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Read more on "Why You Should Consider a Business Process Management Suite" »

Business process management (BPM): It’s a simple enough term, but what does it really mean, and why is it important?

According to BPM.com, one of the leading websites on this topic, the official, definitive definition of BPM is:

“Business Process Management (BPM) is a discipline involving any combination of modeling, automation, execution, control, measurement and optimization of business activity flows, in support of enterprise goals, spanning systems, employees, customers and partners within and beyond the enterprise boundaries.”

In other words, BPM involves analyzing and optimizing your workflows and business processes in order to increase efficiency and make your business more successful.

There’s no denying this can be a highly involved process. Going over each and every business process to identify the weak spots is a huge undertaking, not to mention looking for processes that might have become obsolete.

Another aspect that makes BPM complex is that each process must be looked at as part of a whole – processes can’t be optimized in isolation.

Business process management is just one aspect  of our consulting services, and we often recommend BPM software, for example, PNMsoft Sequence Kinetics, to help organizations reach their goals. What are the benefits of BPM software and why is BPM becoming more important in today’s competitive landscape?

What BPM software does

Many people initially think of BPM as something very similar to ERP, or enterprise resource planning.

However, that’s not really the case. ERP is designed to help organizations become more efficient by streamlining business processes and automating repetitive or simple tasks. ERP can be invaluable for enterprises that need to manage complex back-office operations or advanced distribution needs.

While BPM also increases an organization’s efficiency, it does more than that. BPM offers additional capabilities including:

  • Knowledge sharing
  • Collaboration
  • The ability to host and manage multiple versions of a process
  • Process performance reports
  • Error identification and waste reduction notifications

These, as well as other features of BPM software, can help your organization go beyond efficiency, improve your product or service quality, and reduce business risk.

The benefits of BPM software

In addition to improving efficiency, quality and reducing risk, BPM suites can help businesses not just reduce costs but also increase revenue.

Cost reduction

Because BPM suites facilitate the creation of smart, human-centered workflows, organizations can experience a surge in workforce productivity within a matter of months.

These software systems allow for increased accountability and transparency among departments. This means that deliverables are easily tracked, expenses are accounted for, and everyone spends less time figuring out who posted what, or who missed which deadline.

Revenue increase

Organizations that use BPM suites can reap various benefits that contribute to an increase in revenue.

For one thing, BPM software allows for improved customer service. Well-defined, transparent workflows throughout the organization mean that employees can communicate more clearly across departments.

This, in turn, contributes to better customer experience management allowing, departments to work together to create a more cohesive, effective customer experience. In addition, performance reports and dashboards allow managers to identify trouble spots and improve them before they turn into crises.

The ability to adapt more quickly to change

Finally, BPM software can increase a business’s agility, allowing it to pivot quickly or modify its processes as needed, and in real time. Since those processes will have already been streamlined and optimized, changing direction or rerouting a process can be relatively quick and easy.

TGO works with a variety of tools to help businesses meet their BPM goals, but we frequently recommend PNMsoft Sequence Kinetics, which works well with the workflow automation tool Microsoft SharePoint. To learn more about these and other tools we employ, take a look at our Expertise page.

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Read more on "CFOs Beware: Hackers Targeting Payroll and HR Staff" »

Tax season comes with all kinds of unpleasant tasks: late-night number crunching, endless spreadsheet reviews, lots of back-and-forth with your company’s accounting staff.

But there’s something else that comes along with tax season, too. Cybercriminals are just as busy as CPAs this time of year, constantly trying new schemes to get their hands on taxpayers’ personal information.

And they don’t just target you at home – they’re targeting staff at your business. In early March, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service released an alert to consumers warning them of a phishing scheme that’s targeting HR and Payroll employees specifically. These schemes are, unfortunately, just as popular across Canada, as well.

What the phishing scheme looks like

The current phishing scheme that’s targeting these employees generally consists of an email that purports to be from the CEO. There are a few variations in the text, but all request the recipient to send the personal information of employees to the sender.

Specific requests have been:

  • “Kindly send me the individual 2015 W-2 (PDF) and earnings summary of all W-2 of our company staff for a quick review.”
  • “Can you send me the updated list of employees with full details (name, social security number, date of birth, home address, salary) as at 2/2/2016?”
  • “I want you to send me the list of W-2 copy of employees’ wage and tax statement for 2015, I need them in PDF file type, you can send it as an attachment. Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me ASAP.”

They’re hardly sophisticated asks, but they could convince a harried HR employee who’s already dealing with a large number of information requests from various departments. That’s the reason these schemes go up in number during tax season: scammers rely on the fact that payroll and HR employees will be busier than usual, and more likely to give out personal information when it supposedly has to do with tax filings.

To prevent this kind of scam from doing serious damage to your employees and your business, make sure all employees know that they should always confirm the veracity of any email that requests personal information.

How else can CFOs protect their finance departments from cybercrime?

