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Budgeting Capabilities in New Microsoft Dynamics AX (Dynamics 365)

New Budgeting capabilties in New Microsoft Dynamics AX

Attending the Dynamics Technical Conference is all worth the investment. You not only see the new capabilities but also the ability to interact closely with the experts from Microsoft who built the product.

I am personally interested in budgeting planning and control as it forms a strong analytics base for any organization in the world. And budget planning is not limited to only users who use Microsoft Dynamics AX; it can be used as an independent workload along with any ERP or customers on other versions of Dynamics AX.

Microsoft Dynamics AX introduces several key improvements to budgeting functionality. Let’s explore those in more detail.

Excel Integration

For any budgeting system to be successful in user adoption, integration with Excel is crucial. Enhancements in Excel integration provide a huge improvements in user experience and productivity of people involved in the budgeting process. Here are some specific benefits of the updated approach:

  • Layouts make Excel templates useful year after year. In other words, you do not have to build all the templates every year and it reduces the need for testing prior to every budget cycle.

  • Templates eliminate chances of user error, and improvements in the process of designing the template also means less chances for the errors.

  • Calculated columns instead of matrix fields. This will make Excel templates much faster as aggregated data is pulled into Excel than all the individual rows.

  • Option to choose from alternate templates in Excel. Users have option to define multiple excel templates for given budget planning process and stage.

Productivity Improvements for Budgeting in AX

Budgeting is now a more integral element of financial management in Dynamics AX. Here are some other ways budgets have greater visibility and accessibility in the new AX.

Additional budget generation options - Multiple options for budget plan generation are now available viz. from budget register, project forecast and supply/demand forecast.

Budget request right from Purchase order - Users can now submit request for additional budget right from the Purchase order without leaving the document being worked upon. So good to improve productivity.

Insightful workspaces - Many insightful capabilities to leverage specially for budget manager combined with Power BI capabilities available right out of box.

Inquiry for Budget vs Actual - Budget manager can now better track Budget, see responsible managers associated to the Business unit, Department right from Budget form.

The AX Roadmap

Based on guidance at the Dynamics Technical Conference, here are some budgeting capabilities on the roadmap:

  • Justification template to be used during planning process (This feature was available in prior releases).

  • Support for seamless movement of Budget templates across environments (It is much improved from the previous version)

  • Support for a higher number of columns in the Excel template: Currently, the Excel template supports 36 columns. It will work for more than 95% of customers, but some customers have scenarios that need to be shown in columns for each month and the columns add up very quickly.

And one request for the future...

Based on the implementations I have done, as a voice of the customer I would also like the budgeting functionality in the new Microsoft Dynamics AX to be isolated from the overall solution and made available in individual workload capacity with its own special pricing. This change would enable organizations with other ERP’s to fully embrace its full potential even just as a true Budgeting tool. It also aligns with Microsoft’s strategy to componentize the solution and let customer pick pieces they want to use.

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