Dynamics 365 Business Central – Posting a Payables invoice to multiple GL codes using a Purchase Journal

Introduction

As I learn and familiarise myself with Dynamics 365 Business Central I often post something in Dynamics GP and then wonder how this same task could be achieved in Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Today’s pondering was looking for the equivalent to the “Payables Transaction Entry” window that we have in Dynamics GP.

I know you can post to G/L accounts via the “Purchase Invoice” page in Dynamics 365 Business Central but to me this is primarily a “Purchase Order Processing” type window. I wanted to post a sundry payables invoice, onto a vendor, to multiple GL codes, without the need to touch the “Purchase Invoice” window.

As usual there is more than one way to do this however I focus on the “Purchase Journal” page. I also elude to why I think you can achieve the same using other “journal” pages, although you might not necessarily want to use those anyway 🙂

Dynamics GP – Payables Transaction Entry

In Dynamics GP you can post a sundry payables invoice in a very straight forward and easy to understand window called “Payables Transaction Entry”.

This window has no link to Purchase Order Processing. We tend to advise users to use this window for posting invoices for sundry items and things you wouldn’t necessarily have a Purchase Order for. You can click “Distributions” and record multiple GL codes for this one invoice. Its also handy to import transactions into very quickly and users seem to prefer this window for speed of entry.

Dynamics 365 Business Central – Purchase Journal

There are various “journal” pages in Dynamics 365 Business Central so I turned to the “Purchase Journal” page to achieve my goal.

The first thing I found I had to select was the option “Show more columns” as per below.

Crucially this adds the “Account Type” option which gives the user the ability to add “G/L Account” when keying in the Payables document:

Now I had the “Account Type” field available for entry I found as long as you keep the Document Number, External Document No and Posting Date the same you are able to add a payables document with multiple lines.

First you add the “Account Type” of “Vendor” and key in the first line with the total amount of the document. On the subsequent lines you can choose “G/L Account” as the account type and enter the G/L distribution breakdown. Also, if you wish to analyse tax to any of the distributions you must populate the “Gen. Posting Type” with “Purchases” and then populate the “VAT Prod. Posting Group”.

In the end you should have something like this and the document will post successfully

Other takeaways

As with any investigation you usually find some interesting things along the way.

The major takeaway I found is that you can post the same purchase invoice using the “General Journal” page. After looking more closely it seems this is possible as both pages are based on the “Gen. Journal Line” table. Therefore all the fields (and business logic) you need are available on the “General Journal” page as well.

See below. The “Purchase Journal” and “General Journal” pages are based on the same table:

Purchase Journal
General Journal

However, as a word of caution, if you were to post the same purchase invoice from the “General Journal” page the transaction is given a “Source Document” of “GENJNL” in the “G/L Register” rather than “PURCHJNL”.

See below. The top G/L Register was posted using the “General Journal” page and the other using the “Purchase Journal” page.

Therefore I’d suspect its best to use the specific “Purchase Journal” for these postings.

Thanks for reading!

Brief overview and comparison of how summary values are stored and calculated in Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central

Introduction

There was an interesting conversation on twitter over the weekend with regards summary values and Dynamics 365 Business Central. Much like myself the person asking the question came from a Dynamics GP background and was wondering where in the database Dynamics 365 Business Central stored summary values i.e. GL period balances.

Now this is one area of the system that I really like about Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central so I thought I’d write this up.

The Dynamics GP way

Dynamics GP stores summary values in a variety of different summary tables. For example the GL open years transactional data is stored in one table (GL20000) and its summarised in a summary balance table (GL10110).

This means you can quickly access the summary values in an enquiry window. For example below is a GL enquiry window showing the GL period balances for a cash account.

What’s great is as this window is accessing a summary table rather than summing and sub totalling the main transaction table the performance is great, so you have access to summary data very quickly. i.e. you could 10 million rows of transactional data for this GL code but its all nicely summarised into a handful of rows in the summary table.

As I mentioned this provides fantastic performance however anyone who has worked with Dynamics GP for any length of time will realise the one issue that comes with storing data in this way. Unfortunately if there is an issue when posting a transaction “sometimes” the summary values aren’t updated and therefore they become “out of sync” with the actual transaction data i.e. if you were to manually sum the transaction data it wouldn’t match the summary data. This can cause problems and prompt awkward conversations with clients as they (understandably) ask “why” this is the case, and (even worse) how they can prevent this in the future. (I hate it when this question crops up)

*** A wider discussion here would be why Dynamics GP doesn’t update all the SQL tables (transaction table and summary table) using one SQL transaction which would negate this issue however that is beyond of the scope of this article.

