November 11, 2022

    Microsoft Dynamics GP vs Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Comparing 12 Functions

    Businesses considering moving from Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains) to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365 BC) have a lot of questions and concerns about what that will look like. How different will it be? What new processes might their teams have to learn? And how much more seamless is the newer functionality?  

    Here, we’ll directly compare 12 common functions businesses use in Dynamics GP to the same functions in Dynamics 365 Business Central.  

    Table of Contents: 

    1. Entering Receivables Transactions 
    2. Entering Customer Cash Receipts 
    3. Payables Transaction Entry 
    4. Pay Vendor Process 
    5. Classes and Templates 
    6. Posting Accounts and Groups 
    7. Trial Balance and Aging Reports 
    8. Segment and Dimension Setup 
    9. Segment and Dimension Transaction and Reporting 
    10. General Journal Entries 
    11. Correcting and Reversing Entries 
    12. Financial Reporting Tools 

    1. Entering Receivables Transactions 

    To enter an invoice in Dynamics GP for a service you provided a customer, you go to your receivables transaction entry window, select that customer, enter the amount for the service and post the invoice.  

    If the customer wants a credit, you must enter the credit memo and apply it to the original invoice. You select the customer information and the credit and add any context in the description. When you click ‘Apply’ you get the ‘Apply Sales Document’ window and see outstanding invoices. Here, you find the original invoice, select it, click ‘Okay’ and post that your credit memo has been applied to the invoice. 

    In Dynamics 365 Business Central, you can use both Sales Journals and Sales Invoices to enter receivables transactions. 

    To enter an invoice using sales journals: 

    • Navigate to Sales Journals. In the ‘Sales Journal’ window, let’s say you’ve created several different batches, including one for sales and service invoices with a default sales account already selected. You can drill into the batch to enter information for your invoice.  
    • Select the document type ‘Invoice’ and then change the account type to ‘Customer’. Enter a description if needed. 
    • Enter your document amount for the service provided.  
    • To look at the posting accounts before posting, go into the GL Entry and see accounts receivable (AR) and sales accounts that will be posted to.  
    • If it looks correct, post the invoice.  

    To enter a credit memo: 

    • In Sales Journals, select the credit memo batch, where you’ll have a different number series to distinguish credit memos from invoices. 
    • In the credit memo batch, for document type, select ‘Credit Memo’ and then change the account type to ‘Customer’. 
    • Select the customer and enter the credit amount. 
    • To apply this credit memo to the invoice, under processes, select ‘Apply Entry’. You’ll see outstanding invoices for the customer and can scroll over to the specific service, select it and then process it. 
    • Post the document. 

    Sales Invoices can be used to track sales of services and items in inventory. To enter an invoice using a Sales Invoice: 

    • Click on the search icon and type in ‘sales invoices’.  
    • When the list is returned, select ‘Sales Invoices’ to open the Sales Invoice list. 
    • Click ‘New’ to create the new invoice document. 
    • From the customer name list, find the customer to enter the invoice for. Down in the line section, you can switch the type to General Ledger (G/L) by selecting ‘G/L Account’. 
    • Select the sales account you want to post the invoice to and enter the invoice amount. 

    Watch the entering receivables transactions demo >> 

    2. Entering Customer Cash Receipts 

    To enter receivables cash receipts in Dynamics GP, go to the Cash Receipts Entry window and enter the customer payment. This involves selecting the customer and the payment amount, then selecting ‘apply’ where you find the invoice or invoices the customer is paying. Once you’ve found it, you select the check box and choose ‘Okay.’ Once the information is entered, you can post the cash receipt. 

    In D365 Business Central, to create customer payments: 

    • Select the search icon, enter in ‘cash receipts journals’ and select this option from the results list.   
    • Select the customer and navigate to the ‘Apply to Doc. No.’ column.  
    • Select the look up option to see all the outstanding invoices the customer has with you. 
    • Find the invoice selected and choose ‘Okay’. 
    • The payment amount will automatically populate. 
    • Post the cash receipt. 

