Many tribal nations who approach us are looking for new ways technology can improve their tribal government processes. When it comes to ERP, we often recommend Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance – a powerful application that enables real-time expense management, budgeting, and procurement. It is a fully integrated cloud software designed to track everything critical for tribes with complex operations and/or a finance team with at least 15 staff members.
If this sounds like you, we’ve got nine great reasons why this solution is what your tribal nation needs to move your organization forward.
1. Ensure budget policies are followed from start to finish.
The Dynamics 365 Finance system will provide accurate transaction data, which includes consolidating budgets, creating financial reports, and facilitating decision-making. It also supports banking automation, grant and project accounting, and fixed assets tracking. You can even track tribal vendor invoices online.
By simply deploying Finance, you can facilitate budget policies throughout purchasing and expenditure lifecycle. More specifically, here are the processes where budget policy should be involved:
- Budget Planning & Reconciliation Process: Apply budget to actual transactions by balancing your budgets (monthly, quarterly, or annually), then reconcile your budget to actual transactions.
- Requisition Process: Department users can submit online purchase requisition requests with real-time reporting and enforcement of budget policies to ensure expenditures stay within budget. Approvers have visibility into the budget impact of requested purchases and can even request budget changes all without leaving the requisition form.
- Request for Payment Process: In Finance, you can approve or decline electronic requests for payments to be made from your general ledger.
- Accounts Payable Process: This is the final step in the financial cycle where you pay supplier invoices for goods or services received during a reporting period.
Every request for purchase is routed through proper approval electronically, which creates built-in efficiency and eliminates paper. Gone are the days when a budget and purchase requests are sitting on someone’s desk for approval.
2. Manage your tribal nation’s Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) reporting.
Dynamics 365 Finance integrates with your records repository, helping you keep track of what’s been paid and providing the ability to produce reports on transactions. With record management software, you will place a purchase order in your procurement system for an asset then attach that purchase order to the new asset in your digital asset management system.
One of the primary reasons for tribes to use Finance is to meet Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) reporting requirements. This is an important distinction because GASB standards contain some very specific guidance for reporting financial activity. Tribes can use Finance to capture and report transactions and fully comply with the standards. Track everything in this robust application including:
- Procurement of assets
- Asset operations
- Work orders and maintenance management of assets
- Depreciation calculation for GASB reporting.
- GASB 87 Asset Leasing tracking
3. Track grants from application to award.
Manage the grant process from application to award to closeout reporting, including managing your grant-funded projects with Dynamics 365 Finance. It provides a complete solution tailored to your tribal nation’s unique requirements.
Get clarity with each transaction – all in one place. Often, tribal organizations struggle with data synchronization issues between systems. For example, when receiving funds in Finance, you can create an invoice or purchase order to record your cash inflow in cash application.
Then, you can reconcile your grant transactions with Finance’s grant management functionality. Grant managers can keep on top of their grant spending by quickly generating reports that break down the cost of every project. In addition, you can easily create your own dashboards with graphs and reports to show key financials that matter to your Tribal Council.
Ultimately, this helps to deliver better results for your members.
4. Eliminate paper processes with intuitive ERP electronic workflows.
You don’t have to manually prepare bank reconciliations, because Dynamics 365 Finance can do it for you. Just run a cash application report and reconcile the activity with your bank statement. For example, you can create a project through a cash-out function or disbursement then post the project or disbursement to your GL or Open/Close GL.
You can post invoices, purchase orders, and other transactions directly in the cash application, along with posting them to your general ledger, if you want.
In Finance, you can process vendor payments and other disbursements to quickly reconcile against your bank account. Then, you can run a report for an individual transaction or a summary of all transactions. You can choose between showing the transactions that have cleared the bank or just those that haven’t yet cleared.
Finance uses an intuitive electronic workflow to eliminate paper processes, saving time and reducing errors. The workflows are so powerful, that the daily deposit process for one organization was taken from a 2-hour task to a 15-minute computer entry. And, this can also be done securely while working from anywhere with an internet connection.
5. Seamlessly integrate with Tribal Platforms® tribal government software
Gain real-time financial and operational insights across education, family and social services, housing, and much more. With Dynamics 365 Finance and Tribal Platforms by Arctic IT, you don’t have to switch between multiple systems while trying to stay on top of your accounting and reconciliation.
For example, a tribe can use Finance to create account records in Tribal Platforms for those who receive funds from royalty payments or other sources. Then, they can distribute those funds through the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Service. In this way, you can automate distributing royalties and reallocate funds to recipients. A tribe can also receive funds, then post or pay them out while continuing to track the transaction in cash application – all from one platform.
6. Make use of word-class ERP reporting, visualizations, and data analytics with Microsoft Power BI.
Dynamics 365 Finance comes fully integrated with the entire Microsoft cloud system right out-of-the-box. Power BI, combined with Finance, can provide you with a 360-degree view of your data, as it happens in real-time. Power BI helps tribes produce reports quickly to monitor their spending and services. For many tribal leaders, Power BI is an improvement over Excel, because it offers a range of tools for data analysis and visualization so they can answer questions like:
- What is our progress towards achieving our goals?
- What will happen if we make specific changes and implement new strategies?
- What projects and initiatives should we focus on to help us reach those goals?
7. Feel the security of the Microsoft Azure cloud.
This trusted cloud platform helps maintain security and data protection for your information. Dynamics 365 Finance works on Microsoft Azure – a secure, cloud platform that uses Microsoft’s enterprise-level security standards to protect transactions and data in motion over the internet. Azure is trusted by 95% of Fortune 500 companies.
Tribal nations can also benefit from Azure services like Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), enabling them to focus on their core business.
8. Use the familiar look and feel you get with other Microsoft applications.
Don’t worry about the learning curve with Dynamics 365 Finance. You can take advantage of the same look and feel as other Microsoft applications, accelerating user adoption. This is an easy-to-navigate application with an intuitive interface.
The native integration of Dynamics 365 with other Microsoft 365 office applications (like Excel and Word) is unmatched. This allows you to seamlessly move between different programs without switching back and forth.
9. Improve your tribal nation’s reporting capabilities.
There are over 70 pre-built reports in Dynamics 365 Finance, so tribes can track and maintain critical data. You can focus on your core operations by eliminating the need to spend time building reports; just choose one of the pre-built reports based on your needs. These out-of-the-box reports are ready to be used for key performance indicators, customer relationship management, and financial analytics.
Ready for the next step? It’s time to find a Microsoft Gold Partner to help you with your ERP technology roadmap. Arctic IT has been a tribal partner for over 15 years and would be happy to get you started. Contact us today at [email protected] to get the conversation started.