Dynamics GP Vs Dynamics 365 Business Central – Account Segments and Dimensions

Introduction

This is another blog in a series I’ve been writing comparing functionality in Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 Business Central.

In this post I’m looking at account segments in Dynamics GP compared with dimensions in Dynamics 365 Business Central.

The configuration of Dimensions and Account Segments can become quite a in depth subject, so in this post I’m just going to briefly outline what I regard as the basics in both products.

**Please note you can extend the analysis in Dynamics GP with Multi Dimensional Analysis (MDA) or Analytical Accounting (AA) which I won’t cover in detail in this post. For example you might require additional analysis for a particular project which can be achieved with MDA or AA.

Dynamics GP – Account Segments

Dynamics GP supports a traditional account structure using account segments to describe a General Ledger code. You can create a maximum of 10 segments and the combination of those segments is the General Ledger code itself. For example in the demo data that accompanies Dynamics GP the General Ledger account code is comprised of 3 segments. This is shown below in the “Account Format Setup” window:

In this configuration there’s a “natural” segment, or main segment, and then there’s segments for “Division” and “Department”.

These additional segments can be named in the “Account Segment Setup” window.

Therefore the GL code below of 300-6170-00 can be described as the Repairs & Maintenance code for the “Sales” department. (the Sales department being department 300)

As I’m used to this configuration I do find reporting off the back of this configuration quite easy, however I’ve found one drawback is if I want to create a new department I’d tend to create this for all combinations of the natural code, so could end up with lots more codes that might not be used.

Dynamics 365 Business Central – Dimensions

In Dynamics 365 Business Central the main account code is made up of one segment, which is the natural code, and additional dimensions are created for analysis.

You can create a maximum of 2 Global dimensions and an unlimited number of shortcut dimensions.

Global dimensions are special as they are stored on the ledger entry tables so can be used to easily filter and analyse data throughout the system whereas shortcut dimensions are stored in a sub table.

For example below is a GL code (6110) from the Cronus data in Dynamics 365 Business Central which is a Sales Code described in one segment.

I can then assign dimensions at Customers/Suppliers/GL Code level to add my extra analysis. For example I’ve assigned the dimension “Customer Group” to the customer below with a value of “Large”. (you can also edit the analysis prior to posting)

Now when I post a transaction for this customer the dimension analysis will be posted onto the Ledger Entry tables for the transaction so you can perform additional analysis. (** As mentioned above Global dimensions are stored on the main Ledger Entry tables and shortcut dimensions on a sub table)

If I was replicating the demo company account setup from Dynamics GP I’d have the natural segment as the GL account, and two dimensions. One for the department and one for the division.

There’s also the flexibility to make the dimensions mandatory, require the same default code to be used, or have no code entered.

Finally, you can also set code mandatory or defaults at the table level for speed of setup. For example, I could setup a default for the customers table, so all customers require analysis. i.e. below I’ve set the system so every customer needs analysis to the CUSTOMERGROUP dimension

Conclusion

I’m used to the account segments in Dynamics GP, so seeing and using dimensions did take a little getting used to. However all in all dimensions offer great flexibility and if used correctly can keep the chart of accounts clear and concise.

Thanks for reading!

Dynamics GP Vs Dynamics 365 Business Central – Reconciling AP and AR to the General Ledger

Introduction

Its good practice to periodically reconcile the General Ledger control accounts to the sub ledgers. In this post I’ll highlight the reports and enquiries that can be used in Dynamics GP versus the reports and enquiries that can be used in Dynamics 365 Business Central to achieve this task.

Dynamics GP

On the General ledger side you can obtain a balance on a GL code at any given period via the “Enquiry > Financial > Summary” window shown below:

This window provides information on the debits, credits, net change and period balances for an individual account for the year selected.

I love this view as it gives you a lot of information in a handy window that’s also easy to consume. You can drill down by clicking on the blue hyperlink headings to get to the detailed information.

** Incidentally Dynamics GP stores the information displayed in the summary window in a separate table from the detail information. Its not summed data based on detailed transactions. This provides performance efficiencies if there’s lots of data however on rare occasions it might not accurately reflect the period balance. (seasoned GP users will be well aware of this headache).

Unfortunately you can’t get the General Ledger balance at a date that’s in the middle of the period using this window. If you want a General Ledger position at a given date I’d recommend using the “Reports > Financial > Trial Balance > Summary” report.

With the restrictions I’ve added above I can see the General Ledger balance at the 25/04/27. If I wanted a detailed breakdown I’d use the “Reports > Financial > Trial Balance > Detail” using similar restrictions.