It’s not surprising that business financial departments and CFOs are popular targets for cybercriminals – after all, they’re the ones with the most access to the money.

Take this phishing scheme that also targets finance employees. A hacker wants to impersonate a vendor, so he hacks into that vendor’s email and reads the exchanges the vendor has had with your company. Then he uses that knowledge to pose as the vendor and send a fraudulent email to someone responsible for making the vendor payments.

In the email, he simply tells the recipient that their payment system, which he is by now very familiar with, has changed, and that the business should start making payments to a different bank account – his own, of course.

That’s why it’s so important that your financial systems are secure. According to CFO Daily News, it’s estimated that imposter fraud – phishing schemes like the one mentioned above – costs businesses $790 million each year.

One way to increase your financial department’s security is to undergo a full assessment of your financial systems – a Financial Systems Quality Assessment. This process will identify any potential points of weakness or failure in your software, hardware, and implementation, as well as offer recommendations to improve your systems’ performance.

Another benefit of undergoing an assessment and working with a consultant like TGO is the ability to streamline your financial workflows. This also effectively ups your security. By removing any unnecessary steps or individuals from a financial process, you’re able to minimize the number of points at which information could be stolen or leaked.

To learn more about how putting the right business processes in place can increase your business’s financial and cybersecurity, contact TGO!

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Read more on "Throwback Thursday: #TBT to Winning Microsoft’s Global Partner of the Year Award!" »

We just came across this old video from the 2002 Microsoft Global Partner Recognition Ceremony – which happens to be the year we were honored with the Global Partner of the Year Award. TGO was the first non-U.S. Value Added Reseller (VAR) to win Global Partner of the Year, out of 4,500 partners across the world:

Like any good #TBT post, this one’s got some choice retro-styling clothes and hairdos (you can tell the ’90s had only just exited the scene, at least when it came to fashion).

Plus, this was one of the few (OK, only) times that financial systems consultants like us get to feel what it might be like to be rock stars. Colored lights spotlit our team in the audience, and we walked onto the stage to the sounds of a cover version of the Aerosmith song “Walk This Way.” Yes, that was pretty cool.

What was even better than standing on stage to the sound of electric guitars and drums, however, was hearing our achievements for the year recognized so warmly by Microsoft.

While we were (and still are) proud of our sales achievements – that year, we achieved 35 percent growth in new purchases – we were even prouder of our customer service record. Microsoft recognized us for our commitment to customer satisfaction and exceeding our customers’ expectations, both in seeking out new customers and taking care of our existing ones.

While our haircuts and clothing have changed since that video was shot, we’re happy to say that that commitment hasn’t changed a bit. We’re still proud of our dedication to making sure our customers’ consulting engagements with us are successful – whether they’re for ERP solutions, business process management services, financial systems management, or one of our many other areas of expertise.

We look forward to many more years of working with Microsoft and our other technology partners to deliver great solutions for our customers. Find out more about how we work and our methodology here.

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Read more on "5 Reasons We’re Excited About the Microsoft Dynamics GP 2016 Upgrade" »

Microsoft has announced that the Dynamics GP 2016 Upgrade will release in May, and there are a lot of exciting new features that we at TGO are looking forward to.

As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, we’ve been working closely with the GP platform for many years. What we love about GP is that it’s a comprehensive, out-of-the-box ERP solution, that also offers flexible licensing. This means that businesses from multinational corporations to smaller and mid-size companies can employ and reap the benefits of GP.

The GP 2015 release added features including Employee Self-Service functionality, new approvals in Workflow 2.0, and the ability to create refreshable Excel reports. GP 2016 builds on these features and adds even more. Here’s a brief look at a few of these new functionalities. One important note – these features could change slightly between now and the release date.

Breakthrough in mobile capabilities with GP’s new HTML5 web client

Perhaps the most exciting thing about GP 2016 is that the platform will now render all GP forms as native HTML5 web pages.

What does this mean for clients? It means that now, you’ll get the full GP experience on any device, as long as it supports HTML5 browsers. Tablets and phones, Android, OSX, Linux – there’s almost no device that’s off the table. The way it works is that GP delivers the visual interface to the device, while the actual computing is still done on the server, according to a blog post on ERP Software Blog. The expectation is that this will improve GP’s cloud-based ERP performance.

This can be huge for companies with staff that spend a lot of their time away from a desk, like distribution companies, utilities companies, and construction firms.

This is the realization of a long-term development goal that Microsoft has had for Dynamics GP – they’ve been moving toward it in steps through the past several GP releases. We can’t wait to test it out.

According to blogger and developer Tim Wappat, who got a sneak peek of the platform in early March, the rest of GP 2016’s improvements can be split into four categories: Cloud, Core Enhancements, Business Intelligence, and Ease of Use.

Cloud improvements

In addition to the HTML5 web client, Microsoft has added a control for managing HTML clients.

