Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Things to Consider- Chart of Accounts

During the course of a new implementation of Dynamics GP, we usually have a discussion surrounding the chart of accounts.  Do you want to change it? If so, how?  How well does it work for you today?  And clients sometimes vary in their willingness to explore changing it.  Some are open to discussion, to see how they might tweak it to better support their needs, while others are satisfied with what they use today.  From time to time, we also find ourselves discussing the chart of accounts structure with clients who have been on Dynamics GP for a number of years or even decades.  In those cases, the company may have grown and the reporting needs have also changed.

I thought it might be worthwhile to share some of my own discussion points when exploring the chart of accounts structure with both new and longtime Dynamics GP users.  So where do I start? I always start with the desired end result...Reporting! So let's start there, and then toss in all my other typical considerations...

  • What are the current and desired reporting needs?  How are reports divided/segmented (departmental, divisional, etc)?  Are the lowest levels for reporting represented in the chart of accounts today?  How about summary levels?  Do the summary levels change in terms of organization over time (so maybe they shouldn't be in the chart of accounts structure)? Is there reporting and/or other tracking in Excel that should be accommodated by the chart of accounts structure so that the reporting can be automated?
  • What about budgeting?  What level does budgeting occur at?  Is that represented? 
  • What about other analytics? Are the components available in the chart of accounts?  Are there statistical variables?  Are they in Dynamics GP as unit accounts?
  • How does payroll flow to the general ledger, does it align to the chart of accounts (e.g., departments, positions, codes, do they match up)?  Is there an expectation of payroll reporting from the general ledger in terms of benefit costs, employee costs, etc?  Are those levels represented in the chart of accounts?
  • Are your segments consistent?  Does a value in department mean the same thing across all accounts?  Or do you need to look at multiple segments to determine the meaning (e.g., department 10 with location 20 means something different than department 10 with location 40)?  Consistency is a goal whenever possible to facilitate reporting.
  • How about your main accounts?  Review a distinct list?  Are they logical, in order, and follow the norm (e.g., expenses in the 6000s)?  Is there room to add main accounts?  Are there duplicated/inconsistent main accounts?
  • Do you do allocations?  If so, how and by what factors?  Can we use fixed or variable allocations to facilitate in GP?  Do we have the needed components in the chart of accounts to determine what to allocate from and to?  Do you want to offset the allocation in separate accounts to see the in/out of the allocation?

Anything I missed?  Thoughts, comments?  Please share and I will update the list!

Christina Phillips is a Microsoft Certified Trainer and Dynamics GP Certified Professional. She is a director with BKD Technologies, providing training, support, and project management services to new and existing Microsoft Dynamics customers. This blog represents her views only, not those of her employer.

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