    In addition to Cash Receipts Journals, you can use the Customer Register Payments window to record customer payments. This is a faster, more efficient way to record payments from multiple customers compared to Dynamics GP. 

    • Select the search icon, type in ‘customer register payments’ and select this from the results list. This list will show all outstanding invoices for all customers.  
    • Filter down to outstanding invoices for one customer by selecting that customer and choosing to filter on this value. This will show only invoices for that customer. 
    • Find the invoice the customer sent a payment for, select the check box and it will automatically populate the amount received and date received. 
    • Post the payment if everything looks correct.  

    Watch the entering customer cash receipts demo >> 

    3. Payables Transaction Entry 

    In Dynamics GP, to create an Accounts Payable (AP) invoice for a purchase from one of your vendors, you would enter in the vendor information, vendor invoice number and purchase amount for the supplies.  

    To enter that same transaction in Dynamics 365 Business Central, you can use the Purchase Journal or Purchase Invoices to register the cost of purchases and track AP.  

    To create AP transactions 

    • Search for ‘purchase journals’ and choose Purchase Journal in the results.  
    • Enter the vendor invoice number just as you would in GP and select the vendor.  
    • Enter your purchase amount and select your office supply G/L account.  
    • Before posting the transaction, you can see a preview of the GL accounts the transaction will post to.  

    To create Purchase Invoice 

    • Search for purchase invoices, select the link in the search results and choose ‘New’ to create the invoice. 
    • Choose the vendor you are purchasing from. The vendor information should default from the vendor record. Record the vendor invoice number.  
    • Add the lines to the purchase invoice. Update the description if necessary and enter the purchase amount.  
    • The Purchase Invoices allow for multiple types, so you can enter in lines for inventory items, fixed assets or track any freight expenses you may have incurred.  

    Watch the payables transaction entry demo >> 

    4. Pay Vendor Process 

    For the pay vendor process in Microsoft Dynamics GP, let’s say you created a batch using your default payment option ID that looks for outstanding invoices due at the end of the month, as well as any available discounts. You can select ‘Edit Payment Batch’ and view all vendors and invoices that have been selected to pay. Here, you can make changes and choose not to pay certain vendors or invoices.  

    To pay vendors in D365 Business Central: 

    • Click the search icon, type ‘payment journals’ and select this in the results list. 
    • In Payment Journals, select your general batch.  
    • Under ‘Prepare’, select ‘Suggest Vendor Payments’. You can select saved defaults, so you don’t need to re-enter information each time.  
    • ‘Last Payment Date’ indicates you want to pay invoices due on or before that date. You can also indicate if you want to include available payment discounts. 
    • Click ‘Okay’ and Business Central will suggest a list of payments based on the criteria you’ve entered. The system will have created several payments for your vendors. You can see the amounts of the payments and invoices they’re applied to.  

    If you use the Vendor Priority functionality, Suggest Vendor Payments will ensure you’re paying high-priority vendors first. To see vendor priority, open a vendor card and look under the ‘Payments’ area. The lower the number, the higher the priority. To pay only high-priority vendors, select the Vendor Priority option under ‘Suggest Vendor Payments’ and the system will reduce the number of payments to only Priority One vendors and suggest payments. 

    Watch the pay vendor process demo >> 

    5. Classes and Templates 

    In Microsoft Dynamics GP, you might have a customer class where customers are grouped by region, for example the Northeast region, with preset information, such as finance charge, credit limit and salesperson assigned. If you select the Accounts button, you can make sure the sales account being posted to is for the Northeast Region Segment. Then, you can go to one of the customers assigned to that class and see the same information you entered on the template defaults under the customer card.  

    In Dynamics 365 Business Central, you can create templates that allow you to easily set up new customer information. To navigate to the templates: 

    • Select the search icon, enter ‘customer templates’ and choose this from the list.  
    • Give the new template a name and then fill in the information you’d like to use as the default for new or existing customers in the Northeast. You won’t see credit limit or salesperson fields here. You must select to personalize the form, then find the fields you want to add and drag them into the template window. 
    • Select the proper value for each field you want to default. 
    • Set the default business and customer posting groups, so the correct sales and AR accounts are used for customers in this group. 
    • Set the default region Dimension Value, so transactions posted to the sales account are categorized correctly.  

