We’ve Handpicked Some of our Favourite Features From Business Central 2023 Release Wave 2
One of the many benefits of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central being a true cloud accounting system, is the automated updates that happen twice annually. Each year, in April and October, Microsoft roll out their major updates. They are continuous, touchless updates that provide new features and functionality and eliminate the need to do expensive upgrades every few years.
Administrators can set a maintenance window for each environment that determines when Microsoft is allowed to update that environment too, so you have greater control of when they happen unlike many other systems.
There are several new features related to intercompany transactions, financial data consolidations, approval workflows and automatic general ledger allocations. For intercompany postings, you can perform accounting tasks for multiple companies across multiple Business Central tenant environments, which eliminates the need to manage files. You can also consolidate financial data for companies in different Business Central environments without handling files. Additionally, the new approval workflow for intercompany general journals increases control and eliminates errors. Finally, to make data entry efficient and reduce errors, you can use custom allocation keys to automate the distribution of revenue or cost transactions across different accounts or dimensions.
Improved Approvals for Journals
More control over general journal approvals
Some transactions require more scrutiny by accounting managers and require approval before being posted. Making sure such transactions remain unchanged after approval is of great importance so you can ensure compliance to company policies.
When you send a general journal batch or specific general journal lines for approval, Business Central ensures that people can’t change them before or after they’re approved.
Because mistakes can happen, actionable inline errors make it easier to make corrections. For example, after you request approval for a general journal batch, your accounting manager notices that you’ve specified the wrong G/L account. Changing the G/L account will show an inline validation error message that offers two actions that can help the accounting manager fix the mistake, or return the general journal batch to the submitter. The accounting manager can document the change they’re requesting by choosing Show Comments, or reject the batch by choosing Reject Approval.
Include approvals for intercompany general journals in your workflows
To increase control and reduce errors in intercompany posting, you can include intercompany general journals in an approval workflow. The approval workflow gives someone, like a manager, the opportunity to review intercompany general journals before they’re posted.
Intercompany general journals are now included in the approval workflow for general journals. Intercompany general journals are a variant of general journals, so when you set up the workflows for general journals they’ll also work for intercompany.
You can set up a new workflow in the Workflows list for the General Journal Batch Approval Workflow or the General Journal Line Approval Workflow. To use the workflow, you must set up users on the Approval User Setup page in the same way you would for all workflows.
Copilot/AI Enhancements to Banking
Complete bank account reconciliation faster with Copilot
Bookkeepers in SMB organisations need to import bank statements and reconcile transactions with their bank ledger entries, making sure customer payments, refunds, and purchases are all accounted for. While Business Central already reduces effort through automated transaction matching, the residual work to process the unmatched transactions every week remains cumbersome and quickly accrues to lost workdays. Copilot reduces bookkeeping effort through improved transaction matching and natural language explanation of any proposed matches.
The bank account reconciliation feature in Business Central has been enhanced with:
- AI-powered transaction matching that further improves automation and reduces the remaining unmatched transactions that require human oversight.
- AI-generated explanations for how remaining transactions could be matched, making it easier for bookkeepers to complete the account reconciliation task by simply reviewing and approving matches.
Reporting and Analysis
Share a data analysis with a co-worker
Data analysis mode lets you calculate and analyze data directly from a list page, without having to run a report or switch to another application, such as Excel. After you’ve prepared an analysis on a tab, you can easily communicate your findings with your colleagues by sharing a link to the tab.
Data analysis mode was introduced as a public preview feature in 2023 release wave 1, and provided a new way to interact with data on list pages.
In this release, we’re taking data analysis mode even further:
- From any analysis tab, you can share a link to the tab with co-workers.
- Shared links can also be used as a click-once installation of good out-of-the-box analysis.
When a user clicks a shared link, the page opens in data analysis mode and the analysis is created as an analysis tab.
Analyse, group and pivot data from queries
End users and data analysts can analyse data from queries directly in the client without the need to open the page in Excel or run a report.
The ability to analyse data directly on queries raises the bar for what you can do without having to switch applications, while still allowing customers and partners to do more in report objects, Excel, Power BI, or other data analysis applications.
Analysis mode was introduced as a public preview feature in 2023 release wave 1 as a new way of interacting with data on list pages. Instead of running reports using different options and filters, you can simply add multiple tabs that represent different tasks or views on the data. Examples could be “My customers,” “Follow-up items,” “Recently added vendors,” “Sales statistics,” or any other view you want.
