Great Plains, not great pains
Posted on February 23rd, 2016
By Chris Hadden, CPP
Technical Sales Manager
My family still does not understand why I take so many trips to Fargo, ND. I try to explain that not only are the people super friendly, but Fargo has turned into a bit of a tech hub.
No one ever believes me, that is until they visit for themselves.
This subject was recently discussed in Fortune’s December article: Inside Fargo, America’s Most Undervalued Tech Hub.
If Fargo had to limit itself to a single story, it would be that of Great Plains Software, a fledgling startup built by North Dakotan Doug Burgum over nearly two decades and acquired by Microsoft in 2001 for $1.1 billion. Today, Microsoft is located on the south side of town and has grown to four buildings with more than 1,500 employees—the company’s third-largest campus in North America.
This once fledgling startup continues to bring me to Fargo on a regular basis, and I’m certainly thankful for it.
Over the years, Great Plains (now officially known as Microsoft Dynamics GP), has grown a fantastic reputation of offering reliable accounting software, capable of supporting the most difficult accounting needs for a variety of business sizes. As many experts have said in the past, “GP is for when you graduate from Quick Books.” And with a network of thousands of Microsoft Partners across the country who are certified GP resellers specializing in an assortment of industries and business needs, Dynamics GP has seen consistent growth and high customer.
While Dynamics GP has not always been known as a go-to solution for payroll, times are changing, and so is the Payroll and Human Resources solution provided by Dynamics GP. Microsoft Dynamics made a change to their ERP licensing a couple of years ago, which helped change this image. Starting with Dynamics GP version 2013, the standard Payroll and HR module are now included in the core Dynamics GP purchase, at no extra charge. This new licensing model encouraged many GP users, who were previously outsourcing their payroll, or using a separate third party system, to take a second look. As a result, many of them were quite surprised with what they saw.
While running payroll in-house is not the right fit for every organization (more information on this at Deciding between in-house and outsourcing payroll), GP’s new licensing model makes running payroll in-house more cost effective than ever.
So, what does GP Payroll and HR have to offer?
Fully Integrated ERP system. Dynamics GP has always been known as a great accounting system and has thousands of users because of that. By leveraging your existing investment, Payroll and HR can be run seamlessly in one environment, with complete mappings to your General Ledger and account codes. No need to worry about any cumbersome import files or manual spreadsheets.
HR and Payroll are in sync. Many payroll and Human Resource systems are available in the market as standalone systems. Unfortunately, this leads to a double entry on multiple fronts and tedious cross analysis of company data. GP’s Payroll and HR modules are fully integrated, eliminating this concern entirely.
Fully integrated time-keeping systems available. An employee’s time can be manually entered or imported from a time tracking system. Import options allow for greater flexibility to work with the time-keeping systems you currently use to capture time and attendance if you would prefer to make no change.
Flexible customization options to meet each business’ unique needs. Dynamics GP is built in such a manner that it can be heavily configured and customized based on your needs. For example, users can customize pay, benefit, and deduction codes to suit your businesses’ individual needs.
An HRM Self-Service Suite. This addition is included to allow employees to submit timecards, request time off and enter or update personal information online. Advanced options are available from Greenshades and other fully integrated third party systems, which provide a more robust employee portal and time-keeping service.
reporting tool options. Tools include such options as the Excel Report Builder, SQL Reporting Services and an assortment of out-of-the-box reports, which can be utilized as is, or modified easily to fit your unique requirements.
Payroll tax support. State and federal tax updates are provided by annual maintenance plan, and the Federal magnetic media reporting format is provided. An integrated add-on is also available, including Local tax rate updates, auto-assignment of tax codes, and electronic payment and tax filing service.
Unlimited Employee Counts. This license covers an unlimited number of employees and states. Multiple company support is further provided by Binary Stream’s Multi-Entity Management product, allowing multiple company support from a single database setup.
Create and leverage dynamic communications. This includes such things as employee letters, and benefit and deduction letters, using Microsoft Office Word interface.
Did I mention, free? Once your payroll solution is up and running, updates are free as part of your GP maintenance plan, so there is very little, if any, on-going costs. This can save you thousands of dollars a year over outsourced payroll solutions.
Payroll direct deposit. Add payroll funds to employees’ bank, savings, and loan, or credit union accounts, through an automated clearing house (ACH) file.
Payroll connect. Automate data transfer from ADP/PC Payroll for Windows® into the General Ledger, using a solution that eliminates the need to re-enter data.
Unlimited Human Resources. Attract and retain top talent and offer employees better services with customizable hiring processes, scheduling, pay rates, and performance evaluation tools.
Position Control. Manage labor budgets and human resources based on specific job functions and a specific head count. Apply this data throughout the Human Resource and Payroll system to enforce the business rules and to manage the movement of human resources throughout the organization.
Need more? Advanced options are available:
Human Resource Advanced. Track critical health and wellness information to monitor the coverage of your employees’ health care and ensure government compliance. Manage employee certifications, and license and training requirements, to help your employees meet their potential and maximize the value they bring to the organization.
Payroll Advanced. Extend Payroll capabilities with Pay Policy Manager, Labor Accrual Manager, Advanced Labor Reporting, and Payroll Hours to General Ledger functionality.
PTO Manager. Manage complex, and changing, vacation and sick time policies quickly and accurately with an automated process
Benefit Self Service Suite. Reduce paperwork and manual entry by moving benefit processes online, including yearly benefits, change of status, and more.
Independent Software Vendor (ISV) support. Dynamics GP has levered businesses all over the country, with varying specialties, that offer integrations and programs that are designed and built specifically for Dynamics GP. Need an applicant tracking portal? There’s an ISV for that. Are you a staffing or temp organization? There’s an ISV for that, too. Have heavy manufacturing needs? Yes, you guessed it, there’s an ISV for that, too. This goes on and on…
No system is great without offering great support.
Great Dynamics GP community support, including online forums and documentation centers.
Wide Microsoft Partner support with a network of hundreds of certified Microsoft Dynamics Partners with varying specialties.
Professional organizations such as Great Plains User Group (GPUG).
Are you considering a payroll switch? If so, don’t miss out on taking a look at what Dynamics GP Payroll has to offer.
If you’re curious as to why we head to Fargo at least once a year, it is all about Dynamics GP.