Design on a Dime…Building a Better GP System


aka: Amber Bell Canadian Architect Part II

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an architect. In high school I even started taking drafting classes…and I decided I didn’t really want to be an architect. (That’s a whole other story).

Fast forward to my life now. I recently realized I have achieved my goal to help people build their dreams…Little did I know it would be their Accounting Software dreams.

HGTV has a show called “House Hunters“. The show’s premise is pretty simple. A couple has a budget and a dream. They give a realtor a list of musts and deal-breakers. A recent episode ended with the couple realizing that to get what they really wanted, they had to buy a cheaper house and customize it to their very specific requirements.

When buying accounting software, you might get caught up explaining your dream system. I am here to tell you that sometimes it makes sense to start small and add-on later!

I have found that no matter what someone says…the motivation for buying an Enterprise level accounting system is most often the desire to generate better reports.

Good Data is the Foundation of Good Reporting

Here are some tips for building the best foundation for reports in GP:

  1. The more sample reports you show me, the better I can plan your implementation.
  2. Try to create the report first in Excel, then show me what it takes to generate the report.
  3. Store important reporting data in Key Fields (ID Fields, Lookup Fields, etc).
  4. If possible DO NOT RELY on users entering the data each time they do a transaction. I have seen a client who allows users enter the color of the item being sold. They entered dozens of spellings for each color.
  5. Talk to your GP partner about “User Defined Fields” vs. “Class ID” vs. “Item Categories”. In some cases, the User Defined fields pull from defined lists, other times users can enter anything that they want. You need to decide what works best for your reports.
  6. If you run out of User Defined Fields, look into a 3rd party application like TitaniumGP. This tool allows your partner to build an unlimited number of User Defined fields that are stored as clean data in SQL.
  7. If you work with Sales Invoices and/or Purchase Orders, take a look at SalesPad. We have accomplished near miracles using SalesPad. The flexibility in setup combined with the ability to restrict and control data entry make it a win-win!
  8. Be consistent!! Take the time to make a plan for Item Numbers, Customer ID’s, and Vendor ID’s. If you didn’t make a plan in the past, you can fix existing ID’s with a Professional Services Tool that is now FREE!!
  9. Train your users to enter transaction descriptions and Distribution References.
  10. Enter notes!! If something is wacky, use the GP notes feature. If you are on a newer version of GP, enable document attachments. If you used a spreadsheet to figure something out, attach that spreadsheet.

I have watched enough HGTV to know that sometimes people cannot afford their dream home. The truth is, you might not have the budget to match your reporting dreams. But with some careful planning, you will have clean data. Future blog entries will cover some cool tips for Excel and SmartList.

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