Audit Trial on Project Timesheets Entry and Reporting in CU7 For AX 2012 R2

Audit Trial on Project Timesheets Entry and Reporting in CU7 For AX 2012 R2

Hello Friends,

It has been hectic two months and I have not been able to spend time to write here. Hope you all are up and running on your AX learning curves.

Here I am back today ! and in today’s post, we will discuss about the new audit trial features, which are introduced for the Project Timesheets functionality in the CU7 release for AX 2012 R2.

This new feature allows you to setup audit trials on all the timesheets which are submitted by the workers of your organization by which you can record all the changes which are made by the workers to the timesheets. This new feature also includes the option of blocking future timesheet entries, except for the planned absences of the employee.

Let us now see each of these new enhancements in action.

1. Parameter Controlled: The first step in this is to enable the necessary controls in the Project Management and Accounting Parameters form. You can always choose whether to enable the audit trials or not.

    Notice the various check boxes you have under the “Validation” group highlighted in screenshot below.

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2. Block Future Timesheet Entries: In CU7 and later versions of AX 2012, you can now “Block the entry of timesheets for the future period”. This is a very useful enhancement to have good control over the employee timesheet entries. However, you employees can enter planned absences for the future with this parameter enabled.

  • Go to PMA > Common > My Timesheets and create a new Timesheet for a future period which is 04/21 – 04/27 and then create a new timesheet line for a project except for the planned absences.

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  • Notice that, system will block this with a warning message as shown below.

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3. Validate Absence Categories and Validate Absence: With the “Block future timesheets” enabled, if you do not select the “Validate Absence Categories” check box, then the workers cannot enter future absences in a timesheet for a future period. Notice in screenshot below that with these checkbox marked and worker is able to enter a future absence  for a future period.

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4. Require Timesheet Audit Trial: When you enable only this checkbox, your workers will not forced to enter a Reason for timesheet changes such as Deletion, or editing after Submitting. But, the Timesheet Audit trial will be maintained. This means that if workers update anything in an original timesheet, the audit trial will be stored for future references.

  • In the example below, Julia submitted the timesheet for period 04/13.

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  • The reviewer of the timesheet has rejected the timesheet asking for additional comments on the timesheet lines. Julia then adds  more comments and resubmits the TS.

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  • The Project Accounting Team or the Timesheet Reviewers can see the complete audit trials history of the timesheets by clicking the Manage Versions button on the ‘All Timesheets” list page. System maintains a complete audit trial of the timesheet to track what happened to it since creation.

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  • Additionally, you can also compare the various updates by clicking the “Compare” button to know what exactly was changed in the TS version.

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5. Allow Timesheet Change Reason: When you select the Require timesheet audit trial check box, then you can also select to tell the system if the worker can enter a reason for change when they change timesheet.

  • In the screenshot below, notice that, a new field is shown the timesheet line for entering change reasons, when you enable the “Allow Timesheet Change Reason” parameter.

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  • Workers can enter reasons for changes, but it is not mandatory to enter the reason for change, unless you mark the “ Require Timesheet Change Reason” checkbox.

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6. Require Timesheet change reason: When you mark this, workers are needed to enter change reasons for every change they make to the timesheets.

  • If we Reject the timesheet which Julia submitted above with this parameter enabled, Julia will need to enter a reason to be entered before resubmitting the TS.
  • Notice that when Julia changes the #hours to 4 from 3 and tries to save or submit the timesheet, system gives a warning message asking for the reason to be entered.
  • When the workers enter the change reasons and resubmit, then complete TS history along with the change reasons can be seen in the Timesheet versions form.

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7. Deleted Timesheet History: This new feature also allows to keep complete track of all your deleted timesheets. You can track the reasons why workers deleted the timesheets.

  • In Screenshot below Julia deletes the timesheet as she created it for a future period by mistake. When Julia clicks Delete, notice that she needs to enter a reason.

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  • Navigate to PMA > Common > Timesheets > Deleted Timesheets History list page to see the list of all the deleted timesheets along with the reasons. You can also trace the versions of the timesheet from this screen.

