Blogiversary Top 20 (#9) Where can I learn more about NAV analysis reports and analysis by dimensions?

We’re celebrating our one year blogiversary by reposting the Top 20 Most Viewed in the last year, as determined by you, our readers! Follow this link to see the entire list. Enjoy!

Analysis reports and analysis by dimensions are the native reporting options that extend NAV reporting to the item ledger entries generated from the sales, purchasing, and inventory areas of the application. I find that many users don’t know that this reporting option exists and think it is one of the more underutilized areas by NAV financial users.

These reporting options can be found on the general ledger, sales & marketing, purchasing, and inventory menus.

The main advantage this reporting tool has over account schedules is that it reaches a further level of detail that just isn’t recorded on the general ledger. Being able to get to quantity information at the item or location level in addition to the dollar values posted makes these tools great as a way to get operational reporting.

What is the difference between the two?

Analysis by dimensions is a query tool. The key to using this tool effectively is to use aggressive filtering, especially if you have a large number of items. It can be a very quick way to get information about what may be going on with a single or small group of items. You can also export to Excel and it shows up in a pivot table.

Analysis Reports allow you to configure and save row setups and column layouts for later use, which makes it a reporting tool. These reports work a lot like account schedules, with some added features to accommodate the additional data you can reach because you’re reporting against the item ledger entry tables instead of the general ledger.

A few hints on analysis reports and analysis by dimensions:

  • Skip the analysis report on the general ledger menu and use accounts schedules; you’re not going to get any added value here.
  • When posting sales or purchase orders, you must be fully utilizing the sub module, i.e. do not allow any posting of lines to general ledger accounts on the sales or purchase order documents. Any posting that goes “around” these modules will cause your analysis report to show a lower number than what is on your general ledger. Avoid the argument of reporting credibility by understanding this, and either being able to explain the variance, or prevent it from happening altogether.
  • Know that analysis reports will not automatically update if you add new items. You’ll need to go in and do this manually to each report every time you add new items.

For those of you who are looking for more resources on Analysis by Dimension and Analysis Views, reference the documents below, found on Customer Source:

Documentation => User Guides => Overview of Training Manuals and Hands-On Labs for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009

  • Trade in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 – Chapter 9
  • Business Intelligence for Information Workers in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 – Chapter 5

Documentation => User Guides => Overview of Training Manuals for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 5.0

  • Trade in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 5.0 – Chapter 10
  • Business Intelligence for Information Workers in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 5.0 – Chapter 6

Blogiversary Top 20 (#10) Learning about Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013

We’re celebrating our one year blogiversary by reposting the Top 20 Most Viewed in the last year, as determined by you, our readers! Follow this link to see the entire list. Enjoy!

My company has started seriously discussing what we’re going to do about upgrading our NAV ERP system. With NAV 2013 released to market in October, we’ve got plenty to talk about. Of course, just like you and your companies, we’re nailing down exactly what the benefit of upgrading will be to our company specifically. We’ve talked about performance improvements and greater ability to get to data needed for reporting, but some of those concepts can get pretty intangible in these beginning discussions.

We’ve already talked about the big concepts, but what people really want to know about right now are the real concepts:  exactly how will an upgrade in the software increase our productivity, make us more efficient in our jobs, and ultimately, help us to drive revenue, decrease costs, or increase cash?

So, I’m beginning to gather ways to start to show people at my company, in a tangible way, what the upgraded version can do for them. Here’s where I’m at so far:

1)  Get groups of stakeholders to start to attend webinars about NAV 2013. I’ve had to chance to attend Microsoft Convergence and see all this stuff, they haven’t. I need to get them exposed to seeing this incredibly different version and what it can do for them. One way I’ll do this is to have them attend webinars sponsored by the NAV user group, NAVUG. They’ve got one scheduled called “A Guided Tour of NAV 2013”, and I’ve got a group organized to attend already.  I’m betting we’ll see quite a bit of material about NAV 2013 from the user group in the next year. One of the best things about the user group webinars is that they’re recorded, so if we want to review the webinar later, anyone in my company has that option.

2)  Learn as much as I can about the nitty-gritty details so I can promote them in a real way. I’m constantly searching the web (seriously, I “Bing” everything) for new information about just about anything. Right now, I’m focusing on NAV 2013. I just found a great YouTube video, “What’s New Dynamics NAV 2013 – User Productivity Enhancements“. In six quick minutes I got about five takeaways that I can start to use. My favorite?  NAV 2013 has improved error messages to help end users resolve problems. I’m going to take this info back to work with me and make sure people know we could have less help desk traffic because the new NAV version makes it a lot easier for end users to solve their own errors on the spot.

