Add NAV dimensions as your business changes (part 14 of 15)

compassSetting up dimensions should not be something we exclusively do when we implement NAV for the first time at our businesses. Change is the norm in business, and I would be genuinely surprised to hear from anyone at this point that their business has not changed significantly in the last five years. So for finance and IT professionals, what changes when the business changes? Reporting requirements!

For NAV, that means opportunity for using dimensions differently or to add new dimensions. Hopefully you are happy with your global dimensions, the two most important dimensions for your company, and you’re ready to add some shortcut dimensions so you can expand your reporting capabilities. There are four main things you should keep in mind when adding a shortcut dimension.

1) Keep in mind timing and financial cutoff. If you choose to start collecting data on a new dimension today and today falls in the middle of a fiscal period, you’re going to create a disconnect in your financial data where you have data with the new dimension value and data with the blank dimension value in the same period. Don’t do it. Find out when the end of the fiscal period is, and start gathering the new data starting with the start of the new fiscal period. This doesn’t have to be the year-end, it could be a month, or whatever period you have at your company, but do take the time to plan this out, your finance department will thank you later.

2) Know that collecting a new dimension will not magically attach to your historic data. Assigning dimension data to your item or customer or vendor only begins the collection of that data on any new transactions generated since you assigned the dimension data. There is nothing out there that will magically attach this new requirement to old historic data. There are ways to go back and change the historic data, but this is generally beyond what you want to do manually. Involve someone experienced in SQL or call your partner for some help with this. And for goodness sakes, try this in a test system first. It’s always good to do a practice run on this kind of change, and should be mandatory if you’re planning to change a large amount of data. Remember that in many cases, it is perfectly ok to collect new data without catching up the history. Only you can decide what you need for your reporting.

3) Don’t abandon your pending data. Don’t forget there are things out there you created prior to assigning that new shortcut dimension. Sales orders, purchase orders, transfer orders and any other type of form that may be in process at the time you defined that new dimension will need to be caught up to the new requirements. If you forget this, NAV will remind you by throwing a dimension error when you, or your colleagues, try to post those documents to the system.

4) Consistency is the key. Make sure you set up this new dimension with the same level of consistency you’ve used with your other dimensions. Start with your master data, but follow through by adding the safety net of the chart of accounts, and remember to incorporate your choice of value postings.

Keep reading this month as we continue our series, 15 Days of NAV Dimensions.



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