November 24, 2014 Ken Jacobsen

Streamlined Accounting with Microsoft Dynamics GP for Pharmaceutical Company

A pharmaceutical research firm based in Michigan and focused on cholesterol-lowering therapies went public in the summer of 2013. It realized that its outdated Peachtree accounting solution wasn’t going to stand up to the regulatory requirements that come with being a public company. The significantly increased volume of transactions that would occur once its current drug trials ended and the product went to market was also a concern. The company wanted to improve its accounts payable functionality and streamline that process. The business wanted to lay down a firm financial foundation with strong, customizable controls in general to avoid any potential issues in the future. Referred by another business in the biotechnology industry that had a positive implementation experience with the TM Group, the company decided it was time for a new ERP solution.

This business made the smart decision of anticipating needs and implementing its enterprise resource planning solution – Microsoft Dynamics GP for Pharmaceutical – before it absolutely had to. This provided much more time for the staff to learn about the software. Additionally, it offered the chance to have a strong ERP backbone in place before deciding on what enhanced functionality and advanced phases should be included when the time came.

The business was fortunate because it hadn’t experienced any major problems due to its older accounting software and had realized the need for a new platform early on. Still, efficiency issues were present with how accounts payable checks were processed and paid, issues that would only increase as the company went public. Regulatory oversight was another problem, and one that Peachtree couldn’t adequately address.

Thanks to its early decision-making, the company could afford to be slow and precise as it built on Microsoft Dynamics GP to create a truly effective system. However, a series of audits meant that the actual implementation had to be a quick process, occurring across two months with the bulk of the installation, training and data transfer conducted in just one. The necessity of ensuring that data matched records from the previous system meant that seven years of historical financial data for both accounts payable and general ledger had to be migrated in summary form as well.

A successful and quick implementation process
Working on a tight schedule, the TM Group was able to organize and follow through on a successful implementation with the cooperation and enthusiasm of the company’s staff. Members of the accounting office had been through ERP implementations in the past and were aware of how the process worked. Excited to get the system up and running before the next audit began, necessary data was supplied well ahead of time so that the go-live process could proceed as quickly as possible and the system would be up before the next audit began. With a good flow of necessary information and a high level of teamwork, it was possible to get Dynamics GP up and running in a significantly shorter timeframe than usual.

The core modules went live quickly, with general ledger, accounts payable and accounts receivable all up and operating, as was the Management Reporter. Other modules were pulled from the initial implementation because while their eventual need in the future was seen, there wasn’t enough of a cost benefit to implement them at that time. The door is still open for these more advanced modules to be added in the future.

Training was an issue because of the very tight schedules of employees. While they went above and beyond in providing the necessary information for the setup of Dynamics GP, they simply couldn’t attend all the training sessions. However, the dedication of the employees to learning the system meant a quick uptake and a remarkable occurrence: building on one training session, the staff learned to generate more complex reports literally overnight. This demonstrates the ease of use of Dynamics GP.

The results
The business succeeded in its short-term and very important goal of improving and streamlining the accounts payable process and it has already seen improvement in that regard. Microsoft Dynamics GP allowed the company to gain deep visibility into its various financial processes, allowing it to meet auditing requirements and other demands placed on public businesses. The company also wanted to incorporate electronic banking and have that in place as well. The stage is also set for future developments, with more advanced phases and modules able to be added as needed.

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