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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:
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:
To enter a credit memo:
Sales Invoices can be used to track sales of services and items in inventory. To enter an invoice using a Sales Invoice:
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:
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.
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:
To create Purchase Invoice:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
To navigate to the Aging Report for customers:
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:
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.
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.
To enter a purchase invoice for this vendor and see how that Dimension Value will default on the transaction:
To look at how that Dimension Value works in the Trial Balance Dimension Report in Business Central:
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:
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.
To correct a posted journal entry in Dynamics GP:
To reverse this type of entry in D365 Business Central:
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.
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.
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.
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.