Once you have the control account balance you can obtain the AP or AR balance via the relevant Historical Aged Trial Balance report. You can access this via “Reports > Sales (or Purchasing) > Trial Balance > Historical Aged Trial Balance”. The options for the report are shown below:

Key fields on this window are:

Print/Age as of:- Using this report you get a retrospective position on the ledger at any given time. For example if I wanted to reconcile back to January 2020, I’d simply change this date to 31/01/2020 and the report would disregard all activity after this point.

Select Transactions for Report Using:- You can select either Document Date or Posting Date. When reconciling to the General Ledger its recommended to use Posting Date.

Detail:- You can either tick or untick this option if you want a summary per Debtor or Creditor or the detail information.

Using the information from this report you can reconcile back to the GL to ensure the ledgers balance.

Its also worth noting that there is a “Reconcile to GL” feature you can use via “Tools > Routines > Financial > Reconcile to GL”. This tool is very useful as it provides an insight into potential differences between the GL and a given subledger. i.e. it would highlight manual journals that could be causing issues.

Dynamics 365 Business Central

If I want to see a quick balance of a General Ledger code in Dynamics 365 Business Central I’d start by going to the Chart of Accounts page as per below:

In this page I can filter for the General Ledger codes in question and filter the totals using the “Filter totals by:” option.

When I enter a “Filter totals by:” restriction the values shown in the “Balance at Date” and “Net Change” columns change automatically based on the filter (however the “Balance” column always shows the current balance). Therefore in the screen shot above the “Net Change” is showing the change in April and the “Balance at Date” is showing the balance at the end of April.

This is a great feature as I can simply change this filter to any date in the year. I can then drill down on the detail transactions by clicking the amounts.

** Incidentally, the “Balance at Date” and “Net Change” values are dynamic as the data displayed on the page is based on detailed data. (they also don’t exist as fields in a table – they are a special type of field called flow fields). The “Filter list by:” filter is a special filter called a “Flow Filter” that work with those flow fields and performance is maintained by SIFT indexes (SQL Indexed Views).

Its also worth noting I can get a simpler view showing all period amounts for a given General Ledger code by highlighting the General Ledger code and selecting “Navigate > Balance > G/L Account Balance” from the navigation bar.

Again I can drill down on the amounts to see detailed information. This also offers a more familiar way of viewing the balance for a Dynamics GP user.

To obtain a balance on the AP and AR side I’d use the relevant Aged Accounts reports as shown below. (just search for “Aged Accounts” to see these)

The key fields are

Aged as of:- this is similar to the GP option “Age/As of” and will give you the position “as at” a given date enabling you to reconcile to a point in time.

Print Details:- With this option checked the report is printed with transaction detail however left unchecked you are presented with a summary per debtor.

Using the information from this report you can reconcile back to the General Ledger to ensure the ledgers balance

Conclusion

As expected both products offer great and simple options for reconciling your sub ledger back to the General Ledger control accounts.

As I stated above I really like the GP summary enquiry screen however I also love the flexibility that the flow filters provide in Dynamics 365 Business Central. (FYI, this functionality is offered throughout the system).

Also, in Business Central, as the summary values are provided based on detailed data in the ledger entries table, I can guarantee the balances are providing accurate information every time.

Thanks for reading!

Dynamics GP Vs Dynamics 365 Business Central – Managing Financial Periods

Introduction

Dynamics GP and Dynamics 365 Business Central both have great options to manage financial periods therefore controlling what date ranges users can post into.

In this post I’ll explore how this is achieved in both products, and point out what I think are the key benefits of each solution.

Dynamics GP

In Dynamics GP you can open and close financial periods using the “Financial Period Setup” window as per below

There’s a couple of key takeaways here:

  1. This is a global setting therefore the configuration of this window affects all users of the system. i.e. you can’t allow some users to post into certain periods on an individual basis.
  2. You can close the financial period for one series, (or ledger) while leaving another series open. For example, in the configuration above you can post a Sales transaction with a GL posting date of March, however you can’t post a Purchasing transaction with a GL posting date of March as that has been closed.

Dynamics 365 Business Central

In Dynamics 365 Business Central you can control allowed posting dates in two separate places.

The first is by entering a specific date range in the General Ledger Setup as per below.

The next is at user level via the User Setup window:

If you haven’t specified a user as having a different “Allowed Posting Date” range in the User Setup window then they are bound to the allowed posting dates in the General Ledger Setup.

The key takeaways here are:

  1. You can have different allowed posting dates for different users.
  2. You can’t completely close one series (ledger) and have another still open.

Conclusion

I think both systems have great features.

I love the way you have the flexibility to only close down certain series (ledgers) in Dynamics GP, as I imagine in the real world departments aren’t ready to close at the same time.

I also like how in Dynamics 365 Business Central we can close a financial period using the “General Ledger Setup” window for the majority of users however you can configure some users, for example a financial controller, to have the flexibility of posting across a larger date range.

Perhaps one day one of the products will incorporate both ideas 🙂

Thanks for reading!