Comparing QuickBooks to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Comparing QuickBooks to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

QuickBooks and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central are both popular and affordable business software solutions for smaller companies. However, they differ greatly in terms of available features, scalability and pricing. Their core functionality enables small companies to manage their basic accounting needs. However, the similarities between the two substantially diverge from there.

QuickBooks: A Simple Small Business Solution

The appeal of QuickBooks arises out of its:

  • Longevity: Intuit launched the first version, Quicken, in 1983, so it has been around for a while.
  • Deployment options: It is available as on-premise and cloud-based accounting applications.
  • Versions: Choose from QuickBooks Online Plus, Enterprise Solutions Platinum, Enterprise Solutions Gold and Enterprise Solutions Silver.

QuickBooks is relatively easy to set up and can be moved from a private to a public cloud. There are also options to help your business manage payroll, pay bills and accept payments. In general, the platform is best-suited for small and medium-sized businesses with 1,000 or fewer transactions per month.

Is QuickBooks Right for Your Business?

The easiness of QuickBooks can create problems, convenient as it all might be. In some ways, QuickBooks can leave your business vulnerable as it grows. For example, you can change or even delete journal entries after an accounting period closes. This is very useful, but it’s also runs totally against established accounting principles.

The reporting options are also limited, making it difficult to leverage analytics or customer insights. It doesn’t offer visibility into changes to master records or logins/logoffs, making audit trails inconsistent. Other cons include a lack of control over who can access sensitive financial data, while weak user permissions/roles limit security and increase the risk of mistakes.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Feature-Rich with Full Integration

Microsoft’s accounting product has hundreds more features than Intuit’s. A strictly cloud-based system, Dynamics 365 is designed for SaaS implementations. It is available in several Business Editions with modules centered on Finance and Operations, Sales, Customer Service and Marketing. Some of the solution’s strong points include:

  • Integration with other Microsoft products: Data can be stored, updated and accessed across Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Office, Excel, Outlook and other applications.
  • Robust audit trail: Greater protection against errors and data theft; voided transactions must be reversed (not deleted) so there is an audit trail of activity and who did what.
  • Extensive reporting capabilities: A web-based reporting system lets users view open purchase orders, analyze salesperson performance and assign data access permissions.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central also offers contract management, mail logging for MS Exchange, contact classification and job management features. It supports multiple languages as well. Integration with Power BI enables businesses to connect their data to the reporting system.

Implementation

While setting up QuickBooks is relatively simple, Microsoft’s solution requires a little more effort and investment. For the best results, you’ll need a professional to import data, provide staff training and integrate the software with your business systems.

Cost

For top tier functionality, a QuickBooks installation may run you $184/user/month (lower tier plans go for much less, but have limited features), while Dynamics 365 costs roughly $70/user/month.

QuickBooks vs. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Which Solution Is Best for Your Business?

Determining the best solution for your business requires looking into your organization’s requirements and growth objectives. Each product has its strengths and weaknesses. You can choose between QuickBooks’ brand recognition or the robust features and integration of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Learn more about Business Central at the links below or contact us here:

Better Productivity with Dynamics 365 Business Central

Improving Your Business with Dynamics 365 Business Central

Dynamics 365 Business Central: Premium Vs. Essentials

Better Productivity with Dynamics 365 Business Central

Better Productivity with Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a web-based business management and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. It is the successor to the ERP app Microsoft Dynamics NAV and shares its codebase. The system supports many business functions, including financial, supply chain and project and resource management. Organizations also rely on it for anything from warehouse to service order management, to running their manufacturing processes.

The product is designed to boost productivity and scale with your business. Even the setup process has been simplified thanks to a configuration wizard, worksheets, templates and questionnaires, which help customers and partners use Microsoft’s RapidStart Services. Once properly configured, the system can provide visibility into a wide range of metrics. To understand how this helps boost productivity, it is first important to understand what productivity really is.

What Is Productivity?

Productivity measures efficiency. From an economic perspective, it measures the output that comes from pre-determined units of input. For people, it means getting more done in the same amount of time, e.g. writing and mailing two letters in an hour instead of one.

Being productive doesn’t equate to always being busy, rushing to complete task after task and being burdened by a massive amount of responsibilities. These are not the same as productivity. To be productive, your goal is to work smarter, not harder, which can result in being ahead of schedule rather than behind and chasing multiple deadlines.

