Highlights of the Microsoft Dynamics AX Launch Event: Finance Track Breakout Sessions
Posted on: March 25, 2016 | By: Jarrod Kraemer | Microsoft Dynamics AX/365
Authored by: Chris Rusing
Recently, Microsoft launched a virtual event to showcase and highlight the new Microsoft Dynamics AX. Christian Pedersen led the keynote which gave an overview of the new look and feel of AX. He shared some exciting features such as the voice command integration of Microsoft’s Cortana and cloud deployment utilizing Microsoft Azure. However, in this blog post, the focus will be on the finance-focused breakout sessions. These videos offered in-depth demonstrations on the business processes your company could directly benefit from in the future.
The financial period close workspace was featured as one of the new functionalities in AX. In a nutshell, this workspace is a form in AX which allows the user to organize the tasks necessary to complete financial period close and also provide transparency of task completion as well as the person responsible for the each task. The workspace offers different views depending on the security role of the user. You can filter to see tasks due today, tasks remaining and all tasks. There is also functionality to drill into each task. This removes the necessity for users to remember where they complete each task (which could easily be forgotten if done monthly and/or yearly). There are also many different filters available. You can look into the close status by company, status by area (module) and status by worker. These filters offer a multitude of transparent views that help determine how complete you are in the closing process. No more unnecessary emailing and pinging! Going beyond that, tasks that are overdue are clearly marked to indicate where they might be a bottleneck in the closing process. Tasks can also have defined dependencies- as in you cannot complete certain tasks until other tasks have been executed. Lastly, there is the ability to attach documents, such as reports or even just comments, to each tasks. For example, an AR aging would be useful to tie out the sub ledger to the general ledger.
The financial period close can be configured specifically to your business. Templates can be customized specific to the legal entity. The templates are where roles are designated for each task and also where the dependencies are created. Assigning roles and declaring certain tasks dependent upon others will ensure that each closing process runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. It also establishes clear accountability for each worker with the assigned roles. Also, the dependent tasks keeps the closing process streamlined without sacrificing accuracy.
The human capital management in AX has some new features including the workforce management workspace. This workspace provides a snap shot of what your company looks like from an HR perspective. How many workers are employed? How many of those workers are contractors? What open positions are available? Are they any new hires? This workspace provides all that information and more. For example, on the record of the employee, you can see the entire timeline of an employee’s work history including any changes. You can also initiate any kind of HR process directly from this workspace such as reassigning an employee, changing their position (part time to full time), hiring a worker and also terminating a worker. The workspace acts as a one-stop shop for all your HR needs.
Workflows can be enabled so that managers can easily maneuver through HR process quickly and efficiently in their own manager self-service workspace. From this area, managers can easily keep track of their employees’ information and history (certificates, skills, performance goals, etc.) They can also create new positions to request a worker for the position, which relays back to the workforce management workspace as a new open position.
Also featured was the employee self-service workspace. This form stores personal information such as address, contacts, identification, performance goals, expense report cards, courses, essentially anything you would need to develop yourself as an employee and keep track of your information on file. A full compensation history can be viewed over the entire course of your career as well as the benefits paid by yourself and your company.
The final breakout session covered the topic of budget planning. In the new AX, budgets can be transferred to Excel to use the Excel features and functions to easily change and update your budget. The Excel integration is a major upgrade for the budget module of AX that many end users will certainly be excited about. Additional workflows are also available to be utilized. As an example, an increase to the travel expense budget can be requested by a worker. That budget requests is then sent by workflow directly to the manager responsible. He or she can then input the budget amount associated with their department or business unit. This eliminates the back and forth communication that can easily be lost in the day-to-day grind. The periodic process feature allows the user to bring in operational level information (such as project accounting, fixed assets, etc.) as a foundation for your budget.
In this breakout session, they also highlighted the utilization of Power BI. Graphs and key performance indicators be pinned directly to your budget workspace to give you up-to-date information on your budget vs. actuals. Also, budget issues can easily be identified with customizing filters. For example, if you wanted to search for all expenses that were within 90% of your budget, you could set those filters and determine which expense accounts were approaching their budget threshold. Once you identify these ledger accounts, you can drill into that expense account to determine who is the person and/or department responsible for the high expenses. Improved transparency will guide your company to one single source of truth so improvements can be made quickly.
These are some of the highlights of the finance breakout sessions that were available in the Microsoft Dynamics AX Virtual Launch Event. If you want to see the entire AX virtual launch, please click here.
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