Review of new features for Project Management and Accounting in Dynamics 365 For Operations

Review of new features for Project Management and Accounting in Dynamics 365 For Operations

Dynamics 365 For Operations is a cloud based SaaS service, which provides rich features and functionalities to manage simple to complex business processes across all major industry verticals, such as Manufacturing, Professional Services, Financial Services, Retail, Distribution and more. It provides very rich features and functionality for project management and accounting for the professional services industry. In today’s post, we will review some of the key new features and enhancements that were released for project management and accounting, in Dynamics 365 for Operations (Update 3 released on NOV 1st 2016).

Let us review and discuss these new features in the order of what I think their significance would  be for customers.

Dedicated PowerBI Content Pack for Project Management and Accounting Reports and Dashboards:

The is the biggest enhancement /new  feature under Project Management and accounting in Dynamics 365 For Operations. Customers will now get access to  preconfigured PowerBI Content pack that comes out of the box and provides key project management and accounting related dashboards and KPIs that are readily available for consumption . This content pack offers the following dashboards and reports. (Note: You can get access to the .pbix PowerBI files via the shared asset library in Life Cycle Services)

Projects Overview Dashboard: Shows overview of projects by customers, budget performance and revenue and provides a bird’s eye overview of the projects so that you can promptly review projects that are either exceeding budget, underperforming in revenue to take actions.


Project Cost and Revenue Details Dashboard: These 2 dashboards enables you to view the project cost and revenue trends easily by customer and various other classifications and also shows actual bs budget comparisons.



Earned Value Management: Earned value management(EVM) is one of the key project health and success measuring criteria for professional services firms. Traditionally, in the earlier version of Dynamics AX, there was no dashboards/KPIs available out of the box that shows EVM and associated KPIs such as Cost Performance Index(CPI) or Schedule Performance Index (SPI), even though you could develop or customize reports and dashboards for these. But in Dynamics 365 for Operations, the content pack provides these out of the box enabling organizations to measure EVM and associated KPIs easily for projects. A very welcome addition !! (In one of the upcoming posts, I will dive deep into EVM in D365 For Operations)


Project Hours Details report: This dedicated dashboard page shows the hours/time details for projects and resources. This also allows you to measure resource utilizations in various perspectives.


Manage Estimated Costs, Revenues and Item requirements on WBS Task Details form of a project:

In the earlier releases of the New Dynamics AX (Update 2 and earlier) or even in AX 2012, you could always define the estimated costs and revenues for each task on the WBS for a project. In Dynamics 365 For Operations, you can add estimated costs and revenue lines for Hours, Expenses, Items and Fees on the WBS task under ‘Estimated Costs and Revenue Tab” as you were able to do in earlier versions, But additionally, you can also manage these on the “TASK Details” form. You can also add/setup “Item Requirements” on the WBS Task details form, so that when you save and publish the WBS, Project Item requirements will be automatically created. (It was also possible earlier, but you had to transfer the WBS Item estimates to Item requirements specifically). Small enhancement, but can be very useful !


Option to setup ledger accounts for intercompany cost and revenues based on lending and borrowing entities for projects:

The Intercompany timesheet and intercompany customer invoicing has been one of the very useful features of AX which enables organizations to deploy resources from multiple entities on the project of borrowing entity and automate the intercompany timesheets and invoicing and accounting. In earlier versions, you only setup one Ledger account for Intercompany Cost and One ledger account for intercompany Revenue postings, regardless of the resource borrowing and lending entities. Dynamics 365 For Operations now provides the option to setup multiple ledger accounts for intercompany cost and revenue posting based on the resource lending and borrowing entities respectively.



Enhancements to Project resource management:

There are some significant changes and enhancements to the project resource management feature in the Dynamics 365 For Operations release. I am listing some of those which I think are important, but will discuss them in greater detail in one of the future posts.

