Aside from Integration and Reporting, Microsoft Dynamics SL is a Good Small Business Solution
July 21, 2014

Aside from Integration and Reporting, Microsoft Dynamics SL is a Good Small Business Solution

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

8.01.21207.00

Modules Used

  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • General Ledger
  • Order Management
  • Inventory
  • Currency Manager

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Dynamics SL

It is used by the accounting department for Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, General Ledger entries, and is integrated with a quoting system for sales invoice creation.
  • Controls - Administrators can set very specific user roles and allow access to only the modules and screens that an employee needs. As far as accounting controls, the system does not allow you do delete items, manually adjust sub-ledgers, or other things that might raise red flags to auditors.
  • Multi-Currency - We use three different currencies, and Dynamics allows us to easily create journal entries, raise sales invoices, and receive payments in any of those currencies. The system automatically converts other currencies to the home currency for reporting purposes based on Fx rates that you enter each month. Any payments received in other currencies are applied to the invoice and then any gain or loss on the exchange is automatically booked to the Realized Gain/Loss account.
  • Subaccounts - Subaccounts/Classes/Dimensions are easy to set up for each GL account. You can control the combinations of subaccounts and accounts that are used to prevent users from accidentally keying invalid combinations. You can run reports on subaccounts to see all revenue or expenses for a specific subaccount.
  • Not Intuitive - A lot of the functionality of Dynamics is not intuitive. For example, when you are on a field where you can enter information from a pick list, you have to hit F3 to show the list. Once you get used to it, it's no big deal, but the initial learning curve is pretty high if you are trying to learn it on your own.
  • Reporting - The reporting feature is another area that is just not intuitive. There are a lot of canned reports that are separated by module, but you have to know how to use the feature to even get a basic report to work properly. I've been on the system for almost 10 years and I there are still some basic reports that I struggle to run if they're not ones that I use regularly (ex. an Aged A/R or customer statement for a single customer). The export to Excel leaves a lot to desire as well since the reports always have to be reformatted manually to even be usable.
  • Integration with other Systems - We use a separate CRM and quoting system to track customers and create sales quotes. Once the quotes are created, they have to be imported into Dynamics using a integration tool. The import crashes frequently and there are a lot of bugs.
  • Sales Tax - Dynamics does allow for the use of sales tax, but it is not very robust. We use a third party to import sales tax rates every month. Our sales tax is a little more complex than what the system can handle so we end up doing a lot of manual adjustments and double check every invoice before it is processed.
  • Since our company is relatively small, Dynamics has been a good option for us since we need a package that is more complex and robust than something like QuickBooks, but we aren't big enough to warrant spending all the money on a solution like Oracle or SAP. The overall return on investment has been good.
  • QuickBooks Online,QuickBooks Pro,FinancialForce Accounting
QuickBooks is not a bad solution, but it is typically used by smaller companies since it is not a true, auditable accounting system. Dynamics is much more robust than QuickBooks and handles complex accounting much better.

FinancialForce may be a good option if you are looking for something that is on the Force.com platform. If you are already a Salesforce.com user and are looking for an accounting system, this may be the way to go. However, if you already have a good accounting system, I would not suggest making the switch to FinancialForce. My experience with it so far has been that it was designed by engineers as a solution for people using Salesforce, not as an accounting system. There are many red flags right out of the box, and customization seems to be far more difficult than initial expectations. For example, the system does not use debits and credits, but rather positives and negatives. This is mind blowing for an accountant! Out of the box, there are three screens to click through just to create a journal entry. Reporting falls anywhere from difficult to impossible. My CFO recently spent the better part of a week trying to run a YTD Trial Balance. Again, mind blowing that this is being called an accounting system.

Dynamics definitely feels like a much truer accounting system than either of the other products that I've worked with.
Unfortunately, Dynamics' lack of ability to smoothly integrate with our CRM system is causing us to look at other solutions. The efficiencies that we gain by using Dynamics for our day to day accounting are lost in the constant headaches of getting sales quotes to import properly into the system for invoicing. Another major issue for us has been budgeting and reporting. We currently do all of our budgeting and board reporting in Excel, which is too time consuming and inefficient, especially when a system as robust as Dynamics should easily be able to handle this relatively simple task.
If someone is looking for a true accounting system for a small to mid-sized company, then I would definitely suggest looking into Microsoft Dynamics SL. For a very small company, a solution like QuickBooks might be the way to go, but only if you do not need tight audit controls. You also have to really know what you're doing or have an accountant that's easily reachable since the system will allow you to do things that a true accounting system would not. For a larger company, or someone that is looking for a system that integrates well with other systems, or a system that will be used by multiple departments, I would suggest looking into an ERP system or a suite of systems that are all run on the same platform.