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21 July 2021

Advantages of Dynamics 365 Business Central for accounting – by Charles Hamel, Accountant at AZUR Group

Dynamics 365 Business Central, a pillar for accounting management

I had the chance to start my career as an accountant by using a suite of Cloud tools to manage accounting at AZUR Group. So I was able to benefit from all the advantages associated with these new technologies without having to go through all the irritants/disadvantages of the old guard systems. As I talk to some of my colleagues, I realize that we do not all have the same tools and yet we have to accomplish the same tasks.

As a Financial Controller, I look for certain essential qualities in the software I use to maintain books and generate performance reports and financial statements. These qualities are the main indicators of a software’s attractiveness that set it apart from the competition.

“Software like D365 BC makes the profession of accountant, which has always seemed rigid, much more flexible, thanks to the use of AI for the management of routine tasks we can focus on more crucial points and this brings the profession to another level.”

Charles Hamel, Accountant at AZUR Group

 

First, the reliability and quality of financial information, which is the main goal in our work. Then, the comparability of the information – which allows us to put the figures in context, to assess the progress over time – its relevance, its clarity, the accessibility to the information and finally the cost of using the software. These are the elements that are at the heart of the decision to choose one software or another.

In this article, you will be able to see the main advantages of D365 BC software, what sets it apart from the competition and how it allows you to optimize the metrics mentioned above.

 

Mobility and accessibility

It is often irritating to have to wait until the next day to make a correction or adjustment after receiving new information. Also, memory can sometimes fail us, because after all, although the accountant is a number machine, he is still a human being.

Cloud accounting management means being everywhere at all times. In fact, the Cloud software allows access from any computer and at any time to your accounts, via a regular web browser. This gives you the peace of mind that you can view it and make changes to it whenever you want. I have often logged into the software in the evening to consult information or apply a correction, in order to fix something that was bothering me. This 24/7 access has the advantage of minimizing errors and oversights, and therefore providing more reliable financial information to your users.

 

As your data is stored in the Cloud, any action performed in the system is synchronized in real time. So this also gives you the ability to work on multiple platforms.

For example, you can start a task from a computer, then continue on a tablet, and finish on a laptop. You also have additional access via the cellular application.

It’s hard to do better in terms of accessibility!

 

Business intelligence

Decision making in business can often be tricky.
In particular, the decisions one makes as a manager can significantly affect the success of the business, its ability to satisfy its customers and its profitability. It is therefore crucial to rely on clear, measurable information and also on precise and relevant strategic tools in order to make the optimal decisions in any situation, both strategically and operationally.

This information, or key performance indicators (KPI) must therefore be accessible in a clear, detailed and rapid manner, in all circumstances. They offer a lucid look at the overall situation of the company, but also at more precise and targeted factors, such as the profitability of each of your product lines or projects, the level of productivity of your employees, etc.
However, D365 BC allows the addition of supplementary modules, as well as tailor-made tools, such as dynamic dashboards, to benefit from the most powerful business intelligence tools on the market.

 

These tables are created expressly according to the information and performance indicators relevant to your needs and are updated in real time with the data of the accounting system, thus generating a clearer vision than ever of the financial health of your company as well as of the performance of your different business sectors. This allows better decisions to be made in the light of this information and to react appropriately and promptly when performance gaps are observed.

As a controller, I use these tools on a daily basis. As an example, I can get a real-time view of the proportion of billable hours entered into staff timesheets during a chosen period. Since this indicator is an important predictor of profitability, rapid access to this ratio allows our management team to take the appropriate measures to maintain it at the desired level. This is just one of the many possibilities offered by the system.

Collaboration

The administrative and accounting work of a medium-sized business often requires the collaboration of several people with complementary roles. It is therefore important to have tools that optimize teamwork, while reducing the scattering of data on employee computer systems.

The management software package, ERP, integrates the various functions of a company, for example project management, human resources and accounting, in a fluid and transversal manner. Integrating these systems simplifies and optimizes processes, while reducing the risk of errors.