3)  Get a test copy of NAV 2013 installed so I can start to play around with it myself. I’ve done this with previous versions, so now it’s time. I can get a demo copy installed and start touring the menus, trying things out, and teaching myself how to use the new version. What’ll I try out first?  I can’t wait to get my hands on the cash flow forecast!  Once I’ve got some level of mastery of the new version, I can start showing folks what improvements will apply to them personally, in their jobs.

I’ll keep posting here as I find useful things to share with you.  Hopefully, as you begin your process to discuss the upgrade plan for your company, you’ll find some ideas on things that’ll work for you and your companies.

Learning about NAV2013: New videos available from technology management

learnThere is a new series of NAV2013 YouTube videos available on a wide variety of topics, many of them in the financial area. I’ve previewed four of them today. They’re a nice overview of NAV2013 features, and are a great way to get a preview of what the new version looks like. The series is called, “Dynamics Ignite: Business Made Easy” and the company who produced them is technology management. Find their YouTube channel here, or go to individual topics listed below.

Purchase Order Processing in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013

Budgets in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013

Sales and Purchase Pricing in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013

Accounts Payable in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013

Assembly Management in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013

Sales Order Processing in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013

Accounts Receivables in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013

Look and Feel of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013

General / Nominal Ledger in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013

Cash Flow Forecasting Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013

Spots still available in classes next week on Financial Setups and Dimensions

openThere are still spots available in the classes I’m teaching on Financial Setups and Dimensions next week, on Wednesday, April 17th. Full class descriptions, and registration links are found on the NAVUG Academy site, or at the links below.  See you in class!

Financial Setups in NAV – 9:00am to 1:00pm ET

Get under the hood to understand the inner workings of Microsoft Dynamics NAV financial setups.  The class covers all the basics you need to understand how the financial management area can be configured.  Whether you’re new to NAV, a prospective customer deciding if NAV is the right fit for your company, a Controller or CFO who is new to a company already using NAV, or even an experienced NAV user who wants to know how to maximize your software, this class will get you the foundation you need to make important configuration decisions regarding your ERP software.  This course is open to any NAV user.

Focus on financial considerations like understanding and using posting groups, choosing dimensions, set up of master records for customers, vendors, and items, why number series are important, and what the options are for financial reporting.  Understand what options are available to you related to budgeting, intercompany transactions and consolidations, and month end close and get a tour of best practices related to journal entries, accounts payable, and accounts receivable.

Dimensions in Dynamics NAV – 2:00pm to 6:00pm ET

What are dimensions, and why do you want to use them?  How can you use dimensions to gain control, consistency, accuracy, and efficiency in your financial postings?  How can dimensions make your financial reporting not only flexible but powerful at the same time?  This course is open to any NAV user.

Using hands-on exercises in an online NAV database, try out different dimension configurations in multiple scenarios to really understand how they behave.  Get a chance to see how dimensions flow through your accounting system from beginning data entry to final financial statement production.  This class is your opportunity to finally understand dimensions in Microsoft Dynamics NAV and how they can help you and your business.

Blogiversary Top 20 (#12) Aging methods in NAV – which buckets are you looking for?

We’re celebrating our one year blogiversary by reposting the Top 20 Most Viewed in the last year, as determined by you, our readers! Follow this link to see the entire list. Enjoy!

When running any type of financial report, it’s important to ask the right question in order to get the right answer. When running your accounts payable or accounts receivable aging reports, it’s especially important since there are three available options that will give you the same total answer but will break your transactions down into different aging bucket categories. Choosing the correct option for the question you actually want to answer is the key.

Question #1:  How overdue is the invoice?

By choosing the Aging Method of Due Date, you are asking NAV to age each bucket on your aging in intervals based on the Due Date of the invoice. Remember the due date is based on a calculation that applies payment terms against the document date of the invoice.

Question #2:  How many days have passed since the invoice was posted?

By choosing the Aging Method of Transaction Date, you are asking NAV to age each bucket on your aging in intervals based on the Posting Date. This is sometimes confusing to new users since on both the purchase and sales invoice forms, the two available dates are posting date and document date. The posting date should always be the date you want to post the invoice to your books and therefore the fiscal period the invoice will report in. For the purposes of your aging reports, posting date is equivalent to transaction date.

Question #3:  How many days have passed since the vendor billed us – or – since we billed the customer?

By choosing the Aging Method of Document Date, you are asking NAV to age each bucket on your aging in intervals based on the Document Date. This one makes a little more sense to folks because at least the terms are the same. But darn us accountant types, we often call the document date the invoice date when we’re referring to it. Basically, this date should be the date your vendor has provided on the invoice, or from the customer side, the date you shipped and therefore the date you provided on the invoice to the customer. Any payment terms defined on the account will use the document date to calculate the due date.

