Top 10 New and Improved Features of Project Accounting Module in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012
With all the buzz and anticipation around the launch of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 later on this year, it’s a good time to review the new functionality of the Project Accounting module (to be called Project Management Accounting in AX 2012).
Why focus on Project Accounting module in particular?
Project Accounting supports a wide range of functions and empowers companies to meet the challenges of growth, while providing the necessary business insight for success in the increasingly competitive global environment.
Here are the top 10 new and improved features of the module:
1. Project Timesheets – It seems that improving the user experience has been the focus here. The timesheet comment functionality and the start/end dates are much more user-friendly in AX 2012. Most importantly, users will be able to create and manage favorites in Enterprise Portal allowing them to create timesheets in much quicker fashion, improving both user experience and productivity.
2. Advanced funding – this one is an attention-grabber! As a much requested feature, advanced funding in AX 2012 allows project funding to be shared amongst any number of internal or external parties, aligning your ERP configuration even closer with your actual processes. Users will be able to set up funding limits for one or more customers per category, category group or transaction type.
3. Collaboration workspace – for all of the collaboration enthusiasts, the new version brings even more excitement with the ability to create and add collaboration workspace in projects, campaigns and opportunities where project team members can quickly organize and share information within AX, making it the one-stop-shop for information while increasing the team’s efficiency and organization levels. The new options can be set up and default the collaboration work spaces for users.
4. Management of projects in Enterprise Portal – AX 2012 puts an end to the time and expense only entries in EP, allowing Project Managers to create and manage the entire projects in EP. Workers can enter daily working hours in a much improved manner and project managers can approve it directly in EP, which significantly speeds up the process and increases worker productivity.
5. Beginning balances – this is an improvement with a huge impact. In AX 2012, users will be able to enter a beginning balance for a project which will help in transferring projects to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 from legacy project management systems without affecting the general ledger. Let’s say you have been tracking a project in an outside application but managing costs and revenue in AX. You will now be able to transfer the project to AX, specify a beginning balance and then track all the information in one place.
6. Project revenue from free text invoice – AX 2012 makes it possible to track revenues which are billed though free text invoicing. This was a significant requirement missing in AX 2009.
7. Transaction adjustments – this feature will make correction of wrong project entries easier, allowing adjustments even after invoicing. Adjustment dates can be used as project dates for adjustment transactions (as opposed to transaction dates only). The relationship between the original, reversed, and the replacing transaction can be well traced now with information of what exactly the user adjusted.
8. Project budgeting – Microsoft has taken budgeting to a new level with major enhancements in this area in the AX 2012 version. Project budgeting will be available at the activity level. Project budget revisions can be created at various levels of the project and can be submitted for review and approval, which once approved would trigger an immediate change to the overall project budget. A complete history or audit trial of the proposed, original, accepted (approved), and rejected budget is available for review at any point of time. Original budget can be created to define a budget at various levels in the project hierarchy and it can be submitted for approval. It can also be allocated over a period of time. The project financial inquiry and the project financial status reports now presents details of the project budget also. If you are working on a multi-year project, you can carry forward project budget at the end of the year to the future year and make necessary changes to the general ledger accounts associated with them.
9. Item charges/costs in PO, SO and invoice lines will now be recognized in projects. Any taxes for the item charges will now be going to an expense account and item charges will now be recorded in project budgets and commitments. This is an important functionality which was not available in Dynamics AX 2009.
10. Progress billing, estimates and revenue recognition – the introduction of these features addresses the critical issue of ERP migration. When migrating from one ERP system to another, data migration is a serious issue. Bringing in the existing data into the new system is where all the hurdles arise. For example, ensuring that revenue continues to be recognized for the fixed price projects that are already underway. Since revenue recognition depends on the completion % of the project, the data must be migrated so that both % of work completed (actual cost) and the remaining work (cost to complete) are reflected in proper accounts.
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 also promises to give a significantly improved UI experience across the modules with the introduction of new form controls such as action panes, fact boxes and fast tabs, allowing users to access critical project data in a single form without having to navigate to the related forms.