Armanino Dynamics Blog

Armanino Dynamics Blog

Welcome to the Dynamics Blog hosted by the professionals at Armanino. This blog is about anything that may be helpful to others regarding Microsoft Dynamics' software. The topics can be anything from Microsoft Dynamics GP, AX, CRM, SharePoint, MAS 90/200, .NET development, accounting, compliance and more.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Billing and Revenue Recognition with Contract Administration in Dynamics GP

The Contract Administration module in Microsoft Dynamics GP allows you to easily manage your contracts with your customers. You can have multiple lines of detail contract items that can include inventory items and non-inventory items.

The Contract Administration module will automatically create billing schedules and revenue recognition schedules based on general contract attributes such as start date, end date, and billing frequency.

There are special billing and revenue recognition screens that allow you to process a large number of transactions at one time. As actual transactions are processed, the billing schedules and revenue recognition schedules are updated to show the current status of your contracts.

The image below shows the screen in which general contract information is entered. You specify the contract start and end dates, the billing frequency, and the day of the month to bill. You can also choose smooth billing and revenue recognition so that equal dollar amounts will be used each period; for example, if you started a contract in the middle of a month.

This shows an example of a contract that will generate deferred revenue because the billing frequency is quarterly.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Revenue Recognition Module - Multiple Sales Order Reallocation

Companies that sell multi-element arrangements must follow specific accounting guidelines under US GAAP. Armanino’s Revenue Recognition Management module for Dynamics AX provides the tools for companies to automate their revenue recognition routines. The real strengths of the module lie on the ability to set up a fair value price to all items, and use this price to reallocate revenue and to defer and amortize revenue, creating revenue recognition schedules for proper recognition.

The Revenue Recognition Management module has been implemented in many companies, and all of them have gained tremendous efficiency in this area.

On May 28, 2014, the FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) jointly issued a new revenue standard, IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers. In order to be up to date with the new guidelines, the Revenue Recognition Management module has been enhanced to allow the revenue to be reallocated across multiple Sales Orders. This way, the revenue can be recognized in a contract level rather than on an order by order basis.

If you wish to include additional orders to a revenue reallocation, you must select a Sales Order and click Manage action tab > Customer > Reallocate Multiple Orders. The new form will open with a list of all Sales Orders for the specific customer. The selected sales order will be already marked:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Power BI with Dynamics GP

Microsoft Power BI can easily be added to your Office 365 account. It allows an easy way to create graphs and dashboards, and provide online analysis to users.

You can get more information about Power BI here.

There are various ready-to-use data connectors already set up. For Dynamics GP, you can connect to your SQL database, or you can use refreshable Excel reports as I did. I chose to save my refreshable Excel report on my personal OneDrive associated with my Office 365 account. There are a few advantages to this:

  • I can use the existing SmartList objects to create and maintain my data set.
  • My data set is always available in the cloud.
  • I can refresh my data set whenever I wish.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Dynamics GP Active Directory Users Names Not Populating

Recently I ran into a situation where, no matter what I did, I could not populate the Active Directory names in either the Managers box or the Assignment fields in GP Workflow. I could use the “magnifying glass” icon to look up AD users perfectly fine. I could select one easily enough. However, when I pressed OK, the name would not appear in either of the two fields. The software would not recognize the name that I selected.

Initially, I thought it might be because I had installed GP on my virtual image before promoting the server to be a domain controller. (Making a GP server a domain controller is highly unadvised, mind you, but this was a demo image and an exception was made.) Thus, I even went to the extreme of uninstalling GP and re-installing. That didn't make a difference, much to my chagrin.

It turns out that the solution is much simpler. When you create a user ID in AD, you must provide three pieces of information: First Name, Last Name, and Display Name. In my case, my user did not have a Display Name. After all, it is optional in AD. For GP’s purposes, it is not. Once I added the Display Name, my Workflow fields worked as intended.

