Microsoft has announced the first wave of changes coming to Dynamics 365 Business Central in 2023 Wave 1, mostly available from April. Most features can be previewed now, users just need to create a new Sandbox as the latest version.
The new features are officially available next month and will automatically apply to customer systems as soon as they are rolled out.
In our view, it does appear that these changes are significant for most users of Business Central. I’ve highlighted some of the features in the new release we think will be most useful.
Adjust exchange rates easily, replace the built-in batch job
Previously with Adjust Exchange Rate, it was necessary for users to run the routine to adjust the Bank, Customer and Vendor balances before they could review the results.
In this release, users can preview adjustments before posting, due to the introduction of a new button on the Adjust Exchange Rate routine labelled Preview.
Add more columns to pages for better insight
This change is long overdue in our opinion. When working on projects there is always a requirement to add fields to make transaction processing easier. This is mostly on orders and invoices where a user might want to change a particular posting group. A very common request is to add the VAT Prod Posting Group field to the Purchase Order Lines and Purchase Invoice Lines so that users can adjust the VAT calculated on the line.
This new change brings about the addition of some key and important fields to many standard pages. We won’t list them all in this document but do check out the official release notes here to review them. This one is definitely going to save a lot of time for users and partners in the future.
Avoid document number errors when you post item journals
A welcome change, though probably more to benefit partners rather than customers unless they are processing lots of Item Journals, if that is the case then a review of the processing would be recommended.
This change adds a new action to the Item Journals page called Renumber Document Numbers and is useful for partners when they’re working on opening stock balances and have journals to post which can run into thousands of lines long.
Post multiple transfer orders at the same time
This is a great new change that will help reduce processing times for many users. If you are a business with many Locations, and you regularly move stock between Locations using Transfer Orders, you’ll previously have had to post one Transfer Order at a time, which was time-consuming.
It’s now possible to post multiple Transfer Orders using a Post Batch action. Like on the Sales Order page, you simply need to select the Transfer Orders using the Post Batch option with the relevant options and filters set. This may not work for Locations that have receipts or shipments enabled and therefore will need to be processed individually.
Preview item journals and 20 other journals and documents before posting
The introduction of Preview Posting item transactions on journal pages is going to save lots of time and will be an extremely useful feature for users and partners alike. We have seen many issues with opening stock balances at the go-live stage, and previously correcting any problems was very time-consuming.
Review general ledger accounts faster
It’s now possible to review and mark financial entries as Reviewed, and we believe that Auditors and finance users will love this, and I can see many businesses looking to implement this as part of the month-end.
What does this mean? Well, whatever is posted to the General Ledger Entries can be marked as Reviewed and this will also include the details of the user who carried out the review and the date and time the review was undertaken.
This feature starts with setting up a Review Policy against the G/L Account.
Once this is set it’s then possible to use the new Review Entries found on the General Ledger Entries page. This opens a new page where it’s possible to select one or more entries and mark them as Reviewed.
This is a fantastic idea, albeit more time is required to finish the month-end however if followed correctly you’ll know you’ve checked and reviewed everything posted in the period. So, you shouldn’t have any nasty surprises when it comes to audit time.
Set up and sync master data across companies
This is something that was always possible through 3rd party (ISV) applications. Having done this a few times there was never really a standard approach and we’ve worked with several of these applications in the past.
It makes sense that this is now added to the standard Business Central, however, it is an immature feature that may need to be extended. This is because it only looks like it’s possible to sync data between companies in the same environment. This is fine, however, it’s quite common for companies to be split by country therefore will require different environments for their Business Central instance. So, the sync would need to work across environments as well as companies. Maybe this is on the roadmap but right now, it looks like some users may need to stick with a 3rd party (ISV) solution.
Ship and receive non-inventory items on warehouse documents
Something that has caught users from day one with the introduction of non-inventory items. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen users forget to ship a non-inventory item because it didn’t appear on the warehouse documents.
Now that it’s going to appear, let’s hope users run into fewer issues and can concentrate on more meaningful tasks. To enable this feature, users will need to select an Auto Post Non-Invt. via Whse. option on the Purchase & Payables Setup page or the Sales & Receivables Setup page.
As part of this, a new feature has been introduced to document lines to link and attach lines to one another. So, when the actual Item is received or shipped, the linked or attached are also posted.
Use advanced warehouse functionality with minimal complexity
It’s now possible to enable some warehouse features for Locations not set up with advanced warehouse functionality, Directed Put-Away and Picks.
The features that can now be enabled outside of advanced warehouse functionality are:
- Movement worksheet
- Calculate the Bin Replenishment task
- Bin Capacity Policy
- Warehouse class check
- Special equipment in warehouse documents
This is a significant new change as now there are many more possibilities available for users and their businesses. Since this is a recent change, it will no doubt come up with bugs at some point being a significant change however if it’s done well, it can bring some much-needed features to more businesses.
Analyse, group, and pivot data on list pages using multiple tabs
I’ve saved the best until last, and if I’m honest this feature deserves its own blog post, so watch this space.
So, what is it? Well for all you Excel lovers out there, it’s now possible to use some Excel features in Business Central. Yes, that’s right, Excel inside of Business Central. It’s not exactly Excel but it’s a step in the right direction. Although users can use Power BI the learning curve was always a challenge for some businesses. Some even turned to other ISV solutions to get their reporting completed.
So, what exactly does this release add? Well on most list pages a new option has been added called Analyse. When this option is ticked, the page changes where add several new areas. This new area’s make it possible to do the following:
- See the number of rows and the totals of certain fields.
- Easily select columns with quantities or values and get totals and averages.
- Enter a Pivot Mode and define a Pivot Table exactly like Excel.
- Create multiple Analysis tabs, so you can review and compare different results.
- Group rows by columns.
This feature definitely has the top spot for this release. It does however come with some limitations such as:
- Unable to link multiple tables together.
- Not possible to export data to Excel including the Pivot.
- Restricted to the columns on the screen, so not possible to enter your own columns and calculations.
I’m sure there is a lot more that Microsoft will be adding to this feature in the future.
Unlike the rest of the features, this one doesn’t have an official release date yet however it can be enabled using the Feature Management page.
This release has certainly brought in some welcome changes for both partners and users. To see the full release plan, you can check it out here on the official Microsoft Documentation.