Accounting Firm Floats From On-Premise Application to the Cloud with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

February 17, 2022 Ken Jacobsen

Accounting Firm Floats From On-Premise Application to the Cloud with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

The Client

Based in the Midwest, this client specializes in accounting and consulting services for nonprofit organizations. Founded in the mid-1990s, this firm began as one that primarily handled outsourced accounting services. As they have grown, they’ve expanded their service offerings to now include grant management, auditing, revenue forecasting and cash management.

The Challenge

Regardless of one’s industry, a core element to success is adapting to the needs of the customer. In this case, our client had clearly done that by offering a wider array of related services for nonprofit organizations. What they hadn’t changed, however, was their accounting software. For a number of years, our client was using Microsoft Dynamics NAV for themselves and many of their clients’ accounting systems. The predecessor to the cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Microsoft NAV is an on-premise solution that’s designed for small and mid-size organizations. Microsoft has released several versions of the software since their initial implementation, but our client hadn’t upgraded the software and was using an older version from  2009.

There have been at least five or six NAV product releases since 2009, but due to the complexity of the upgrade projects — and the fact that several of their biggest clients were using the same outdated version of NAV — they decided to keep using the older version. Clearly, being so far behind on versions and utilizing older hardware, the client was in dire need of a system upgrade. With Business Central being the successor to NAV, upgrading to Business Central had the best ROI and made the most business sense for them and their clients’ accounting system needs.

The Solution
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a comprehensive enterprise resource planning solution that has helped thousands of organizations around the world increase sales, manage their finances and streamline their ongoing operations. It’s an ideal tool for organizations that are familiar with Microsoft Office tools because the interface is markedly similar. It also connects other Microsoft applications (e.g. Microsoft Power BI and their CRM applications) and comes with a variety of modules that make Business Central a truly game-changing solution.

Perhaps the most revolutionary aspect of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is the fact that it is cloud-based and always up to date on the latest version. When data is stored in the cloud, it empowers employees to work from wherever they operate so they can access data from anywhere, any time. As a cloud solution, Microsoft also maintains, backups and upgrades the system automatically as part of the software subscription. This was a big selling point for our client, having stayed on outdated servers and old versions of their software for a number of years because they were costly to upgrade. If they had decided to stick with another on-premise enterprise resource planning solution, they would need to upgrade their servers to do so. In addition to the inconvenience and interruptions of a new system implementation, upgrading and maintaining the infrastructure needs of on-premise systems can be highly expensive.

As part of the upgrade to Business Central project, they wanted to migrate five years of detailed, historical data from their NAV system to Business Central. This was one of the first tasks The TM Group performed as part of the implementation. Normally we just move master data and GL net changes. However, because they were coming from NAV and weren’t changing their account structure, we were able to export roughly five years worth of data from their NAV tables into the Business Central so they could do all their reporting from Business Central without having to look in their old system. The data structure has changed from their older version of NAV to Business Central, so we had to do some messaging before importing it into Business Central.  This will help our client more easily and better manage their reporting needs from one system.

Another part of this project was getting the client up to speed on some of the new capabilities that they had not had with NAV. One was Fixed Assets. Included in the Financial Management suite, Fixed Assets tracks a wide variety of assets for small and mid-size businesses and helps with posting fixed-asset transactions, such as acquisitions or depreciations, among other uses.

As an accounting and consulting firm, this client was mainly focused on the accounting tools that Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central brings to the table. But its range of uses goes far beyond the financial management realm. Regardless of your industry, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central can help you be more efficient and nimble in today’s highly competitive and demanding work environments. If you’re interested in learning more about this solution and how it can be tailored to your needs, The TM Group wants to hear from you. We’re confident you’ll fall in love with Business Central, whether you’re already acquainted with the Microsoft Dynamics family of products or brand new. Contact us today. We have offices in Michigan as well as Indiana and work throughout the USA.

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