    Now, select to create a new customer and choose from the templates displayed to apply the template to that customer. The fields you selected will automatically show the default value. The region will default in the Dimension for the customer as well. You can also apply this template to existing customers. 

    Watch the classes and templates demo >> 

    6. Posting Accounts and Groups 

    When you set up default Posting Accounts in GP, they will default on Transaction Entry windows.  

    For example, let’s say you have defined accounts for all default accounts in the Posting Account Setup window, including the AR account. If you go to a customer, you can see the customer is assigned to a specific class and you have categorized transactions posted from customers in this class to use a different AR account. Similar logic can be applied to vendors and items.   

    Business Central uses Post Groups to tie customers, vendors and items to G/L accounts. There are several types of Posting Groups. Business Posting Groups focus on who you are buying and selling to. Product Posting Groups focus on what you are buying and selling.  

    In Business Posting Groups, you can group master data like customers into regions, segments, industries, etc. Here, you may distinguish by product line or by use for manufacturing, retail or services. 

    Posting Setup is where you pull these two concepts together, combining the ‘what’ with the ‘who’. For example, you can indicate ‘who’ are Enterprise customers with the ‘what’ as Equipment. Then you can define Sales, Cost of Goods Sold account and other relevant accounts. 

    You can see what you’ve assigned on the customer card. Let’s say you’ve assigned the Enterprise General Business Posting Group and the Customer Posting Group of Northeast. The Customer Group is where you define your AR and discount accounts. You can create a sales invoice and see how the accounts default on transactions. 

    Items also have Inventory Posting Groups. This is where you define accounts based on item classification and location. Before you post the sales invoice, you can see the G/L accounts that will be used when posting. Inventory is pulled from the Inventory Posting Group, Cost of Goods Sold and Sales Accounts are pulled from Posting Setup where you defined the Product Posting Group and General Business Posting. Finally, the AR account are pulled from your Customer Posting Group.  

    Watch the posting accounts and groups demo >> 

    7. Trial Balance and Aging Reports 

    In GP, you can print out both the detailed Trial Balance for a specific period, including all accounts, and the Historical Age Trial Balance and Receivables.  

    In Business Central, to navigate to the Trial Balance Reports for G/L: 

    • Select the search icon and enter ‘trial balance’. In the available options, you’ll see both the Trial Balance and the Detailed Trial Balance.  
    • You can indicate you’d like a new page per G/L account in the Detailed Trial Balance Report options window. You can also filter to see a specific account or range accounts.  
    • Preview the report. You will see the balance information as well as the detailed transactions posted to the account.  
    • Look at the Summary Trial Balance. The Summary Trial Balance report has different options. For instance, you can compare values from last year or compare to the balances that would’ve been budgeted. And you can filter to see a specific range of accounts and date range. 
    • You can also send the report to PDF, Word or Excel. 

    To navigate to the Aging Report for customers: 

    • In the search field, type ‘aged accounts’. You’ll see both AP and AR aging reports. 
    • If you select AR, you can select an ‘as of’ date and if you want to age by transaction date or due date. You can also select to print the report in detail.  

    Watch the trial balance and aging reports demo >> 

    8. Segment and Dimension Setup 

    An organization’s chart of accounts is made up of a list of natural accounts, or main accounts. Most companies want to analyze transactions posted to their natural accounts. Categorizing transactions can help to better understand a company's expenses and revenues, primarily their profit and loss accounts. Companies may want to categorize revenue by region and market segment and expenses by department and projects. This can be done using Segments in Dynamics GP and Dimensions in D365 Business Central. 

    In Dynamics GP, the Account Format is created using a combination of segments and the main account. The Account Format is used to build out the chart of accounts. For example, your segments might include Division, Account and Department. Each segment has a specific position and length in the format. If you select the Division segment, you can click the lookup to see all the divisions set up in your organization.  

