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