Office 2003 SP2 Now Available

MS Office 2003 Service Pack 2 is now available. You can get it here. Why should you care? If you are an Office 2003 user with GP, there is a host of Excel and Sharepoint fixes which may make your life easier. Not to mention new anti-phishing features in Outlook. You can also get it at MS Office Update.

No word on the GP side if there any issues with Office SP2. I’ll be installing it today and I’ll let you know if I see any.

ChChChanges

As I work to build DynamicAccounting.net, I was unhappy with the News section of the website. MBS tends to have news cycles around their meetings (Convergence, Partner Meetings, etc.). This has the effect of making the News section look stale after a while. So I’ve decided to add the blog info to the main page of the website under the News/Opinion banner. This will let me keep the front page fresh and be able to add MBS info all in one place.

DynamicAccounting.net Website Temporarily Down

Instead of shipping excess power workers to New Orleans, Progress Energy sent them to my house to swap out my meter. In the process, the webserver didn’t come back up correctly. I don’t know what’s wrong yet and won’t be able to fix it until tonight. That’s one reason why the website and the blog are hosted separately.

Light Posting this Week

I’m swamped with work work this week so it may be a light posting week and I don’t expect to get as much work done on the DynamicAccounting.net website as I would like. I have some SQL scripts and downloads ready to setup but I’m not sure I’ll have the time this week. Maybe I’ll cut back on those 6 hours of sleep a night!

Weekly Feature: Account Rollup

I stumbled on this little gem in v 7.5 so I don’t even know what version it was added in to. If you need to look at groups of accounts this is the inquiry for you. You can even perform calculations!

What is it?
Account Rollup is an inquiry that you build which allows you to see different GL accounts rolled up together. Additionally, you can perform calculations on those accounts.

We use this for all kinds of things like:

  • What’s the Fixed Asset total across all divisions?
  • What’s the commission allocation based on sales?

Those kinds of things. Yes FRx will do this, but freqently, I don’t want to launch FRx and run financial statements just to get a breakdown of my FA accounts. So how does this work?
In Dynamics GP, select Inquiry->Financial->Account Rollup
Enter an Option ID, tab and click yes to add the option.
You set the number of columns you want to see up in the right side. If all you want is totals, one column is fine. For calculations, use at least 2 columns.
In the center, you set the types of columns, but we’ll come back to that. At the bottom, you add criteria like accounts, departments, divisions, etc. UNLIKE OTHER GP criteria areas, you can multiple independent criteria here. So if you want to see Chicago and New York but not LA. You add Chicago, then add New York.
Save and click redisplay. Controls on the right let you see net change or period balance totals. If you want to see what makes up the total number, select a month and click the blue column header.
Now, to get really fancy, you can ad calculated columns to a rollup. Simply create or modify (with the button) a rollup.
Change the type from Actual to Calculated. In the Selection column, click the More Info button. In v8.0 this is a little arrow.
Back to my commission comment earlier. Let’s say, I accrue 8.9% of sale as a commission accrual. My first column is my monthly sales. So I’ll pick the only available column in the column box and hit the double arrows (>>) then add the multiply sign (*) then in the constant box I’ll add .089 and hit the double arrows (>>).
You formula now looks something like C1 * 0.089. Save and refresh and you get a report with sales and the commission allocation for each month.
This is great for all those estimates you do every month. You can just take the numbers and do a JE.

SHORT DynamicAccounting.net Outages

The website will down for very short periods of time for the next day or two (about 5-10 minutes). The new server is ready, the content is migrated but I’m having trouble getting DNN to come up properly and I need the real URL for testing. Apologies.

Open Source ERP

I’ve been thinking a little about open source ERP systems. Compiere seems to be leader. It’s free, but they nickel and dime you on documentation, support, etc.

The biggest problem with Compiere is that it uses an Oracle (or now Sybase) database. What’s that all about? It may be cheaper to buy SQL Serve and Great Plains than to buy Oracle and get Compiere for free. Not mention the pain of running Oracle in a small to medium shop.

I think there is room for an MS based open source ERP system. I think it would push the leaders. Great Plains is great because of it’s community, backend and solidness. However, GP is behind in “run anywhere” functionality and Dexterity feels creaky. M. ore likely, I expect to see an open source Linux/MySQL (or Postgre) offering.

Lets face it, ERP systems are complex. They cover a lot of ground and they can function very differently. Solomon, GP and Oracle all process payables, and they all do it differently. I wonder whether the benefits of an open source ERP will hurt comanies? Will a bootstrapping company install it and force it to work with dire consequence? Is the growth from a small business package, like Quickbooks, into a midsize package important?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.