Dimensions within Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central give users the ability to ‘slice and dice’ information. Dimensions allow you to assign attributes to entries, to enable you to track, analyse and report on the data within the system, in a way that is meaningful to the company. This functionality is also available if you are using NAV.
Examples of Dimensions in Dynamics 365 Business Central
- Region: Melbourne, Sydney, Perth
- Project: New Building Project, Upgrade Project, Research Project
- Department: Finance, Sales 1, Sales 2, Human Resources
The above are examples of how companies may want to report on sales and expenses throughout the system. The benefit of using dimensions occurs when the user posts a purchase, sale or general ledger entry and the dimensions are automatically posted with the transaction. You can specify a combination of dimension values or set rules on when a dimension must be selected. This allows the Chart of Accounts to be simplified as separate general ledger accounts are not required to be set up or maintained for different departments or projects.
Some examples of reports that would be possible with the above dimensions could be:
- Profitability of the “Sales 1” department within the “Melbourne” region, compared to the “Sales 2” department in “Perth”.
- Running a Trial Balance for “Sydney” only, even though all Regions post to the same GL.
- Analyse the Profitability for a specified period for a particular Region, then compare this to a previous period.
- View the total costs of a Project over time.
Business Central supports unlimited Dimensions
Business Central allows for unlimited dimensions to be set up and reported on, however, the first eight have additional features available:
- The first two Dimensions are called Global dimensions, these are the most frequently used dimensions and are available globally across the system to report and filter on.
- The next six are called Shortcut dimensions and are also available on all documents across the system and in some of the reports.
Default Dimensions can be assigned to a General Ledger Account. When this account is used on a document or journal, the assigned dimension will automatically be entered, making the data entry process easier. Default Dimensions can also be assigned to Vendors, Customers. Fixed Assets and Items. The shortcut Alt+D opens the default dimension window. From here you can specify which Dimension Code is to be defaulted. If multiple dimensions could be selected then you can also set a rule that any Dimension from the category can be selected eg. when posting to the Salaries and Wages account then a Region Dimension must be selected before the user can post.
Advanced Topics of Business Central Dimensions
Dimensions also have additional functionalities that can assist in simplifying and reducing errors in the data entry process and ensuring the best possible reporting.
Can I have levels to my Dimensions?
Yes. In the below example, you can see how the Region Dimension has been split into TAS and VIC Metro and then has been further broken down within those regions. This structure allows for reporting at the lowest level eg. Burnie and also at the End-Total level eg. TAS which includes all the dimensions in the TAS group:
Ebs-plus, an Australian localised add-on from EBS, enhances the standard Business Central functionality by allowing for dimensions to be linked to create dimension combinations. It allows you to specify combinations that are not allowed and also enables you to set rules as to when a dimension value must be selected. These functionalities simplify the data entry process and ensures it is accurate and complete.
Dependent Dimensions allow for dimensions to be linked to create a dimension combination. For example, a Project dimension can be linked to a Region Dimension. Each time the Project dimension “Upgrade Project” is selected on a document or journal, the Dimension “Melbourne” will be automatically inserted in the Region Dimension field, based on the setup on the Dependent Dimensions page. This simplifies the data entry process and ensures only correct dimension combinations can be used.
Where multiple dimension combinations could exist, the ebs-plus Mandatory Dimension function allows you to set rules that specify when one dimension is selected, then a dimension from another category must also be selected. For example when selecting the Project Dimension “Upgrade Project” on a document or journal, a Region Dimension must also be selected before a user can post.
All dimensions are available to be used to create your own reports which you can dive into further in our post on Account Schedules.
As Microsoft Dynamics 365 Specialists we have gained a lot of insight into getting the most out of Dimensions so please contact us to assist you in setting up a structure that will provide the most benefit as well as possible other dimensions that may be of benefit to the company’s reporting.
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Charmaine is a Solution Specialist at EBS. Charmaine holds a decade of accounting and finance experience throughout industry sectors including Hospitality, Utilities and NFP. As an Accountant, Charmaine has previously been responsible for the successful implementation and use of Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Jet reports, where her duties ranged from financial and management reporting, variance analysis and day to day finance operations.