    In the Account window, you can see how the Account Format is used to build out the chart of accounts. For example, you might pull up an account and see that it’s the travel expense account for the Sales division. 

    In Business Central, instead of creating separate ledger accounts for each division or department, Dimensions can be used in combination with your main account to analyze information and reduce the need for a large and complex chart of accounts. 

    Business Central has two Global Dimensions. These should be the most common segments, as you can easily sort and filter on these Dimensions. The remainder of your Segments will be migrated as Shortcut Dimensions in Business Central.  

    To see where Global and Shortcut Dimensions are defined, navigate to the General Ledger Setup by: 

    • Selecting the search icon, entering ‘general ledger setup’ and choosing this from the results. 
    • In the Setup window, you’ll see the Division and Department segments selected in the Cloud migration are set up as Global Dimensions.  
    • If you had more than those two segments in GP, these remaining segments would show up as Shortcut Dimensions in Business Central.  
    • In the Dimension window, you can see the existing dimensions and create new ones.  

    Should you want to start analyzing additional information In Business Central, if you select your Division Dimension and go to Dimension Values, you can see all your segment values from GP have been migrated over. You can also create additional ones in the future.  

    As far as the chart of accounts, all the main accounts you had defined in GP will now be your chart of accounts. You can still see your transaction amounts by the various segments.  

    Watch the segment and dimension setup demo >> 

    9. Segment and Dimension Transaction and Reporting 

    In Microsoft Dynamics GP, let’s say you post an invoice you received from a vendor in the Transaction window. You select a vendor, enter the vendor invoice number and the purchase amount. Once the transaction is posted, you can look at the General Posting Journal report and see which supply account and Division segment you’re posting to.  

    What does it look like to set up default Dimensions on a vendor in Dynamics 365 Business Central? And how are those used on transactions and reported in the trial balance? 

    The segments you defined in GP will migrate to Business Central as Dimensions, so you can continue to slice and categorize transactions posted to the main accounts.  

    • Go to the vendor in Business Central and, in the Dimension window, select the Division Dimension and then select that Dimension Value (if most of the purchases you make from the vendor are used by that division). This will mean the Dimension Value will default on those transactions. 
    • To lock the posting down further, you can set the Value Posting Code to Mandatory. 

    To enter a purchase invoice for this vendor and see how that Dimension Value will default on the transaction: 

    • Select the Purchase Journal and enter the vendor invoice number. 
    • Select the vendor and key in the purchase amount. You’ll see in the fact box area the Dimension Value automatically defaults on the transaction.  
    • Before posting, you can preview it to ensure the correct accounts are being posted to.  
    • If the account and Division Segment are correct, post the invoice. 

    To look at how that Dimension Value works in the Trial Balance Dimension Report in Business Central: 

    • In your Report Option window, select to print the Division Dimension and filter the report to the account. 
    • Choose to view transactions for a specific day and specific division. 
    • The Trial Balance Report will show the amounts being posted to your main accounts and allow you to analyze transactions by various categories. 

    Watch the segment and dimension transaction and reporting demo >> 

    10. General Journal Entries 

    In Dynamics GP, let’s say you’ve already created a G/L Batch and entered in two different General Journal Entries. The first is a monthly auto insurance bill for a small fleet of company vehicles. Here, you see the journal entry number, description, auto insurance expense account and operating cash being credited in this same batch. The other is a transaction for monthly interest income on your savings account. You could continue to enter more journal entries until you’re ready to post the batch. 

    In D365 Business Central, to enter those same journal entries into the General Ledger: 

    • Navigate to the General Journal window where you can create and define batches for journal entries.  
    • For this example, select the default batch. In the General Journal, you’ll see much of the same information you did in GP.  
    • Enter the Auto Insurance Journal entry from GP. You can start typing the name of the account and the dropdown will automatically filter the account number. You can also update the description. Finish the entry with a correct debit amount and account being credited. 

    You can also enter journal entries in Business Central by selecting ‘Show More Columns’. You get a slightly different view. It shows your document as two lines in the grid with debit and credit amounts. You can also enter it on a single line.  

