NAVUG in Rome!

IMG_4381Representatives of NAVUG got the opportunity this week to travel to Italy for The NAVUG Event – Rome 2013 to meet other international NAV user groups, partners, vendors, and end users.  In a quick couple of days, these groups got to participate in many activities including speednetworking, educational sessions, round table discussions, and ask the expert panels.  NAV users from Germany, Denmark, Italy, Kenya, and other countries got the chance to connect, learn and share together at the Microsoft offices located in Rome, Italy.

Shown in the picture in front of those offices are Kerry Rosvold (Augsburg Fortress Publishers), Trish Boccutti (Dynamic Communities), Marc Allman (AMS Controls), and Jason Chance (Seventh Generation).  The NAVUG group had the privledge of presenting and facilitating sessions on Data Warehousing, Upgrading Tips and Tricks, Finance 101, Database Optimization, Manufacturing, Supply Planning, and Reporting Architecture.


Looking for a how to guide on running the year end close in NAV? Here are 3!

All your journal entries are done, all of your modules balance to the general ledger, and your inventory period is closed. You are ready to get that income statement rolled up and close the year. Now where were those instructions? It’s not unusual to be a little unsure about the year end close process – we only get to do it annually, so no one will blame you if you can’t remember exactly what you did last year, and in what order. Here are a couple of resources to help you out.

ABC Computers, Inc. has a nice entry on their technology blog, “How to Close a Fiscal Year in Microsoft Dynamics NAV:  Instructions for Annual Closing Operations“. This goes through a quick top level summary and then a deep dive into the closing process with field by field instructions.

If video learning is more your style, Archerpoint has a short 3-4 minute video out there, “Closing the Fiscal Year in NAV” that shows the annual closing process screen by screen.

customer sourceFinally, you can always get the full manual on the year end closing process straight from Customer Source.  Log in and type in 80041 into the search box. This will get you directly to the “Finance in Microsoft Dynamics 2009” Microsoft course. Download the course and go straight to the file for Chapter 10 – Year End Closing Processes.

Remember, you can always make entries after you’ve gone through your initial income statement rollup. You don’t need to wait for that very last entry to get this process going.


Tips and tricks for a flawless budget load in NAV

Hopefully, you’ve completed your budget work for 2013 and all you need to do to finish is to load all that information to NAV so you can begin to report against your actual financial numbers. If you’ve done this before, you might already know that NAV’s budget tool can be a bit fussy and also a bit cryptic about why it won’t accept your carefully prepared data. Here are four quick tips to help you with getting that data into NAV quickly, correctly, and in one try.

1.  Export first, then import. This is the single most important detail about getting budget data loaded into NAV. You can choose to export an existing budget or even choose to export a blank new budget. Exporting a budget as your first step establishes a working template you can populate your data into, including dimensions. As long as you start with this template, you are already most of the way there to a successful NAV budget load.

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2.  If you’re using dimensions, validate your data against the provided drop downs. Make sure all budget lines that use dimensions are only using valid dimension names. Any deviation from the allowable values that already exist in NAV can cause your budget load to error out or load without balancing.

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3.  Clear the formats from your numbers. Once you’ve copied and pasted or typed your numbers into your Excel template, use the Excel “Clear Formats” function on all cells that contain a numeric value to make sure they are all returned to a formatted status of general. NAV does not accept any other format than the one in the template, and use of other formats, including use of commas in the numbers, will cause the budget tool to give an error and keep you from loading your budget successfully.

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4.  Use the “Add Entries” option for a brand new budget load and the “Replace Entries” option for a subsequent version. The add entries option should only be used for a brand new budget load, otherwise the entries will be added on top of the already existing entries, doubling or tripling them. If you need to load a second or third version or some type of correction, always use the replace entries option instead of the add entries option. If you really get stuck with a bunch of errors, the best thing you can do is delete your budget and reload from scratch.

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Take one last look through your data to make sure it’s accurate and exactly what you expected. You can use the budget tool to do this, or even better, put together a quick account schedule that shows your entries using “G/L Budget Entries” instead of “G/L Entries”. Make sure to look at your total balances, balances by fiscal period, and balances with dimension filters applied. Once you’re satisfied that all your budgeted data has loaded correctly and completely, you’re ready to produce financial reporting showing actual versus budgeted numbers!

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Learning about Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013: on demand learning from NAVUG is a fantastic resource!

learnAs my company continues to move down the path to upgrading to NAV 2013, learning about the new version is high on our list of priorities.  Yesterday, we gathered a group of 18 employees to view a webinar that had been recorded by the NAV user group (NAVUG). The live webinar had been done a month ago, but NAVUG records all of its webinars so user group members can view them on demand later.