Core Enhancements

Microsoft is enhancing many of the core functionalities of Dynamics GP with this release. That includes:

  • Integration of purchasing requisitions
  • Multiple page scan
  • Enablement of credit card payment type for check run processing
  • Document attachments for Project Expenses
  • HTTPS support for Management Reporter Viewer
  • Default EFT file formats for Scotia Bank
  • Change Workflow approval conditions
  • Increase Distribution Reference field Size
  • Named User Licensing Support for Self Service User Type

Business Intelligence

Business intelligence enhancements include:

  • All-in-one Document Viewer for Sales and Inventory
  • Export/Import SmartLists
  • Export SmartList Numbers
  • Creating a SmartList from an existing favorite
  • PowerBI charts on GP Role Center, allowing teams to see important data right on their home page

Ease of Use

  • Remove inactive Payroll Pay Codes
  • Simplify Payroll Posting Setup
  • Create Exception Report on Budget Import
  • Simplify Analytical Accounting User Access Settings

Many of these features were developed in response to vendor and customer feedback, as has been the case with GP for years. Microsoft continues to be highly responsive to what its GP users want and need – a major reason for the platform’s global success.

Think Microsoft Dynamics GP might be right for you and your business? Take a look at our Expertise page to learn more. You can also read our blog post How Microsoft Dynamics GP Can Help You Grow Your Business.

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Read more on "Tips and Tricks for Microsoft Dynamics GP: User Preferences, Customization, and Reconcile to GL" »

When you implement a new ERP system like Microsoft Dynamics GP, there’s a lot to learn. How to set up your workflows, who gets permission for which functions…it can be a little overwhelming.

That’s why we believe so strongly in the need for solid employee training on new software systems, be they ERP, budgeting, CRM, or another kind of solution. In fact, we even offer training sessions both via webinar and in our classroom in Markham, Ontario.

But how about after you’ve learned how to work with your ERP? There are still dozens, maybe even hundreds of tips and tricks you can learn that will make your working life easier and more efficient. After spending the last 28 years as ERP and financial systems consultants, and the past 18 as a Microsoft Partner, we at TGO have accumulated a whole lot of these little tips and tricks to share.

User Preferences Window

You’ll find the user preferences menu under the Microsoft Dynamics GP menu header, at the top left of your toolbar.

One of the great things about the user preferences window is that it’s specific to you, not your company or the administrator of the system. That means that you can set your options in the way that best fits your preferences and increases your efficiency.

To start out, you can set the user preferences window to show up as either an action pane or a menu. To do so, you simply choose which you prefer in the “Window Command Display” drop-down menu.

There’s another drop-down menu beneath that called “Default Sales Doc Type” that allows you to select the kind of document template that you want to show up automatically when you open a new sales document.

The default it’s set on is Quotes, but we’ve found that often, that’s not the type of document that businesses are creating most frequently. So we often advise people to set the default to Invoice.

Another important item in User Preferences is the Display button. That’s what you use to set your Required Fields. Doing this will make the fields you select more prominent when you open a new window.

Customizing Your Menu Bars

When you use a system like Microsoft Dynamics GP, it’s a great idea to customize your menu bars, rather than simply sticking to the defaults “just because.”

The point of using an ERP is to improve your company’s workflow and efficiency, and that’s the same reason you want to customize the menu bars. That way, you’re able to quickly and easily access the windows and items you use most frequently.

To start, you can right-click on the menu bar at the top of your window and select “Customize” from the drop-down menu that appears. You’ll get a window that says Toolbar Customization, where you can add individual windows to your toolbar. That includes every window available in the system, from Batch Recovery to SmartList to Vendor Approval.

Updates to the Reconcile to GL function

This is a very useful function in GP, but we’ve noticed that a lot of users aren’t aware of it. What this does is allow you to reconcile your sub-ledger (like Accounts Receivable or Accounts Payable) transactions to your General Ledger transactions. The system actually runs through every sub-ledger transaction and tries to find its match in the General Ledger, creating an Excel document.

You can access this function by going to your Financial menu item on the left sidebar and selecting “Reconcile to GL” in the Routines window.

When that window pops up, you’ll fill in the start and end dates for the period you want to reconcile, and then select your Module. Since the release of GP 2013, users can select Inventory or Bank Reconciliation, in addition to Payables or Receivables Management.

After you’ve selected your module, you’ll then select the accounts you want to reconcile in the Accounts box. Select where you want the Excel document to be saved using the Output File bar.

Finally, select “Process” to process the reconciliation. You’ll then end up with an Excel report that gives you Unmatched, Matched, and Potentially Matched Transactions. This can help you identify any transactions or batches that haven’t been posted to the General Ledger, that were potentially deleted, or any other discrepancies.

We hope these tips help you get the most out of your Dynamics GP ERP system! For more tips and tricks, check out our YouTube channel or visit our Resource Centre.

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