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  • Why so many people love Dynamics Business Central / Dynamics NAV

    Most Business Central clients engage their Microsoft partner to configure and adapt BC to handle more than the standard out-of-the-box accounting and ERP functionality. They ask for added fields, tables, unique features, and processes enabling them to reduce their dependence on spreadsheets and other applications beyond accounting. It's not long before BC fits them like a Nicks custom boot, and they can't imagine ever being without it. Soon after, they realize Business Central can be a platform for transforming departments company-wide, and they re-engage their partner to do so... achieving more than they originally thought was possible. This is Nirvana for all involved. ​ But given the numerous ERP products available today, how did they know to choose Business Central in the first place?  We have identified many reasons our clients have differentiated BC from the masses and made the ultimate decision to choose BC... never having to look back and question their decision. Can you imagine being that confident in your ERP decision? Why our clients love Business Central:

  • Oilfield industry challenges solved by Microsoft Business Central & ofsERP, enabling you to compete smarter and act faster.

    Numerous non-integrated software applications and islands of data. The complexities of many lines of business serving the oilfield require brilliant and innovative engineering solutions to solve numerous technical and safety challenges. Most OFS providers have already solved these challenges. But even the non-technical business side of the equation often has unique requirements to manage various workflows and capture detailed information. These are way beyond the capabilities of the financial and ERP software which suffices for many companies outside the industry.Depending on the line of business, OFS software must be able to provide equipment asset management, consumable inventory, cradle-to-grave tracking and usage, inspections, equipment rental and returns, customer specific pricing, scheduling, field services, paperless e-ticketing, repair and preventative maintenance, integration with Open Invoice, customer portals, and more. ​ When these systems are disconnected, workflow inefficiencies, mistakes, and labor costs skyrocket. The costs result both to handle the duplicate entry and to report on real-time business performance. Poor visibility affects decision making, unidentified and unsolved problems began to erode the bottom line and hamper growth. ​ Further compounding these challenges are the complexities of changing external regulatory and customer requirements. Operators impose their own unique requirements for field ticket and invoice documentation often resulting in heavy use of spreadsheets, silos of data, and higher labor costs. Difficulty tracking whereabouts of equipment & tools... too many lost. Often, tools and smaller equipment are lost on a job site, but these can still be expensive. Sometimes even large earthmoving equipment is left behind, with no one remembering where it was last used. This can obviously be quite costly. Without an easy-to-use system that provides visibility when something is deployed, moved, and returned, the whereabouts of equipment and tools are often unknown. Replacements are often purchased unnecessarily, when they could have been retrieved from a customer site, or nearby yard. ​ An integrated software solution should provide full visibility of equipment, tools, and inventory supplies at every location and job site, virtually eliminate these losses, and help protect your bottom line. Field ticket & delivery ticket requirements. For many oilfield services companies, customers will only pay for invoices that are supported by the documentation of work performed, properly coded, and signed by a company representative. If tickets are paper-based and handwritten or if the accounting, invoicing, field ticketing and expense systems are disconnected, staff must try to decipher and re-enter the tickets manually. This results in mistakes, delayed billing and additional clerical labor. The toll on the staff who are busy trying to reconcile silos of information is significant. And pre-approval of ticket, pricing, and invoices become a major effort. ​ Each customer / operator has their own Ticket requirements to support billing. The fallback solution of using spreadsheets for tickets is still prone to errors in pricing, choosing the right serial numbers, service codes, etc. Delays in billing customers means cashflow suffers. If you don’t know about an issue until a month goes by, it causes more work for your team. And field tickets that are not discovered until a month later often cannot be billed. Overcome oilfield services challenges with ofsERP ofsERP extends the capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC), to solve all of these challenges. Imagine a complete industry business management software with all the advantages of Microsoft, where everything works seamlessly together. Equipment Asset Management Preventative Maintenance and Repair Field Service with eTickets Equipment Rental Inspections Robust accounting/ERP features of Dynamics BC Our dedication and expertise increasing efficiencies for Oilfield Service providers. We bring over a decade of hands-on experience solving the challenges faced by oilfield service providers, large and small, and across many sectors within it.We’ll suggest best practices to improve efficiencies and help you compete better in a fierce market. ​ If you are feeling the sting of disconnected systems, manual processes and workflow inefficiencies, contact us today.

