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Intacct vs Microsoft Dynamics SL

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We are a professional services 90+ employees firm (NOT in the Architecture, Engineering, Construction industry) and are changing financial systems from QuickBooks. We are evaluating Microsoft Dynamics SL with Unanet versus Intacct with Adaptive Planning. I used Deltek Vision at my previous employer, but the user interface is poor. NetSuite was in my list of first contenders, but the sales rep didn't want to pursue us as a client (poor choice for him). Any thoughts on Microsoft Dynamics SL versus Intacct?

Answers

(Agent, JKS Solutions, Inc.) |

If you provide professional services, you must consider how you bill your clients. Is your billing based on payroll hours that drive both employee payroll and revenue from billings?

If so, then you will need an ERP system that can handle the timekeeping and billing aspects through ops reporting.

You will be a poor choice for sales people if you do not have your requirements strongly defined based on process needs.

QuickBooks does not handle timekeeping well, and many other systems also do not handle timekeeping through billing well.

You will need to fully understand how payroll will integrate with A/R in order to accomplish billing your clients if your revenue is based on professional time incurred.

Vet the payroll/timekeeping/billing aspects of your current vs future system, then in round 2 evaluate your short list for all the other requirements and meet with the sales people again.

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

Well said Valerie. BTW, there are lots of possible systems not cited above. But unless you've done your needs assessment homework, you haven't created a RFQ/RFI that will solve your issues.

Here's a question Noel -

Why you just didn't call NetSuite and request someone else? I'm sure the NetSuite leaders who read these Q&A's aren't too happy with your experience.

Herman Chandi
Title: VP Business Development
Company: Procurify
LinkedIn Profile
(VP Business Development, Procurify) |

I can't speak to your specific question, only to mention my observation in the general ERP marketplace that both Intaact and Netsuite are considered "newer generation" cloud ERP players and are thus taking away market share from the likes of Microsoft. You can find several examples citing data in a variety of industry reports.

Michael Camp
Title: Marketing Director
Company: Synergy Business Solutions
(Marketing Director, Synergy Business Solutions) |

Our company has implemented and supported Dynamics SL for 15 years. We have also been an Intacct partner for the last 3 years. We specialize in project-driven organizations including many marketing firms.
If you are deciding on a new project- and financial-accounting solution in 2014 (versus 1999), my recommendation is to go with the one that has the best functionality for your industry AND is modern technology, such as Intacct is with their true SaaS approach.
While Dynamics SL has extensive functionality, it is old software - and we don't know what Microsoft is going to do with it going forward. Conversely, Intacct is very state of the art and has a long future ahead of it.
The only reason to consider SL is if there is some huge functionality gap between what you need and what Intacct can provide - and even then, it is worth doing some customization with Intacct so you are guaranteed a very long future.
If you do end up leaning towards Dynamics SL, be sure to check out DataBasics in lieu of Unanet.

Ron Lathouwers
Title: CFO
Company: WEM Corp
(CFO, WEM Corp) |

Since you looking at professional billing ask your accountants and attorney's what they use; they need that kind of software. Many industries have their own specialized software for front end and ERP systems (like Deltek for construction) so check out your industry.

And I agree with everyone else, stay away from Dynamics SL. It is old and frustrating, though it does work and has good support. However, it must have been developed just after the punch card era; it even calls some data groups "cards".

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

Noel
If I may ask a preliminary set of questions....this may help folk frame answers for you.

How well formed (documented) are your critical requirements for a new system?
Why are you changing? growth, acquisitions, business model change....etc.
Critical functional needs-what do you need as an organization to run your business in the future?
Key technical needs-what do you need as an organization - integration with other systems, high level of remote users accessing the system
Budget-what do you think you'll spend on this system over the next 5 years? Software, implementation

f you want to look at this link, it may help you plan your approach so that you can qualify software vendors better and also evaluate their software's level of fit with your needs.
https://www.proformative.com/resources/erp-selection-critical-factors-your-company.

Best regards
Len

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

Noel,

A few additional thoughts for you:
1) It would be helpful to confirm - for professional services - that you are not Aerospace & Defense as well. Deltek really made their name in that space (mostly their CostPoint product line). I'm not sure the lineage of Vision - is it the old Harper and Shuman system they purchased? If you are an Aerospace & Defense firm, you realistically are looking at “build it yourself” or use Deltek - no other vendor really does the government cost accounting that will fly with the DCAA out of the box.

2) There is a category of software called Professional Services Automation (PSA) that may be more important than changing your ERP system. If your transaction volume and complexity is around your services (and not much else) you might be able to move just the important needed functionality to a new system.

3) NetSuite does have a PSA system (purchased from OpenAir) that they sell as part of their professional services offering. There are solutions that link to financial systems, solutions that link to CRM solutions (see the Saleforce.com platform for this), and solutions that stand alone.

4) There are also time & billing systems out there (low end to high end) if you don't need resource management and some of the other more advanced PSA functions.

5) There are people on this site who help with system evaluations (such as Len Green who’s posted here already) - at times there is value in getting help to fully define your requirements.

6) There are reasons to move beyond QuickBooks. Usually they relate to scaling your financial team (more people), scaling your enterprise (more locations), scaling your platform (ability to integrate and extend the core application), and scaling your controls (audit compliance, internal controls). The trade-offs are more cost and complexity that come with mid-market and higher tier solutions.

To the points on this thread about cloud providers and Microsoft and others - I'll start another thread. In fact, Microsoft added significantly more new customers last year than NetSuite. If you look at the Product Reviews here at Proformative, Dynamics NAV is rated just as highly as NetSuite or Intacct. At the same time I am a huge believer in the Cloud model and Cloud deployments. Lately I have been thinking that the marketing messaging and the reality of the ‘benefits’ or ‘what’s new’ for Cloud ERP have been conflated.

Bob Scarborough
www.tensoft.com

Michael Camp
Title: Marketing Director
Company: Synergy Business Solutions
(Marketing Director, Synergy Business Solutions) |

Regarding Bob Scarborough's comment about "Deltek's CostPoint product being the only vendor that really does government cost accounting that flies with the DCAA out-of-the-box," that statement is patently untrue. Hundreds and hundreds of government-contracting organizations use Dynamics SL out-of-the-box as their primary ERP or accounting system and pass their DCAA audits with flying colors. In fact, Dynamics SL is the only Microsoft Dynamics ERP product out of the four they own that meets DCAA audit requirements out of the box.

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

Interesting point. What type of standard features does SL have to meet the DCAA (FAR, CAS) requirements?

Michael Camp
Title: Marketing Director
Company: Synergy Business Solutions
(Marketing Director, Synergy Business Solutions) |

Dynamics SL has ALL the standard features to fully comply with FAR and CAS and there are hundreds of SL clients that are happy with the software and with the results of their DCAA audits. The SL development team has spent the last 15+ years making certain that SL has the features and functionality to meet all Gov Con requirements. The features are too many to list here and the happy clients will vouch for this.

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