Dynamics SL-The Right Choice for the Project-Based Organization
Jack Boyer | TrustRadius Reviewer
Updated December 18, 2014

Dynamics SL-The Right Choice for the Project-Based Organization

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Review Source

Software Version

Version 2011

Modules Used

  • GL, AP, AR, Cash Manager, Project Controller, Flexible Billings, Allocator, Web Apps

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Dynamics SL

We are a professional services firm mostly with client billings of time making up 70-80% of our revenues. Creating billing transactions from timecards based on many different rules that are sometimes client based, task based, project based or even fixed price-make for the need for some capable software.

We are much happier with the web apps having moved off of the business portal time entry tool which was extremely slow and time consuming.

We use Dynamics SL across the whole organization and everyone enters a timecard. We use the software for expense reporting and evaluating which were good projects and bad, which tasks were good and which were bad. We use the software to help us make better estimates on future similar projects.

We've used Dynamics SL the entire 20 years we've been in business and really love it.
  • Facilitates Time Entry from any device.
  • Facilitates billing with "Allocator" which is really a transaction creator-creating billing records from time cards using unique rules
  • Simplifies the review of draft invoices-making transactions not ready to be billed yet default to the next billing period so revenue does not "leak".
  • When we have a lot of invoices rather than just a few large invoices, we can be frustrated by how long it takes Flexible Billings to generate a lot of invoices
  • It would be nice if Dynamics SL had an easy integration to some of the nicer salestax tools such as Avalara and CCH.
  • It would be nice if the fixed assets module and electronic banking were not third party.
  • Less time needs to be invested to create invoices from timecards.
  • Project profitability is right there for you to review as the whole product is "project-centric"-we do less of the work that tends to lose us money and more lucrative work.
  • The ease with which we are able to hide unwanted fields makes data entry simple.
  • The intuitive naming of the tables makes report writing much easier than most accounting/ERP products.
We selected Dynamics SL because our business lives and dies by the success of our projects. A product that can tell you that you have a problem before you invoice, helps you get your project back on track much better. It's also much easier to evaluate across projects, tasks and project types-what you do well and where you need to improve.
Dynamics SL requires very little maintenance for us in part because we set it up correctly and partly because we stay current with the releases.

We have a lot of Dynamics SL experience on staff so if anything bad were to happen we could fix it right away. Fortunately this has not happen in a long time. Microsoft has improved the testing process on this product so that service packs and new version are cleaner.
Organizations that have challenging project accounting needs should definitely review this product. Very few products come close to Dynamics SL in handling these broader project accounting needs as well as Dynamics SL. We have had clients insist on buying Dynamics GP because someone in their firm already knows it-only to learn that they should have gone with SL as we suggested. Organizations that need extremely robust Order Management features should also look at Dynamics SL closely. Not only are the features very strong-they are also project-centric so if you need 5 different lines on a sales order to update 5 different projects-no problem. You can even enter a project on the fly while entering a sales order-assuming you have permissions.

Dynamics SL, like Dynamics NAV has a tremendous toolset for customizing. If you allow the customizing to occur-make sure that you have the staff or budget to support lots of customizations as the mods do make support and upgrading a bit more challenging.

Using Microsoft Dynamics SL

21 - Accounting, professional services providers, managers. We use most of the modules available.
8 - We have people that do support for our Dynamics SL users so perhaps this is not a fair question for us. Just about everyone on the team can provide in-house support if we were to need it. We rarely do need it however as the software is stable for us.
  • Time Card Entry
  • Time Card Approval
  • Billing transactions that get generated automatically from time cards.
  • We charge trip charges based on distance to clients offices in Flexible Billings
  • We've created SQL Reporting Services reports that red, yellow and green light utilization from services professionals on the team.
  • We use Quick Queries to fetch worked, billed, and realized time for all.
  • We could use the purchasing and inventory modules better
  • We could integrate with nice requisitions products such as Paramount's Workplace.
  • We could share our nice project accounting data with clients on a portal that is part of SharePoint.

Evaluating Microsoft Dynamics SL and Competitors

  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Prior Experience with the Product
  • Vendor Reputation
Ease of converting time cards to draft invoices was probably most important to us. This is how we make money and we don't want our managers having to invest a lot of time on admin work when they can have a tool that does most of the work here automatically.
We are happy with where we ended up. I would not change anything. We were thorough and practical and have a solution that does not take us a lot of time to do our work.

Microsoft Dynamics SL Implementation

Don't use a firm to help you unless they have a fair amount of experience. This product is deep and broad-get all the capabilities you paid for.
  • Implemented in-house
  • Professional services company
We are a professional services firm that implements Dynamics SL, Dynamics GP and Dynamics NAV so we did this ourselves as you would expect. The process was easy and painless in part because we understand the software so well and have such a broad team of support specialists to help with questions.
Change management was minimal - Because we had a process that worked and only needed the software to automate that process - we did not need to go through any organizational change to be successful. Our firm is only 21 people. When we do this for clients we do often document an "as is" and "to be" workflow so that we have a blue print before we start to build.
  • Finding time to work on it while doing the rest of our work
  • Configuring the allocator module to default exactly what we needed into the draft invoices
  • Getting every one to enter time weekly-no exceptions.

Microsoft Dynamics SL Support

The Boyer support team here has a team that can do environmental support, application support and custom programming support. Our clients tend to get to the right person fairly quickly due to our use of Dynamics CRM to assist with the queue. Microsoft has a team of people with 10+ years of experience when we call or email so the answers come quickly on the rare time that we need their help.
ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None
No - We provide this support ourselves to users of Dynamics SL-so we don't need to buy it. The group that we speak to at Microsoft has a lot of experience and passion about doing a good job when we do need to contact them. We have over 100 years of Dynamics SL support experience so it is rare that we need to call Microsoft.
Yes - It depends on the severity of the problem. Serious problems get dealt with quickly. Issues where it is difficult to discern if the "bug" is really a design disagreement between what the user wants and what the software does obviously take longer. We can typically mitigate these differences with either a work around or some custom code for our clients.
We have gotten tremendous support from Microsoft on all 3 products-not just Dynamics SL but Dynamics NAV and Dynamics GP as well. I would say that Microsoft goes the extra mile in that they will even help debug a partner's code rather than just say "it's your fault-deal with it". This is rare for us but is happening now and we are getting the help we need for a very large Dynamics SL client.

Using Microsoft Dynamics SL

I rate it a 10 because we have removed the fields we don't need so users can really crank the data into the system. The software was designed for the professional services firm in mind but does a tremendous job for construction firms and "blended" companies that are both distribution firms but project centric as well. Perhaps they drop ship inventory to a project where their employees or subs need to work on a project for example.
ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Familiar
Feel nervous using
  • Integrating sales order lines with project revenue and costs is unmatched.
  • Having project costs and revenues entered from any screen is extremely handy. You can make a Journal Entry to a project-updating both project and task
  • Hiding fields, making fields required, even creating your own screens and reports with the toolset are easy relative to most accounting software/ERP solutions.
  • Archiving data to a data warehouse if custom tables and custom programs have been added.
  • Transaction Import is not quite as easy to use as other transaction importing tools-but it's free.
  • Modifying some of the project accounting reports in Crystal is a bit difficult at times.
Yes - It works great. It's built with HTML 5 so works on any browser, tablet, or phone. This was such a huge and needed improvement to Dynamics SL! we are very happy that Microsoft made this investment as people get crabby when it takes them too long to enter their time.

Microsoft Dynamics SL Reliability