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vcfo: Project Accounting and Replacing Dynamics SL with Acumatica

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

Virtual CFO (vcfo, Inc.) offers its customers virtual finance, HR, and recruiting services. They used Microsoft Dynamics SL as their ERP for many years and decided in 2019 to switch to Acumatica. Their primary driver for a new ERP was to modernize and move to a true cloud-based ERP, since Microsoft Dynamics SL was a client-server architecture that was not easily accessible using a web browser. Many of vcfo's staff works remotely, so moving to the cloud was a top priority. Acumatica was a compelling choice because Acumatica's founders originally built Dynamics SL, resulting in many similarities between the two ERPs that gave vcfo a level of comfort. In addition, Acumatica had many new features that were lacking in Dynamics SL that solve vcfo's current pain points.

In addition to providing true web-based access through a browser, vcfo was able to solve the following pain points by switching to Acumatica:

  • Simplified Time and Expense Entry and Approval: vcfo was using Chrome River to enter time and expenses and used file transfers to export/import data weekly into Dynamics SL. Although Chrome River provided a web-based interface, it did not have all the necessary checks and balances to validate that time was entered correctly. This resulted in program managers manually reviewing the imported data to validate hours and billing rates. By switching to Acumatica Time and Expense, time and expense entry became easier, data was validated upon entry, and program managers could approve and validate data more easily. We even extended Acumatica using the Google Maps API to allow users to visually record mileage for travel reimbursement on a map (a feature that Chrome River had that vcfo's staff really enjoyed).

  • Simplified Invoicing: In Dynamics SL, there was no easy way to review and approve invoices before they were generated. If issues with time cards or billing rates were discovered after the invoices were generated, credit memos had to be manually created and then applied to the incorrect invoices which happened quite often. In addition, Dynamics SL had no way to print notes from the time cards on invoices, so invoices were exported as PDFs and combined with a time card notes report (using a product called Liaison) before emailing invoices to customers. This resulted in a long, multi-step process to generate invoices, which occurs weekly. By switching to Acumatica, vcfo was able to take advantage of proformas to review and approve invoices and make adjustments before releasing the final invoice to the customer. In addition, Acumatica was able to natively print the time card notes on the invoices, eliminating the need for yet another integration with Liaison.

  • Consolidated Billing: In Dynamics SL, when a customer purchased multiple services from vcfo (e.g. financial services and HR services), they were forced to create duplicate customer records due to an accounting limitation. This resulted in the customer receiving multiple invoices for each service line, which caused confusion for both customers and vcfo's accounting staff. By switching to Acumatica, we were able to merge these duplicate customers and create multiple projects under the same customer, and then we customized Acumatica to consolidate the invoices so customers only received one invoice per month across all projects containing vcfo services.

  • Dashboards and Reports: In Dynamics SL, reporting was weak and dashboards were non-existent. To compensate, vcfo connected Dynamics SL to Microsoft's Power BI tools to create reports and dashboards. By switching to Acumatica, many of these dashboards and reports were available natively, and they could be easily modified to match what was built in Power BI. And because Acumatica has a native integration to Power BI, vcfo was able to reuse their Power BI reports and dashboards and expose them directly within Acumatica. This brought all dashboards and reports into one application, making it easier for users to get the information they need.

  • Integrated CRM: vcfo was using Salesforce CRM and was integrating it manually with Dynamics SL using files. This caused many issues, including incomplete or outdated data. By switching to Acumatica, vcfo was able to replace Salesforce and institute more rigid rules around sales automation and workflow and eliminated the need to integrate another system. Now vcfo can actively target new prospects, existing customers, and even previously active customers with the desired campaigns based upon the status of the customer and the current set of services being provided.

vcfo initially launched Acumatica using the CRM, only. This allowed them to start phasing out Salesforce and start gaining some return on their Acumatica investment while continuing to work on their ERP launch. Shortly after, they launched the ERP portion of Acumatica and replaced Dynamics SL.

vcfo has future plans to launch an integration with HubSpot, a custom integration to an internal portal used to manage project workflow and tasks, and a connection to ADP for exchanging employee and payroll data with Acumatica. As vcfo continues to use their system, they discover new features and additional things that they would like to do with their system, and we work with them to continually improve their business process and automations. This approach aligns very well with our Continuous Engagement Model, getting a system up and running quickly and then continually adding and building upon it.

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