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Great Plains Accounts Receivable / Payable & General Ledger

Hank Eveland's Profile

Great Plains Accounts Payable Module

I'd like to discuss a few nagging problems I have with Great Plains (Version 8.0.22).  Microsoft has stopped supporting the software on October 13, 2009.  Unfortunately, I arrived at my present position only a couple of months ago and was just made aware of this.  With a tight cash flow, I can't drop $150 -- $175 an hour for a discussion of some basic principals.
 
Since I am learning the in's and out's of this program using the "learn as I go method" -- there is no one here that has the experience I need at the level that I have to operate -- it has been one tough row to hoe.  I'm finding it nearly impossible to hold balances in the accounts at a month end and have a floating target on a/p and a/r in relation to comparisons between aged trial balances (a/p & a/r) and my GL.  Not a fun place to be.
 
I'd also like to gain insight into the closing process for the software and the setup of a new year on the system.
 
Any assistance would be appreciated. 

Thanks,


Hank Eveland
 

Answers

Leslie Karnauskas
Title: CFO
Company: BMGI
(CFO, BMGI) |

We use Great Plains at my company. I find the AP and AR balancing to be easy. I think the key is to make sure that people are not doing manual journal entries to the GL accounts. If you do not have that going on, then I am not sure what the issue might be as we find it very stable.

Month-end is relatively easy as you just need to close the period with a check mark in the Tools/Setup/Company/Period area and then no transactions can be done in the period without re-opening it but you can re-open it easily using the same process if you want. Year-end is another story. This is one piece of Great Plains that I find irritating as you have to go through a major process to roll the year-end balances forward into the new year. This involves closing AP and AR for the year and some other steps. We have mulitple companies in our system and it takes the better part of a day to get this all done and during that process no one can do transactions. Other than that I find Great Plains to be a very simple system that does what we need it to do with little outside support. But we are a small company with a limited number of people using the system.

Kevin Roones
Title: Senior Accounting Professional
Company: In-between
(Senior Accounting Professional, In-between) |

Hank - I used Great Plains for 9 years at my last position, and we never had any significant problems with the monthly close. Year-end was often problematic for the reason outlined in Leslie's response. We had to develop a work-around using spreadsheets to produce a balance sheet for January while holding December open for year-end and audit adjustments.

As far as the month-end close, you should close A/P first. Then close A/R, which can be a few days later, since you want to make sure you have everything applied to the correct period. The G/L should be closed last, when things are reconciled, adjusting entries done and you are ready to lock down the balances. There is no reason to lock all 3 modules at the same time. Also, if you have multiple companies lock all A/P modules at the same time and all A/R modules at the same time. For the G/L, you will probably want to lock your holding company or parent company last, especially if you are doing allocations from them.

Remember, you can always unlock something if you need to make a correcting entry.

Hank Eveland
Title: Controller
Company: Power Container Crop
(Controller, Power Container Crop) |

My problem is that I've closed the period for all but financial functions. If my payables clerk pays an invoice, it changes the month end g/l as well as the a/p aging for the period. I'm going to try a different tact and close all.

The software itself is not all that difficult, but this is the first time I've had a problem locking a/p and a/r balances and the associated agings at month end. Very disheartening.

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |

Find other discussions about Great Plains, here on Proformative.

Sara Voight
Title: Controller
Company: Critical Signal Technologies, Inc
(Controller, Critical Signal Technologies, Inc) |

I agree with Leslie that using and balancing GP is rather easy. But I can only say that after working through several months where things didn't balance. There are several small items that can really catch you up:

1) The system date often seems to drive what period you are posting to, not the document date. Most of the systems I used prior allowed you to post to any open period from whatever system date you were on. That took some getting used to.

2) If you process an account write-off, or void an outstanding item from a prior period and don't change the date, you can get the system out of whack or leave unposted items hanging.

3) It isn't always 100% clear when something gets stuck in batch error, especially when you are in a hurry and simply 'cancel' each window that opens as you are trying to post. When you go back to confirm that all the items are posted, the batches in error don't show up leaving you thinking all is well - until you can't balance something.

4) If you post payment receipts to multiple bank accounts, you can also create a reconciling nightmare if you missaply cash but don't correct the bank AND the distribution at the same time before you post.

