Unwire faced an administrative challenge arising from the fact that their customers are also their distributors. They wanted to collect, streamline, and integrate complex processes in connection with invoicing and reporting—and to simplify handling of reconciliation, salary, and other accounting processes.
If your customer also happens to be your supplier, invoicing is obviously going to be a bit complicated. It gets even more complicated, though, if your business management system is not up to the task. Such was the case for mobile payment solution producer, Unwire. Thanks to Microsoft Dynamics NAV, however, Unwire streamlined its credit and debit invoicing and handling of fixed asset depreciation—and saved three to four days of work per month.
When customers are also distributors
|It’s a striking improvement that we suddenly—and without any manual work—can access and analyze valid data from Microsoft Dynamics NAV and see data from different views and in different dimensions.|
| Lotte Reith Hoffman|
When thousands of Danes vote for their favorite contestants on X-Factor and other popular radio shows, or buy public transportation tickets using their mobile phones, Unwire applications keep track of the huge amounts of data generated.
Unwire’s solutions analyze the SMS messages: Who receives the most votes in the show? Which telephone operators should receive an SMS charge, and how much should it be? How much should the bus or train companies receive for the tickets they sell?
Unwire’s situation is particularly unique in that the company not only receives money from its customers, it also pays money to them. “Our customers are also our distributors,” says Unwire accountant, Mette Ahlqvist. “And this complicates the invoicing process.”
For example, Unwire acts as the link between the Danish Broadcasting Organization (DR) and the TDC telecommunications company, and various other telephone operators. So it is actually Unwire that receives and distributes the money via SMS voting.
Data was getting out of control
With the previous ERP system, the whole process was causing a good deal of difficulty. “At that time, we had to get hold of a credit note up to eight times because all the data processing was manual. What’s more, the old system couldn’t handle multiple dimensions, which made reporting difficult. So reporting was also manual, as was invoice registration, bank reconciliation, and so on. The old system was both heavy and very short of meeting our needs,” Ahlqvist says.
The solution: Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 and integrated tools
Unwire deployed Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 in the fall of 2010, and then upgraded to Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 in the fall of 2012. The solution delivered by Microsoft Dynamics NAV partner, Abakion, includes the following tools: Credit, debit, depreciation, e-invoicing, salaries, bank payment management and collection management, which Abakion customized to meet Unwire’s special requirements regarding customer refunds via credit notes. The solution is run from a central server in Denmark.
A striking improvement with an integrated solution
Unwire’s solution streamlines and integrates the company’s complex debit and credit invoicing, and it automates invoicing, reporting reconciliation, and salary. What’s more, Microsoft Dynamics NAV provides the appropriate people with central access to business data, rather than letting individuals store important information offline, for example in local Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.
“It’s a striking improvement that we suddenly—without manual work—can access and analyze valid data from Microsoft Dynamics NAV and see data from different views and in different dimensions. It makes it possible to deliver accurate reports to management about our different business areas quickly and easily,” says Lotte Reith Hoffman, Financial Controller and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 Project Leader.
“The fact that we can pull sales information spread throughout our mobile-solution platform is a huge lift compared to the old system,” Hoffman adds. “What’s more, the accounting department doesn’t have to be available in connection with reports. On a moment’s notice, they can deliver the information management needs.”
Three days of work saved per month
|As far as creditor invoices go, we only have to deal with them twice, compared to eight times before.|
| Mette Ahlqvist|
In addition, it’s now possible for Unwire to handle its customers and distributors in such a way that it can send them a credit note instead of receiving an invoice.
“It’s a bit technical, but the long and short of it is that we save three days a month on invoicing,” Hoffman explains. “At the same time, we can check what the customer owes us and what we owe them in one and the same place.”
This markedly more efficient way of handling invoices received and due is made possible by the fact that the data has to go through many fewer hands.
“As far as creditor invoices go, we only have to deal with them twice, compared to eight times before,” Ahlqvist says. “We can now post invoices as soon as we receive them. Afterwards, the invoices are put on hold regarding payment until they are approved.”
A better process raises morale
According to Ahlqvist, this has relieved the month-end accounting process greatly. “Pre-registration ensures that we always can see the numbers and know where the invoice is located. Before, we used a lot of time identifying the cost type, because all the incoming invoices were only registered in the Excel spreadsheet until they were approved.
“And on the debit side, e-invoicing ensures that we can invoice centrally and in one easy go. With one click, the invoices are emailed. Previously, it required printing, packing and paying postal charges before they were ready. This raises the level of satisfaction and morale among the people in the accounting department. After all, there are plenty of other important tasks to see to.”
Hoffman points to the benefits associated with automatic periods. Subscriptions, hosting, licenses, and other income is divided according to the correct months of the agreement period. “We don’t have to deal with provisional accounts, and we don’t have to distribute the income ourselves.” She also notes that salary reconciliation—which previously was handled in Excel—is now an integrated part of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV solution. “This makes it easy to post and calculate salary by department.” Finally, Unwire’s reconciliation is totally automated, which saves half a day’s work per month compared to the previous system, in which it was all handled manually.
Excel still in play – but much easier to use now
Excel is still used for data, but in a much smaller capacity than previously—and even that has become easier after the switch to the Microsoft Dynamics NAV platform. “It only takes a couple of clicks to import and post Excel data in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013. The system makes sure that the income is automatically posted according to the dimensions we’ve set up,” Hoffman says.
Hoffman and Ahlqvist agree that the Microsoft Dynamics NAV solution is a much more stable and user-friendly system than the old one. “The old system went down quite often, and there weren’t any shortcuts—but there are plenty in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013. Switching to this platform gave us plenty of advantages. And to stay on the forefront, we just upgraded the 2009 version to the 2013 version,” Hoffman says.
Better overview, integrated work process via centralized data storage
Besides the fact that menus, accounts, and reports are easier to get an overview of, Hoffman points out that the upgrade gave them mobile access to Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 via a web client. She explains, “We used to log on to the server directly via a VPN client. The web client makes it possible to link various internal and international departments on Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013—even if they don’t have the 2013 version or servers physically installed. The performance should be tip-top, although we haven’t tested it yet. But in general, the upgrade to the 2013 version gives us the opportunity to be part of all the latest things happening in the Microsoft Dynamics NAV world.”
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Document published March 2013.