I took the opportunity to view the webinar first to vet the material for appropriateness for our group. Being able to see the recording first allowed us to tailor the list of who we invited to view the webinar. Based on the content of the webinar, we invited NAV end users from the customer care, purchasing, finance, IT, warehouse, and marketing departments as well as our CFO and CEO. It was hugely convenient to be able to view the recorded webinar as a group because it allowed us to do this at a time that was convenient to us, we all got to consume the same learning experience at the same time, and we got a chance to discuss what we saw in the context of our own upgrade plans.

The webinar we viewed was titled “NAVUG 2013 Webinar Series: Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 – A Functional Preview” and we were excited to see some of the new charting and cash flow improvements, as well as to hear about dimension sets, database performance increases, and improved copy and paste.  There were some smiles and ooh and aahs during the discussion of the web client and SharePoint clients for remote access and use of tablet technologies like the iPad and Surface.  There was even a smattering of applause when the presenter showed some improved Excel integration features!  Most importantly, all the people in the room got to pick up on the real world impact that NAV 2013 improvements will have on their jobs.  Our company is still using the Classic Client, so for most of the people attending this was their first exposure to the Role Tailored Client and this webinar really got a lot of them thinking about what the “new” NAV would look like.

I can see already that NAVUG has two more sessions planned in their NAV 2013 Webinar Series.  You can bet I’ll be viewing both of these, whether it is at the scheduled time for the webinar, or later, from the recorded session, and finding a way to share the info with other interested folks at my company.

NAVUG NAV 2013 Series: Introduction to ODATA Web Services: How to easily publish your NAV data  01/30/2013 11:00 AM (ET)  NAV 2013 brings ODATA Web Services as a new way to access your NAV data from outside the system. Attend this session to find out how you can use ODATA to access your data from many other applications like Excel, SQL Reporting Services, Internet Explorer, smartphones and tablets.

NAVUG NAV 2013 Series: New Feature – Cash Flow  02/14/2013 09:30 AM (ET) We will demo how the new Cash Flow Forecast in NAV 2013 gives an efficient way to forecast short-term cash flow, enable better monitoring of cash receipts and cash disbursements and use the information to take preemptive steps.

For the cost of our annual corporate NAVUG membership, we were able to get 18 people at our company exposed to important concepts about the new version of the software that will be coming their way soon. We didn’t need to incur any travel costs or even any seminar registration fees, and we were able to schedule it at a time that worked for us. I know our company will continue to use the NAVUG library of recorded webinars as we continue to learn about NAV 2013.  I hope you find this resource as useful as we have!

This posting is one of the Top 20 Most Viewed in the last year! Follow this link to see the entire list.


Improve your professional skills by attending Convergence

learningToday’s business leaders actively pursue the skills they need to get the job done. Nobody is sitting around, waiting to hand you that knowledge; you’ve got to go out and grab it. Attending Convergence is one way to do that. Here are a few ways I improve my professional skill set every year.

Attend general and concurrent sessions to know what’s coming.  Make attending the general session for your ERP solution your top priority. This session is where you get the roadmap for the high level direction of the software. Knowing what’s coming as far as upgrade cycle, types of improvements, and strategic direction is important information to have when you’re back at home. Concurrent sessions are an even more detailed view into what you may see in the next year or two. Watch for trends and direct your thoughts to how the things you are seeing will affect future decisions at your company.

Keep your finger on the pulse of business and technology by networking with your peers.  Not all of the learning opportunities are found in formal sessions at Convergence. Take time to talk with people and ask them questions about how they do things in their businesses. What technologies are other people using? What’s working? What’s not working? What are best practices? What do they wish they could do? What’s being done in their industry? Take time to observe what devices people are using around you. Ask them about what app they’ve used lately that’s helped them out. Find out what books or blogs they are reading.

Learn directly from experts.  You’ve got huge opportunities at Convergence to talk directly with experts. Now is the time to ask those really nerdy, super technical, theoretical what-if type of questions. Microsoft experts are everywhere! Watch for members of the research and development teams for your software. Stop after sessions to talk with speakers about their content.  Make time to show up at the help desk to talk with the Microsoft gold support engineers who are there. All of these people are here at the conference specifically to talk about ERP software, so engage them in a conversation! You will often learn more in one of these conversations than you could ever imagine.

Get inspired by attending the keynotes.  One of the key skills I need to exercise as a leader is to instill hope for the future in my team. If you want to see a great model of this skill, go to the keynotes! I get my annual dose of inspiration every year at Convergence.

Make sure you plan to attend Convergence with some specific goals for improving your professional skill set.  The conference is full of opportunities.  What will you choose to pursue?

Kerry Rosvold has been the Corporate Controller at Augsburg Fortress Publishers since 2008 and has used Microsoft Dynamics NAV as her ERP of choice since 2004.  She blogs regularly at www.dynamicsnavfinancials.com