Best Project Accounting Reports for Microsoft Dynamics SL

This article will explore the intricacies of project accounting reports for Microsoft Dynamics SL customers, in the context of shopping for the right reporting tool to meet your team’s business needs.

Project accounting is different from standard accounting in its approach to how you are tracking financials.  In traditional accounting, you are working to evaluate comprehensive development of an organization.  With project accounting, you are analyzing the progress of a specific project.  The project accounting software marketplace is offering more and more advanced functionality for industries and particular organizations that are charged with monitoring the productivity and financial health of a project, especially in comparison with the budget.  This article will explore project accounting for Microsoft Dynamics SL, in the context of key considerations when searching for the right tool to assist in your reporting and analysis of projects.

Project accounting solutions help to track pertinent information for projects.  Today’s analytics can clarify what exactly makes a project profitable, how to streamline workflow, and where costs can be decreased.  Much like most analytics, project accounting uses comparisons of expenses and projections to keep project managers, consultants, and other involved personnel engaged with the responsibility of financial goals (and agreed upon proposals).  As costs become higher than estimated, modern software alerts the team, so they can assess the situation and take the appropriate action to meet the expectations of the project.  Projects may vary by industry, but there are some aspects that project accounting solutions are responding to, with features and functionalities for today’s accountants.

Project accounting is unique, compared to standard accounting, in plenty of ways, but one of those is the periods of time.  Standard accounting usually deals with month-end, quarter-end, or the typical year-end deadlines that speak to the fixed periods of time where financials are measured.  However, projects can be a variety of lengths – and can even be a part of a larger, overarching project.  As an example, if you are working on a project using Microsoft Dynamics SL, let’s say that you are working on implementing your Business Intelligence (BI) software for a new client.  One job under the overarching project might be the data warehouse deployment, which would include extracting, transforming, and loading (ETL) the client’s company information from their data sources.  Another project might involve bringing a consultant in to set up reporting and budgeting capabilities, to include training of business end users. Approaching accounting by managing project financials is completely its own method.

Tracking finances within a project can seem completely different.  First of all, in the reality of varying time periods, the budget can change numerous times and in drastic ways.  The best project accounting report writing tools are flexible in their response to the changes that can pop up at any point in the project.  Also, project expenses and revenues might be additionally allocated into a work breakdown structure (WBS).  The benefits of project accounting involve the ability to zoom in on the intricacies of specific projects.

Project accounting empowers finance professionals to precisely evaluate the return on investment of singular projects, which translates to accurate measurements of specific performance.  Project managers can then more specifically pinpoint actual versus projection cost variances, which creates a positive domino effect.  Closely monitoring and recording one project influences the accuracy and fine-tuning of future projects, in regard to revenue, costs, activities, and labor.  Additionally, the experience of particular projects can inform the decision-making process of which projects to take on in the future.  But what should you consider in regard to project accounting solutions that apply specifically to your Microsoft Dynamics SL experience?

First of all, you are going to want a financial reporting solution that can connect live to the Project tables in Dynamics SL.  Connecting directly to the Project tables in SL allows you access to all project dimensions and fields for rich, robust reporting.  If you can load the project data from Dynamics SL to a data warehouse or an online analytical processing (OLAP) cube, you can achieve faster response times, but that’s not all.  You can also bring in additional types of company information from other data sources, such as payroll or customer relationship management systems, for even richer reports and dashboards.  And there’s more to consider if you are managing projects using Microsoft Dynamics SL.

If your company is project-driven in your business, whether that’s advertising, construction, engineering, law, and/or software development amongst others, the Dynamics SL project module is where it’s at.  More specifically, it is the ERP module with the most important information about your business, so great reporting is key, even with dashboards.  This will allow you to look at things like billable hours, expenses, and revenues per employee, per project, per client or customer.  You also review profitability per project and customer, and so on.  This module allows you to slice and dice the information to look at performance, costs, and revenues as well as utilization of resources.  There’s a lot to consider when it comes to project accounting, but if your company relies on this approach, it is worth your time, energy, and money.

As third party Business Intelligence (BI) analytics software continues to become more prominent in the business world, you should be considering your options to accelerate, streamline, and upgrade your financial and project reporting capabilities.  You are going to want to look for a business user friendly product, preferably a modern Excel add-in that responds to your specific project reporting and budgeting needs, possibly with a web and mobile front-end for project managers in remote locations.  Robust flexibility and power should be top priorities, and as I mentioned previously, a live integration is important, but hybridity with the option to integrate live to/from Dynamics SL and a BI data store, like a data warehouse is an affordable luxury to some and a necessity to others.  With so much to evaluate, consider, and shop around for, Solver would be happy to answer questions and generally review BI360’s easy-to-use, Excel and web-based financial reporting solution, with project accounting features and functionality, for collaborative, streamlined decision-making capabilities.

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