The Basics of Budget Planning with Dynamics 365 Finance

Posted on: August 17, 2022 | By: Guy Logan | Microsoft Dynamics AX/365, Microsoft Dynamics Manufacturing

Budget planning is a critical part of running a business. It allows you to oversee and better understand whether your business has enough revenue to pay its expenses.

With the Budget Planning feature in Dynamics 365 Finance, an organization can configure budget planning, and then set up budget planning processes to meet its policies, procedures, and requirements for budget preparation. By understanding the concepts and terminology that are used in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance, you can more easily and effectively implement budget planning in your organization.

This blog will give an overview of budget planning as well as explain how to configure budget planning and set up budget planning processes.

Budget planning terminology.

Typical tasks

You can use budget planning to perform the following tasks:

  • Create budget plans to define the expected revenue and expenditures for a budget cycle.
  • Analyze and update budget plans for multiple scenarios.
  • Automatically route the budget plans, together with worksheets, justification documents, and other attachments, for review and approval.
  • Consolidate multiple budget plans from a lower level of the organization into a single parent budget plan at a higher level. You can also develop a single budget plan at a higher level of the organization and allocate the budget to lower levels.

Budget planning is integrated with other modules. Therefore, you can include information from previous budgets, actual expenditures, fixed assets, and Human resources. Because budget planning is also integrated with Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word, you can use those programs to work with budget planning data. For example, a budget manager can export a department’s budget request from a budget plan scenario into an Excel worksheet. The data can then be analyzed, updated, and charted in the worksheet, and then published back to the budget plan lines.

Configuring budget planning

Functionality that was introduced in Dynamics 365 Finance version 10.0.9 (April 2020) includes a feature that helps improve performance when you use the Publish button to update existing records in Excel and then publish them back to the client. This feature speeds up the update process and also helps reduce the likelihood that an update will be blocked when you update many records at the same time. To make this functionality available, go to the Feature management workspace, and turn on the Budget planning query optimization for performance feature under Budgeting. We recommend that you turn on this feature.

The Budget planning configuration page contains most of the settings that are required to set up budget planning. The following sections describe some of the factors that you should consider as you configure budget planning. After you’ve completed the configuration, you can set up budget planning processes.

Setting up budget planning processes

After you’ve finished configuring budget planning, you can set up budget planning processes on the Budget planning process page. Budget planning processes are sets of rules that determine how budget plans can be updated, routed, reviewed, and approved in the budgeting organization hierarchy.

For each budget planning process, you first select a budget cycle and a ledger. Each budget planning process is related to only one budget cycle and one ledger. You then select the budget organization hierarchy on the Budget planning process administration FastTab, and assign a budget planning workflow to all the responsibility centers in the organization that appear in the grid.

To assign or change the budget planning workflow for similar responsibility centers, select Assign workflow, and then select the organization type to target and the budget planning workflow to use. The budgeting workflow ID that is associated with each budget planning workflow is automatically added to the grid.

When you define the stage rules and templates on the Budget planning stage rules and layouts FastTab, you can define a different set of rules and default layouts for each budget planning stage. For example, the “Estimate” stage for the Sales departments can let users modify the lines in a budget plan but prohibit users from adding lines. The “Submitted” stage can let users view lines, but not add or modify them, because the work at that stage has been completed, and changes to the budget plans must be prevented. To select the layouts that are available for budget plans, select Alternate layouts.

You can optionally select budget planning priorities on the Budget plan priority constraints FastTab. Priorities can then be selected on budget plans.

The final step is to activate the budget planning process by using the Actions menu. A budget planning process can’t be used until it has been activated.

You can also use the Actions menu to create a new process by copying an existing process. This feature is useful for organizations that follow the same process flow each budget cycle and make few changes or no changes.

Another useful command on the Actions menu is View budget process status. This command graphically shows the budget plans in a process, together with relevant data, such as the workflow status of the plans, summaries by amount and unit, and one-click navigation to the budget plans themselves.

Next Steps

If you are interested in learning more about budget planning using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance, contact us here to find out how we can help you grow your business. You can also email us at or call (312) 345-8817.

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