In defense of Epicor ERP's accounting system (please)

Where I work, I am getting a lot of hostile questions about the accounting system in Epicor ERP (10.2.600 currently).

  1. Why don’t transactions post instantly?
  2. What is with the maddening hierarchy?
  3. What do you MEAN there is no subledger for inventory?! (Re: Stock Status Report gripes)

And others that branch off of #1 mostly, like “Why do I have to run the Inv-WIP-Recon report AND a GL report and combine the two just to see what hit the Travel Expenses account in October?” (Since we are in October now.)

Corporate uses Dynamics (not 365 or NAV or any of those; just the simple version) and no one there understands Epicor accounting at all except what they need to know.

I’d like to rebut these complaints, but I am not experienced enough. I was pulled from obscurity five years ago to run Epicor here and that was my first experience with an ERP system.

How do you all answer these questions? Do the other big ERPs behave like this or are they “not this bad”? Or more likely, what are the advantages to these supposed flaws?

Thanks for the input.

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From my past life in consulting i heard quite a few complaints about the reporting side of finance. Lots of complaints about stock reports and lack of visibility. While Epicor does there best to keep the system to be generic and wide reaching as possible, people can particular about their data. Finance departments tend to like using XL Connect or FastClose to give them some additional flexibility.

I am by no means a finance guy, so all of the complaints could have gone unwarranted. In my experience it just required a little extra tweaking

@JasonMcD

I understand the concerns, a lot of this stems from Epicor being very flexible.

Transactions do not post immediately because it some cases, you don’t want this to happen. You can run the Wip Capture process nightly on schedule. I have set this up in a process set where the Wip Reconciliation report is emailed to finance and then the capture runs. Train the finance team to to the Wip Reconsialtion report and compare to periodic postings in Chart Tracker.

The transaction hierarchy is super flexible as well. I have trained several finance team members to understand how to read the GL Transaction Hierarchy Guide. Not Memorize it, just understand how to read it, and keep it close by. It’s in my one drive and a few finger taps away at all times. Documentation (epicor.com)
Understanding the post rules can be customized is powerful.

As for the inventory subledger report, I get ticked off about this too. I have created a few dashboards using bin inventory, part cost, and display the GL Control code attached to the part class.

Offer some training on these topics, it will help.

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@JasonMcD - First - I am not accountant, I just stay at the right hotel. But I saw your post and my blood pressure went way up. I get the same from my users and have responded in various forms but mostly like this:

First, I’ll put forth this assertion - if they’ve never used a MFG accounting system, then they really don’t understand the nuances of immediate posting and the problems that occur. In non-technical terms, the idea of posting each and every material transaction to the GL would cause your GL to be huge - real huge. Thus the COS-WIP calculation and posting process exists. Show them PartTran and ask them if they’d like the double-sided entries for every row in Part Tran to show up in the GL. I bet the answer is No Thanks.

But why isn’t there a sub ledger for Inventory? Because MFG is not Distribution/Warehousing alone and is so much more - inventory, labor and a bunch of other transactions. They all have GL Controls, and the COS/WIP function IS the Subledger. Granted, it has to be done on a ‘As Of Date’ basis because of the transaction count and complexity with the GL controls. But it shows what the subledger values are that will hit the GL, and allows a summarization (instead of detail) to be posted to the GL. Isn’t that what a Sub Ledger really is for - to keep massive amounts of detail out of the GL?

Why don’t trans post instantly?
(SoapBox mode = On)
Why would anyone want this? I mean people make mistakes, Edit Lists exist for the exact reason of double checking the work BEFORE it hits the GL. If it was me, I wouldn’t even entertain that question let alone think it warrants a response. The mere idea of a GL that contains erroneous postings and all the associated corrections to go with it it insane. Why even have AP/AR subledgers if that is your thought process… (SoapBox mode = Off)

Hierarchy? It’s only as maddening as your GL is complicated. I guess I look at it like this - MFG, Inventory, Purchasing, etc. - all have their individual transactions and there associated datasets. the money side of those have been boiled down to the constituent parts needed for the GL, based on the GL structure, established by the GL Controls for each transaction. This is the minimum structure possible. At that point all that is left is COS/WIP posting, so I’m not sure what they mean with the question.

