If your business is currently using the Great Plains software by Microsoft Dynamics and you have numerous divisions, entities, or locations to contend with, you should consider upgrading your financial software to Sage Intacct. Today, a large number of businesses rely on cost-intensive accounting systems that can only be accessed on-site, which worsens productivity and costs an ample sum of money to maintain. Over a lengthy period of time, a company’s IT ecosystem would be vulnerable, out-of-date, and expensive.
Businesses that want to continue to grow should take another look at their existing systems to determine if an upgrade will be advantageous. Upgrading to a more modern and robust solution offers many tangible benefits as long as you select a cloud-based system. One solution to consider is Sage Intacct, which is a cloud-based solution that offers many modern features that can help companies maintain a cost-effective accounting system. This guide compares Great Plains to Sage Intacct in such areas as dimension tracking, analytics and reporting, and multi-entity accounting.
What Is Great Plains?
Microsoft Dynamics GP is a type of accounting software that was designed to be used by small or medium-sized businesses. The software was first developed by Great Plains Software before they were acquired in 2001 by Microsoft.
This particular piece of software provides businesses with applications involving supply chain management, manufacturing planning, IT management, compliance, collaboration, supply chain management, and business intelligence. It’s also possible for Great Plains to be integrated with numerous applications from third-party software vendors. This software can be paired with .NET and Microsoft Windows.
What Is Sage Intacct?
Sage Intacct is a cloud-based system that offers the latest accounting capabilities for a robust financial management system.
This software is relatively complex, which is why it’s ideal for midsize businesses or smaller companies that are expecting to grow quickly. These businesses should have an in-house accountant or finance team that understands how to properly use the software and maximize its offerings.
Dimensions tracking isn’t automatically available with the Great Plains software. The issue with Great Plains is that it’s an on-premise solution that uses a “hardcoding” mechanism when new accounts are added to a general ledger. Because of how GP functions, segments like 0’s and dashes must be added manually, which is time-consuming for everyone involved. The final chart of accounts can also be lengthy and difficult to understand.
Accounting professionals also find that combining segment values based entirely on certain segment attributes can be challenging. Because of the limited out-of-the-box functionality provided by the Great Plains software, businesses are tasked with obtaining third-party software solutions that can be integrated with GP to implement complex scripting or custom fields. Keep in mind that adding custom fields doesn’t entirely resolve the issue. You’ll still be expected to manually add these fields to the reports you create.
Sage Intacct offers a dimensions feature that allows companies to view profits and losses in a streamlined manner. Tagging transactions is also made easier. When a transaction is placed in a subledger, it can be tagged with any dimensions that relate to the transaction, which include everything from vendor and customers to employees and location. There are dozens of tags that can be added to any transaction in a subledger.
These dimensions can also be used to properly tag additional transactions that have already been placed in the subledger. Once these updates are made, the changes will automatically be applied to the general ledger, which allows you to produce reports that display expenses and revenues by dimensions as opposed to “revenue by customer” and “expense by vendor”. Adding dimensions provides a certain amount of visibility to accounting data.
The core architecture of the Great Plains software makes the development and further maintenance of multi-entity structure much more challenging than it should be. In order to add new entities, an entirely new database must be made. The system for the entity will need to be reimplemented as well. In order to add a segment value or new segment, the account mapping and setup process can take hours or days to complete. Even if the segment value is as simple as a new location, there’s no way to streamline the process.
In this scenario, your business will be required to maintain multiple databases that are independent from one another. Depending on the size of these databases, multiple servers may need to be placed on-site. Since these entities are separate, it’s difficult for them to speak to one another unless third-party software solutions are used for synchronization. Keep in mind that synchronization tools can be highly expensive when taking development and long-term support costs into account.
Sage Intacct uses a multi-entity architecture that’s unified and focuses on sharing definitions throughout all entities. It’s possible to develop and configure the behavior of an entity without issue. Once you make the decision to add entities, a new one can be created based on the setup that you’ve already done for another entity.
After several fields have been updated, the same settings can be applied to your new entity. By using this software for multi-entity accounting purposes, businesses will benefit from having a shared pool of currencies, customers and vendors, and chart of accounts. The consolidations module available with Sage Intacct allows for multi-entity consolidation at the click of a button.
Analytics and Reporting
The Great Plains software offers simple financial dashboards and reports that are unable to be updated in real time. Instead, these dashboards need to be refreshed manually or on a predetermined schedule. There are also notable limits on what you can show on a GP dashboard. The only way to obtain dashboard features that are close to the ones available with Sage Intacct is by using third-party software.
When it comes to financial reporting, Great Plains has a strong management reporter feature. However, you can’t use this feature to create operational reports. In this situation, you’ll again need to go to third parties to extend the operational reporting features available with the Great Plains software.
The dashboard feature provided by Sage Intacct delivers real-time and highly customizable insights into your company. Immediately after logging into your account, you’ll be able to view operating and financial info right when it updates. This information includes cash balances, P&L reports, and record views. You have full control over what types of information are displayed on your dashboard.
Clicking on your dashboard will allow you to view data in a more granular manner. All of this data is internally linked, which means that it can be displayed in seconds. You can also use this dashboard to develop KPIs for your business.
As for reporting, Sage Intacct offers a QuickStart Financials solution that provides users with as many as 28 financial, operational, and management reports. The types of reports you can access depends on the industry your business is operating out of. All reports can be copied or edited when required. Users who have access to this system have the tools needed to create custom reports without needing to use third-party software.
The Future of Great Plains vs Sage Intacct
When comparing software solutions, it’s important to consider what the future of each platform looks like. Software that seems ideal today may soon become obsolete, which could force users to switch platforms if the software stops receiving ongoing developer support or cannot keep up with modern features.
Microsoft developed Great Plains for over two decades as a server-based platform, but most professionals agree that it’s approaching the end of its life. Today, those companies utilizing Great Plains have two options; migrate to Microsoft Dynamics or switch to another product.. Sage Intacct, which is one of the leading alternative products, is significantly more modern, flexible, and user friendly as demonstrated by the reviews on G2, Gartner and the fact it is the only ERP sponsored by the AICPA.
While Microsoft will continue supporting Great Plains in the coming years, its popularity continues to decline. Great Plains is no longer a viable solution for most. If your company is looking to modernize it’s ERP software to a more flexible and less obsolete solution, consider choosing Sage Intacct over Microsoft.
Sage Intacct is an advanced, cloud-based solution that can help your business lower ownership costs while increasing your ability to grow and scale in the future. Since all data is stored on the cloud, businesses don’t need to pay for IT staff, hardware, or upgrades. The insights you gain from this software may assist you in improving productivity and efficiency.