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8. Submitting Timesheets Into a Closed GL Period: Another great addition you will notice is the “Allow Date Corrections On Timesheet” functionality. This allows you to submitting timesheets into a GL period which is already closed or On-Hold.

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  • Screenshot below shows the ledger period 08/01 to 08/30/2013 is Kept “On-Hold”.

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  • When you submit a timesheet for this period and try to post the timesheet, system did not allow the posting earlier and system would block this saying the Period is not open.

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  • With the “Allow date corrections on Timesheets” checkbox marked, you can now post the timesheet, and system will automatically post the ledger transactions into an advanced period which is Open subsequently. However, the Project transaction dates will remain as the original timesheet line dates.

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  • Notice that system posted the ledger transactions automatically to the next period which is Open, i.e. 09/01/2013.

image IMPORTANT NOTE: You might find that the “Project Transaction date” also gets populated with the next open date which is “9/01/2013”. This was an issue in the CU7 release and a HOTFIX  KB 2922713 was released around January of this year. Please make sure you install the hotfix to see the correct results. Well, that’s it for today! Stay tuned.. Keep Reading…

Enhancements to the Project Resource Scheduling Functionality in AX 2012 R2 Cumulative Update 7

Enhancements to the Project Resource Scheduling Functionality in AX 2012 R2 Cumulative Update 7

Hello Everyone,

I hope all of you found my earlier post on “Enhancements to the project management functionality in CU7” useful. As mentioned in that post, today I will take some time to explain the new enhancements to the “Project Resource Scheduling” functionality in the latest release of AX 2012 R2, which is the CU7 release.

For a professional services firm, the workers of the organizations are the key assets and are also the key sources of revenue generation. When your organization grows in size and number of Projects you manage grows, you ill need effective tools to manage and schedule the workers on projects to ensure that the skilled and most available people are assigned to the project tasks, to ensure optimized cost management and realize better profits.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 provides you with such functionalities under the Project Management & Accounting Module. Let us take look how this functionality has evolved over the last few releases of AX.

  1. Project Roles: The Project Managers can now create “Project Teams” for each project and include appropriate project roles to the team. The project roles/project role templates basically act as pre-defined roles, where you can specify the required competencies such as “Skills”, “Certifications” and ‘Education” for that role, which ultimately will help in the resource search operation for the project.image
  2. Create Project Teams: For today’s demonstration, I have created a sample Time and Material project for a Website development project. Let us now see how the project managers can create the project team by adding project roles. For this project, I will need one software architect,  one Java developer and a QA engineer.
    • Go to the project details screen and expand the Project team and scheduling fast tab.Specify the project start and end dates.
    • Note that these days might not be always accurate, but the PM can specify the approximate start and end dates.
    • Click Add roles button and select all the roles you will need in the project by creating new records. Note that you can specify how many workers you will need in each project role.
    • Reserve workers immediately : If you mark this check box, then system will open the resource reservation form as soon as you click OK button.image
    • See the screenshot below where I have added all the three roles I need in the sample project.image
  3. Reserve the workers for the project: The next step is to find, identify and reserve the most suitable workers for this project.
    • Click the “Reserve worker” button to open the Worker reservations main form.Note that the project manager has several options on this form such as editing the worker competency criteria, search workers by role, by name, department, legal entity.
    • Also they can view the worker’s availability in the specified duration of the project by Days, Weeks and Months. Additionally they get to see the worker’s availability statuses such as ‘Available’, ‘Partial available’, ‘Booked’, ‘Overbooked’, ‘Non-working day’ and ‘Soft booked’ in different colors, with an indicator of what each color means. Screenshot below highlights each of these options.
    • The worker search criteria (Competency) automatically populates from the roles selected, but the manager can always override them on this form.
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    • The ‘Display remaining capacity’ checkbox allows the project manager to see the available capacity of the worker in terms of Hours for each Day/Week/Month.
    • The PM can either hard book or soft book the appropriate workers for the project by selecting the required options on the Hard book > and Soft book > buttons.
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    • In my example I have reserved the software architect, java developer and the QA engineer to their full capacity in the full duration of the project. Below screenshot shows the results after the reservation. The #hours the workers are reserved for the project is now update in the Hours reserved column. Also, notice the color code of availability for the workers now have changed on the Worker reservations form.
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    • Notice that the Hours assigned column still shows ZERO as the PM has not yet assigned these workers to the project tasks or activities (WBS).
  4. Assign workers to the Individual tasks of the Project: The next step for the PM is to do the detailed assignment of the workers (Project team) to the individual tasks or activities of the project on the work breakdown structure form.
    • Go to Plan tab of the project detail screen and click Work breakdown structure button.
    • Select the workers for each of the tasks under the Worker column. The PM can select one or more worker for each of the tasks and assign them.image
    • Notice the Hours assigned column of the project details screen now. It automatically shows the #hours the worker is booked for the project by calculating it from the assignments done in the WBS screen.
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  5. New forms to show project resources and availability: Two new list pages are now available to help the project resource management function.
    • Project resources – This new form under now allows the project managers to see the project resources quickly without having the need to navigate to the HRM module.
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    • This form also allows to view/edit several worker related data such as cost price, sales price, assigned projects, categories, competencies etc.
    • The PMs can also initiate the hard/soft booking of the workers to projects by clicking Hard book or Soft book buttons.
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    • Resource availability: This list page shows one stop snapshot of the worker’s availability, everything at once :). This form also lets the PM to initiate the Hard/bookings for the resources.
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  6. Inquiries: At any time in the duration of the project, the PMs can see the detailed analysis of the resource assignments. Let us see it for one of the workers “Sandeep Chaudhury” whom we booked in the example above.
    • Navigate to PMA > Inquiries > Resource Scheduling > Resource assignment analysis –by worker.
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Well ! That was a pretty long write up !!! But it deserved it :) In my next post, I will explain all the new enhancements in the Project Timesheets functionality in the CU7 release.