The centralization of data in D365 BC also avoids the duplication of work files that can end up on different computer workstations. This pushes the ability to work collaboratively and in real time on common files, regardless of the geographical location of employees, to another level, and thus to avoid data loss, which enhances the quality of information supporting the decision-making process. Plus, it can help reduce delays, speed up turnaround times, and increase employee productivity.

 

 

It is important to remember that any manual data entry represents a risk of human error. Cloud software minimizes this risk since data is entered only once, and then the software uses information that already exists for all subsequent stages of the accounting cycle, and this information entered initially is reused by all staff who are involved in the process.

For example, as part of my budgeting work, I rely on regularly updated sales forecasts in a common file by members of our marketing team. Since all employees contribute to the same file, this allows us to be efficient and each have the same information. This process greatly simplifies my job, because I know that I can trust the information in this file with more certainty. The quality and reliability of my short-term financial budgets are therefore enhanced.

Security assurance

Since the reliability and quality of financial information is at the heart of the accounting function, it is essential to protect the integrity of this information. The advantage of D365 BC in this regard is unequivocal: the software offers two-step access controls to secure access to the system and the level of protection of files stored in the Cloud is extremely advanced (supported by anti-piracy technologies too expensive for most companies).

Local storage, used on On-Premise systems, is less secure due to the physical accessibility of the location where key business information is stored, which could put your data at risk, such as theft or fire. Instead, your data in the Cloud resides in data centers, which are much more secure and protected against outages and disasters. In addition, recurring backups prevent data loss due to the malfunction of your computers. Gone are the days of losing hours of unsaved work when a bug occurred in an application.

Sometimes a bug occurs on my computer, but luckily due to the automatic real-time backup, I get all my work back in minutes and can continue smoothly. This improves my productivity and reduces irritants related to my work tools.

Cost and investment savings

Obviously, as accountants, we always keep an eye on the expenses. We seek to maximize the value of the services we use while keeping costs as low as possible. Cloud technologies are really good on this issue, for several reasons.

With a traditional ERP software adoption solution, it is necessary to ensure that the minimum technical requirements are met on the IT systems present, which may have to be accompanied by significant investments in an adequate fleet of machines. With Cloud-based SaaS tools, your business doesn’t have to incur significant costs, since everything is managed remotely in a rental package of software access. So all you need is systems that can access the internet.

In addition, all updates are done automatically, without the need to increase the capacity of the systems, optimizing the fluidity in the continuity of operations even during important updates. This allows us to foresee significant business growth while reducing complexity costs, as we do not need to consider whether this growth will have to be accompanied by significant IT investments, or migration to another ERP. This can all be done organically and D365 BC helps ensure fluidity in operations throughout this growth.

Finally, ERP systems on the Cloud are faster to implement than On-Premise systems. Indeed, the technical environment for Cloud technology can be configured in a short time. This also represents a reduction in costs, and frees up time to focus on the operational factors of change management.

 

Efficiency

As an accountant, I enjoy performing complex financial analysis and management tasks that allow me to apply the skills and knowledge I have acquired over the years. By the same token, I don’t like spending too much time on repetitive and boring tasks, where I don’t feel my contribution is significant.

The contribution of D365 BC in this regard is important. The software uses cutting-edge technologies to enable intelligent automation of as many routine tasks as possible. For example, bank reconciliation is supported by an artificial intelligence system that allows you to import, via a connection to a bank’s live feed, account transactions and allocate receipts and disbursements to recurring transactions and payments entered into the system. This significantly reduces the time spent on this task and therefore allows me to spend more time on tasks with higher added value, thereby reducing the costs associated with accounting in the company.

In addition, since the software is constantly evolving, new functions will be added over time, which should allow me to benefit from the contribution of the latest technologies to optimize my work.

Cloud technologies can therefore be expected to fundamentally change the nature of the accounting profession over the coming decades.

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