How Dynamics 365 Business Central Makes People More Productive

Dynamics 365 Business Central confers productivity improvements across several dimensions of business, including:

  • Workflow Automation – Dynamics 365 Business Central automates tasks like creating purchase orders, which it does based on inventory levels and sales forecasts. Stock levels are automatically calculated, as are lead times for orders. The system makes information available to those who need it, while encrypting data to protect against unauthorized access. Rather than dealing with manual, time-consuming tasks, your business can move forward with a streamlined workflow that minimizes repetitive tasks, automates reporting and documentation, and provides real time analytics to use your time more effectively.
  • Integrated Software Modules – Software modules cover everything from sales and finance to supply chain and project management, to data protection and compliance. These integrated modules improve productivity by eliminating manual handoffs between accounting, logistics, and other departments. Specific functions, such as generating sales orders and invoices, completing payments, and creating and viewing reports, can be accessed quickly. Also, workloads are automatically assigned to the appropriate personnel based on their skills and roles, which can help improve sales and service.
  • Better Reporting – An integrated reporting system allows users to create, manage, and track projects via timesheets. Excel is therefore not required to track budgets—this alone is a big time saver and driver of improved productivity. All aspects of performance can be tracked in real-time. The immediate availability of information also improves forecasting accuracy based on available resources, manufacturing capacity and profitability. With such visibility, stakeholders can work to improve production schedules, and therefore meet customer demands and make more effective decisions that impact profitability, projects, and the overall organization. Teams can focus on tasks that accomplish more in less time, and thereby be more productive.

 These are a few examples of how an ERP system can improve productivity. For more information on benefits and capabilities, visit the Dynamics 365 Business Central on our website.

Additional Business Central Resources

Dynamics 365 Business Central for Manufacturing

Microsoft Dynamics Business Central Features

Improving Field Service Operations with Dynamics 365 Business Central

Dynamics 365 Business Central for Manufacturing

Dynamics 365 Business Central for Manufacturing

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers a full set of business management capabilities. These include a wide range of features for manufacturing management. Manufacturers are increasingly finding the Dynamics cloud ERP solution to be an effective way to operate a manufacturing business while cutting the costs of running ERP on-premises.

Manufacturing Management at the Sales Stage

Some of the most important work in managing a manufacturing operation occurs before any actual manufacturing takes place. Accurate sales forecasting leads to effective capacity planning, staffing, inventory ordering and more. Dynamics 365 Business Central’s Demand Forecasting allows manufacturing managers to predict manufacturing volumes based on sales forecasts from sales management functions in the broader system.

A Sales and Inventory Forecast extension offers insights into potential sales as well as expectations of stock-outs. The toolset can look at historical sales data to offer stock recommendations and suggestions for replenishment. These features connect directly to purchase order generation and materials requirement planning in the solution.

The Bill of Materials and Production Orders

Dynamics 365 Business Central offers extensive features for creating a Production Bill of Materials (BOM). The BOM lists all the materials and other inputs needed to manufacture a product. The tool also provides for version management. This is useful because manufacturers often have multiple versions of BOMs in use. Managers can use the tool to generate Production Orders. These include instructions for manufacturing a particular order or batch. An Order Planning window gives managers visibility and the tools they need to plan for demand from sales forecasts.

Agile Manufacturing

The term “agile manufacturing” refers to tools, processes and training that enable a manufacturing organization to respond rapidly to market shifts and customer needs—while still maintaining quality and controlling costs. This is largely a matter of software. Dynamics 365 includes an Agile Manufacturing module that enables agile manufacturing by means of dynamic supply and capacity planning.

Supply planning makes it possible to map out requirements for materials based on demand, working in tandem with master production scheduling. Dynamics allows for automatic production order and purchase order creation as well as messaging and other tools for balancing supply and demand. This includes reordering processes for internal and third-party materials orders.

Capacity planning and finite loading round out the agile manufacturing capabilities of Dynamics 365 Business Central. Manufacturing managers can use the software to add work centers to the manufacturing operation. This feature also includes setting up routing for production orders and material requirements planning (MRP). The application provides visualizations of loads the tasks. Finite loading involves tracking capacity constraints on work centers to avoid overloading capacity.

Machine Centers

A Machine Center is a locus of manufacturing operations built around related pieces of equipment. Dynamics 365 enables managers to establish machine centers as part of the manufacturing capacity planning and production management processes. The tool lets managers see the functioning of machine centers at the individual level and with a consolidated view. With machine centers, it is possible to monitor manufacturing activity, collect information on productivity as well as scrap percentages, and so forth.

