Microsoft Dynamics Business Central

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Dynamics 365 Business Central Connect your financials, sales, service, and operations with an all-in-one business management solution. Easily tailor and extend the application to meet your business or industry-specific needs. Get Dynamics 365 Business Central. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is the comprehensive business management solution that easily and seamlessly connects people and processes. Connect and grow your business Grow beyond the limits of your basic accounting software. Sign in to your Dynamics 365 Business Central account, or create a new account to run your entire business with a single business management solution. Dynamics 365 Business Central is an all-in-one business management solution that's easy to use and adapt, helping you connect your business and make smarter decisions. Manage financials, sales, service, and operations in one place. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (formerly Dynamics NAV) is one of the ERP products in the Dynamics family. The technology is based on the Navision product acquired by Microsoft in 2002. This product is the best-selling Microsoft ERP platform, and is often used by companies in the manufacturing and distribution verticals.

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Before you can consolidate the general ledger entries of two or more separate companies (subsidiaries) into a consolidated company, you must prepare the charts of accounts and the consolidation company.

Depending on the complexity of your businesses, there are two ways to set up consolidation:

  • If you do not need advanced settings, such as including a company that you only own part of, you can use the Company Consolidation assisted setup guide to quickly set up a consolidation. The guide helps you through the basic steps.
  • If you do need more advanced settings, you can set up the consolidated company and business units yourself.
    • In each business unit, specify which general ledger accounts are to be included in the consolidation, and specify the consolidation translation method for each account.
    • In the consolidation company, set up a business unit card for each company to be included in the consolidation. The business unit card includes information, such as the dates of the business unit's fiscal year, and the percentage of each account that must be included in the consolidation.
Dynamics

Simple consolidation setup

APPLIES TO: Business Central 2021 release wave 1 and later

If your consolidation is straightforward, for example because you wholly-own the business units to consolidate, the Company Consolidation assisted setup guide will help you through the following steps:

  • Choose whether to create a new consolidated company, or whether to consolidate the data in a company that you have already created for the consolidation. The company should not contain transactions.
  • Preview the results. Business Central verifies that the master data and transactions can be successfully transferred to the consolidated company.

To use the assisted setup guide, follow these steps:

  1. On the Accountant Role Center, choose the Assisted Setup action.
  2. Choose Set up consolidation reporting, and then complete each step in the assisted setup guide.

Advanced consolidation setup

If you need more advanced settings for your consolidation, you can set up consolidation manually. For example, if you have companies that you own only partially, or you have companies that you do not want to include in the consolidation.

Set up the consolidated company

First, you must set up the consolidated company. You set up the consolidated company in the same way that you set up other companies. For more information, see Getting Ready for Doing Business.

The following list illustrates key aspects of the consolidated company.

  1. Set up the chart of accounts

    For more information, see Setting Up or Changing the Chart of Accounts.

    The charts of accounts can be identical across a business unit and the consolidated company, or the consolidated company can have a different chart of account. If a business unit's chart of accounts is different from that of the consolidated company, you must specify the mapping between accounts on the accounts in the business unit. For more information, see the Prepare general ledger accounts for consolidation section.

  2. Add business units

    To consolidate several companies' financial data in a consolidated company, you must enter information about the subsidiary as business units to be included and about how much their figures will be included.

    For more information, see the Add business units section.

  3. You can specify exchange rates when consolidating the financial statements of business units if the financial statements are in a foreign currency.

    The three exchange rates that are used are Average Rate (Manual), Closing Rate, and Last Closing Rate. For more information, see the Specify exchange rates for consolidations section.

  4. You can consolidate dimension information and general ledger accounts.

    For more information, see the Include or exclude dimensions section.

Add business units

Business Central lets you set up a list of business units to consolidate, verify the accounting data before you consolidate it, import files, and generate consolidation reports.

  1. Sign in to the consolidated company.

  2. Choose the icon, enter Business Units, and then choose the related link.

  3. Choose New, and then fill in the required fields. Hover over a field to read a short description.

    Important

    When you fill in the Starting Date and Ending Date fields, make sure you comply with GAAP rules concerning the fiscal periods of the business unit versus the parent company.

  4. Repeat step 3 for each additional business unit

If your business unit uses a foreign currency, you must specify the exchange rate to use in the consolidation. You must also enter consolidation information about the business unit's general ledger accounts. These processes are described in the following sections.

Prepare general ledger accounts for consolidation

The chart of accounts for a company that will be consolidated must specify accounts for consolidation. For each posting general ledger account in each company, you must specify the general ledger account in the consolidated company to which the balance will be transferred on consolidation. This is a mapping that will allow companies with different chart of accounts to be consolidated together.

