How to Prepare Microsoft Dynamics GP for a Multi-National Deployment, Part 1 - Language and Local Requirements

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Microsoft Dynamics GP has been supporting business in Europe (not just European Union Member Countries) since Version 1. I know because I've worked with it in Europe since the beginning. I've yet to find an organisation that had specific European Financial or Regulatory requirements that could not be met by GP. In the very early days, we needed to develop some add-ons to handle specific European issues, (VAT Daybooks, Movement of goods tracking, VIES reports) but these have been replaced with standard software since back in the day.

Even with a strong set of standard capabilities, companies planning a multinational deployment of Dynamics GP need to be aware of the common challenges and considerations that arise.  Many of these issues revolve around the shifting regulatory requirements from one nation or region to the next, while other challenges may sound familiar to an IT team accustomed to multi-national systems.

In this two part series we're going to look at the two main areas of concern for multi-national deployments of Dynamics GP.  The first, which we'll examine here, is localisation as it relates to both language support and the added functionality that different countries and regions require for local accounting and regulatory needs.  In the follow on piece, I discuss a variety of other international considerations that can determine a GP deployment's success.

Language Translation

Localisation is generally concerned with two factors: language translation support and added functionality to meet local requirements.

Dynamics GP Supports U.S. English, International English, French, Canadian, and Latin American Spanish. For any ASCII-based language, it is not impossible (and in most cases quite straightforward) to ‘modify' the system to display alternative language texts on windows, reports etc.

In most cases, internal English-based systems, with local language reports, (Customer and Supplier facing reports, Financial Statements etc.), is quite acceptable, especially where the local install is a subsidiary of an international concern and centralising on GP makes sense. In all other cases Multilingual GP is an excellent add on that allows the interface to be translated into any language. One of its best features is the ability to swap between languages while GP is open on your client computer (which makes training of international subsidiaries a lot easier), and you can edit the out of the box translations for local dialects.

Additional Local Functionality

Let's look at the variety of localisation requirements for a GP solution for some general European needs, as well as more specific country requirements.

Europe

Outside of the general international nature of GP, such as the EFT Module being equally useful in Europe as anywhere else, much of the functionality required to operate in the EU is included ‘out of the box' such as Intrastat Reporting (including electronic files), VAT Daybook including VAT Return templates, Reverse Charge VAT, Withholding Tax, Euro Conversion, Multi Lingual Cheques, and Shipping Documents (Germany).

Additional European localisation comes with Dynamics GP 2010 including ACCON and ETAFI reports for Belgium and France and additional German GDPDU Tax data extractions. The Export Financial Data module which is used for ETAFI and ACCON is equally applicable for exporting Financial Data for upload in other jurisdictions.

The standard GP approach to VAT works throughout Europe in countries where single VAT rates apply to transactions, to countries where both Federal and State taxes apply, including Intra EU trading, whether the local country is a member of the European Union or not, or whether Trade Agreements exist or not. The VAT Daybook allows for production of VAT returns based on Transaction Date, Tax Date (which could be different) or GL Posting date - thus covering all eventualities.

Generally, local regulatory and reporting requirements, if not handled out of the box, can be dealt with through report design / data export. Specific local requirements such as ‘Storno Period' in Holland can easily be catered for with minor development. Smaller international and emerging EU countries generally have accepted GAAP and standardised financial control and governance, so these are ideal Microsoft Dynamics GP territories. Larger countries such as Russia tend to be a harder nut to crack, and not just for GP, given the plethora of local legal and tax compliance issues.

International

Additional country specific modules exist to handle a variety of unique requirements.  Here are some of the typical needs that can be met with other modules and add-ons. 

The Ecuador requirement for commercial organisations to submit monthly details of Sales, Purchases, Imports and Exports is met through the COAEcuador module. Also included here is the ability to print withholding certificates for transactions with withholding taxes.

Chile localisation provides the ability to meet legal reporting requirements in that country based on the trading partners Tax ID (Tax Registration numbers in GP terminology).

Argentinian requirement to submit RG3419 tax reports is covered in the Legal Documents module. Shipping Documents feature (available for Argentina and Chile) allows printing of individually numbered shipments.

Australian GST, Pay as you go Tax recording and statutory reporting, and Business Activity Statements are all available.

Singapore GST recording and reporting requirements are catered for with the standard VAT Daybooks module.

Columbian Tax Reports based on NIT, C.E., C.C. and R.S numbers.

And generally let's not forget Multicurrency management, multilingual Checks, SIRFT / CAI / SICOAR and SUSS reporting.

In the next part of this series, we'll look at the more general issues of international GP deployments - specific needs that may seem less critical but when taken together can add up to ERP implementation success or failure.

About Ian Stewart

Ian Stewart is a Microsoft Dynamics GP MVP. He is a co-owner of Genesys Financial Systems, an European based International Microsoft Partner. Genesys provides localisation, implementation, support and development services, and out of hours support coverage for organisations with a presence in the US and Europe.

About Ian: 20 years’ experience in finance and IT, 16 with Microsoft Dynamics GP. Following an early career as a management accountant in the finance industry, Ian moved into the area of IT in business with the expansion of technology in the early ‘90’s, and then into Interim Management working with growing companies. He has led the implementation of many large-scale software installations for business in Europe, the USA and Asia.

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Looking for GP support in Germany

Hello Ian - great article! We are a Dynamics GP VAR in US doing install for US company with office in Germany. We are looking for a VAR in Germany to provide local support. I am told from contact at Microsoft that GP is not sold in Germany. But I assume there must be companies there who could support it. Do you know of any to recommend or could you point me in right direction?
Thanks!
Anya Ciecierski

GP Germany

Hi Anya,

There are no VAR's in Germany. However I have just completed a German implementation (second) and have implemented GP throughout Europe - in Italy, Switzerland, Norway, Belgium, UK etc. So perhaps I could be of help?

you can email me at is@genesys.ie.

Best regards,
Ian.

GP Support for Germany

I am a German, born in Cologne, who has been working with GP since its inception. I also worked in Germany back in 1997 for the GP Germany division prior to the aquisition of Great Plains Software by Microsoft. I speak German fluently and have a large network of professional contacts in the country. For a specific GP implementation Project, I would be prepared to travel and spend the required project duration on-site. As I am very familiar with both US and German financial managemnt systems requirements, I believe to be an alternative for your implementation project. As NAV and AX are original from Europe you will find no shortage of local help for those ERP systems. However, finding a local well-trained and experienced GP resource in Germany is very difficult. Also, if you did find a local GP Expert, they might not have the required background to interface with the US HQ effeciantly. If interested, please feel free to reach out to me at:

Christoph@cbrtechnology.com

Ecuador - Requirements

We are going to be doing an implementation in Ecuador in the next couple of months.....I am hearing mixed views on this Localization.
Is this localization going to be supported in the future…..what is missing and why does each VAR in Ecuador have their own spin on the localization?
Do you have any reconmendations who we should be contacting?
Thank you,
Rob
rvolpato@endeavoursolutions.ca

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