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.

Another Cumulative Update 6 For Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2

Another Cumulative Update 6 For Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2

Microsoft continues its commitment to customers success through regular release of cumulative updates.

CU 6 is now released which primarily introduces two types of enhancements and updates.

1. Business Processes.

2. Regulatory Updates.

CU7 is slated to be released during end of OCT, 2013.

Note: Note the change in numbering for the cumulative updates which will be released for AX 2012 R2 going forward.

Read the complete details of the enhancements and updates here on Microsoft Dynamics AX Product Team Blog.

Regards

Sandeep

Human Resources – Automatic Benefits Eligibility Determination for Employees in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Human Resources – Automatic Benefits Eligibility Determination for Employees in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Employees of every organization are often entitled for several benefits such as cell phone, Parking, Dental, Vision insurance etc.. All the required data for the employee benefits are managed inside the Human resources management module of AX 2012. There are some sequence of steps involved to configure and manage all the elements of benefits such as,

  • Configure Benefit Types.
  • Configure Benefit plans for each benefit types
  • Configure Benefit options for the employees for each of the plans.

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I will not explain the setup and configuration of benefit elements in this post. In this post, we will focus on discussing how AX 2012 makes it extremely simple for human resource managers/executives to automatically determine the eligibility of employees who can be enrolled on a given benefit. AX 2012 allows to configure simple benefit eligibility rules and HR executives can simply create and process benefits eligibility events. AX will then automatically determine which employees are eligible to be enrolled for the benefits. Let us now discuss the step by step guidelines to create and run a benefit eligibility event.

Note: Before you run the benefits eligibility events in AX 2012, make sure you have setup all the benefit elements.

1. Define benefit eligibility policy and rules:

    • The first thing to setup is the eligibility policy parameters which will be used by all the benefits eligibility policies.
    • Navigate to HR > Setup > Policies > Benefits eligibility.
    • Click Setup > Parameters on the action pane.
    • Select the organization types which can be used with benefits eligibility policies. Notice that the only organization type which you will have for the benefits eligibility policy will be Companies.
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    • The next step is to create the benefits eligibility policy. Click New > Policy
    • Select the Company accounts for which this policy will be used.
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    • The next step is to configure the benefit policy rules. Note that you need to configure the policy rule types prior to setting this up.
    • Let us say the HR assistant wants to process an eligibility event where he/she wants to find all eligible employees for a benefit and the eligibility criteria is that the “everyone who joined the company after 12/31/2012.
    • Navigate to HR > Setup > Benefits > Benefits eligibility policy rule types.
    • Create a new record, give it a name (Batch 2013 in this case) and select the Query as “Benefit eligibility”.
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    • Now, go back to the benefits eligibility policy created above. You will notice that the policy rule type now appears on the policy.
    • Select the Batch2013 and click “Create policy rule”.
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    • Key in the effective date, expiration date and the condition for the policy as shown in screen below and click OK button.
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    • With this, we are done setting up the benefits eligibility policy rule.

2. Create Benefit(s):

    • The next step is to create a new benefit. Let us create a benefit for Company transportation such as Company car.
    • Navigate to HR > Common > Benefits > Benefits.
    • Click New > Benefit to create a new benefit and key in the details as shown in the screenshot below and click “Create Benefit button”.
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    • Expand the Eligibility rules fast tab and setup Eligibility =  “Rule based” and Select the Rule type = Batch2013. Please note that AX 2012 allows you to configure the Eligibility to ‘All workers are eligible” and “By pass eligibility process”. The “By pass eligibility process” will cause the benefit to be ignored when eligibility event is run.
    • Optionally, you can also setup Eligibility overrides with a date range for specific workers. If you setup eligibility overrides, then you can enroll a worker even if they are not found as eligible for a benefit.
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3. Create and Process the Benefit eligibility event:

    • Let us now create a benefit eligibility event and process the same. Follow the below steps to process an eligibility event.
    • On the Benefit created above, click Personnel Actions > Create Eligibility Event and key in the required details as shown in screen below and click OK button.
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    • On the Eligibility event form, expand the Workers fast tab.
    • You can add selected worker records or click Add all worker button to add all the workers for this event. Note that, the eligibility event will be ideally run from the HR > Periodic area.
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    • Click Process button on the Action pane and hit OK button.
    • Note that the processing may take a few seconds and wait until you get an info confirming the completion of the process.
    • Click Refresh button and then click Show results
    • Notice that system will show all the worker records and their individual eligibility for the benefit. System also shows description of the reason why a specific worker was not eligible for a benefit.
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Once the eligibility event is run and all the employees are determined, the HR assistant can enroll employees on the required benefits from the Mass benefits enrollment screen as shown in screen below.

That’s it for today’s post. Keep reading…

Thanks

Sandeep