To compensate for this Dynamics GP has “reconcile” features for nearly all ledgers so you can re-align the summary balances with the actual transactions. For example below is the “reconcile” utility for the General Ledger. Running this will recalculate all the summary balances based on the transactional data and update the summary table I mentioned earlier.

The Dynamics NAV \ Dynamics 365 Business Central way

The first thing to say is that Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central doesn’t store summary values in specific SQL tables like Dynamics GP. Instead it uses something called “Flow fields” for the summary totals which are implemented using SQL Indexed views. (therefore technically the summary values are materialised in the database just not in actual SQL tables). In the Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central world they are referred to as SIFT Indexes.

So for example, when you view the GL balances in Dynamics NAV as per the screen shot below the system is running queries using the SQL indexed views to present the summary values and therefore performance is still extremely good. (technically its the SQL optimiser that will choose to use this index when asked to return the summary values for this page because its much more efficient)

Digging a little deeper if you go into the Dynamics NAV development environment you can see how the SQL indexed views (SIFT Indexes) are implemented.

For example if I select the GL entry table and click “Design”

And then select “View > Keys” to look at the indexes

You can now see the keys (Indexes) on the left and some of the keys have an associated “SumIndexField” (i.e. a SIFT Index which is implemented via a SQL Indexed View). In the highlighted example an SQL indexed view is created summing the fields Amount, Debit Amount, Credit Amount, Additional-Currency Amount, Add.-Currency Debit Amount, Add.-Currency Credit Amount and grouping by GL Account No and Posting Date.

Therefore if I open SQL Management Studio and browse to my Dynamics NAV database I can see all the SQL indexed views on the GL Entry table (there are four which matches the number of enabled keys with SumIndexFields columns in my development environment)

Finally if I take a look at the definition of the SQL indexed view named “CRONUS UK Ltd_$G_L Entry$VSIFT$1” we can see this is implementing the key that I highlighted earlier

CREATE VIEW [dbo].[CRONUS UK Ltd_$G_L Entry$VSIFT$1]
WITH schemabinding
AS
SELECT “17”.”g_l account no_”,
“17”.”posting date”,
Count_big(*) AS “$Cnt”,
Sum(“17″.”amount”) AS “SUM$Amount”,
Sum(“17″.”debit amount”) AS “SUM$Debit Amount”,
Sum(“17″.”credit amount”) AS “SUM$Credit Amount”,
Sum(“17″.”additional-currency amount”) AS
“SUM$Additional-Currency Amount”,
Sum(“17″.”add_-currency debit amount”) AS
“SUM$Add_-Currency Debit Amount”,
Sum(“17″.”add_-currency credit amount”) AS
“SUM$Add_-Currency Credit Amount”
FROM dbo.”cronus uk ltd_$g_l entry” “17”
GROUP BY “17”.”g_l account no_”,
“17”.”posting date”

I suppose you could argue the one draw back on this is that whenever a transaction is posted in Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central then SQL has extra CPU and disk work to do as it maintains the SQL indexed views associated with the transaction tables.

Conclusion

Although I love so many things about Dynamics GP I do think Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central has the edge here. By allowing the database to handle the maintenance of summary values through the implementation of SQL indexed views the data can never go out of sync with the summary values.

Thanks for reading.

Dynamics NAV \ Business Central – Message “This combination of document number and posting date has been used more than once”

I had this message pop up when using the “Navigate” function on a cash receipt in Business Central when i wanted to view the related GL entries.

In this instance the message does a really good job of explaining the issue. The same document number and posting date have been used on more than one transaction, however coming from a Dynamics GP background I was curious as to how this had happened.

In Dynamics GP you can generally use the same document number for different document types however you can’t use the same document number for the same document type.

I suspect its possible in Dynamics NAV \ Business Central because the index keys on the tables in the background don’t prevent it however I was curious to recreate it myself.

Therefore to recreate you simply add multiple cash receipts (it could be other types of transactions but I’m using cash receipts as an example) to a batch and give them all the same Document Number. As you can see below I’ve given a cash receipt the same document number for different customers.

After posting them go to “Customer Ledger Entries” and highlight one of the entries and click “Actions > Navigate” as per below

You are then presented with the message “This combination of document number and posting date has been used more than once.”

Where its gets confusing is you can now see double the number of entries

Also, if I drill down on the GL entries I see the entries for both of the documents

I must stress this isn’t wrong, its just different than what I’m used to. I’d also personally try and prevent this by recommending users always use unique document numbers per transaction.

Thanks for reading.