Acumatica and Microsoft Dynamics GP are both strong ERP products, but there are distinct differences. Since our team works with both products every day, we are in a unique position to compare Acumatica versus Microsoft Dynamics.
When it comes to running any business, core financials are an important component, so this is where we will start our series of Acumatica versus Dynamics GP functionality comparison blog posts. In this post, we will compare 11 system-wide features. My next post will look at Generic Inquiries versus Smartlists, and then General Ledger features.
1) Multiple companies can live within the same tenant
- Eliminates logging in and out of companies
- Companies can share the same chart of accounts, vendors, customers, items, which means less double entry and maintenance.
The first point we want to make people aware of is the ability that Acumatica has to host multiple companies all within the same tenant. If you have multiple companies in Dynamics GP, you have to physically log in and log out of the Dynamics GP application to switch companies. With Acumatica, you log in to the system once, and there is a dropdown option within the Acumatica page where you can toggle back and forth between companies easily.
Note that this applies to any company that uses the same chart of accounts and is willing to share, vendors, customers, and items. Acumatica does have security options, so if you want to limit the chart of accounts, vendors, customers, or items that users can see across each company, you can control that. If you don’t want potentially to share them, then this multi-company same tenant, the environment within Acumatica wouldn’t be the recommended approach. You would go with more of the same approach as Dynamics GP, where you would set up two separate tenants and log in and log out to switch companies.
But in circumstances where you are sharing customers, vendors, items, and chart of accounts, it means a lot less maintenance to work with multiple companies in Acumatica. You do not have to go to each individual company to add or update the same account, vendor, or customer item. You enter the data once, and all users have access to the information.
2) User interface with a modern look and feel.
Acumatica is built on a modern platform taking advantage of modern technology that gives Acumatica a modern look and feel. I think a lot of people are getting acclimated to that modern look and feel; it is the new normal. For example, the responsive design changes the size and orientation of your screen, depending on what device you are using. Other designs just feel a bit dated.
3) Unbelievable search capability with no need for add-on tools.
Another benefit of newer technology is the ability to add some really powerful search capabilities with no need to buy any add-on products. In Microsoft Dynamics GP, the out of the box search features are quite rigid. You can purchase an add-on such as Rockton Smartfill that allows for “quick and easy Google-style data search.” But Acumatica does that, plus allows for even more powerful ways to search, inside the core system, free of charge.
4) Branch functionality
In Dynamics GP, if you have branches, you have to incorporate the branch into your GL segmentation. Acumatica has a branch functionality that doesn’t require including that branch or location code into your GL account structure. The advantage of that relates to your chart of accounts. You end up with fewer charts of accounts than you would in Dynamics GP because you don’t have to embed that branch or that location code into your string. So, in Acumatica, your chart of accounts can be much smaller, much more streamlined. Also, branch functionality allows you to easily incorporate different logos by branch if that is the way your organization is structured. If you wanted to print 1099s at a branch level, that functionality is also built into Acumatica’s core financials.
Microsoft Dynamics GP doesn’t really have out of the box dashboarding. You would have to use some business intelligence tools that are linked to the Dynamics GP database, or you could do some dashboarding right through Microsoft Excel. Again, you would have to link it to the database, and it is not part of the core application.
Acumatica has dashboarding built right into a core platform. That is really powerful. Any dashboard that you have built inside of Acumatica is visible in the mobile app, with just one click. This makes it very simple to make dashboards visible to more users no matter what device they are using.
In Acumatica, dashboards are built off of Generic Inquiries. One of the nice benefits of having that dashboard built right into Acumatica is when you drill into a dashboard widget. It actually brings you to that underlying Generic Inquiry that the widget is built on. Then you can then see all of the transaction details that make up those results in your dashboard.
Dashboards can consist of a widget, which could be like a KPI. There is charting plus all sorts of graphs. You can also include tables on your dashboard. There are many options as far as the type and presentation style of the data in the dashboards.
6) Activities – emailing and tasks with optional reminders
Another system-wide benefit of Acumatica is activity functionality. For every master record, for just about every single transaction in Acumatica, you have the ability to associate an activity with that record. An activity could be something as simple as recording a phone call you had with the customer or vendor. You can have that activity be visible on that particular record anytime you open it. Activities can be in the form of emails. If you initiate an email as an activity from the customer record, you’ll always have a record of that sent email. That is true for any transaction that you email to your customers or vendors. For example, if you email an invoice, there will be a history of that email in their customer record.
Along with activities, you can also create tasks for yourself. Tasks can be standard to-do items that you want the system to remind you of. You can set due dates, priorities. Tasks can be linked to records, so when the task pops up, not only do you have a reminder, you can see all the related data in that record.
