Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm Hungry. For GP.

So I read about Mark Polino's new Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Cookbook through several of the GP blogs, including, naturally, Mark's own blog which does a great job of highlighting tasty morsels of GP goodness cooked up by MVPs and other top GP chefs.

As soon as I heard about the book, I got in touch with the good folks at Packt Publishing and pleaded for a review copy as soon as it was available. 

Unfortunately, I was a little bit ambitious.  Between the in-laws visiting from China and my wife getting ready to have our second child in the next few weeks while my two year old demands more Dora,things have been hectic, to say the least. (Insane, perhaps?)  I received the book, all shiny and crisp, but it had to sit on my desk for a few weeks until my sanity levels returned to normal.

So, finally, at 4:30am this morning, after I dropped off the in laws to go on a Las Vegas + Grand Canyon tour, I figured it was the perfect, and rare quiet opportunity to finally give The Cookbook the time that it deserved.

First, the "Cookbook" title is excellent, as it is written from the perspective of the user who wants to use GP.  It isn't a dry or tedious reference manual that needs to be studied and digested (pun!).  It's a book with great suggestions on actually using GP, getting the most out of GP, and pointing out those features that many users never knew existed, but would make their lives so much easier.

For example, have you configured My Reports?  Or are you still wasting time navigating through the Reports menu while taking a call on your rotary phone?

And did you know that there is a way to fix AutoComplete errors without having to clear all of the AutoComplete entries?  Seriously?  I just learned about that from The Cookbook, and honestly I'm a bit embarrassed.  With all of the repetitive entry I have to do for testing, and with all of the mistakes I make doing that data entry, I need this feature!

Hmmm, do you know how to quickly and fully create new inventory items without having to go into the 5 or 6 windows required to fully setup a new item?  Page 69 has step by step instructions on how and when to use this feature that, trust me, will save a lot of time.

Are you wasting time waiting for data to export from SmartLists into Excel?  Pages 138 - 154 offer three great ways to bypass SmartLists and get your data directly into Excel, which is especially powerful for users who regularly need to extract thousands of records out of GP.  I've had clients that regularly exported over 100,000 records from GP for analysis in Excel, so whenever I see someone try and export more than 1,000 records, I definitely recommend one or two of the approaches Mark has laid out in detail in his Cookbook (and I just learned about a new one!).

And to wrap up my early morning review, I see that The Cookbook dutifully covers how to use the Reconcile to GL feature.  I can't count the number of times I've received calls from clients who discovered that their subledgers don't tie to their trial balance.  They don't know where to start, or understand how to perform the subledger reconciliation in GP.  This is a process that every consultant or accounting manager should be familiar with.

Even if you think you know everything about GP (in which case you are fooling yourself), this book at a minimum reminds you of many features and functions that you may have forgotten or not used in a while.  Collectively, the valuable and concise content on the 297 pages will provide value to you and your organization.

If you have invested in Dynamics GP, you've already spent thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars in software, consulting, and training.  And I'll bet that the Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Cookbook will humble you once you realize how many useful features there are in GP that you haven't bothered to use or that you never even knew about.  It's well worth the investment and should be standard issue for any consultant or GP customer.   

In fact, for you consultants out there, it would be a great gift for your clients, and a great excuse to visit them and have a conversation to discuss if they are using GP as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Hats off to Mark for putting together such a valuable handbook for the GP community!

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