Manufacturing management can be challenging, especially as product development and marketing cycles accelerate. The right manufacturing management software can make a difference in terms of productivity and profitability of a manufacturing operation. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers a comprehensive feature set for effective manufacturing management. For businesses exploring the potential of technology to improve manufacturing management, this software is worthy of strong consideration.

Additional Business Central Resources

Microsoft Dynamics Business Central Features

Dynamics 365 Business Central: Premium Vs. Essentials

Improving Your Business with Dynamics 365 Business Central

Four Tech Trends That Help Businesses Thrive in the Digital World

Four Tech Trends That Help Businesses Thrive in the Digital World

Microsoft recently published a truly outstanding white paper titled Four Technology Trends Helping Businesses Thrive in a Digital World. We highly recommend it if you’re contemplating how IT can make an impact on your business success. The paper takes on topics like cloud computing, digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobility. Their goal is to add detail and practical insights to subjects that tend to be vague and overhyped. The context is the applicability of Dynamics 365 as a solution for digital transformation. Here’s a sneak peek:

Cloud computing: Much more than a buzzword

Cloud adoption is accelerating. As businesses put cloud technology to work in a vast variety of use cases, the concept becomes far more than a mere buzzword. Indeed, the cloud changes how and where people work. It enables new ways of doing business, or even completely new businesses. Cost reduction is still a high priority for cloud adoption, but other factors are driving adoption. The paper cites Gigaom Research, which reports, “71% of strategic buyers cite scalability, cost and business agility as the most important drivers for using cloud services.”

Digital transformation and the revolution in connectivity

Microsoft surveyed small and mid-sized business owners and employees with the goal of understanding their most challenging problems. Lost productivity emerged as a serious issue. People reported losing time working across multiple systems that are unable to “talk to each other.” The results of such disconnected systems included manual, duplicative processes and out-of-date reporting. Poor visibility into operations then translated into impaired decision making at the management level.

Digital transformation offers a way out of this trap. It’s a broad concept, but at its heart, digital transformation is about the current revolution in connectivity. Today, applications can easily and cheaply connect with one another using standards-based APIs—even spanning between multiple business entities. As the paper explains, companies that connect their systems, people, data and processes are able to anticipate operational challenges and act accordingly. They are able to gather data in real time and get deep insights into what going on in the business.

No mystery in the IoT. It’s reality

The IoT is one of those tech ideas that seemed futuristic when it first debuted. Today, it’s a reality. Using devices to collect and analyze operational and environmental data is now occurring on a regular basis. And, it’s not just for big corporations or government agencies. Even a smaller business has its “things” that generate data with which to track trends, identify patterns and perhaps even make predictions.

The challenge in IoT is threefold. First, there has to be a solution to manage the devices and related “edge” infrastructure. Then, there’s the data. IoT environments create a lot of data. It has to be stored and secured before it can be analyzed. The analytics is the third and arguably most important challenge to overcome on the way to IoT success.

Embracing mobility

Mobility is already so pervasive in business that it may not even occur to people that it’s a distinct technology area deserving of focus. It is. Your employees are increasingly mobile. You have to support them. Customers expect rich mobile connections with your brand. Your suppliers are using mobile apps. Having a mobile strategy is critical for success today.

These are the highlights of the paper. To read it in full, click here.

Improving Your Business with Dynamics 365 Business Central

Improving Your Business with Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a multi-faceted, cloud-based business management suite. It offers features that can improve the way your business operates. These include advance financial management capabilities, supply chain management and project management as well as operational optimization tools.

Manage your financials better

Dynamics 365 financial management lets you make informed decisions by connecting data across sales, accounting, purchasing, inventory and customer interactions. This approach gives you an end-to-end view of your business. With Dynamics 365, you can streamline accounts receivables and payables. It provides automatic account reconciliations and quick accurate closing.

The financial management toolset’s reporting abilities let you improve the accuracy of your financial forecasts. You can refine forecasts by modeling and analyzing your business data across multiple dimensions. Then, customize reports using seamless Microsoft Excel integration and chart financial your business’s performance in real time with built-in Power BI dashboards.

Learn more about Financial Management in Business Central.

Securely automate your supply chain

Supply chain management benefits from automation. Dynamics 365 can be set up to offer recommendations on when to pay vendors. It can also guide you on when to use vendor discounts or avoid overdue penalties. Controls available in Dynamics 365 have the ability to prevent unnecessary or fraudulent purchases. This is achieved through approval workflows.

