How to Track Customer, Vendor, and Item Data Directly in Your General Ledger with D365 BC Auto-Create Dimensions

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Do you ever feel like you’ve been tasked with finding a needle in a haystack?

Anyone who has ever opened the General Ledger of a mid-sized business knows what I’m talking about. Thousands of transactions, listed one after another, in order of occurrence. Dates, descriptions, debits, credits… it can all blur together.

And you’re the poor person who the manager asked to find out how much money a VIP customer, Acme Corp., spent on your company’s shiny new widgets last year.

Sure, there are ways to get the answer you need. But they’re not easy, and certainly not a matter of two or three clicks of the mouse.


Dimensions to Save the Day

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central has a great feature – Dimensions – that allows you to group and categorize transaction data. You get a total of 8 Dimensions to use in any way that makes sense for your company.

Within each Dimension are Values – and these are unlimited. They are the individual “items” that make up the Dimension “category”.

How would you use them? For example, a company that sells produce might create Dimensions for Region and Product. That way, they can analyze data based on the area where the sale took place (North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa… Or a more local company might sort by state, county, or city, depending on what is logical for them.) And they can also group sales by product (Pink Lady Apples, Washington Apples, Pears, Kiwis, and so on.)

With a little forethought, configuring Dimensions for your unique needs makes it possible to quickly determine Customer Revenue by Product, Vendor Expense by Expense Type, Item Purchase Price by Vendor, and much more.

Yet, there’s still a snag. A lot of the Dimension information must be set manually. That’s fine if you’re creating a fixed set of values that don’t change; a one-time setup. While Dimensions this way are powerful, being able to dynamically create new values (like a Dimension Value for each customer) unlocks a whole new level of reporting potential.


Auto Create Dimensions (ACD) Takes it to the Next Level

We developed the Auto Create Dimensions extension to automate much of the manual work of creating Dimension Values so they can tell the story you want them to tell.

First, you set up the data points you want to track. That could be tracking by Customer, Vendor, Item, or many others (see a full listing on our website.) Assign them to a Global or Shortcut Dimension in the configuration screen, and our extension takes it from there.

As an example, imagine that you are using Customers as a data point to track. Now, every time you create a new customer, that customer number is added to the list of values for the Customer Dimension. If you update or delete it, the value is changed accordingly. And when that new Customer is created, its Default Dimension value is set automatically, allowing Business Central’s out-of-the-box functionality to autofill that for you, and eliminating the need to set it manually every time a transaction is keyed in.

Now the subledger data is visible right from your General Ledger view. Remember when you had to click “Find Entries…” to start picking through the haystack? Now many common queries can be performed simply by filtering GL transactions on the main screen. Imagine how much time can be saved by getting the answers you need with just a few clicks of the mouse!

This has been a feature present in other ERP solutions for some time; now it’s available, fully functional and customizable, right within your favorite Microsoft ERP.

Here’s an example of the power of assigning these dimensional values:

Imagine that you’ve set up Customer and Product Dimensions and configured things appropriately in ACD. Now, Acme Corp. has purchased a large quantity of your new PowerWidgets. As each Sales Order is posted, you have an instant view in the General Ledger. Filtering by customer, you can see that Acme has spent a total of $126,743.58 in the last 6 months, and further filtering by product, you find that $89,872.27 of that was spent on PowerWidgets. You could also filter by just PowerWidgets, and come to find that ABC, Inc. was the largest purchaser of that product this year. All of this you found, in just a couple of clicks, right from your General Ledger.


Next Steps - Try it Yourself, For Free.

The Auto Create Dimensions extension is easy to install and configure. You can download a PTE App file from our website, and soon you will be able to get it directly from Microsoft AppSource. Once installed, you simply generate a demo key from the configuration screen, and you are automatically given 30 days of unrestricted usage to evaluate the extension for your organization’s needs.

Would you like to learn more about this useful tool? Visit the product page, or watch the following video demonstration.


Even better, contact us at ERP Connect Consulting today! We would love to hear from you and answer any questions you have, helping you find every “needle” you’re looking for in your General Ledger.


By Ben Cole at ERP Connect Consulting


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