  • Maximizing Cash Flow in Field Service: The Power of Automation (May, 2024 revised)

    Cash flow can make or break a business. For many field service providers, a significant barrier to achieving healthy cash flow lies in the time it takes to get paid for services rendered in the field. This challenge is especially pronounced in industries like oilfield services, where customers and operators impose intricate and unique requirements for verifying work before releasing payment. These requirements can range from obtaining signatures, special stamps or coding on field tickets, to requiring invoice packages in which signed field or delivery tickets with images, all need to be separated and sorted according to the customers' specifications and uploaded through designated portals. The Challenges with Manual Billing To meet customer demands, many oilfield service providers still perform the invoicing process manually, without fully realizing the impact this can have on cash flow and its ability to finance the growth of the Business. When the invoicing and billing process is automated, cash flow can increase significantly, without requiring any change in the customers' payment behavior. Let's take a deeper dive into the challenges posed by manual billing and how automation can be a lifeboat to struggling businesses or a catalyst for growth. Deciphering Handwritten Field Information Field service providers often use handwritten field tickets describing the work performed in the field, the equipment used, the inventory consumed, the expenses incurred, and the labor hours expended. This information is often necessary for billing, equipment maintenance, etc. yet when handwritten, can be notoriously difficult to read. Translating them into an understandable format is not only time-consuming and an inefficient use of staff labor. It is also mistake prone, especially if field personnel are trying to assign the correct billing codes for the work performed, apply customer-specific pricing – all from memory. Data Entry Issues Once deciphered, the field data must be meticulously entered into internal ticketing or invoicing systems and those of their customers. This step alone can consume countless hours, especially when dealing with a high volume of transactions. As the company grows, the billing department grows with it. The risk of data entry errors looms large, potentially leading to invoicing discrepancies and customer disputes We’ve seen clients with drawers stuffed with handwritten field tickets, waiting to be entered and invoiced. They had been set aside since more research and correction was needed before they could be sent to the customer. Some were over 2 months old.  When invoices are finally prepared (late) and billed to the customer, it’s not just cash flow that suffers, but also revenue since late invoices are more difficult to collect. Cross-Referencing Complex Agreements The complexity of customer agreements is another hurdle. Billing teams must cross-reference pricing and service agreements to ensure accurate invoicing. Any deviations from these agreements can lead to disputes and delayed payments. Crafting Invoices from Excel or Word Creating invoices with Word or Excel is also a labor-intensive process. After invoices are created, they must still be entered into the customer’s ticket and/or invoice systems, as well as into an internal accounting system to track accounts receivable, revenue, taxes, aging and payments. This manual approach not only increases the risk of errors but also consumes valuable time unnecessarily. Uploading to Customer Portals Many customers and operators insist on invoices being uploaded to their designated portals. This requirement necessitates extra steps, often involving additional data entry and document management. Failing to meet these portal requirements can result in payment delays and customers frustrated for not having timely information on the work performed at their sites. The Promise of Automation Thankfully, for most oilfield service providers, a solution lies in automating the field ticket and invoice preparation and delivery/billing process. Despite skepticism from some quarters about the material impact of automation, or concerns about the complexity of their billing processes, the reality is that software available today can automate most billing processes to the point of removing days or weeks out of this process. CBSi's ofsERP® extension for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Essentials has demonstrated remarkable success in automating billing processes, from the simplest to the most intricate. Real-world results: The CFO of an oilfield services client referred to the results of our invoice automation preparing custom invoicing packages meeting the needs of his large clients a “Game-changer!” as his company grew from ~$18m to ~$100m in revenue, without a corresponding increase in his billing department. Another OFS client told us that the number of days they were able to shave off the invoicing process (1) increased cash flow in the 1st 12 months by an amount far exceeding the total investment with us in software licensing, data migration, and implementation, and (2) enabled him to confidently reduce his line of credit, saving ~$200,000 in annual interest expense. Reduced Operational Costs One of the immediate financial benefits of automation is a reduction in operational costs. With manual processes, you often need a larger billing team to handle the workload as you grow. Automation streamlines tasks, allowing you to allocate resources more efficiently and trim unnecessary overhead expenses. Faster Payment Collection Automation accelerates the entire invoicing and billing processes in scenarios in which the terms of a sale are based on Net terms (not prepaid, or contractually defined otherwise). Invoices can be generated quickly and accurately from electronic field tickets, delivery tickets, or other sources, and can often reach your customers with an invoice date days or weeks earlier than with the manual process. In this example, field service work is performed on payment terms of Net 30 days after the invoice date, for a customer who typically pays 10 days late, 40 days after the invoice date. If you can honestly and ethically generate a