    If you have a large journal entry, you can always choose to edit in Excel, make the changes and publish those back to Business Central. Once the information is populated in Excel, you can easily make changes and push them back into Business Central. Once all the journal entries are entered, you can select to post them.  

    Watch the general journal entries demo >> 

    11. Correcting and Reversing Entries 

    To correct a posted journal entry in Dynamics GP: 

    • Navigate to the General Journal window and select ‘Correct.’ 
    • Select from the two options: back out the journal entry or back out and create a correcting entry. For this example, select to only back out the journal entry. 
    • Select the original journal entry year and find or type in the journal entry number you need to reverse. 
    • Once you find the journal entry number, select ‘Okay.’ The system will pull in the accounts and amounts and reverse the debits and credits. 
    • Post the corrected entry.  

    To reverse this type of entry in D365 Business Central: 

    • Select the General Ledger Entries window. 
    • Search for the journal entry you want to reverse. 
    • Select to reverse the transaction. You’ll see it’s defaulted in the journal entry information. 
    • It will process the reversal and, once it’s complete, you’ll see the reversed amounts posted in the original journal entry.  

    If you notice a journal entry was posted using incorrect Dimensions, you can reverse the transaction or use the Correct Dimension functionality to correct a Dimension Value.  

    • Search for the journal entry you want to correct. 
    • Select to correct the Dimension in the New Dimension Value Code. 
    • Select the correct Dimension Value for the journal entry.  
    • Enter any necessary description of the change. 
    • Run the Change Dimension process.  
    • Refresh the window to see the correct Dimension Value on the journal entry. 

    Watch the correcting and reversing entries demo >> 

    12. Financial Reporting Tools

    In Dynamics GP, there are many AFA reports that are billed to support financial reporting, such as balance sheet and income statements. In addition to AFA reports, many GP customers use Management Reporter because of its rich feature set.  

    In D365 Business Central, you can create financial reports using Account Schedules (renamed by Microsoft to “Financial Reporting” in the October release). To navigate to Account Schedules, select the search icon, enter ‘accounts schedules’ and choose this from the results. 

    Business Central comes with eight different account schedules out of the box. The first four are used for charts on the Dynamics 365 Business Central dashboard. The remaining four are financial statements that are created using account subcategories from G/L accounts. If you use the Cloud migration tool to migrate your data from GP to Business Central, your assigned accounts and categories will move to Business Central.  

    If you select the Cash Accounts subcategory, you can see all the accounts included in this category. You can also see any accounts in your chart of accounts that are not currently assigned a category and will not be included on account schedules. 

    You can create new categories to assign the missing accounts to. Once you do so, Business Central will remind you to update the schedules, so these accounts will be included on the reports.  

    If you select the Income Statement, you can see the makeup details of the report, including row definitions and the look and feel of the report. Each row will be numbered, so you can create formulas allowing you to sum up multiple accounts or multiply or divide values. You can also indicate if you want certain roles bolded, italicized or to start on a new page.  

    In the overview, you can also select different column layouts and date ranges for the report. You can also filter account schedules by Dimensions. Additionally, you can drill down into each one of the amounts to see further details on each line. And each account schedule can be exported into Excel.  

    Watch the financial reporting tools demo >> 

    Small Process Changes Lead to Great Gains 

    With any change in software, there are growing pains and new processes to learn. The additional clicks or different dropdowns seem daunting to any end user. However, the process changes you need to make when you  migrate from Microsoft Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 Business Central will ultimately give you and your team valuable time back to focus on more strategic, growth-focused activities. 

    Learn more about Microsoft Dynamics GP by reading our Ultimate Microsoft Dynamics GP Guide.



    Kasey Metzger

    Kasey Metzger is a Product Leader at Enavate, specializing in assessments and migrations. She has over 20 years of experience in R&D, helping build and design features in several Dynamics 365 products while at Microsoft. Throughout her career she has built relationships with customers and partners to ensure each product exceeds the needs of customers and help them grow their business.

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