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  Migrating to SAP Business One from old Accounting Package Chicagoland and Atlanta, GA

Andrew Karasev

The homework is required. MRP and ERP packages are moving toward their standard features to be offered in core business logic. Second direction is openness to modifications and customizations. Applications are fighting with each other on the market place by offering user defined object creation directly via user interface and SAP B1 is not an exception

Below is the article originally written by Andrew Karasev our SAP BO consultant and technology guru

ERP applications have their life cycle which typically lasts about ten years. If you are working for small or mid-market organization and selecting new accounting software then good recommendation is to take a look at SAP B1. This is not a starter soft and the cost is higher comparing to QuickBooks or Sage Peach Tree. But you are getting the system which is customizable and open for managerial reporting via Crystal as the database platform is Microsoft SQL Server. There are options to deploy it in Cloud model. We however recommend you to host your server in-house as in this case the system is more open to all kinds of data integrations with external applications and bases. In this small publication we are reviewing the steps to close data entry in the old package and switch to Business One:

1. Master and historical records export. You definitely need to transfer such records as customers, addresses, vendors, inventory items and GL chart of accounts. Plus there might be a need to do historical documents conversion but in our opinion it is better to avoid it and keep old system for possible inquiries in the future. There are several methods to extract legacy data. If your legacy accounting is hosted in proprietary database then consider simply printing reports into text files with following cleansing in Excel, SQL Server or MS Access. It requires some skills and you typically need to weed out such ‘human interface lines’ as page header, number and blanks. This method was tested in exporting from QuickBooks for example. Second method is to establish ODBC connection to the old database and extract directly from tables. In this case you need to know tables and field names. They are usually described in old system guides and manuals

2. Preparing master records and beginning GL balances for initial import. Consider either entering General Ledger beginning balances for the beginning of your fiscal year and start using system from there. Another popular method is posting twelve months of previous year in the form of one GL transaction per month. In this case beginning balances for the current year are created automatically. Addresses, Items, Vendors and Customers are usually transferred via Data Transfer Workbench where you need to fill CSV templates. As we already mentioned above we do not recommend historical data conversion. If you really need it then talk to your consultant and be ready to set a budget for consulting hours

3. Forms and Reports. You should expect Balance Sheet and Statement of Profit and Loss to be available in the core functionality. With your company invoice and purchase order you typically have to modify the form – place your company logo is popular scenario

4. Self-study versus professional consulting. Of course every small company owner is optimistic and tries to review personally each business critical application. However the recommendation is to contract professional consulting firm to help you with the implementation, reporting and possible customizations

5. Now you are good to go with your new system. What else should you expect? ERP vendors have industry practice where they charge you every year for so-called ‘annual enhancement program’. Contract price is based on the software price list and it is typically below twenty percent per year. You are getting new version registration keys as well as access to technical support

At this point we think that we have covered the topic in brief. Let’s now take some popular questions:

Q. We are trying to export data from Great Plains DOS version 9.5 and seems like it is not an easy one. What are the options?
A. Of course it is the easiest to print reports into text files and go from there. However if you are looking for historical documents export then you need ODBC connection in MS Access or Pervasive SQL Control Center. In our opinion Pervasive SQL Control Center is better solution when you have millions of documents to be extracted. Table structure is coded in intuitive file names. There are nuances however. For example Btrieve architecture requires DDF files to be generated and specified in ODBC connection. Please read your GPA ODBC manual for further details

Q. For us Business One is natural choice as we are expanding internationally with subsidiaries in China, Russia and Brazil. We realized that this application has features of small business accounting. But it is translated to the majority of world languages including Chinese, Russian and Brazilian Portuguese. We are mid-market company with attributes of multinational corporation. Could you share your opinion on maximal number of users and transactions?
A. SAP itself recommended this software in the scenario where you have up to one or even two hundred named users. We believe that accounting departments even in upper mid-market sector are smaller. MS SQL Server is ‘solid rock’ and you can consider such technologies as SQL clusters to further boost performance and reliability if required

Q. We are trying to do our ‘due diligence’ and compare all major ERP packages available from SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, Sage and Oracle. This seems to be a ‘tough job’. Our specifications are quite simple but we are not sure about such technologies as ‘Cloud’, Citrix, SQL platform and web interface. What is your couple of cents?
A. In consulting community we have a saying that the prospect who is trying to review everything is unlikely to become our customer. This might be one of the reasons why your chosen consulting partners are losing interest to your project and reluctant to give you free executive and technical presentations. If your requirements are simple then pretty much every package should be able to do the job. Try to do your homework by reading whitepapers and articles on the internet

Q. We have a tough case moving to Sao Paulo and opening the office in Campinas business park. Brazilian SPED (Public Digital Bookkeeping System) seems to be realized for SB1 but the price for the add-on is about five thousand US dollars. Is it what we have to pay?
A. Probably the answer is ‘yes’. SPED module is pretty successful and it saves you the money to report via CPA firm every month

Please call us 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904, help@efaru.com. We have local presence in Chicagoland, Southern California, Atlanta Georgia, South West Michigan, Houston and Dallas areas of Texas. We serve customers USA and Canada nationwide and internationally via web sessions and phone conferences (Skype is welcomed). We are working on Brazilian ERP consulting market in Sao Paulo since 2004

Andrew Karasev is SAP BO consultant and Great Plains Certified Master, MVP, help@efaru.com 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904. He is also the initiator of eFaru project http://www.efaru.com and founder of Alba Spectrum information space. Faru Corporation is join venture with M2-D2 http://www.m2-d2.com We have strong connection to our Software Development Factory in Sao Paulo, Brazil

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