7) Automation schedules – transactions/processes can be scheduled system-wide.
Automation schedules are really powerful if you want to automate certain tasks within the system. An example of an automation schedule may be that you want your customer invoice emails for a particular day to automatically be sent. You can set up a schedule, and it will go ahead and email all your customers the invoices that were generated for the day. Automation schedules can be set up to release transactions. In the Dynamics GP world, that is equivalent to posting transactions. So, instead of relying on users to remember to post their transactions, as they do in Dynamics GP, you can set up schedules so that transactions for a particular day or time period can be released automatically on a defined schedule. Basically, anything that you have to do manually inside the system, you can set up a schedule to automatically do that for you.
8) Business events
In Acumatica, Business Events are a way to alert users of certain things that have happened in your system. An example of a business event could be that you have a new lead that came into your system. It could be a lead that came in through an integration, perhaps from your website, or it could be a lead that someone entered manually. You could have a business event that sends out an e-mail or a text to the sales contact notifying them that they have a new lead to follow up on. Basically, you can set up alerts to let people know about anything that happens in your system. One of our clients is using Business Events to alert the salesperson when a lead or opportunity is assigned to them. In this case, it does not need to be a new lead, just something that is now assigned to that salesperson, so it does not get missed.
In this case, Dynamics GP does not have a comparable feature.
Attributes in Acumatica are equivalent to User-Defined fields in Dynamics GP. In Dynamics GP user-defined fields are allowed on some forms, some windows, but they are restricted and limited. Acumatica allows user-defined fields, or attributes, on most records, whether a transaction or a master file, meaning a customer and vendor or an item. And where they are allowed, you can set up an unlimited number of attributes or user-defined fields. In my opinion, that is a huge advantage of Acumatica.
In Dynamics GP, if you needed to have additional user-defined fields beyond what was included, you would either have to have our development team do a customization, or you would have to buy an add-on product, like Extender. Again, this is an additional cost with Dynamics GP for something that is included in the Acumatica core functionality.
10) Import Scenarios – no need to purchase additional products to integrate data
Import scenarios in Acumatica is an out of the box, free tool that allows you to integrate data into just about any single form in Acumatica. Acumatica provides you with a core set of import scenarios that anyone can utilize to import data into the system from a conversion perspective. But it is also easy to build your own import scenarios if you need to import data somewhere where Acumatica doesn’t provide an out of the box form. Or maybe you want to integrate data on an ongoing basis from an external system. In Acumatica, you can utilize import scenarios. Again, those import scenarios can be set up to run on an automated schedule as I talked about earlier.
In Microsoft Dynamics GP, the equivalent to an import scenario is Integration Manager. That is the tool that we, as Dynamics GP partners, use when we are implementing Dynamics GP for a new customer. Microsoft gives us access to Integration Manager for a limited number of days, then the license expires. So if you need to integrate data after that, or on an ongoing basis, then you would be required to purchase an integration manager license, which I think is $6000. That is a high cost just to be able to bring data into your system.
I believe that Import Scenarios in Acumatica, which is free, is much more flexible and richer in functionality than Integration Manager for Dynamics GP. Integration Manager is pretty limited in the forms that it allows you to bring data into. If you need to bring data into a form that is not supported by Integration Manager, you would have to ask our development team to build a custom integration. Or there are a couple of add-on tools available for purchase, Again, these are not easy to use compared with Import Scenarios and they are very costly.
11) Mobile app – visibility to dashboards and financial information from anywhere, anytime
The last system-wide feature is the mobile app. Acumatica has a mobile app that is available to users for no extra cost. As I indicated earlier, showing dashboards in the mobile app is done with just a click of a button. The same is true for your Generic Inquiries. You can easily turn on the checkbox that makes the Generic Inquiry visible in the mobile app. You don’t need an expensive developer to do that for you.
When it comes to actually doing work in the mobile app, it is strongest for the CRM and field service features in Acumatica. In the other areas, it is meant to view only. You can do some transactional processing, but it’s not as rich in functionality as we see in CRM and Field Service. The Acumatica mobile app is perfect for your executives and management team on the go. It gives them the visibility that they need to make intelligent decisions based on what’s going on in their business right from their mobile devices.
Dynamics GP does not have a feature like this, there is no mobile app whatsoever.
As I mentioned, my next post will look at Acumatica Generic Inquiries versus Dynamics GP Smartlists, and then I will compare Acumatica versus Dynamics GP General Ledger features.
By Stacey Poll, Senior Implementation/Training Advisor, CAL Business Solutions, Acumatica, and Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner, www.calszone.com