Microsoft recently published details of its 2023 release wave 1 for Dynamics 365 Business Central. In this article, we explore some of the highlights from the release wave and what it means for Dynamics 365 Business Central users now, and in the future.

Partial VAT

Historically if you dealt with partial exemption on VAT, you would probably have to deploy either an extension or a customisation (or worse still, a work around) to help you deal with it. Microsoft is changing this by making the partially deductible VAT functionality available in the base application, rather than restricting it to a select few localisations. This is part of Microsoft’s efforts to delocalise the Dynamics 365 Business Central offering and standardise functionalities in all its localisations. This will be controlled with a new setup page and will come with several different setup possibilities allowing the functionality to be tailored to suit the needs of the client’s business. You may remember that Microsoft first announced the introduction of Partial VAT functionality in Dynamics 365 Business Central during the Microsoft Ignite conference held in November 2021. The functionality will now be readily available to all Dynamics 365 Business Central customers from May 2023.

Multi companies

Working with multiple companies is becoming increasingly common for modern businesses but, from a system point of view, has always had its downsides. Rather than one set of transactions to post there are now many, along with the reconciliations and admin that goes into maintaining the records of multiple entities who may share Customers, Vendors, Dimensions or more.

In this release, relief is at hand with upgrades to the Intercompany features. When dealing with multiple entities the idea has always been to agree on a mapping of accounts between entities via the use of a separate ‘Intercompany Chart of Accounts’. This makes sense in theory, but the practice of doing the actual mapping could be clunky and a bit painful. Microsoft has improved the mapping functionality to make this significantly easier and allow easy setup, even using details held on a partner company’s Chart of Accounts.

Figure 1: Intercompany Chart of Accounts Mapping

Another problem often felt by multi-company entities is the tendency for theoretically ‘standardised’ data – like Item details – to change over time and become unsynchronised through well-meaning intervention on one, but not all, companies. This is to change with the release of Master Data Management. Once some initial synchronisation is completed, the data between entities can be coupled and changes in the source data will be reflected in the destination companies. So, if your business deals with Items across several companies and the dimensions change or are noticed to be incorrect, no longer does this need changing in ALL companies, it can be simply managed through one master company.

Figure 2: Master Data Management

Copilot/Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Over the last 6 months or so there has been a significant amount of buzz in the technology industry, and beyond, regarding advancements in AI. Therefore, it is not surprising to see announcements in release wave 1 that this technology will also be leveraged in Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Introducing two new functionalities:

The first “New Item from Picture” will allow users to (as the title suggests) create new Item cards based on a photo upload. Dynamics 365 Business Central will then analyse the image and suggest the most appropriate item attributes, speeding up the creation of Item cards and the entry of these various fields.

Its next capabilities are even more intelligent. At the click of a button, the Item attributes (and other fields) for any given Item can be analysed and marketing text can be generated ready to be proofread and uploaded to your webstore.

Figure 3: Creating items cards from “New Item from Picture”

Statistical accounts

The penultimate stop on our tour of new features is “Statistical accounts”. Historically Dynamics 365 Business Central has been great at reporting on financial numbers, but the non-financial ones just didn’t have a home. This is all set to change with the creation of a whole new ledger that sits alongside the general ledger. This will allow you to record and store non-financial information in its own ledger and then interrogate it alongside the financial information in Financial Reports and Analysis Views along with dimensions, meaning businesses are one step closer to finally being able to store all their business data in one place.

Manage user permissions using security groups

Finally, managing permissions in Dynamics 365 Business Central just got a lot easier for your internal IT teams. With this change you can use Azure Security groups to assign permissions in Dynamics 365 Business Central. This will save time and reduce the risk of human error. Security groups allow for easier management of access control, ensuring that users only have access to the resources they need. Permissions in Dynamics 365 Business Central will be easier and faster to manage when onboarding new users and during project setup, as they can be quickly added to the appropriate security groups in the Azure portal during the account creation process.

Microsoft has also provided a tool to easily migrate your Dynamics 365 Business Central User Groups to Azure Security Groups. Dynamics 365 Business Central customers have until October 2024 to make this change; we will be sending out a more detailed guide later this year.

Figure 4 shows the use of a Salespeople security group.  Users can be assigned to groups from the Microsoft 365 portal.

Figure 4: Reviewing the security group members in the Microsoft 365 portal

With these new features and more, Microsoft is evolving Dynamics 365 Business Central to keep pace with modern SMB businesses. The new features will allow the implementation in businesses early whilst retaining the flexibility to service as they grow into multinational, multi-company entities with complex VAT needs. Standardised and coherent processes will drive performance in each area of the business, regardless of the geography they might be in.

Optimise your solution today

The new features for Dynamics 365 Business Central will be released from April 2023 through September 2023. If you would like to learn more about the features and functionality of release wave 1, get in touch and our team will be happy to help your organisation transition through and harness the power of these planned changes.

New to Dynamics 365 Business Central?

Are you a growing business looking for a way to centralise your data, or a growing business tired of constantly feeling like you are playing catchup in a system that doesn’t work for you? Get in touch today to see how Incremental can revolutionise your business with Dynamics 365 Business Central.