With Dynamics 365, you can take advantage of built-in intelligence to predict inventory replenishment requirements. The toolset gives you the ability to purchase only what you need by means of dynamically updated inventory levels. Thus, you can automatically calculate stock levels and maintain the right amount of inventory. Track lead times and reorder points, enabling you to reduce stock-outs and resulting lost sales.

Learn more about Supply Chain in Business Central.

Sell smarter and improve customer service

Dynamics 365 further improves your business by helping you sell smarter. You can prioritize sales leads based on their revenue potential. At the same time, track all customer interactions and let the toolset provide guidance on suggested cross-sell, upsell and renewal opportunities. Dynamics 365 also allows you to accelerate your quote-to-cash cycle. Outlook integration enables fast responses for sales inquiries as well as service requests.

Learn more about CRM in Business Central.

Keep projects on time and under budget

If you run a project-based business, Dynamics 365 has features for creating, managing and tracking projects with timesheets and advanced job costing and reporting capabilities. You can develop and control budgets in order to project profitability. The toolset lets you manage resource levels for each project and then track invoicing against projected costs.

Learn more about Project Management in Business Central.

Optimize your operations

Dynamics 365 helps you improve your business through optimized operations. This includes capabilities like managing forecasting-to-fulfillment by gaining a holistic view of inventory. The toolset gives you the ability to use sales forecasts and expected stock-outs to create production plans and purchase orders on an automated basis. In addition, you can use Dynamics 365 to run your warehouse efficiently, tracking every item transaction and movement. For manufacturers, Dynamics 365 calculates and optimizes manufacturing capacity and resources in order to meet customer demands through improved production schedules.

Learn more about Operations Management in Business Central

If we can help you determine how Dynamics can improve your business, let’s talk.

Additional Business Central Resources

Microsoft Dynamics Business Central Features

Dynamics 365 Business Central: Premium Vs. Essentials

Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 Business Central

Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 Business Central

Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft continues to innovate and iterate with its popular Dynamics product line. This is good, though it can be a little confusing when it comes time to decide to stay with what you’ve got or move on to a new option. Today, our clients are asking if they should keep running Dynamics GP or migrate to Dynamics 365 Business Central. Both solutions are good, so the stay/go decision is not about better vs. worse. There are differences, though, so a company that uses Dynamics GP would be well served by looking at its needs and making a determination about moving to Dynamics 365.

Background

Microsoft launched Dynamics 365 in 2016, offering Dynamics functional on a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) basis. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central in one of its sub-offerings, providing enterprise resource planning (ERP) functions for small-to-midsized businesses. At the same time, Microsoft continues to develop and support Microsoft Dynamics GP, which is designed for the same kind of customer.

Comparing Dynamics GP and Dynamics 365 Business Central

The two solution share a code base, so their functionality is very similar. Both offer extensive financial management features, including reporting, e-banking and budgeting. They also both support fixed asset management and general ledger account segmentation. Both have integration with Power BI, US and Canadian payroll capabilities, inventory tracking and multi-currency compatibility. They can each handle multiple entities.

Dynamics GP does have forecasting and inter-company transaction processing, which Dynamics 365 Business Central currently does not. In our experience, there are some nuanced differences between the way the two solutions handle reporting and integration with CRM. And, given that Dynamics 365 is newer, the solution offers fewer third-party add-ons right now. This will surely change over time.

Licensing and hosting are areas where the two also differ. Dynamics GP is available with perpetual licensing, where you own the license, and subscription licensing. You can host GP on-premises or in the cloud through a third-party Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) hosting provider. This latter option saves you from having to buy new hardware every three years or so.

Dynamics 365 Business Central is available as a complete SaaS. This way, your accounting and/or ERP is hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud. You will have to pay for a monthly subscription plan to Azure on top of your Dynamics 365 license fees. There are several advantages to this approach, however. Microsoft takes care of updates and bug fixes for any applications you’re running on Business Central. You also get out of the responsibility for buying and running infrastructure.

How to Make the Decision

Based on our experience with companies that are reviewing their options with Dynamics, it seems that the costs of running the respective solutions are the most important factors in making the decision. There is no imminent end of life for Dynamics GP. The best choice may be to do nothing, for now.

If we can help you determine your best path forward with Dynamics, let’s talk.

Additional Dynamics 365 Business Central Resources

Dynamics 365 Business Central: Premium Vs. Essentials

Improving Field Service Operations with Dynamics 365 Business Central

Highly Anticipated Improvements Coming to Dynamics 365 Business Central