I hope you all will find this post useful. keep reading !!

Regards,

Sandeep

Enhancements in the Project Planning Functionality in AX 2012 R2 CU7

Enhancements in the Project Planning Functionality in AX 2012 R2 CU7

Hello Friends,

The scope for enhancements to an ERP solution(In fact any software solution) is always never-ending. And so is the case with Microsoft Dynamics AX. It has been witnessing continuous improvements over the last few releases.

Better project planning is the key to ensure profitable project executions for professional services firms. Today, I will take time to explain the several enhancements which have come with the “Project Planning” functionality in the Cumulative Update 7 release of AX 2012 R2.

In today’s post, let us start with setting up a new project and then setup the project work breakdown structure and then discuss about the enhancements in this area.

In the screenshot below, I have already created a new project which is for a Website development for the CONTSO company.

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The next step is to define the detailed breakdown of the project tasks. Go to Plan Tab and click “Work breakdown structure” button.

Note that Microsoft Dynamics AX seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Project Server so that Managers can manage and schedule their projects in Project server. I will not explain this functionality in this post. Click Here to learn more about Project Server integration.

You will notice that the WBS form now looks completely different and has several new functionalities. We will discuss each of those below in this post.

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You can create tasks for the project work broken down to as detailed as possible. In the screenshot below, I have created the task breakdown for a simple project called “ Website Development”. You can use the options such as “Outdent”, “Indent”, “Move task up” and “Move task down” to create the complete hierarchy of the tasks.

Also, you can set “Predecessors” for each of your tasks to setup necessary dependency of the tasks on each other.

DIFFERENT VIEWS OF THE TASK BREAKDOWN TO HELP PROJECT MANAGERS:

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The above screenshot shows the “Project planning view” of the project task breakdown. Note that there two other views which can help the Project Manager to track the cost and efforts in the project more effectively.

To see the Cost tracking view, click View > Cost tracking view. This view shows a complete snapshot of the project cost tracking details such as “% Cost consumed”, “Actual cost”, “Complete to cost”, ‘Estimate at complete”, “Planned cost” and the “cost variance”.

Cost Tracking View of the Project Plan:

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Note: Since we have not posted any transactions on the project yet, the values for the % cost consumed and Actual cost are shown as Zero.