  • Organization’s Operations resources such as Machines, Tools, Facility etc. can now be added as project resource and can be scheduled on projects. Earlier, only workers (Employees and Contractors) could be designated as project resource.
  • New Resource request workflow enabling a resource allocation manager to control the resource requests from various projects. (It was there in the AX 7 release as Planned resource, but it has be revised up to some extent)
  • Resource role based pricing and cost price visibility based on date of Task and booking.



Miscellaneous usability enhancements across various forms:

The following are some of the miscellaneous usability enhancements.

  • WBS Task ID and the Task Name are now visible on the Project Forecasts Transactions forms. This will certainly make it easier to see the forecasts (Labor, Expense, Items, Fee etc.) at each Task level with easy identification of the task, instead of just looking at the Activity ID.


  • On the Resource management screens such as Resource Availability, Resource fulfillment, clearing record selections for each date range is now possible and it a whole lot earlier and neat! Certainly a very useful enhancement.


  • Multiple record selections on various forms to take actions is now possible. An example is the price setup form.


  • The Project resource availability form’s business logic now considers Employee’s efficiency rate. Earlier the resource availability was based on Competencies and calendar availability, but Efficiency rate might be a good addition. I am not sure yet if I would use/need it that much, it certainly is a good add-on.


  • When you select the Project Manager on a project, it is automatically added to the Project Team under the Project Team and Scheduling tab. Make Sense and makes like a little easier 🙂 !!


  • Timesheet workflow status is Reset if the workflow and Document status are out of Sync. I believe this enhancement is related to cases when the “Approval status” of a timesheet changes, but the corresponding workflow status does not change sue to unexpected intermittent issues. If this happens, my guess is the workflow status will automatically reset to match with the timesheet document/approval status. I was not able to review and test this feature yet.
  • You can now select a funding source specifically on Fee journal lines. This will prove to be a very useful enhancement, especially in cases where there multiple funding parties responsible for a project contract and when booking Fees for the contract, you can select a specific funding source if you want to bill the partially fee to that funding source. (Note: This was indirectly possible in earlier releases where you could do a Project Free Text invoice and select a funding source on the line, which in turn will post a project Fee transaction.


Hope this was helpful! Till next time..


Track Revisions on a Project Quotation during the negotiation with Prospects/Customer in AX 2012 R3

Track Revisions on a Project Quotation during the negotiation with Prospects/Customer in AX 2012 R3

Hello Everyone,

Here is a quick tip for the day about one of the “Small, yet very Useful” functionality which is introduced in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 release.

Until the CU6 release of AX 2012, there was no efficient option track various revisions of project quotation once it was approved internally for the first time, and sent to Customers or Prospects. It was not possible to submit the “Quotation revisions” to a workflow for internal approvals.

Now, in the R3 release, AX allows to revise and track details of the revisions effectively on project quotations, by allowing to submit the revisions to the internal approval workflow.

1. Navigate to PMA > Common > Project Quotations, create, submit and approve a new project quotation



2. Now, Generate and send the Project quotation.


3. After sending the quotation to the prospect/customer, you can revise based on the feedback received from the customers and maintain revisions of the quote throughout the negotiation cycle.

4. Click Quote > Revise button on the action pane to revise the quote. With this, you add, modify or review lines from the quote and change any other details as needed. See the screenshot below where I have added 2 additional lines to the original quote.



5. After revising the quote details, you can submit the revised quotation for internal approval. After internal approval is complete, you can send the Revised Quote.

6. After sending revised quote, click the Quotation journal button to see how system maintains the audit trial of the revisions.


Quick and easy..:) Keep DAXING till next time.

Regards, Sandeep

Managing After-Sales Services of your organization as a Profitable business in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Managing After-Sales Services of your organization as a Profitable business in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Manufacturing and Services Industries (Especially the Architecture, Engineering and Construction, and Large scale AV Integrators) often perform after-sales services, to retain maximum Customer satisfaction on the products and services they manufacture and sale. These after-sales services are basically classified as “Business to Business services”, rather than business to consumer servicers. It is very important that the Service Managers of these organization keep track of the exact costs and revenues on the hours, expenses and items consumed in a service function, to make sure the Service operations of the organization can run as profitable business.

