Recently at my job I was confronted with a challenge to create a new business process for capturing shipping information and integrate that process into our ERP system. I’d like to describe the solution that I came up with and how I think it would have been easier to do with Acumatica.
First, Some Background
I work for a company that makes machines that dig tunnels. We are an old-school company with a proud owner who takes care of his employees and employees who are proud to work here. And we make a product that everyone here is proud of too.
Basically, our machines are used to dig tunnels all around the world. Here are a couple of pictures as examples of our machines. The machine in the first picture was used to dig the Chunnel from England to France. The machine in the second picture was used to dig a hydro tunnel near Niagara Falls.
Acumatica has taken a very aggressive marketing approach over the past couple of years with some crazy stunts, but I guess that’s what you do when you are a small company looking for recognition. Last week at Sage Summit, the annual Sage conference in the US, Acumatica once again took an “in your face” approach by offering free coffee at the event.
This time, however, Sage fought back. Here is the news as told by Bob Scott:
Recently I was working on a Purchases Clearing reconciliation as a favor to the Controller at my company. It wasn’t a very fun project, but we needed to make sure that the Purchases Clearing account agreed to the General Ledger so our auditors would be happy. I was asked by the Controller to help out and so I went to work.
In Sage 500 ERP, the individual debit and credit transactions to the General Ledger maintain a link back to the source transaction that they came from. For example, if you post an Accounts Payable Invoice, the individual debit and credit transactions that get created in the General Ledger maintain a link back to the Accounts Payable Invoice in the Accounts Payable module. This allows you to go into a screen that lists General Ledger transactions, select an Accounts Payable Invoice debit/credit, and click a button to have Sage 500 ERP automatically open the related invoice screen. It’s a nice feature and I thought that I would be able to leverage it to help me reconcile the Purchases Clearing account to the General Leger. HOWEVER, I quickly discovered that the link back the Accounts Payable Invoice is only to the invoice itself, not to the specific line on the invoice. So, if there were five lines on the invoice which generated five General Ledger transactions, each of the five General Ledger transactions would have the same reference value, that of the Accounts Payable Invoice (but not the specific line).
Eventually, I had to group my Purchases Clearing transactions by day and compare them to the General Ledger (also grouped by day) in order to do the reconciliation. It would have been nice if I had the link back to specific lines because I could have reconciled things by Purchase Order Line level instead of by day. But, alas, the world of ERP isn’t perfect and many times you are forced to choose the best option available, even if it isn’t the most elegant.
Now, this is a post on an Acumatica blog so I should probably say something about Acumatica. This little reconciliation project that I did got me wondering how I would have approached this in Acumatica. So, I took a look at the General Ledger table that holds the debits and credits. I was very pleased to find TWO relevant columns. Not only does Acumatica store the header information (in the GLTran table). It also stores the line information (in the GLTran table). So, in my example above, it would not only have stored the Accounts Payable Invoice, but also the specific LINE in the Accounts Payable Invoice that triggered the individual debit/credit to be posted to the General Ledger. I haven’t looked at this specifically for Purchase Order receipts, but it definitely looks promising.
This week I put together a document called Case For Ending Sage 500 Maintenance (click the link to see the PDF document). My company currently pays a very sizable sum of money every year to Sage for the privilege of upgrading to the latest version of Sage 500 ERP. In recent years, however, it has become apparent that this money would be better spent on other things.
In contrast, each new version of Acumatica is providing substantial new features. Even the upcoming release of the lowly version 4.11 is full of many new features (the number of the version suggests that version 4.11 is supposed to be only slightly better than the current version 4.1 and significantly less “cool” than version 5.0 which is due this Summer).
I would gladly recommend that my company pay maintenance on Sage 500 ERP if it continued to deliver substantial new features like Acumatica.
One of my favorite features in Sage 500 is Business Insights Explorer. Recently though, I was pleased to discover that Acumatica has a similar feature.
Each module in Acumatica has an Explore section in the Work Area area. For example, in the Accounts Payable module, there are five menu options available in the Explore section: Vendor Summary, Vendor Details, Bills Pending Payments, Checking Pending Printing, and 1099 Year Summary.
However, you have the option to add your own menu options using the Generic Inquiry feature located at System -> Customization -> Manage -> Generic Inquiry.
Just create a title for your inquiry and fill out the tabs on the bottom. I’m going to create a simply list of vendor invoices by filling out the following information in the Generic Inquiry screen:
As long as you fill out the Site Map Location and Site Map Title fields, your new custom inquiry should be available on the Acumatica menu like this (after you save it of course):
In my Vendor Invoices inquiry, you can now just input a beginning and ending invoice date, then click the Refresh icon, and the list of invoices will appear in the grid below. Since Acumatica knows what each field is, it makes the file attachment and record note icons available for each record in the grid. It also gives you a hyperlink on the Reference Nbr. and Vendor fields which allows you to click the link and automatically be taken to the actual invoice or vendor screens.
In conclusion, this is a very flexible and powerful feature that allows you to create data inquiry screens on the Acumatica menu that are customized to fit your company’s specific business needs.