proper invoice dated 15 days earlier, then you will be paid 15 days earlier (all other variables remain the same). The customer can continue to pay 10 days late, 40 days after the date of the invoice, but he will be paying 15 days earlier than he paid previously. I say “honestly, ethically, and according to financial accounting standards” because we’re not suggesting or condoning pre-dating invoices before performing the work or before delivering equipment to the field. The key principle refers to reducing the number of days it takes after the work has been performed and/or product delivered to gather the information needed to prepare a proper invoice, receive internal and external approvals, and place it into the “hands” of your customer. Observe from the above example, that both the actual terms of each customer, and the # of days he pays late (or early) has no impact on our ability to get the invoices created and, in his hands, sooner. The actual terms of the customer could be Net 10,5,20, or any net terms, and, as long as they remain unchanged, they do not affect cash flow. Fewer Billing Disputes The accuracy and consistency offered by automation means fewer billing disputes. When your invoices align precisely with customer agreements and expectations, there are fewer reasons for customers to dispute charges. This leads to smoother transactions and fewer delays in delivering a proper invoice into the customer’s hands (or designated portal). Less Management Time Spent on the Invoice Approval Process Automation frees up your team's time and energy, allowing them to focus on strategic activities that drive growth and innovation. Management at various approval levels no longer must spend hours, pouring through invoices to validate coding, pricing, calculations, missing bill lines, etc. With fewer hours spent on these tasks, they can engage in more value-added tasks, ultimately enhancing your competitive edge. Proving the Cash Flow Impact First, we'll prove that shaving days off this process leads to a tangible increase in cash on hand, by examining changes in the Accounts Receivable balance, provided other factors remain unchanged. Next, we will provide a shortcut calculation that results in the same change in cash on hand. Imagine a scenario where you reduce the processing time for invoices by 15 days, while keeping all other variables constant. This common reduction period, especially in the oilfield service industry, consistently results in a remarkable boost to cash flow. Figures 1 and 2 serve as our guides, utilizing a fictitious company with $30,000,000 in annual sales, of which $28,000,000 is sold on net terms. Both figures illustrate three scenarios: reducing the invoice preparation and delivery process by 5, 15, and 25 days. Figure 1: Proof of Cash Flow Impact by Change in A/R Figure 1 illustrates that in an environment where the time to prepare and deliver a proper invoice can be reduced by 15 days (typical in the oilfield service industry), the Accounts Receivable balance decreases from $5,000,000 to $3,849,315, a credit of $1,150,685. To maintain financial balance, this credit (reduction to Accounts Receivable) needs an offsetting debit of $1,150,685 which can only reasonably be the asset, cash on hand. Figure 2: Shortcut Formula with the same results Figure 2 unveils a convenient shortcut—a mathematical formula that simplifies the process of calculating the increase in cash flow resulting from automation. What's remarkable about this formula is that it doesn't require the intricacies of Accounts Receivable balances. Instead, it requires only 2 variables to calculate the increase in cash on hand: 1) the # of days reduced in the invoicing process, and 2) the dollar amount of annual sales sold on net terms. The Numbers Speak Volumes This underscores a fundamental principle - that the increase in cash is indeed substantial when the invoicing process is optimized, and  that cash flow is increased for each day you can shave off the invoicing process. As illustrated, a 15-day reduction translates to an approximate 4.11% increase in cash flow, calculated as a percentage of sales made on net terms. Simply put, for every dollar of sales conducted on net terms, a 15-day reduction equates to a 4.11% surge in cash flow. It's not just a marginal improvement; it's a substantial financial transformation. But the beauty of this principle lies in its adaptability. Whether you're considering a 5-day reduction, which still yields a notable 1.37% increase, or an ambitious 25-day reduction, leading to a remarkable 6.85% cash flow boost, the message remains clear—Invoicing and billing automation has a tangible and direct positive impact on cash flow, and the amount can be calculated in advance. It's not just about cash flow; it's about securing financial stability and positioning the company for growth in a highly competitive industry. Unlocking Your Full Potential The key to unlocking your full potential goes well beyond efficiently automating the invoice creation and billing process to increase cash flow, it involves optimizing all financial and operational processes companywide. By embracing automation, businesses can experience significant increases in performance, growth, and market share. With real-time access to financial and operational data, you can make informed decisions, allocate resources effectively, and seize opportunities with confidence. Using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central provides these results, and can also protect your business from internal threats. Hosting directly by Microsoft, provides significant protection against external threats. IT infrastructure costs are reduced to near zero, as access to the entire business application and all related data is fully available in the cloud with an internet enabled phone, laptop, or tablet. Automation empowers you to optimize your operations, streamline your processes, and gain a competitive edge in a challenging landscape. It's not just about staying current with industry trends; it's about taking charge of your financial destiny. It's a strategic move that positions you for long-term success and growth. Transform your entire field service business one step at a time. Take the first step by contacting us today. (972) 612-1122

