Accounting software has been my life since the end of 1999. My last year in college I was placed on an accounting team for a fast growing national mortgage broker, that was going to be implementing from QuickBooks to Great Plains software. This was my first year in accounting and my first year using ERP software and I was excited for all the possibilities that Great Plains would offer my organization. Since that year, Great Plains, which would become Dynamics GP in 2001, with the Microsoft acquisition, has played a large part of both my professional life and my accounting career.
Needless to say, when Microsoft announced in the timeframe of 2017/2018 that it would be taking NAV and making it fully functional cloud SMB ERP system, everyone was surprised. Business Central (BC) was the final branded name of this cloud version of the software and it was intended to be the landing place for the three on-premises Microsoft Dynamics products: NAV, SL, and Dynamics GP.
Being a lifelong career GP end-user, implementation consultant and trainer, I was shocked by the news and thought to myself, they would never discontinue or stop the sales of Dynamics GP. However, with market research showing that NetSuite was crushing Microsoft on-premises sales and that the future of cloud ERP was inevitable, Microsoft began investing millions into the future of Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC). As part of both implementation and pre-sales teams, you could see that IT groups and accountants were heavily considering the multiple benefits offered to them by taking their ERP and CRM systems to the cloud.
In 2018, I began to do investigation and learn Dynamics NAV/Business Central. I could tell from the beginning of my training that NAV/BC was far more robust in functionality than Dynamics GP. It offered lots of really robust features, especially in the areas of warehousing, manufacturing, core finance and of course the interchangeable connectivity to the Microsoft suite of products and Microsoft licensing. Learning a new software was a little intimidating but I was also learning how much easier it was to do data entry, reporting and more with Business Central. It even had it's own built-in financial report writer (not FRx or Report Manager) that was available out-of-the-box.
We saw a rapid interest in Dynamics 365 Business Central over GP almost immediately. The idea of upgrades, server maintenance, and multiple sandbox environments all being included in a low monthly price per user was a huge benefit to organizations, who were tired of being charged for their upgrades and hardware. The modern interface coupled with the capability to allow users to modify and personalize their screens and home pages to their liking was a huge win. The automatic built-in connections to Power BI and Power Automate allows users to quickly connect, integrate, automate and report on their data.
We began to use BC internally as a practice and within minutes connect our customer, items, vendors and contact records to Dynamics 365 Sales (CRM). This included the auto updates when one record was created or updated in another system. This gave us the capability to fully automate the quote to cash cycle. The project accounting module let us track and bill on projects as well as keep and maintain time. It was a huge benefit to our internal organization.
Since my journey with BC has begun, I have helped hundreds of customers with their transition from Dynamics GP, SL, NAV, Sage, Intaact, MAS, QuickBooks, AX, NetSuite and more to move to Dynamics 365 Business Central. These efforts have exceeded customer expectations and provided them with rock-solid accounting system at a very low price per month. Once I started A BC Consulting Group, we began our low-cost discovery projects, to determine if BC is a good fit for organizations before they make the move to BC. This has given us the ability to prove that BC is the right fit, before the longer commitment of paying for and committing to a full ERP implementation.
In the last 7 years, I have not found a GP customer that was not a good fit for BC. In most cases we are able to almost eliminate all the necessary third-party applications and third-party integration tools, due to the advanced capabilities, like API data exchange, that BC holds. This has saved companies tens of thousands of dollars in just the ISV/Add-On Software capabilities alone. Microsoft has also been offering many wonderful pricing benefits to those users switching from Dynamics GP, NAV and/or SL licensing agreements.
Our organization runs solely on the Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 Platform. The capabilities of accessing my financial data from anywhere in the world, securely through Microsoft Entra/Defender and MFA capabilities, has allowed me to soar as a business. Last week, I was able to review invoicing and financial statements from a bus in Iceland. No VPN, no RDP, and fully safe and secure data. In all my years doing BC, I have not had one client get hacked in regards to their BC data. I cannot say the same for my GP and on-premises customers.
One of my favorite parts of being a Microsoft MVP of Business Central is being able to work with the awesome and very capable team at Microsoft that is developing and enhancing the product with every new release. I get to be part of a small group of BC MVPS (around 30 of us) worldwide that get to influence and shape the future of the product. Microsoft has continually tried to make the experience in BC better with each new release for customers moving from Dynamics GP to Dynamics BC.
Microsoft recently announced the end of new GP sales, beginning in 2025. This change doesn’t impact Microsoft’s plans for providing necessary regulatory, security and tax updates for Dynamics GP beyond this date. However, this announcement, coupled with the deep discounts now being offered to GP users considering the cloud, make it a very good time for companies to consider moving to the cloud. We have loved seeing companies take advantage of these benefits while creating future benefits of automation and ROI, especially in the areas of Microsoft copilot and the Power Platform suite available to BC cloud users at no charge.
I truly believe that now is the best time for companies to evolve to take advantage of AI, Copilot and the benefits of the Microsoft security stack. If you would like to have a conversation about the benefits, send me an email: email@example.com.