency and productivity. Processes that used to take multiple software systems can all be accomplished within just one. Instead of using guesswork for your forecasting, you can use accurate data. Sales and inventory become much easier to keep track of.

But unfortunately, the road to successful implementation isn’t always smooth. Despite the resources required for an ERP implementation—time, money, and man-hours—sometimes companies end up setting themselves up for failure, instead of success. Here are the top five mistakes that businesses make when implementing an ERP system—and how to avoid them.

  1. Not getting buy-in from top-level executives. It may seem like the ERP system process is something to delegate down, or something that executives need not be bothered with until further along in the process. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. Without strong executive buy-in, an ERP system is doomed from the start.
  2. The reason? Putting an ERP system in place will affect the entire business, from top to bottom. This kind of scope requires everyone to be committed to the project, and willing to participate in the process. Without your leaders on board, the ERP ship is bound to flounder.

  3. Lack of planning. Another big mistake companies can make is being lax during the planning stages. Before you start fantasizing about all the benefits an ERP will bring to your business, make sure you know where your business stands right now.
  4. What are your current processes like? How do you want to improve them? Where are your areas of weakness? This way, when you begin working with an ERP vendor you’ll have a clear idea of the direction you need to go, and what you’ll need your ERP system to handle. And just as importantly, you’ll know what you DON’T need it to handle.

  5. Going overboard with customization. Many businesses use a degree of customization with their ERP systems—after all, every company is different. However, when you start customizing feature after feature, it might be a clue that the ERP system you’re using isn’t a good fit. Maybe Sage X3 isn’t the ideal ERP system for your needs; maybe you need to look at Microsoft Dynamics GP, instead.
  6. The issue with heavy customization is that it can add unnecessary difficulties into the implementation process, not to mention the obvious addition of more time spent getting the system ready to use.

  7. Foregoing proper training. In the eagerness to get the system up and running, sometimes companies make the critical mistake of overlooking proper training for employees.
  8. While this may be done in an attempt to save time and money, that’s the opposite of what happens. If employees aren’t sufficiently trained on how to use the system, they’ll do what anyone does—figure out workarounds, or go back to the way they used to do things. In the worst case scenario, they’ll get frustrated and leave. And that means that all that effort putting in your brand new ERP system has gone for nothing.

    Instead of rushing past this important step, make sure you devote the time necessary to making sure that everyone who needs training, gets it. And it doesn’t necessarily have to mean hours spent in a classroom. At TGO, for example, our training offerings include webinars and live online training as well as classroom sessions.

  9. Not preparing a maintenance plan. Just like a car, complicated software systems need some kind of maintenance plan. Without one, you’ll be caught completely unprepared if the unthinkable happens. (Like if the system goes down. And let’s face it: that happens to the best of us.)

Before you hit “go” on your ERP system, it’s important to have a plan for maintaining the system. And that includes everything from implementing patches and upgrades, to dealing with system failure. If you’ve got skilled and capable IT staff who can handle the job, that’s great; if not, you may want to look into a third-party plan, like TGO’s Financial Systems Assurance plan. With this plan, any time your financial systems have a problem, big or small, help is just a quick phone call away.

By keeping these common mistakes in mind, you can help make sure that your ERP implementation goes as smoothly as possible. Ready for an ERP consultation? Contact TGO today!

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Read more on "How Financial Systems Consultants Can Make You a More Productive CFO" »Top Excel Challenges TGO Consulting

As CFO, you’ve got a lot on your mind. Numbers, for one thing—those are ever-present. Somehow you’ve got to balance the little details with the big picture, making sure that this month’s budget is on track with the year’s budget, which in turn has to be aligned with your organization’s overall strategy…it’s easy to see how the job can get overwhelming.

This is especially true if your processes aren’t optimized, which, let’s face it—they usually aren’t. It takes a lot of dedicated time to sit down and review your financial processes one by one, then decide where they need to change and how to change them. In the meantime, you’ve got your everyday tasks to take care of. Inevitably, whatever process reform you’ve been wanting to make ends up taking a back seat to your more immediate concerns.

That’s where financial systems consultants, like those of us at TGO, come in. Our job is to do the things you don’t have time for: review your business processes, inspect your hardware and software, and provide solutions to your problems. What this means for you is more time to spend doing the things you do best: running your company’s finances.

Here are just a few ways that hiring financial systems consultants can make you a more productive CFO.

You’ll know your business is in the hands of experts—so you can relax.

Instead of turning your process review tasks over to your employees—who, while they’re experts at their jobs, are most likely not experts at rebuilding processes—you turn them over to people who’ve been doing this for years. They know how to set up a review system, what to look for, and what kind of recommendations to make. They also know how to find a solution and make it work for your company.

This all means that you don’t have to worry about managing the consultants or making sure they’re doing everything they’re supposed to: that’s their job. When you can relax and let go of the reins a bit, you have more mental energy to spend on the tasks that no one except you can complete. And that’s good for both you and your company.

You gain an outside, objective view of your organization’s strengths and weaknesses.

We all know it’s hard to see your company objectively if you’re right in the thick of things day in and day out. While this means, of course, that you’ve got all kinds of valuable insight into the company’s everyday workings, it also means that you’ll have some blind spots.

Having an outside perspective of where your company’s finance department is doing well and where it could be doing better is invaluable, both for your productivity and for your company’s success. (TGO can accomplish all of this for you with our Business Direction Gap Analysis.)

Maybe your staff is wasting time doing a regular task that’s no longer truly necessary to running the department. Or maybe the way your processes are running isn’t actually moving you toward your strategic goals. When you have this information, you’re empowered to make smarter decisions that take your organization in the direction you truly want it to go.

You can rest assured knowing that any problems with your systems will be handled quickly.

Knowing that your software is in the hands of experienced support specialists can give you not only peace of mind, but more time. With TGO’s Financial Systems Assurance program, for example, instead of tracking down IT personnel and explaining the problem, then waiting for them to come in and try and figure out what’s going on, all you have to do is pick up the phone and call TGO. We immediately document your call and have a support specialist get in touch with you quickly, to see the problem through to a solution.

This saves you time you might otherwise have to spend waiting for IT, finding workarounds, or unable to use your computer because IT is working on it.

If you think you and your department or company could benefit from a little more productivity, contact TGO! We’d love to talk to you about our fixed-price, guaranteed consulting methodology.

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