An example of two invoices shown with all three aging methods

In a perfect world, our posting dates and document dates would all be the same. Let’s pick a perfect example with posting date of 11/01/10 and document date of 11/01/10 and payment terms of Net 21. This would calculate a due date of 11/22/10 on this invoice.

Then let’s pick an imperfect example. Let’s pretend someone at our company turned in that 11/01/10 invoice sometime in December, after the November books were closed. We still need to book this late invoice, so we’ll choose a posting date of 12/01/10, but since it was not the vendor’s error, we’ll use their invoice date of 11/01/10 in order to calculate the payment terms correctly.

Now, let’s look at an aging as of December 15th, 2010, all three ways. Take note that for all three methods, the balance due is exactly the same. The differences appear in how the aging buckets are defined and how transactions age into the different buckets.

Aging Method of Due Date

Key difference here is the aging buckets start calculating at the due date, so you’ll see column headers of current, up to 30 days, 31-60 days and over 60 days only when using this aging method.

Aging Method of Transaction Date

This aging is based on the posting date, the date that corresponds to the fiscal period you posted the invoice in. Note the late invoice with a 12/1/10 date shows as current.

Aging Method of Document Date

This aging has the same buckets as the one run with transaction date, but is based on the document date or invoice date.

Journal of Accountancy gets excited about Microsoft Office 2013

JoAI love it when accountants get excited about software! JoA just published a pretty enthusiastic article about Microsoft Office 2013 highlighting, among many attributes:

  • Touch screen
  • Cloud
  • Mobility
  • Many functional enhancements

They cover over 40 Office 2013 enhancements, spend a good amount of time highlighting some in detail, and even include a well done sidebar article on whether users who upgrade should consider renting through the Office365 subscription program versus buying. There’s some great information here.

Follow the link for the whole article, found on the Journal of Accountancy site.

Blogiversary Top 20 (#15) Why NAV users should be using dual monitors

We’re celebrating our one year blogiversary by reposting the Top 20 Most Viewed in the last year, as determined by you, our readers! Follow this link to see the entire list. Enjoy!

My company began using dual monitors a few years ago for power users, and have been putting them into place for all users this year. Does this change make a real difference in user productivity?

Some real world examples of what my team uses dual monitors for:

    • More than one NAV session at a time. As long as you have the licenses for it, you can have more than one NAV session open at a time. This is great for when you need to run a report that ties up your session for a while like the AR aging or AP aging or inventory valuations. Use one session to run these reporting hogs in, and another session to look up information for something else you’re working on.
    • Answering email questions. Open up that email on one screen, and reference the information you need on another.
    • Spreadsheet stretch.  Sometimes when you have a ton of data to deal with, it sure helps to see it all in one place.
    • Remote access. If you’re in more than one computer at a time, perhaps your laptop and also a computer back at the office via remote access, being able to see one on each screen is a big help instead of hitting Alt-Tab all day.
    • Using the help menu or other documentation. Are you trying to figure out how to use something new? Put up the application on one screen and the help menu (or user guide) up on the other screen.
    • Comparison. Whether you’re looking up more than one option on the internet or comparing what you have in your production versus development databases, using dual monitors is a great way to see what you options you have without having to switch between screens to remember what you saw.
    • Connecting with your customer. When on the phone with a customer, our customer care team has NAV on one screen and a view of what our customer is looking at on our website on the other. This allows them to better answer the customer’s question about the product, and also make suggestions later as to how we can improve on the customer experience.
    • Entry to NAV on one screen, information on another screen. If your work is transactional, and you need to enter invoices on one screen, but reference a document on another screen, this is a great way to use dual monitors. Don’t print out that document, just put it up on your second monitor.
    • Paperless processing. Ultimately, dual monitors make paperless processing possible for my company. We’re working on a paperless initiative in our accounts payable area right now which couldn’t have happened without dual monitors. Getting users to reference documents on-screen has been an easy, natural transition and while we’re saving a tree or two, the better argument has been the time saved in not printing, organizing, and filing those documents.

Return on investment of dual monitors

If you’re not convinced yet, take a look at the ROI of dual monitors. Let’s say a second monitor costs $200. Estimates of productivity gains range anywhere from 10% – 50%. If you have an employee who generates $200,000 of revenue annually, at a conservative estimate of 10% productivity gain, this could equate to a $20,000 increase in revenue; a one hundred-fold payout on your initial investment.