Since I finally passed F100, I decided to upgrade to version 4.1 before proceeding any further with the Acumatica courses. My experience with the upgrade was similar to my experience with the installation, very simple and straightforward.
There are a few new things in version 4.1 that caught my attention:
New Login Page
The first thing I noticed is that the login screen has changed. There is a now a large amount of space devoted to an alternating set of pictures that change each time you go to the login page (Sergey has a post about how to control which pictures display).
The new login page reminds me a lot of the Office 365 login page. This must be the new trend in web-based application login pages.
You will find this feature in Quickbooks, but I think it is rare to find it in more sophisticated ERP packages because, in my opinion, when people are implementing ERP, they are focused on reporting and aren’t too concerned with the data entry people in their organization. So, data entry features just aren’t a high priority for most ERP software developers. Most data entry people love Quickbooks because it’s designed with them in mind and they don’t like moving up to a true ERP system because everything takes longer for them to input into the system. Acumatica gave a shout out to data entry people everywhere by including the auto-complete feature in version 4.1. This can definitely improve a data entry professional’s experience with the product.
Basically, you just start typing in a field that has a lookup (magnifying glass) on it and Acumatica will automatically search for any values that contain the text you typed.
For example, if I am looking up a GL Journal Transaction batch that I know contains the numbers “215”, I can type “215” in the Batch Number field and Acumatica will automatically display all batches that contain the numbers “215”. I can then continue typing to further refine the search or I can use the arrow keys on my keyboard along with the enter key to select the batch that I want to use.
This works on any field that has a lookup (magnifying glass). So, for another example, maybe I am entering a new GL Journal Transaction batch and I need to enter a GL Account that I know contains “1000”. I just start typing “1000” and now all GL Accounts containing “1000” are displayed.
Parametric is just a fancy word for “pick the values you want to filter on” rather than “type the values you want to filter on.” Excel users are very familiar with this. For example, say I’m in the Account Summary (GL401000) screen and I only want to see Liability accounts in the grid. I can click the down arrow on the Type column and I will see a list of all possible values. I then check only the values that I want to see and the filter gets applied based on the values that I selected.
Drag and Drop File Uploads
This is by far the feature that I am most excited about. I am a big proponent of the paperless office. There are so many advantages to going paperless that I won’t go into it here (maybe in a future post). However, it’s clunky for a user to have to browse to the file that they want to upload each time they want to attach something to an ERP record. An old school, paper loving, tree killer will use this tiny bit of file browsing inconvenience to keep clutching to their dear beloved paper filing system and resist conforming to the electronic system that your organization so desperately needs. However, with Acumatica 4.1 this excuse is NO MORE! Attaching files to records is easier than getting a paper cut! I don’t think that screenshots do this feature justice, so I created a quick video.
I am a big Excel fan (especially of the new Power Pivot and Power Query add-ins) and I am very familiar with Excel’s ability to point to data from multiple sources (databases, SharePoint, Wikipedia, Facebook, etc.). So, it comes as no surprise that Acumatica has introduced the ability to automatically create a connection from an exported Excel file back to live Acumatica data. Basically, now when you export data to Excel, the Excel file will have the ability to refresh itself with live Acumatica data. For example, if I’m in the Vendor Summary (AP401000) screen, I can click the Export to Excel button to export the data to Excel (nothing new here).
However, the new feature in 4.1 is that I can now refresh the exported Excel file with current Acumatica data. First, notice that there is a data connection in the exported file. Just go to Data -> Connections on the ribbon and you’ll see a connection named Vendors.
This Vendors connection stores the information that Excel needs in order to connect back to Acumatica and refresh its data. If I want to refresh the Excel data, I just need to click the Data -> Refresh All button on the ribbon and Excel will bring in current data from Acumatica.
So, if the vendor name for vendor ACITAISYST has changed from “Acitai Systems – Computer Services For Business” to “Acitai Systems – Exceptional Service”, the Excel file will automatically pickup the new data, all without you ever having to open Acumatica.