Weekly Dynamic: Process Server

If you find that certain areas of processing really slow down for you in Dynamics GP, consider adding a Process Server. This is just a dedicated machine(s) that allow GP to offload the processing from the client to these machines.
So if you find that AP posting takes forever because of the number of transactions, you can easily setup a process server to process just AP posting and immediately free up the workstation for other tasks.
Setup is pretty easy. You simply install the GP client on the process server and then use Tools-Setup-System-Process Server to tell GP what process servers are available and processes you want to offload to the Process Server(s).
You can have more than one process server and different machines specifications are fine. The process servers don’t have to be dedicated machines but it’s better if they are. There is basic load balancing and the ability to track start and stop times for processes to improve load balancing.
Often companies have a few spare PC’s lying around so if nothing else, this is relatively painless to try. Certainly it is easier than upgrading your server and client machines to better handle the load.
No, Process Servers aren’t a panacea and they can introduce problems of their own but it’s important to know that Process Servers are an option.
For more information, the Dynamics GP Help file actually has a lot of really good information. Simply search for Process Server and start there.

Smartlist Video Color Problems

There are some color problems with the Smartlist video using the Windows Media or iTunes links. I’ll try to get a replacement with better color up this week. For now however, the YouTube link seems to be much better. If you’re having problems, please give the YouTube location a try.
I’m sorry about the problem, I think I know what caused it I’m just unable to fix it at the moment.

Convergence 2007 Hotels are Sold Out

All of the official Convergence 2007 hotels are sold out which bodes well for conference attendance. Although it stinks if you don’t have a room yet.
I’m on Convergence Connect as mpolino if anyone wants to get together and say hi at the conference.
Make sure you stop by the Accolade Publications booth and tell Richard Whaley hi. I’m working on getting him on as a podcast guest.

SQL Server 2005 SP2 is Now Available!

With a nod to Kim Tripp who pointed this out to me first, SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 is now available. The list of new stuff and improvements is waaaayyy too long for me to cover so you’ll need to read it for yourself.
Also don’t forget to download the Books Online Update as well. It’s not updated by default when you install SP2.
I guess it’s time to stop waiting and upgrade our main GP install to SQL Server 2005.

I’m on the “Accounting Best Practices” Podcast

In case you’re not sick of me yet, I was interviewed by Steve Bragg on the Accounting Best Practices podcast. We talked about Transit TV’s use of run charts to benchmark and determine accounting staffing levels.
I’ve used a bunch of Steve’s best practice tips in conjunction with GP to help us reduce our month end close time and improve our Fixed Asset, AP, AR and Purchasing functions. His Accounting Best Practices book has been a big help for us so even if you can’t stand listening to me any more, give Steve’s books a try or listen to some of the podcasts that don’t include me.
Thanks again for the opportunity Steve.

New Video On Smartlists Is Up

The latest Dynamic Sherpa video is available and it’s all about Smartlists. Smartlists are a great Ad-Hoc reporting tool for Dynamics GP and yet, lots of users either aren’t using it or barely using it. In this video we take 5 minutes to run down all the pieces of Smartlists, including some you may not have seen before.
It’s lot to cram in and the video is closer to 6 minutes than to 5 but it’s still under 6 minutes. The Smartlist video is available here.

Weekly Dynamic: Matching Fixed Asset Costs In Multiple Books

As I work on year end tax returns for the company, one of the things we look at every year is our tax vs. book depreciation. One thing we find every year is that there are a few assets where the cost is different between tax and book. In our case, they should always be the same. It’s getting better each year but we’ve still got a small handful this year.
This happens when we adjust the cost of an asset after the fact for additional costs that come in later. These are things like freight, tax, installation, etc. Sometimes these bills arrive 60 days after the asset is on the books. We tend to get the corporate book right and forget to make the same changes on the tax book. Also, if it’s a new category for us, the Federal book relationship might not be setup (life, depreciation type, etc.). In that case, we get an error when setting up the asset but if you don’t go back and fix it, you end up with a corporate book and no tax book at all.
Consequently, one of our processes at year end is to export the tax and corporate books to Excel via a Smartlists and then compare the two. We then make any adjustments to reconcile the two books. Since it’s always federal that’s out in our case (we’re really conscientious about the corporate book) I can do this process after the year is closed and just rerun the depreciation on the federal book for any adjustments.
For this year, we’ve quit doing adjustments and are setting up second assets with the same asset number but a different suffix. It looks like a bunch of little assets when you glance at the FA ledger but it’s simple to explain, easier to trace to source documents  and our auditors have been happy with it.
So there’s really two tips that come out of this:
1) Compare your cost basis for your various books on some kind of regular basis.
2) Avoid adjusting asset costs whenever you can and use a suffix or master asset ID to keep all the pieces of an asset together.

Dynamics GP and Daylight Savings Time

For those of you in the US, you should have heard by now that daylight savings time is being extended for 2007. It starts earlier and ends later than previous years. The goal is to save energy by having longer periods of daylight during typical daylight hours.  However laudable the goal, it’s creating a problem for lots of PCs. The formula for daylight savings time is hardcoded into Windows XP and now it has to be changed or lots of things including your appointments, scheduled systems jobs and even your timesheet software could be off by an hour.
Daylight savings time will start this year on March 11 and end on November 4. Without the change, it would have been April 1 and October 28th.
Microsoft is releasing a series of patches for Windows (client and server), Exchange, Dynamics CRM and other apps over the next couple of weeks to fix the problem. Information on how Dynamics GP would be affected is scarce but it appears that if you’ve fixed Windows (and possibly Exchange) that you’re fine. GP relies on the operating system’s clock for time based operations so patching your system and the server seems like it should do the trick.
Usually an hour or two wouldn’t break too much in a generic install but when you look at companies requiring high availability or for companies operating at the edge of the spectrum an hour can be important. If you have jobs running one right after the other for 20 hours over the weekend, an hour is a big deal.
Make sure your IT department is on top of this and you should be fine. Just to make this whole thing a lot more fun, March 11 is also the day Convergence starts. It would be nice to hear something from Microsoft that GP doesn’t require anything beyond fixing Windows.