Lastly - Stock Status and other reports - and combing data between Accounting and MFG sides to get a ‘right now’ report. A lot of Epicor’s reports are generic and/or based on a generic operating model - and that is how ALL ERP systems are delivered. The expectation is that you will adjust the reports to suit the modified model you operate under. As for combining data - the only way to see all of your expenses in one report it to have them entered/created in only one subledger, but if travel expenses are in both AP and Project Mgmt than that cannot happen - so multiple reports it is - or one new custom report.

Epicor can’t foresee how every company will use the system, so it’s delivered in a useful form with the expectation that everything from the GL to the reports will be customized and created for your use. This is the same with all ERP’s (that are customizable), and of all the ones I’ve looked at, Epicor is right at the top of the list for “Bang for the Buck”.

Hope that helps bolster your side of the conversation :slight_smile: and if there any real accounting people out there, please correct me if I’m wrong.

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I went looking for it but looks like its been split up into AP, AR, Inventory, etc guides. Thanks for the tip, will be good to have them reference these.

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@cfinley @bderuvo @MikeGross

Thank you all, that does help a lot.

@MikeGross “Hierarchy” meaning like Bryan said, you routinely need the Inventory Transaction Hierarchy guide to figure out why a transaction hit a certain account, if you notice it at all. Classic is this one, where the shipment and mtl-issue hierarchy has it look to the Part GL Code, then class GLC, while PUR-UKN looks to class first and never looks at the Part GLC. So you might buy to a different account than you issue from.

@Randy Those are a must. They are on my desktop and always have been.

Agreed, the hierarchal construct is present in various forms in ERP. Even in the the MFG/Production side where the lowest level superseded the higher level (resources and groups for example) and needs to be understood by many users of Epicor. I wasn’t sure if they meant why is it complicated - or why is ‘ours’ so complicated. I went for the generic answer.

The issue is that 90% of the time, the question boils down to “Why isn’t Epicor exactly the same as [insert previous ERP product here]?”.

There’s no good way to answer this question to users. You can’t tell them “Git gud, scrub”, even though that’s probably the most appropriate answer. I would personally say forget getting users to understand the why. If they need training, then they need training. If they need to change the way Epicor works for some things, then it’s most likely customizable.

Not everyone does their accounting the same way, and Epicor has to accomodate for all cases. If the default doesn’t work for them, then just don’t stick with the default (unless there’s a good reason not to customize things…).

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As @MikeGross, @bderuvo, and others have noted, Epicor is providing some serious capabilities with their system. Is this confusing for companies with less-demanding requirements? Sure. But that capability is there when you need it in the future.

Vantage used to be like Dynamics. The account numbers were attached to parts, customers, etc. But the accountants complained:

Why do I have to add the account number to every part?
Why do I have to add the A/R account to every customer?
Other departments pick the wrong account numbers, can accounting control this?
Why do I have to do extra entries to move revenue to the correct product segment?
Why is it so difficult to fix bad or missing account numbers?
How can I do multiple books/currencies?

So in Epicor 9, they introduced the Posting Engine. The Posting Engine answered these questions:

  • Accounting Controls the account numbers and the other departments just pick a descriptive G/L Code.
  • Accounting can use the G/L Code to flex division/product groups without extra entries
  • The hierarchy makes it easy to set a standard posting rule but flexible enough for exceptions by customer/part/etc.
  • The posting engine can post to multiple books/currencies at the same time
  • One can review and fix errors before they are posted to the G/L

< rant >
BTW, accounting is notorious for making manual entries to correct the G/L but break the link to the subledgers. Stop pretending we care about the subledgers! :angry:
< /rant >

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Yep, part of the reason it gets so difficult to create good subledger reporting. Also when things get “reversed”, e.g. the Received box gets checked then unchecked then checked again, and you’re asked to somehow get rid of things that “cancel out” in the data presentation…

Another challenge I see often is poor collaboration between Accounting people and Manufacturing/Engineering people when it comes to setting up Job structures and processes – labor reporting, Resource Group / Department setups, etc… Too often Manufacturing barely understands what the GL even is, and Accounting doesn’t have the manufacturing knowledge to help shape structures and processes that would yield the GL results they’re demanding. Departments need to meet each other half way and learn how their areas of the ERP system are interconnected with others… But I suppose it’s easier to not do that and just blame all their problems on the software…

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Let’s go Mike! Hell of a post.