In this release, we take this concept even further and make it possible to also analyze data from any query, the same way as you can on a list page.
Using a query object, a developer can join data from multiple tables. For example, they can combine data about sales orders with extra information about the customer or the salesperson involved. They can then add the query as an action on pages using the RunObject property.
The ability to analyze data directly on queries expands the range of data analysis that you can do without having to switch applications. The data is analyzed in real time and respects the data security that has been set up for the users.
Improved Interface/User Experience
Get to data search from anywhere in Business Central
Office workers spend up to 20 percent of their working time searching for information. Finding specific information in a timely manner across different areas of a business management solution often requires tailored queries within its different parts. Because the volume of data constantly increases, it becomes increasingly important to get relevant content fast. Business Central lets you search across all data that’s relevant for your role, and not just business transactions. The most relevant results show first, which saves valuable time and lets you focus on higher-value tasks.
You can start a search directly from the Tell Me dialog by using the Alt+Q shortcut key combination from anywhere in Business Central. To search for data, enter one or more keywords in Tell Me. Or, when you run Tell Me in the context of an editable page, it will automatically search for the value in the currently selected field.
The search results include the top results in the tables you have access to.
By default, search is scoped to data that’s available in your Role Center and the tables you can access. However, you can customize the search scope by selecting Show tables to search on the Search in company data page. Limiting the scope can make search results show even faster.
The Show tables to search action opens the Search Setup (Table) List page, where you can pick the tables to search in. By default, only the tables that are relevant for specific roles are selected, but you can browse other tables by using the Show all tables and Filter to selected tables actions.
When you choose a table, the Search Setup (Field) List page opens. You can tailor the search to include fields in the selected table by turning on the Enable search toggle. By default, only indexed code and text type fields, and fields that are used to identify the search result record, are enabled.
Because the number of tables fields that the search includes can impact performance, you can restore the default settings by choosing the Reset to default action on the Search Setup (Table) List and Search Setup (Page) List pages.
Show related record details from lookup
The Show details action on lookup dialogs offers easy access to information about records that are related to the one you’re interested in, which can make you more efficient and help you make good decisions.
It used to take multiple clicks to get to the details about related records on their card pages from lookups or advanced lookup dialogs. Now, you can use the Show details action in lookup dialogs to quickly access information about related records on every page.
If you prefer to primarily use your keyboard, the shortcut key combination for the Show details action is Ctrl+Alt+Down arrow.
Distinguish between browser tabs when multitasking
Users work more efficiently in Business Central when they use multiple browser tabs or windows to compare data, even across companies, or deal with new tasks as they appear. But navigating across open windows—for example, by selecting the Alt+Tab keys—quickly becomes challenging when all windows look alike. In this wave, Business Central helps to distinguish one open window from the next, making it easier to switch context.
Business Central now uses a simple and clear schema for naming browser tabs and windows:
- Context: The tab name for list, card, and document pages reflects the current record, page or view, no matter how you navigated to that page.
- Readability: To improve readability, the tab name has been trimmed of all secondary information. For example, the full product branding is no longer included, and the view or edit state of the page is also omitted.
- Current: The tab name is automatically updated while you navigate within the web client.
- Multicompany: The company badge is included in the tab name, if the company has been assigned a badge.
Share readable deep links to pages and records
Like many web applications, Business Central offers deep linking to pages and records, enabling users to copy the current URL and share that with others, or add links to their browser favorites. In this wave, the Business Central web client introduces a simple and consistent naming convention so that pasting a link to any Business Central page or record results in a readable hyperlink that clearly indicates context but hides the full URL, which is often daunting to work with. Not only does this feature enrich hyperlinks pasted into rich text editors such as in Outlook, OneNote or Teams, it also delivers a better experience when you use Business Central with modern browser features, such as collections in Microsoft Edge.
Business Central uses a simple and consistent naming convention for deep links when you copy the URL in the browser or use the Copy link action and paste the link into any rich text editor:
- Context: The hyperlink for a list, card, or document page reflects the current record, page, or view, no matter how you got to that page.
- Readability: To improve readability, secondary information is trimmed from the hyperlink. For example, the full product branding is no longer included, and the view or edit state of the page is also omitted.
- Multicompany: If the company has a badge, the hyperlink includes it.