Are you a Customer already implementing Microsoft Dynamics AX  ERP or actively looking for an all  inclusive ERP application to manage  the various aspects of after-sales services ? Look no further and explore how the Service Management Module of Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP can add value proposition to your business.

In today’s post, I will initiate an introduction to the overall architecture of the Service Management Module and then will discuss all the important functionalities  and the “How-To” to manage those in few of the subsequent posts.


Let us now understand the various building blocks and important functionalities of the Service Management Module in AX 2012 R3.

A. SERVICE AGREEMENTS: Service agreements acts as the central element in the architecture of the service management module and holds the contractual details with the customer.

    • Defines what objects will be serviced(Service Objects), the tasks(Service Tasks) that will be performed and how these will be charged to the customers.
    • Defines when the services will be performed(Service Interval), Service Level Agreement(SLA), who will perform the service, how the costs and revenues will be managed.
    • Defines how service orders will be created (Automatically, Planned Service Orders/Manually).
    • The Service Management module in AX is integrated with the Project Management and Accounting module for posting the service orders back to Projects, to track the costs, revenues and also invoice the customer for the services performed.
    • This integration also takes advantage of the validations, ledger posting, pricing and other functionalities of the PMA module.


B. SERVICE ORDERS: A Service Order in AX represents one instance of a scheduled/unscheduled service activity performed by service technician, at a customer site on the day of the visit.

  • Service orders can be automatically created based on the Tenure, Service interval, Time window and the “Line Combining options” specified on the Service agreement and service agreement lines. For example if the tenure of a service agreement is from 01/01/2014 to 12/31/2014 and Service Interval is “Monthly”, then, 12 planned Service orders, one for each month, can be automatically created directly from the Agreement.
  • AX also provides the option to create the planned service orders more efficiently by combining the orders “By Technician”, “By Service task and By service objects (What is being serviced) so that they can better planned and scheduled.
  • You can also utilize the “Time Window” functionality on the service agreement to optimize the scheduling of service orders.
  • Service orders can be created without a service agreement as well, and these can be used to perform One time , unscheduled service visits which might be requested by the customer on demand basis.
  • Service Orders typically consists of service order lines, which represents the details such as the “Hours of work performed by a service technician, related expenses, item consumptions, replacements, or repairs and any service fees, for the tasks performed on the various service objects.
  • Service orders can be created by the Services team of the organization or it can also be initiated by the Customer using the Customer Self service portal.
  • Once the Service orders are created and setup, they are processed through various service stages and the progress, performance, costs and revenues are tracked till the completion of the service.


C. SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENTS (SLA): Service Level Agreement allows the service organizations to record time to identify WHEN the service must be performed at the latest, from the time when the Service order was initiated by a Customer and it also allows the organizations to track the timing of the services given to the customers through out the Service Delivery process.

    • You can create as many SLAs you want based on your business needs. If you have grouped your service agreements by
    • When a SLA is attached to a Service Order and the service order is initiated, the TIME RECORDING starts automatically which can be Stopped, Restarted or even Cancelled at any time depending on the situation through out the duration of the service activity.
    • SLA can be associated with a Calendar in AX, which allows to control the automatic time recording to start. If the Service order was initiated on a non working day, then the Time recording will not start until the next working day.
    • You can link the SLA with Service Agreement groups, which allows to assign the SLA to the Service Orders automatically when you create a new Service Order belonging to that Service Agreement.


D: SERVICE DISPATCH BOARD FOR DISPATCHERS: The Service dispatch board functionality enables the Service companies and their Service Customers to stay on top of their priories with regards to the on-going services. It Helps the Service dispatcher to schedule the work for the Service engineers and the service tasks/activities they will perform at the customer’s site.

  • Service Dispatcher gets to see an overview of the Service Operations using the Dispatch Board can make efficient and informed decisions about the actions needed at the right time to ensure high customer satisfaction.
  • Graphical display support for the Service Dispatch board.
  • Service dispatchers can view and manage on going service tasks by seeing COLOR coded overview details about the service orders.
  • The dispatcher can see daily activity logs on each Service orders which are entered by the service engineers/technicians.
  • Can create service dispatch teams and manage the service resources more effectively.