This same issue applies to when you tie an AD account to a GP user account or create a Web Client-Only account in the User area of Administration. You can’t do it unless you have those three pieces of information on the AD user account card.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tales from the Trenches: CRM On-Premises "Pre-Login Handshake" Installation Error

Recently, we encountered a roadblock when doing a fresh install of Dynamics CRM 2015 On-Premises. Everything looked good until the point when the installation process attempted to create the configuration database (MSCRM_CONFIG). The progress bar stopped, and after two minutes this error appeared:

System.Exception: Action Microsoft.Crm.Setup.Server.InstallConfigDatabaseAction failed. —> System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException: Connection Timeout Expired. The timeout period elapsed while attempting to consume the pre-login handshake acknowledgement

Our first thought was to check the SQL timeout. It was already set to 10 minutes. Because this error occurred much sooner than that, we knew the issue must lay elsewhere. Perhaps the Windows firewall? We were not at liberty to completely disable it, so we carefully re-reviewed the list of necessary ports for CRM 2015 and cross-referenced them against the current firewall exceptions. One of these ports caught our eye:

Clearly, the installation process was having difficulty accessing SQL Server to create the MSCRM_CONFIG database, so this made sense. Plus, it was not in the list of firewall exceptions! We created a new rule to allow inbound TCP traffic for Port 1433 and tried again. First, we had to uninstall because there were still traces remaining from the previous failed installation. Then we gave it another shot. SUCCESS!

Moral of the story: Make sure that all of the required ports are indeed open and available for CRM!

By Josh Briggs, Senior Consultant, Armanino's Dynamics CRM Practice

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Armanino Featured in Top 25 Most Powerful Microsoft Solution Providers

CIO Story recently published their Microsoft Technology Special 2015 which discusses the 25 most powerful Microsoft solution providers. As an industry solution leader for high tech and life sciences manufacturing and professional services, Armanino was featured in the issue.

Having successfully implemented over 1,000 deployments of cloud and on-premise solutions to improve processes across all parts of businesses in these industries, Armanino's consulting department was highlighted for their ability to support fast-growing companies.

With multiple integration packs and experienced industry experts, technology thought leaders, and former finance leaders, the team understands the pain points facing CFOs every day. Tom Mescall, Partner-in-Charge of Armanino's consulting practice, was quoted in the article noting, "Our favorite clients are those that we help get to the next level, whether they are expanding operations or expanding top-line revenue. These clients have recognized that growth comes from a solid strategy, executing and utilizing technology in more and better ways than they have in the past."

Check out the full article from CIO Story's Microsoft Technology Special 2015 and learn more about Armanino consulting for Microsoft Dynamics.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Update Rollup 3 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Service Pack 1 is now available!


On April 16, 2015, Microsoft released Update Rollup* 3 for Service Pack 1 for Dynamics CRM 2013. The shortcut name is SP1 UR3; however, it might be easier to refer to this (and future updates) by their Build number, which in this case is 06.01.0003.0119.

On-Premises customers can download SP1 from this page. A complete list of the 60+ fixes can be found near the bottom of this page. The most significant fix addresses the removal of the showModalDialog function from Google Chrome. Several other fixes that have bedeviled our clients include:
  • If the Sales Professional Connection Role is deleted, it is no longer possible to remove Sales Team members from an Opportunity.
  • Intermittent (generally non-reproducible) InvalidCharacterError script error dialogs.
  • Printer prompts for 8.3” (?) x 11” paper when printing a report created in Report Wizard.
  • When running a report in CRM Online or when executing a Sandboxed plugin, the report or plugin may fail with an exception similar to the following:

    System.Security.SecurityException: Microsoft Dynamics CRM has experienced an error. Reference number for administrators or support: #B944196D: System.Security.SecurityException: Either a required impersonation level was not provided, or the provided impersonation level is invalid.
Also, note that this update introduces support for the following additional products:
  • Apple OS X Yosemite (web client only)
  • Google Chrome version 37 and later
  • IE 12 (Compatibility Mode) (Best Effort Support only)
  • Windows 10
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP2
When in doubt, please refer to the comprehensive CRM 2013 compatibility list.

