Jon you have implemented many of the usual suspects in the project arena over the past 10 years. You’ve put Epicor into a large advertising agency here in Minneapolis, you’ve implemented Dynamics SL into several offices of an even larger advertising firm. You’ve used and implemented Timberline’s Construction Software product. You’ve also implemented Dynamics GP and its project series for a software consulting firm.
Jack Boyer: With all of this experience, what are the things that really stand out to you about Dynamics SL making it exceptional for project-centric firms?
Jon Augdahl: Creative professional services firms tend to enjoy extending their creativity into their invoicing. They are creative in determining what they would like invoices to look like, as well as what is billable and the rates that are used to determine what and how much to invoice to their clients. Dynamics SL’s Flexible Billings module allows for that flexibility, and makes it fairly easy to create those invoice formats. The Project Allocator module also allows those firms to create their own rate tables and apply those rate tables to clients or projects.
More recently Flexible Billings has allowed us to import transactions, aggregate and consolidate those transactions, and create a very streamlined billing system for a large marketing firm in Rogers, MN. Dynamics SL allows users to create their own billing rules, bill projects together, bill one project to two separate clients, create exceptions, tie billing rates to just about anything-type of labor, individual consultant, customer, department, etc.
Jack Boyer: In addition to overcoming billing challenges, are their other things you really like?
Jon Augdahl: I love the Project Allocator’s ability to create transactions. In fact I’ve always thought the module should be called “Transaction Creator” rather than Project Allocator. Most of the time when a client wants a challenge resolved using this module, I’m using it to create new transactions based upon existing transactions. For example, Project Allocator can be used to accumulate time entry transactions, whether from Dynamics’ Time Entry application or imported from other systems, multiply the hours from those transactions with a billable rate found in a rate table, then create new billing or revenue transactions that are related to the original time entry transaction. This can be used for billing purposes, or possibly just for revenue recognition purposes.
Jack Boyer: In the past you’ve shared with me that you like it that Dynamics SL allows you to enter all of your ap invoices, both project related and non-project related, in one screen. Why is that especially important with Dynamics SL and accounting packages generally speaking?
Jon Augdahl: Some accounting systems are not designed especially for project-centric organizations. Dynamics SL has been designed from the ground up to work with organizations that require project accounting information on some transactions. Cost information from Accounts Payable is just one example of where this is important. Because project accounting is available everywhere in Dynamics SL, AP voucher entry does not require two separate screens to enter project related costs and non-project related costs. This is true for GL journal transactions, Purchase Orders, Sales Orders, and even Inventory Transactions.
Look at the images below. The first image shows the ap voucher screen with the first document not relating to a project, the second document shows the ap voucher being coded to a project. Note how in the first document none of the three lines are coded to a project (although any one or all could be), the second document is project related and shows its line.
An AP document showing line items that do not relate to a project.
Same ap batch, same screen, different invoice-shows ap transaction that is project related-no need to start new batch or change screens. Also, Dynamics has the ability to have one voucher where one line is project related and another line is not project related.
Jack Boyer: Jon, if you had Microsoft’s ear and could get them to add any set of features to the product-what would it be?
Jon Augdahl: A lot of project related firms do project scheduling and would like to do that within Dynamics SL rather than go to a third party or implement something as challenging as Microsoft Project Server (which does integrate with Dynamics).
Our clients would like to have a tool that would allow them to schedule and view multiple resources across multiple projects, allowing them to easily swap resources and view the ramifications of that swap on other projects. They would prefer that this tool be in Dynamics as opposed to a different application.
Jack Boyer: Thanks Jon for your time and expertise today.