  • “Business Central - Microsoft Dynamics' ERP Superstar.”

    MICROSOFT BUSINESS CENTRAL NEWS: At last week’s Microsoft partner conference in Orlando, Jeff Edwards, Senior Vice President Channels at Velosio announced: “Business Central is the Superstar.” He continued: “BC has the highest growth in the [Microsoft] Dynamics space” ... and it even “outgrew F&O.” “Business Central is, by far, the best product for the small to mid-market. “ It is meaningful to hear this honest perspective from a Velosio exec since they sell both Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, (previously “F&O”). Far too often, some Microsoft people and partners still push prospective clients towards the higher priced (and less popular) Dynamics F&O because it means more revenue, or because they meet an arbitrarily set minimum number of users for an F&O implementation to be viable (e.g. 20 or 50 users.) The decision between products should no longer be based upon user count, since both products are browser-based and can handle 500+ users according to Microsoft. Many companies, including some of our clients, have well over 100 users running successfully on Business Central. They're enjoying the many reasons that give rise to its popularity, Dynamics “Superstar” designation, and its incredible value proposition vs. F&O. Dynamics 365 Business Central high-level advantages: All-in-one: Finance, CRM Sales, Marketing, Service, Supply Chain, Warehouse, Manufacturing, and Project/Job Management Ease of use, and less training time required since it’s less complex, Lower license costs A significantly greater number of available, skilled consultants, at more reasonable rates, A wealth of documentation and videos, A thriving ecosystem, Over 2,500 add-ins on AppSource, and Typically, a much faster go-live, given the same modules & features in use. Dynamics 365 F&O can be an appropriate choice for some SMB clients with highly sophisticated requirements or complex global operations. However, I believe the choice for Business Central (or not), should be based on the functionality required for the business rather than based arbitrarily on user count. Often a “F&O” feature can be added to Business Central for a minimal cost by a skilled partner, such as us (Computer Business Solutions, Inc.), and it can be designed just the way the client would like - without the complexity or ongoing higher costs of F&O. The capabilities and value prop of Dynamics 365 Business Central continue to increase in momentum as Microsoft continues to invest heavily in new user features and back-end technologies. Three new services: "Azure SQL Hyperscale", "Azure Application Insights" and "Azure Sentinel" are being added to BC to increase speed with large databases and to further identify and mitigate potential security risks by applying AI and machine learning. Microsoft also announced, that in an upcoming 2023 release of Business Central, companies on BC will be able to give their Microsoft Teams or Office (365) users full read rights to BC, without having to purchase additional BC licenses. Don't let your user count cause you to miss the opportunity to run your business on Microsoft Dynamics’s most popular product and “Superstar” - Dynamics 365 Business Central. #businesscentral #dynamics365

  • Business Central releases 40+ new features in 2023. Active user count grows 75%,

    Key takeaways from Microsoft's business applications partner conference, Directions 2023, April 14-19. Microsoft’s design and development team continues to rapidly expand the capabilities of Business Central. These consist of new end-user features, new back-end technologies, new native Microsoft integrations with other Dynamics products and with Shopify, Artificial Intelligence, and over 40 more new capabilities that have been released or will soon be released in 2023. My top takeaways from the conference include the following: Business Central continues to be Microsoft's most popular and highest selling ERP and is also the fastest growing, with an astonishing 75% increase in active users year-over-year. An “Analyze” button, has been added to every list page which displays the totals and subtotals for each numeric column, including custom fields. Users can apply filters, sort by groups, and the totals are recalculated to respect the filter. Views can be saved for further analysis. The result is Excel pivot table functionality residing in BC, without Excel, for quick, powerful analysis. The user interface and menu system has been enhanced, providing users more flexibility in personalizing their dashboard and pages. For example, lower-level menu items may be pinned to the top level for access with a single click. Users can now also use a “split view” mode to see two pages side by side, “drag and drop” images to Business Central, and enjoy other ease-of-use and navigational features. Statistical accounts have been added to the General Ledger and Financial Reporter to allow users to track non-financial data such as headcount, square footage, units sold, etc. and include statistical information and ratios within financial statements. Microsoft 365 licenses of Office E3 and Teams will include full read access to Business Central without additional cost, enabling more users to benefit from Business Central financials, inventory, purchasing, CRM, sales, and operations. New back-end technologies announced at the conference include: A new data storage service called "Azure SQL Hyperscale" enables Business Central to perform faster queries with larger databases. A new telemetry service called "Azure Application Insights" provides insights and tools to optimize Business Central performance. A new security service called "Azure Sentinel" provides Business Central with enhanced threat detection and response by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify and mitigate potential security risks.

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