To see the Effort tracking view, click View > Effort tracking view. This view shows a complete snapshot of the project effort tracking details such as “% progress of the project”, “Actual efforts in hours”, “Remaining efforts”, ‘Effort at complete”, “Planned effort” and the “effort variance”.

Effort Tracking view of the Project Plan:

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Note: Since we have not posted any transactions on the project yet, the values for the % progress and Actual efforts are shown as Zero.

You also have the option of expanding or collapsing the task breakdown view to any level or see all levels with by clicking Expand to Level > Level 1 to 9.

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AUTOMATIC SCHEDULING ASSISTANT:

The options under the Task Scheduling helps the project managers to automatically correct any scheduling conflicts. You can optionally switch ON/OFF the “Automatic Scheduling Assistant”. Keep the Scheduling assistant ON and let us see how it can help to automatically scheduling discrepancies.

Let us change the Effort for the “Planning”  task to 16 hours. You will notice that the Finish date automatically changes to 01/29/2014.

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You can also use the Fix all scheduling discrepancies option to correct any discrepancies in the task breakdown automatically.

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WBS Management:

There are options to export and import the WBS templates.

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Well, this is it for today’s post. In my next post, I will discuss the “enhancements in the “Project Resource Scheduling” functionality in the CU7 release of AX 2012 R2.

Till then…Keep reading.

Regards

Sandeep

Missing Timesheets Report – Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Missing Timesheets Report – Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Hello Everyone,

First of all, I would like to wish you all very happy and prosperous holidays and hope you all are enjoying with your families and relatives.

And, So do I ! I took a long vacation from blog writing and work and had wonderful time with family and I am back again here.

In today’s post, we will discuss a very small report/functionality of Microsoft Dynamics AX, which is the “Missing Timesheets Report”” under the Project Management and Accounting Module.

Timesheets are critical for any service industry to be able to invoice their customers effectively on time, as they are the source for the invoices. Making sure that all the employees submit their timesheets on time is very important for the service industries in terms of project management, accountability, invoicing customer and getting paid.

AX 2012 provides a a report called “Missing Timesheets” which tells which employees have not submitted their timesheets for a given period, so that you can communicate with them to make sure the timesheets are in.

Let us take a look at how this is configured in AX and how does it look like.

  1. To begin with, I will need to ensure that all my configurations and setup for worker and timesheets are correct.
  2. Navigate to Workers > Project Management Tab and make sure there is a timesheet period attached to the worker.

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   3. The next step is to make sure that the “Worker timesheet periods are updated along with billable and efficiency hours data.

   4. Go to PMA > Setup > Timesheet > Periods, Select “EmplWeek” and Click Update worker periods.

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    5. Now, the worker “Alan Brewer” has not submitted his timesheets for the week 12/23 to 12/29. Let us generate the Missing Timesheets report and see how it looks like.

    6. Go to PMA > Reports > Timesheets > Missing Timesheets. Let me explain the options on this report.

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    Period Code: Select the timesheet period code for which you want to generate the missing timesheets.

   Start date: Select the start date of the Week/Bi-Week(Depending on what is your timesheet period).

    All Employees: Mark this check box if you want the report to list all the employee who have already registered their hours.

    Send e-mail: This check box misleads by its name. It does not really send email to the employees for whom the timesheets are     missing in the given period. For me, this is limitation and you could write custom code (Will not be complex) to send emails.      When you mark this check box, the “E-mail sent” column will show “YES” if the an email id is setup for the worker in the worker     master and will show “NO”, if there is not email ID.

   7. Finally, let us see how the final report looks like.

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   See that, Alan Brewer is listed in the report, as he has not submitted his timesheet for the week 12/23-12/29. Also, there is no email ID specified for Alan, so the “Email   Sent” column shows “No”.

When you write the custom code to send emails, you could also set this report to run automatically at end of every timesheet period, so that the report can be automatically sent to the accounts receivable team for their action for follow ups and also an automatic email can be sent to the employees directly asking to submit timesheets.

NOTE: Please see the conversation below between myself and KK, where he says the CU 7 now has the functionality of sending emails. This means that you will no more require to write custom code for this. Thank you KK for providing this information.