I am only reminded of the frustrations I faced when I try to train someone new on the software and something I am used to automatically checking receives a blank stare and a sigh at 'how much' they have to check for everything.

I would be happy to be a resource for the small headaches that follow GP. It is usually easier to treat these questions as you would if you had access to a helpdesk - at the time of the problem.

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Hank
While I empathize with your concerns coming into this situation , I wonder if your boss/owner now understands the golden rule of ERP: when you acquire it (whether on premise like GP or SaaS), you are committing to an upgrade path. Is the cost of not upgrading now worth it? Can you develop a business case showing the consequences of not finding ways to catch up, OR, do you change software?

Judging by the suggestions from others here, many of the issues seem to be avoidable if a revised process was put in place. I especially like the idea of "banning" journal entries to the AR and AP control accounts in the GL to help reduce errors.

Best regards
Len

jamie bucciarelli
Title: Director of Sales and Marketing
Company: 360 Cloud Solutions
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Sales and Marketing, 360 Cloud Solutions) |

Hi Len. That 'golden rule' is applicable to on-premise and 'hosted SaaS solutions but not SaaS + PaaS platforms like NetSuite. Having access to their development platform as part of a subscription changes the dynamic completely and removes the 'fear of customization' that is baked into legacy software's business model. This is what has the SAPs quaking. A fully baked ERP/CRM/E-Commerce platform with an equivalently robust D-I-Y component.

Teixeira Jenine
Title: AP Accountant
Company: ProMutual group
(AP Accountant , ProMutual group ) |

let me know if what I showed you helped

Becky Warburg
Title: Contract Accountant
Company: Premier Business Solutions
(Contract Accountant, Premier Business Solutions) |

When I started at my current position, GP was in use with a lot of problems. We were spending thousands each year for updates and support. Within the month, I had our company running on a much cheaper, more user friendly software and we are saving thousands (4k +) per year. Does your company really need the GP? Does it make sense to move to a cheaper software? I know this doesn't answer your question, but it may be something to consider.

HOWARD SCHWEDEL
Title: Executive & Business Coach, Career Trans..
Company: Howard B. Schwedel, MBA / Schwedel Busin..
(Executive & Business Coach, Career Transition, Franchise Selection, Howard B. Schwedel, MBA / Schwedel Business Svc.) |

I would suggest you contact:

Kerri Reinholtz at Crestwood Associates, LLC
240 E. Lincoln
Mount Prospect, IL 60056
(847) 394-8820 , Ext. 28
www.crestwood.com

Crestwood is an expert in GP and Microsoft Dynamics President's Club Winner.

I used them for over 5 years and Kerri is great. Crestwood is very reasonable and always gives you the first 10 or 15 minutes of any call for free.

Topic Expert
Bob Scarborough
Title: CEO
Company: Tensoft, Inc.
(CEO, Tensoft, Inc.) |

Closing the periods (2nd post by Leslie above) is the key to managing the periods. However GP does give you options that should be set simply but may not be for your company. These options are in the POSTING setup.

1) You can choose whether posting - especially in the G/L - is done by the batch date or the transaction date. Simple is the transaction date - especially in the G/L. In the sub-ledgers can be more of a choice - do you want to back date documents to a prior period but post them in the current or not. Either decision you make has some impact on your transation entry process.
2) You can choose to 'post to' or 'post through'. Post through is the simple option - and the one folks should be using unless there is some reason to do otherwise. Post to lets your team post the sub-ledger transactions - but the G/L impact is not realized until you post the transactions again in the G/L. This can let G/L accounting review the accounts used in the sub-ledgers prior to having a final transaction. However it can also setup the use of the dates (above) related to the accounting period selected.

Ideally the two options above would have been set to simplify your situation so that posting / closing would be streamlined and easy. Since you have come into the middle of things it is harder to know what may have occured before.

The option to get some expertise - or even just re-start your Microsoft support plan - could help you get up to date more quickly. As a FYI - by the end of this year version 8 will be 4 versions back from current - it is currently 3 versions back.

Bob Scarborough

Anonymous
(CPA, CISA) |

After closing the General Ledger for year 2015, the management reporter reports are showing double the actual amounts. does anyone know why?

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Contact either your dealer or GP customer support. There are multiple reasons this may occur.

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