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Spot on Tom. That Adjust Count command is just as nasty…

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Jason Epicor has the best chart of accounts design on the market, except you won’t find many people at Epicor that know this as they concentrate on Manufacturing

Show this to your finance team

https://fastclose.uk/Why/index.php/dynamics-segments-coa

Nick

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@nickgom1 Thank you, I have seen a demo of that - EUG webinar probably - from the FastClose people talking about the dynamic and static segments. I do believe you and them, but I personally had a hard time seeing the benefits of the dynamic segments. Certainly could be due to lack of my knowledge. But I did a trial of it in a test environment and it seemed like much more work than it gave benefits.

When we were going through the design of our COA, the only place I could see adding in any kind of dynamic segment was to allow for “tagging” of grants and R&D on certain accounts.

Eventually we determined we could just report those details separately without cluttering up the GL.

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FWIW our CFO has worked for fortune 5s across many systems and Epicor’s accounting is his favorite. Sort of like us tech nerds get to do whatever we want in Epicor, so does he. At the end of the day it all washes out at the bottom tell em to get their dundies out of a bundle and focus on the cigar box :slight_smile:

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Here’s my two cents… I am a CPA/Controller currently migrating onto Epicor from Oracle R12 (and experienced in a few other e.g. Deltek Costpoint/Sage Intacct not to mention a couple small ERP turnarounds).

  1. It transfers automatically to the GL once it’s posted in the subledger which is certainly nicer than Oracle (post in SubL then subsequent overnight transfer to GL). Most accounting depts do not have the discipline and controls in place to prevent misstatement from automatic system posting in subledger. I have found those that did, had Segregation of Duties in place to have supervisor validate prior to posting anyways. At one time I did have automatic posting in some aspects on another system, and you could edit posted JE’s. It was a nightmare of undiscipline and corrections and I turned it off. The automatic also created lack of transactional ownership (“the system does it and we just fix it after the fact”).

  2. Hierarchy was confusing at first, but it gelled when we started looking at different reporting requirements and operational flows. There was a lot of “Oh that’s how I can report on it” and “oh that’s what why it’s like that”

  3. We are creating a BAQ/Dashboard to report on stock levels as a workaround to align with how we want to see the information.

… Not sure how the expense reporting process is at your business. The chart tracker works nice in the GL to look at period activity. It has a lot of subledger info in it. If they want to know more, they can look at the source document.

This is a stronger ERP system, which is why we chose it, but we downgraded from Oracle R12. This is kiddy pool level compared to Oracle and SAP. If coming from Peachtree or Quickbooks, there would probably be a lot of business and process maturity coming.

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@jvanloffelt Thank you, it is really good to know that there are people who left one system to go to Epicor and appreciate the accounting setup.

No doubt that there are some that go the other way, to leave Epicor to move to something else (being acquired would be a big reason, I assume). Point isn’t “what’s the best,” but rather “what are the merits of Epicor.”

I have really enjoyed and appreciated everyone’s comments.

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Glad you posted this. Enjoyed the thread hearing from everyone. Especially with being close enough to Epicor finance for years, but never being heavily involved. Sounds like Epicor is truely flexible in this regard, and not an excuse for being inherently bad. You just have to understand and roll your sleeves up to appreciate it.

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Would suggest a BAQ also for unposted sales, if you need it. That was one thing that bugged us at the beginning as we always have someone review sales batches before posting, but managers want to see actual sales on a daily basis. If you have a good IT department, they can create a BAQ for this.