Kieran Sweeney joined the Silverware Inc. team as a NAV consultant earlier this year. His strong accounting and computer science background gives Kieran a unique perspective that allows him to effectively marry the technical with the functional.
We recently spoke with Kieran about his experience and his thoughts on the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and migrating operations to the cloud. See what Kieran Sweeney had to say:
Was the transition from accountant to NAV consult intuitive for you? Tell us a little about your decision for a career change.
My accounting background made learning the finance-related modules in NAV much easier. While it took time to learn how to do the same tasks from systems like Sage CRE 300 (Timberline) and Microsoft Dynamics GP within Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, my strong understanding of basic accounting ensured that there are some universal concepts. Vendors, Customers and General Ledgers all exist within each system—it’s just a matter of finding how to get there.
As an accountant, I enjoyed relieving some of the burden of duplicative data entry of my coworkers through automation. At first, these were simple automations like macros that would convert data from a payroll system into the import format for the Timberline. Over time, I came to enjoy streamlining and integrating systems as much as working in accounting. Working on the systems automation was attractive to me and inspired me to switch the focus of my career to working as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) consultant. Today, I enjoy working both from the business analyst and the technical perspectives to help our clients optimize NAV and Business Central.
You have a keen interest in technology and applying new technologies to the industry. How do you plan to do this in your current role at Silverware?
Understanding the client’s business is the first and most important step to successfully leveraging new technologies at Silverware. My knowledge of the client and technology grows with each support ticket I complete, along with cross-training sessions with my coworkers. Functional Requirements Documentation (FRD) is another great opportunity to learn more about a company.
I also make a point to stay up to date on the latest Business Central and third-party application functionality, which enables me to best match a client’s needs to solutions that have already been optimized in the industry (minimizing development costs in the process).
How has the evolution of NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central benefited Silverware’s customers?
While the initial undertaking of migrating to Business Central may seem daunting to customers, there are some hefty benefits that come with the effort. Clients can securely access their financials on multiple formats (laptops, phones, tablets) without navigating through virtual private networks and remoting into expensive servers. Existing in an Azure environment (Microsoft’s cloud services), Business Central provides users high accessibility without the fuss of maintaining and depreciating expensive equipment.
Upgrades also become more approachable. All code modifications in Business Central exist separate from the ERP’s code as extensions, so the upgrade process doesn’t overwrite custom code. Upgrades for stock Business Central are also pushed automatically from Microsoft to each Business Central tenant.
There is a lot of buzz about moving everything to the cloud; can you tell us about a project you’ve recently worked on with a company making that transition or explain how it can improve operations?
The process of migrating a company from QuickBooks to Business Central triggered the introspection of company policies. Many limitations for QuickBooks were handled through external Excel schedules and processes in need of refinement prior to going live in Business Central.
Comparing existing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) against stock Business Central and third-party functionality helped identify the path of least resistance. Some aspects of daily operations were legitimately handled best by tweaking the operation to match Business Central, whereas other aspects were better handled by an extension or a third-party application.
What do you find to be the most rewarding part of your job?
Minimizing the tedium of data entry and enhancing reporting for our customers. As a result, these companies and their employees now spend less time and effort relaying information that drives key business decisions. As someone who endured some of that monotony, it makes me happy to know that my efforts save another fellow accountant the same trouble.
If you were given the opportunity to have dinner with someone famous, who would it be and why?
I would love to talk with Jon Stewart because his satire makes people laugh while calling out the shortcomings of the media and government.