The screenshot above does not show any data, as I have not created the data in the system. We will discuss more about the details of the Service dispatcher and other daily processes of the Service orders in the few subsequent posts and will learn how to use this module in greater detail and see the Dispatch board in action.

E. REPAIR & RETURNS: Service Companies often get the items or equipment back at their location for repair. Dynamics AX supports a decent level of repair management capabilities within the Service Management Module which can be used by companies for better repair management and optimize their efficiency of handling equipment returns and repairs.

  • Manage repair from the time it is initiated from the Customer till the resolution using repair stages, which you can configure the way your business needs it.
  • Track the resource consumptions on various repair tasks such as hours spent by the technician, Item replaced etc. and tie those back to the Service order which can be then accounted and billed to the Customer.
  • Create and Manage Symptom areas, diagnosis areas, repair conditions, resolutions for better reuse to optimize the repair process.
  • Do necessary reporting such as which items (objects) are repaired most frequently and how efficiently your technicians are able to finish the repairs etc.


F: Service BOMs: Dynamics AX provide the functionality of creating and managing Service BOMs, which enables the service companies to track and store the changes performed to an object during the service. This can be specifically helpful for service organization who engineers their products/services by combining a set of different items on it.

  • It allows you to continuously track the service objects which are serviced a customer’s site  and then it allows to generate the complete audit trial of the object changes over a period of time and also the replacement history of the object.
  • All the changes to the Service BOM during the course of Service, are stored as a separate version as a history for future tracking.
  • Helps service companies to identify required parts on the service visits, so that they can arrange the availability of the parts at inventory and reserve to be consumed in the Service order.
  • It can help you determine any potential changes you might have to do to your Service BOM (Service Product) to manage reduce the number of services required in the future.


G. SERVICE SUBSCRIPTIONS: If you are a Service company and provide services to clients at a fixed rate for a period, then you can make use the Service Subscriptions functionality of AX 2012 to manage all the accounting and financials management needs of the service subscription process. We will discuss in detail about each of the above processes in the next few subsequent posts.


H. SELF-SERVICES PORTAL: Dynamics AX supports various Service Management processes on the enterprise portal. The Service customers and the Service team can collaborate effectively using the enterprise portal and the Customer self-service portal.

  • Customers can initiate the Service Orders using the Self- Services portal on enterprise portal which then can be reviewed  and processed further.
  • Customers can access readily available LIVE information about their past and current and future service orders, agreements anytime using the Self-service portal.
  • Technicians can access details such as her necessary information  such as service objects, tasks, repair etc. about the service calls/orders and even update the service orders at anytime.


Well, stopping here todaySmile. In the next few posts, we will explore the above mentioned processes and functions individually, in greater details.

Till next time..!!


Audit Trial on Project Timesheets Entry and Reporting in CU7 For AX 2012 R2

Audit Trial on Project Timesheets Entry and Reporting in CU7 For AX 2012 R2

Hello Friends,

It has been hectic two months and I have not been able to spend time to write here. Hope you all are up and running on your AX learning curves.

Here I am back today ! and in today’s post, we will discuss about the new audit trial features, which are introduced for the Project Timesheets functionality in the CU7 release for AX 2012 R2.

This new feature allows you to setup audit trials on all the timesheets which are submitted by the workers of your organization by which you can record all the changes which are made by the workers to the timesheets. This new feature also includes the option of blocking future timesheet entries, except for the planned absences of the employee.

Let us now see each of these new enhancements in action.

1. Parameter Controlled: The first step in this is to enable the necessary controls in the Project Management and Accounting Parameters form. You can always choose whether to enable the audit trials or not.

    Notice the various check boxes you have under the “Validation” group highlighted in screenshot below.


2. Block Future Timesheet Entries: In CU7 and later versions of AX 2012, you can now “Block the entry of timesheets for the future period”. This is a very useful enhancement to have good control over the employee timesheet entries. However, you employees can enter planned absences for the future with this parameter enabled.

