With Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (formerly Dynamics AX) being a native cloud application, Microsoft is now releasing new updates twice per year – in a Fall and Spring release. This allows Microsoft to add new features at a much faster pace than ever before! Customers can choose if and when to take these releases, which also provides a level of flexibility not offered by most cloud application vendors.
1. Fixed Asset Enhancements
Track fixed asset valuations by using a single “book” concept – In previous versions of Dynamics AX, two separate types of valuation were used to track fixed asset values: value models and depreciation books. The Fall Release merges these two concepts into a single valuation concept named Books, which have all of the functionality of both value models and depreciation books. This functionality includes the ability to turn off posting to the general ledger. Books that post to the ledger are typically used for corporate financial reporting, while books that don’t post to the GL can be used for tax reporting purposes.
Cross-company depreciation runs – You can now start a depreciation run for assets across all legal entities from a single page. You can also automatically post the journals after they are created, or can send the creation and posting of the journals to batch processing so that the depreciation runs in the background. These financial management enhancements reduce inefficiencies because you don’t have to start individual depreciation runs separately for each company. The enhancement also enables better-centralized management of your fixed assets.
2. Year-End Process Enhancements
Perform the GL year-end close for multiple legal entities – To speed up the year-end closing process, you can now run the year-end close process for multiple legal entities from a shared year-end close page. Groups of legal entities can be defined, along with settings that should be retained from one year to the next. Additional usability of financial management enhancements have also been made to the year-end close process
3. Foreign Currency Revaluation Enhancements
Enhancements to the GL foreign currency revaluation – A number of financial management enhancements were made to the GL process for foreign currency revaluation, including An exchange rate type has been added to the main account. This exchange rate type is now used to determine the exchange rate during currency revaluation. If no exchange rate type is defined, the process will continue to use the exchange rate type defined in the ledger. It’s now easier to select a range of main accounts and currencies to run the revaluation process.
The revaluation can be run for multiple legal entities. The system now maintains a history of every revaluation process that was performed, as it does for the AR and AP revaluation processes. When you run the revaluation process, you can now preview the results of the revaluation. The preview shows results for all legal entities that you ran the process for. You can then post to all the legal entities, or a subset of them, from the preview itself. You can also export the results in the preview to Excel for further manipulation if desired.
4. General Ledger Enhancements
View transactions for additional posting layers – On the Trial Balance list page and Dimension Statement report, a user can now select to view the additional posting layers that have been added to the GL. When you select the additional posting layers, the adjustments for those posting layers are included in the balances on the list page or report.
Attach how-to documentation to the financial period close template – Previously, you could attach documentation after a task was completed. You can now also attach a “how to” document to the template. This “how to” document is then copied to each task in the financial period schedule, providing the task owner with instructions for completing a task.
Define intercompany accounting setup from a shared page – The Intercompany accounting setup page is now shared so that an organization can define all of the legal entities that can transact with each other. In addition, you can now enter a transaction in the originating legal entity but not from the destination legal entity. If either legal entity can initiate an intercompany transaction, the reciprocal pair must be defined. Therefore, the destination legal entity is also set up as an originating legal entity.
5. Budgeting Enhancements
Submit justification documents for budget plans – Users may now create a justification template as supplemental documentation for any requested budget amounts. Users can fill in the details of the template which is then attached to the budget plan and used during the approval process.
Advanced rules for budget register entries – If advanced rules are configured in the GL, they can be used for new entries and transfers in the budget register.
6. AP Enhancements
Enhanced visibility of prepayment invoicing activity – A new Open Prepayments list page provides a snapshot of the status of prepayment invoicing activity. The page provides the AP department with information about purchase orders that have remaining prepayment values that must be invoiced, invoiced values that must be paid, and paid invoice values that must be applied to standard invoices. In addition, financial management enhancements to the automatic application of paid prepayment invoices to standard invoices help invoicing clerks do data entry more efficiently.
Vendor collaboration invoicing workspace – A new Invoicing workspace in the Vendor Collaboration area lets external vendors securely access their own invoice information. For example, vendors can see whether an invoice has been paid and submit their own invoice. This change promotes more efficient and timely communication with external vendors so that invoicing clerks have fewer interruptions.
Switch between legal entities during invoice entry – Invoicing clerks who must enter invoices for multiple legal entities can quickly change the legal entity from the invoicing pages. This feature saves the invoicing clerks time because they must no longer sign out of the current legal entity and sign in to a different legal entity. Both the Global Invoice journal page and the Vendor Invoices page let users change the legal entity during data entry.
Support for electronic files for IRS 1099 combined Federal/State filings – When the US configuration key is enabled, the 1099 electronic filing process provides additional functionality that complies with IRS regulations for the Combined Federal/State filing program. The IRS established this program so that it can electronically forward information returns to participating states.
Settlement enhancements – New enhancements help payment clerks do settlements more efficiently because clerks can now allow multiple unposted payments to be settled against the same invoice.
Cross-company view – Centralized payment clerks can now view past-due invoices across companies. The Vendor Payments and Customer Payments workspaces now provide better visibility into, and control over, overdue invoices by providing a way to view and filter across companies that are part of a centralized payment organizational hierarchy.
7. Banking Enhancements
Bank Management workspace – A new Bank Management workspace helps track bank accounts and balances for your legal entities. Current and pending balances are immediately available for all accounts, and you can drill back from the balances into the detailed transaction vouchers. You can also see the historical balance data for each bank account, or a summary for all bank accounts in the company, in both short-term and long-term views. You can gain better insight into bank account reconciliation, because the date of the last reconciliation is reported for each bank account, and there is also an indicator for reconciliations that are in progress.
Import electronic bank statements for all legal entities in a single step – You can now import electronic bank statements for all legal entities in a single step. Bank statement files often contain statements from many bank accounts and legal entities, and zip files can contain multiple bank statement files. By using a single import process, you can start the reconciliation for all reported bank accounts in all legal entities. This feature helps save you time because you don’t have to switch between companies and multiple statement imports. You can also automatically run matching rules against all imported statements in each company.
Microsoft plans many more enhancements to the Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Financial management suite in the 2017 releases (Spring and Fall). This includes continuing investments into multi-company, intercompany, and customer requested features, as well as further investments in building rich analytics via Power BI and Azure Machine Learning.