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

The finance professional’s perspective on NAV dimensions (part 3 of 15)

As the finance person for your company who will make decisions about dimensions, you bring a unique perspective to how dimensions can be valuable in your accounting department. Some of the concerns you have will surround reporting requirements, some will pertain to consistency and control, and others will relate to efficiency. Let’s go through each of those concerns.dimsfinance

Efficiency

As a corporate controller, I’m concerned that my staff work in an efficient manner. In regard to coding invoices or general ledger entries, this means they shouldn’t need to look up a lot of information and they don’t engage in any more data entry than they absolutely have to. When choosing how dimensions will be set up in NAV, you can make some specific choices regarding how data can be populated. Do you want the coding to come in as a default value? Are your coding relationships rule-based enough to make that possible? Are there some things you can populate to always default so the coding appears as if by magic 100% of the time and an employee never needs to be responsible for making a coding decision?

Consistency and Control

In the same way that I’m a stickler about operating efficiently, I’m even more so about having consistency and control. If you ever work with me, at some point you will hear me say, “we do not allow optional data”. This means we don’t gather dimensions for some data and not for others. I use the default value code mandatory a lot in my system. This setting will force a dimension to be populated whether it is through a default value or by a person, but it will never allow the data to come through with a blank value, creating holes and reduced value data in my reporting.

Reporting Requirements

Ultimately, you’re using dimensions in your ERP system so you can get great reporting out of it to make important business decisions. As your company’s finance professional, you know what you’re reporting on now. Take a minute to think about that. Is what you’re reporting on still relevant or is it what you’ve always reported on? Has your business changed? Does your reporting need to change too? Think about what your business really needs to see in its reporting and structure your dimension choices to match.

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