As always, I would suggest waiting a few weeks after the Update Rollup is deployed to allow for thorough testing before implementing it into your production environment.

*Astute readers may recall that, earlier this month, I announced the first Update Rollup for Dynamics CRM 2015. I also reiterated Microsoft’s statement that these will henceforth be referred to as “Updates” rather than “Update Rollups”. Why then is this package Update Rollup 3 et cetera rather than simply Update 3 et cetera? That is an excellent question, but only Microsoft can answer it.

By Greg Lief, Senior Developer, Armanino's Microsoft Dynamics CRM Practice

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Streamline Your Role with Automated Reporting

Last week we looked at using standard Excel capabilities with data cubes to produce a sales dashboard (Utilizing Data Cubes for Business Intelligence Best Practices). This week, I will cover XLPublisher, an Excel add-in that can read information from Microsoft, Oracle (Hyperion) Essbase, or TM1 cubes. It allows a user to create calculations, link multiple cubes together, and apply formatting that’s necessary for boardroom-quality reports and dashboards.

Accountants will frequently have pivot tables connected to a cube to pull data. From there, they have separate worksheets that group and layout the data the way they want often times using VLOOKUP, SUMIF, and other calculations as well as apply formatting. The problem with this approach is that you have now introduced into the process manual manipulation, the potential for human error, and time spent assembling manual reports. XLPublisher allows for these manual activities to be automated by allowing power users to create calculations and apply the needed formatting in one single step.

The first screenshot below is an example of an Income Statement from a month-end report pack. This report includes many calculations (e.g. ‘+/-%’, YTD) that will automatically refresh at report run-time. You will also notice the use of formatting (e.g. bolded column headers, empty rows, borders) to get the report the way you want the first time!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Is Now the Time to Upgrade Your ERP?

We've been running into a number of companies looking to move from Avante, a legacy ERP from Epicor that was popular with technology manufacturers in years past. Most are already looking to upgrade or will start looking within the next year. Admittedly, ERP implementations are no small matter and companies tend put off upgrading until the last minute due to the cost and impact on internal resources. Older instances of ERP, such as Avante and Vantage, are nearing (or already at the end) of their shelf lives and support dates, and can’t keep up with newer systems that are supported and can be customized to fit more modern business needs. 

Some factors driving organizations to overhaul their older ERP systems and seek a new system that supports high tech manufacturing nuances, include the risk of losing business data by running an unsupported system, lack of Windows compliance, and the increasingly cost-prohibitive nature of maintaining a legacy systems.

Some of the most tangible issues of running an older ERP include:
  • Inability to make even minor changes without specialized systems builder
  • Obsolete databases requiring heavy manual exports to spreadsheets and various workarounds to manipulate or transfer data
  • The need for numerous additional systems to fill the gaps left by a legacy ERP

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

First Update for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 is now available!

On Monday of this week, Microsoft released the Update Rollup 0.1 for Dynamics CRM 2015.  (From this point forward, these will be referred to as “Updates” with the version number, rather than “Update Rollups”).

On-Premises customers can download Update 0.1 from this page. A complete list of the 100+ fixes can be found near the bottom of that page as well. A significant portion of these fixes are related to mobile devices, including a dozen fixes for CRM for Tablets and ten more for Android 4.4 devices. However, the most significant fix addresses the removal of the showModalDialog function from Google Chrome.

As always, we suggest you wait a few weeks after Update 0.1 is deployed to allow for thorough testing before implementing it into your production environment.

Edit: Microsoft just released Update 1 for Dynamics CRM. It appears to be functionally the same as  Update 0.1 from Microsoft.

Discover more about Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

By Greg Lief, Senior Developer, Armanino's Dynamics CRM Practice