  • Go to PMA > Common > My Timesheets and create a new Timesheet for a future period which is 04/21 – 04/27 and then create a new timesheet line for a project except for the planned absences.


  • Notice that, system will block this with a warning message as shown below.


3. Validate Absence Categories and Validate Absence: With the “Block future timesheets” enabled, if you do not select the “Validate Absence Categories” check box, then the workers cannot enter future absences in a timesheet for a future period. Notice in screenshot below that with these checkbox marked and worker is able to enter a future absence  for a future period.

image image

4. Require Timesheet Audit Trial: When you enable only this checkbox, your workers will not forced to enter a Reason for timesheet changes such as Deletion, or editing after Submitting. But, the Timesheet Audit trial will be maintained. This means that if workers update anything in an original timesheet, the audit trial will be stored for future references.

  • In the example below, Julia submitted the timesheet for period 04/13.


  • The reviewer of the timesheet has rejected the timesheet asking for additional comments on the timesheet lines. Julia then adds  more comments and resubmits the TS.


  • The Project Accounting Team or the Timesheet Reviewers can see the complete audit trials history of the timesheets by clicking the Manage Versions button on the ‘All Timesheets” list page. System maintains a complete audit trial of the timesheet to track what happened to it since creation.


  • Additionally, you can also compare the various updates by clicking the “Compare” button to know what exactly was changed in the TS version.


5. Allow Timesheet Change Reason: When you select the Require timesheet audit trial check box, then you can also select to tell the system if the worker can enter a reason for change when they change timesheet.

  • In the screenshot below, notice that, a new field is shown the timesheet line for entering change reasons, when you enable the “Allow Timesheet Change Reason” parameter.


  • Workers can enter reasons for changes, but it is not mandatory to enter the reason for change, unless you mark the “ Require Timesheet Change Reason” checkbox.


6. Require Timesheet change reason: When you mark this, workers are needed to enter change reasons for every change they make to the timesheets.

  • If we Reject the timesheet which Julia submitted above with this parameter enabled, Julia will need to enter a reason to be entered before resubmitting the TS.
  • Notice that when Julia changes the #hours to 4 from 3 and tries to save or submit the timesheet, system gives a warning message asking for the reason to be entered.
  • When the workers enter the change reasons and resubmit, then complete TS history along with the change reasons can be seen in the Timesheet versions form.


7. Deleted Timesheet History: This new feature also allows to keep complete track of all your deleted timesheets. You can track the reasons why workers deleted the timesheets.

  • In Screenshot below Julia deletes the timesheet as she created it for a future period by mistake. When Julia clicks Delete, notice that she needs to enter a reason.


  • Navigate to PMA > Common > Timesheets > Deleted Timesheets History list page to see the list of all the deleted timesheets along with the reasons. You can also trace the versions of the timesheet from this screen.


8. Submitting Timesheets Into a Closed GL Period: Another great addition you will notice is the “Allow Date Corrections On Timesheet” functionality. This allows you to submitting timesheets into a GL period which is already closed or On-Hold.


  • Screenshot below shows the ledger period 08/01 to 08/30/2013 is Kept “On-Hold”.


  • When you submit a timesheet for this period and try to post the timesheet, system did not allow the posting earlier and system would block this saying the Period is not open.


  • With the “Allow date corrections on Timesheets” checkbox marked, you can now post the timesheet, and system will automatically post the ledger transactions into an advanced period which is Open subsequently. However, the Project transaction dates will remain as the original timesheet line dates.


  • Notice that system posted the ledger transactions automatically to the next period which is Open, i.e. 09/01/2013.

image IMPORTANT NOTE: You might find that the “Project Transaction date” also gets populated with the next open date which is “9/01/2013”. This was an issue in the CU7 release and a HOTFIX  KB 2922713 was released around January of this year. Please make sure you install the hotfix to see the correct results. Well, that’s it for today! Stay tuned.. Keep Reading…