How to Design Dynamics GP Project Accounting Projects and Contracts

Microsoft Dynamics GP Project Accounting is a powerful application that provides great visibility into the financial results of a project.

I frequently hear from prospects out how they attempted to implement Dynamics GP Project Accounting, but the implementation was a failure. Implementation failures are most often caused by poor project accounting design.

Design a Good System

To design a good Project Accounting system, you need to understand the system strengths and limitations, the organization project structure, and the organization reporting needs. All of these things must be addressed properly and in detail in order to produce a good project accounting design.

The primary designators that you will use to identify your projects in Dynamics GP Project Accounting are the Contract Number and the Project Number. These are the designators that you will typically search and report on, so they must be properly designed to facilitate easy visual recognition as well as simple setup procedures. (If you do this right, you can make copying from Templates a snap.

Based upon my experience with many Project Accounting (“PA”) implementations, I have found that one particular organization structure works well for many organizations. The structure is as follows:
 

Contract Number = CUSTA-CONT, where

CUSTA (5 characters) = Customer Alias

-CONT (dash followed by 4 characters) = Contract ID

 

Project Number = CUSTA-CONT-PROJ, where

CUSTA (5 characters) = Customer Alias

-CONT (dash followed by 4 characters) = Contract ID

-PROJ (dash followed by 4 characters) = Project ID

CUSTA (5 characters) = Customer Alias

-CONT (dash followed by 4 characters) = Contract ID

-PROJ (dash followed by 4 characters) = Project ID

Note that each of these segments is separated by a dash. This serves to provide for more effective searching in Smartlists as well as make visual recognition of each segment more obvious. The total number of characters of the Project Number is 15, which is the maximum number of characters allowed for Project Numbers.

Now for a bit more detail...

Customer Alias: The Customer Alias is a 5 character identifier which is set up on each Customer Card.  To see a Customer’s Alias, go to Sales > Cards > Customer. Pull up a Customer and click the Project button at the bottom right corner of your screen. Since the Alias defaults from the first 5 characters of the Customer ID, the best way to design your Customer IDs is to make sure that the first 5 characters of each Customer ID is unique. I have a client that has a very nice, simple system of assigning Customer IDs that are unique and readily identifiable. They use the first 3 letters of the first word in the customer’s name and the first 2 letters of the second word in the customer’s name. So, for example, ACME Boats would be ACMBO. It works fabulously.

Contract ID: The Contract ID should be a unique 5 digit identifier for this Customer, including a dash at the beginning. I recommend that you use the same Contract ID for similar types of contracts. (You can use the same Contract ID among different customers; you can’t use the same Contract ID for the same customer.) For example, a contract to build a small boat in 2014 could be: -14SB (for 2014 Small Boat).

Project ID: The Project ID should be a unique 5 digit identifier for this Contract, including a dash at the beginning. I recommend that you use the same Project ID for similar types of projects. (You can use the same Project ID among different Contracts; you can’t use the same Project ID for the same Contract.) For example, a project to build the motor for a small boat in could be: -MOTR (for Motor).

In this example scenario, the Contract Number would be ACMBO-14SB. The Project Number would be ACMBO-14SB-MOTR.


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