If the chart of accounts in the business unit differs from the consolidated company, you must prepare general ledger accounts for consolidation. You can specify the accounts to post debits and credits to, and the method to use to translate currencies in the consolidated company. For example, this is useful if you frequently run the report.

  1. In each business unit's Business Central, choose the icon, enter Chart of Accounts, and then choose the related link.
  2. Open the card for the account, and then fill in the fields on the Consolidation FastTab. Hover over a field to read a short description.

Specify exchange rates for consolidations

If a business unit uses a different currency than the consolidated company, you must specify exchange rate methods for each account before you consolidate. For each account, the content of the Consol. Translation Method field determines the exchange rate. In the consolidated company, on each business unit card, in the Currency Exchange Rate Table field, you specify whether consolidation will use exchange rates from the business unit or the consolidated company. If you use exchange rates from the consolidated company, you can change the exchange rates for a business unit. For business units, if the Currency Exchange Rate Table field on the business unit card contains Local, you can change the exchange rate from the business unit card. The exchange rates are copied from the Currency Exchange Rate table, but you can change them before consolidating.

The following table describes the exchange rate methods you can use for accounts.

Exchange rateTypical use
Average Rate (Manual)You manually calculate the average rate for the period to consolidate. Calculate the average either as an arithmetic average or as a best estimate, and specify the result for each business unit. Used for income statement accounts.
Closing RateUsed for balance sheet accounts.
Last Closing RateThe rate that was valid in the foreign exchange market on the date for which the balance sheet or income statement is being prepared. You enter this rate for each business unit. Used for balance sheet accounts.
Historical RateThe exchange rate that was valid when the transaction occurred.
Composite RateThe current period amounts are translated at the average rate and added to the previously recorded balance in the consolidated company. This method is typically used for retained earnings accounts because they include amounts from different periods and are therefore a composite of amounts translated with different exchange rates.
Equity RateThis is similar to Composite. Differences are posted to separate general ledger accounts.

To specify exchange rates for business units, follow these steps:

  1. Choose the icon, enter Business Units, and then choose the related link.
  2. On the Business Unit List page, choose the business unit, and then choose the Average Rate (Manual) action.
  3. On the Change Exchange Rate page, the contents of the Relational Exch. Rate field have been copied from the Currency Exchange Rate table, but you can modify them. Close the page.
  4. Choose the Closing Rate action.
  5. In the Relational Exch. Rate Amount field, enter the exchange rate.

Include or exclude dimensions

You can consolidate dimension information and general ledger accounts.

  • On the relevant dimensions, specify the Consolidation Code field, or leave it blank
    • To exclude a dimension in the consolidation, leave the Consolidation Code field blank on the dimension, and do not choose dimensions in the Copy Dimensions fields in any consolidation functions or reports.
    • To include dimension information in the consolidation, leave the Consolidation Code field blank. However, the consolidation will only work if the dimension values in the business unit are the same as the consolidated company.
    • To consolidate the dimension value code in the business unit with a different dimension value code in the consolidated company, fill in the Consolidation Code field on the relevant dimensions.
  • Add the relevant dimensions to the relevant general ledger accounts

Exclude a company from consolidation

If you do not want to include a business unit in the consolidation, you can exclude it. To do that, go to the business unit card, and clear the Consolidate check box.

Include a partially-owned company in consolidation

If you own only part of a company, you can include a percentage of each transaction that corresponds to the percentage of the company you own. For example, if you own 70% of the company, consolidation will include $70 of an invoice for $100. To specify the percentage of the company you own, go to the business unit card, and enter the percentage in the Consolidation % field.

See Also

Consolidating Financial Data from Multiple Companies
Managing Intercompany Transactions
Working with Business Central
Exporting Your Business Data to Excel

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Microsoft launched Dynamics 365 Business Central in late 2018. At first glance, Business Central looks like a brand-new product, but it’s not – Dynamics 365 Business Central is the evolution of Microsoft’s popular ERP solution for SMEs: Dynamics NAV.

Technology moves quickly in a cloud-first world, and it can be tough to keep up with Microsoft’s frequent shuffling of brands, products, and features – particularly when it’s not clear what the real changes are behind a re-brand.

In this article, we’ve outlined what’s stayed the same in Dynamics NAV, where the key changes are as Dynamics NAV becomes Dynamics 365 Business Central, and how that impacts current users of Dynamics NAV.

Dynamics

A re-brand of the familiar core product

First, a bit of reassurance. Companies that depend on Dynamics NAV for critical business functions can be safe in the knowledge that, at its core, Business Central does what Dynamics NAV does.

Dynamics 365 Business Central is still the strong ERP solution that small and medium-sized businesses in a variety of sectors have grown to love. And yes, you can still deploy it on-premise if you prefer to do so.

It is common for tech companies to re-brand a product as it evolves, and that is what happened with Dynamics Business Central. In fact, in the long history of the Navision product, Business Central counts as the 3rd major rebrand since the original’s 1987 release.