Thats it for today’s post. Till next time !!!

Lifecycle Services for Microsoft Dynamics – More Control over your ERP implementation from Presales to Go-Live

Lifecycle Services for Microsoft Dynamics – More Control over your ERP implementation from Presales to Go-Live

Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services provides a cloud-based collaborative work space that customers and their partners can use to manage Microsoft Dynamics AX projects from pre-sales to implementation and operations.

Based on the phase of your project and the industry you are working in, the site provides checklists and tools that help you manage the project. It also provides a dashboard so that you have a single place to get up-to-date project information.

Click HERE to get started.

Intercompany Expense Reporting and Management in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Intercompany Expense Reporting and Management in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Multinational Professional Services Firms always have employees working out of different office locations and it is a common practice in this industry to share resources(workers) between companies to execute project/non-project tasks. In such scenarios, it is pretty common that employees of one legal entity works on the Project/non-project tasks of other legal entities and might incur expenses which needs to charged to the project or ledger of the borrowing entity.

Until AX 2012 R2, there was not a good option in AX to handle the accounting of intercompany expenses scenarios in an efficient manner.

With the introduction of intercompany expense reporting feature in AX 2012 R2, it becomes a lot simplified for the users to manage the accounting of such scenarios. In today’s post we will take a look at this this new functionality in AX 2012 R2 and understand how this works.

The enabling and disabling the intercompany expense management feature is centrally controlled by a new parameter introduced in the Travel and Expenses Parameters form.

  • Go to Travel and Expenses > Setup > Travel and expense parameters form.
  • Mark the “Allow intercompany expenses” checkbox to enable this feature.

Travel & Expense Paramter AX 2012

Note that prior to submitting an intercompany expense report, you need to make sure that the necessary intercompany accounting relationship is setup between the loaning and borrowing entities under the General Ledger Module.

Refer to my post on intercompany timesheets earlier to understand the loaning and borrowing entities.

Let us  now go to the enterprise portal and create an intercompany expense report. In this demonstration we will assume that,

  • USMF is the company where the worker is employed. (Loaning Legal Entity)
  • USSI is the contracting company where the worker does the work. (Borrowing Legal Entity)
  • Now, Navigate to EP > Employee Services > New Expenses Report.
  • Mark the Intercompany expense report check box.

New Expense Report

  • Click New Expense line button
  • Select the Borrowing legal entity. In this case I will select USSI.
  • Select the Expense Category and click OK. This dropdown will show the categories which are validated for the worker.

Select Expense Category and Legal entity

  • Key in the other required values such as transaction date, amount, payment method etc and save the expense line and then submit and approve the expense report.
  • Note that if you are entering a project related expense line, then you can select the project, line property, activity etc.
  • So with this, the accounting team do not need to worry about creating manual journal entries for these intercompany expenses as employees are able to enter the expenses directly in the borrowing legal entity.
  • Now, let us go ahead and post the approved expense report and analyze the financial voucher.
  • Navigate to Travel & Expense Module > Common > All Expense reports, Select the expense report and approve it.
  • Click the Sub ledger journal button to see the general ledger update which will happen when we post this expense report.

Financial Voucher

In the screenshot above, note that the intercompany ledger update in USMF and USSI are based on the intercompany accounting setup done under the GL module in both the entities and the other accounts gets automatically picked up based on the payment method setup and the ledger account setup for the expense category.

Simple ! Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012..

Till next time..keep exploring…

Regards

Sandeep

SBS Group, USA Expands with Solugenix’s Dynamics AX Practice

SBS Group, USA Expands with Solugenix’s Dynamics AX Practice

SBS Group, a leading technology consulting firm integrating business management solutions, announced today the acquisition of Solugenix’s Microsoft Dynamics® AX Practice.

SBS Group USA, is focused on business management solution and is one of the Microsoft master VARs and also a member of Microsoft’s inner circle. It will be an unbeatable combination of SBS group’s vast experience in dynamics line of products, their long term relationship with MS and Solugenix’s exceptionally experienced Dynamics AX team.

SBS

Looking forward to work with SBS Group.

Click here to Learn more.