Business Central is essentially version 13 of Dynamics NAV – the follow-up to Dynamics NAV 2018 R2, which was version 12.

However, the step from version 12 to 13 is a relatively large leap bringing several changes to the way Dynamics NAV is deployed. So, while the rebrand does not mean the product you rely on is going away, it may mean that you need to think a little differently about your Dynamics NAV deployment once you upgrade to Business Central.

So, what changed?

While we’re talking evolution rather than revolution, it’s worth understanding that a few key aspects of the NAV solution now look or work a bit differently. Deployment options have also changed and, no surprise here, so has licensing.

First, let’s take a look at the key changes in the UI and the functionality as Dynamics NAV switches to Business Central:

· Modern, web-based UI. The most visible part of the shift to Business Central is the slick new web-based interface. Business Central drops the desktop apps of Dynamics NAV. Via the slick new web interface users enjoy a clearer presentation of more personalised information including better dashboarding and use of graphs. It’s the UI familiar to many existing Dynamics 365 users.

· AL coding. In the past, customisation of a Dynamics NAV implementation was made integral to the core and written in the C/AL language. It made upgrades a big chore as modifications to core code had to be unpicked. Now, Business Central uses the AL language. Customisation comes in the shape of extensions – not alterations to the platform core. In theory, the upgrade process should be easier.

· Better integration. When hosted in the cloud, Business Central should offer better integration with other Microsoft solutions – Dynamics 365 CRM, for example. Tools like Microsoft’s Common Data Service have the potential to break down data silos, making it much easier to obtain a single version of the truth. You also get access to advanced analytics via Power BI and access to Azure’s AI prowess.

If you’re happy with the way your Dynamics NAV solution is running then, UI aside, not that much is changing. However, it’s worth keeping an eye on the future and getting to grips with the benefits that improved integration with Azure, Common Data Services and Power BI means for your business.

D365 business central

Changes to the way Business Central is deployed

In shifting from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central you need to be aware of the UI changes and how customisation is now accomplished via extensions. However, even if you’re deploying an unmodified version of Business Central, you should still watch out for a few changes that affect the deployment of your ERP:

· Cloud hosting. You can now choose to run your entire NAV solution as a SaaS, cloud-first instance that’s hosted in Microsoft Azure. It offers the full functionality you’re used to alongside the flexibility of cloud-hosted solutions. The on-premise option remains if on-premise is your preferred mode of deployment, but you may miss out on close integration with cutting-edge Dynamics and Azure services.

· Upgrades. Business Central adopts a bi-annual release cadence with two significant upgrades every six months. If your Business Central solution is deployed in the cloud you’ll automatically be upgraded, but you do have the option to delay your upgrade for 90 days. Microsoft also offers a handy notification window during which you can easily set up a sandboxed environment to test the new version.

Business Central Magazine

· Licensing. SaaS solutions are typically priced on a subscription basis, and that is the case with Business Central if deployed in the cloud. This can signal a major change in budgeting processes compared to perpetual licenses. In another shift, Business Central also moves away from licensing that is based on concurrent users to a new model based on the actual number of employees that use Business Central.

You’ll notice the impact of the above changes in the Business Central deployment model as soon as you upgrade from your Dynamics NAV solution – starting with Microsoft’s mapping of concurrent licenses to licenses tied to Named Users.

What’s the next step for your Dynamics NAV solution?

Dynamics NAV is now closed off to new customers – if you’re looking to deploy Microsoft’s ERP solution for SMBs you’ll automatically be redirected to Dynamics 365 Business Central.

For existing Dynamics NAV users, it’s clear that many aspects of NAV have been tweaked or changed in the evolution of Business Central. But, at its core, Business Central is the same product – with the same capable ERP functionality addressed at the same SMB audience.

Business Central Folsom

Nonetheless, in the medium to long term, most users of Dynamics NAV will need to take some action to adopt Business Central. Your version of Dynamics NAV will eventually enter Extended Support and, at some point, no longer receive updates.

Depending on how you currently deploy your NAV solution and, of course, which version of NAV you’re on, you may find that upgrading to Business Central is seamless. Other implementations of NAV will require a bit more work to upgrade. Later in this series, we’ll publish a guide to upgrading from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics Business Central.

Microsoft Dynamics Business Central Manufacturing

There are several obvious business risks to an out-of-support version of NAV. But we suggest that companies make an effort to stay up to date with the shift to Business Central anyway. The newer edition of Dynamics NAV brings significant benefits in terms of practical AI, analytics, and business processes.

Ready to take the leap to Microsoft’s next-gen ERP? Get in touch with Acora to see what you need to do to upgrade – or how your existing business processes can benefit from ERP.