Revamped Help System(Task Guides and Wiki) in the New Dynamics AX (AX 7)

Revamped Help System(Task Guides and Wiki) in the New Dynamics AX (AX 7)

One of the most talked about features when the new Dynamics AX was released, is the new Task Guides and Wiki (New Help system for AX). We all know the architecture for the Help system is completely revamped and I am sure there must be several videos, blog posts already out in the community talking about these.

In today’s post, I would like to provide my perspective of how these work together in the new Dynamics AX and how customers and partners can benefit from these.

Before we deep dive, let us understand the basic terms and what they really mean.

Help Wiki: In earlier version of AX, all the help content for Dynamics AX were primarily delivered via the Help Server and the TechNet. In the new Dynamics AX brings in a True Cloud based Help Wiki system. This not only brings a whole new approach for discovering and consuming help content for AX, but also it has now become more business process and task focused. The earlier Help system always told us “How to do a specific task under various functional modules”, but there was no real content telling how these tasks tie together. The new help system focuses primarily in delivering Help content for the tasks in a business process oriented manner , which makes it easy to understand for the consumers (Consultants, End Users etc.). We will learn additional details about Wiki further in this post below.

Task guides: A task guide represents step by step guidelines to execute a specific task under a business process. Task guides are beyond just steps to execute a task actually. You can configure task guides to have as much as detailed information at each step of the task and you can keep track of your steps execution with visual indicators right in front of you, telling up to what step you have executed the task so far and how many steps are to be executed. You will also be prompted with visual navigator(Something like WalkMe), that will exactly point you where to navigate and what to click in order to complete each step of a task. So no more hassle to toggle between training documents/user manuals and AX to execute a task. We will discuss more on Task guides further in the post below.

BPM Library in LCS: Business process library is a library of business processes broken down to sub-business processes of a solution. This basically contains the breakdown of all the business processes down to the specific task levels under each business process and each task has a pre-reordered task guide for it.

Task Recorder: This is a tool built inside Dynamics AX (as was with earlier versions of AX, but improved/revamped now), which you can use to record the task guide for a task and then upload the same to LCS library. In this blog post, I will not talk on specifics of “how to create a BPM library”, How to use task recorder etc.

Before we go and see these in action in Dynamics AX, let us understand the overall Help System Architecture in the New Dynamics AX a little bit.

As I mentioned above, the help content in the New Dynamics AX is primarily delivered via two sources. 1. Help from Task guides. 2. Help from Wiki.

  • The Task guide contents are provisioned using the LCS (Life Cycle Services). These  are prepared using the task recorder tool and are published into LCS BPM Library of a specific LCS project, which can then ultimately be referenced and consumed within AX.
  • Source 1 of these task guides are the ones created by the product experts within the Dynamics AX team of Microsoft, to be used publicly by everyone. These would go into the Microsoft BMP library in LCS. Source 2 of the task guides would be the ones created and published by Partners and Customers. These would go into the Customer/Partner BPM library.
  • Once you have these BPM libraries within your LCS project, you can reference the same in AX help system configuration and contents from those specific libraries will be delivered when you search them on the Dynamics AX Help Pane.
  • The Wiki contents are directly provisioned from the AX wiki help site . The Wiki that is currently available is the Microsoft public wiki. This primarily  contains text/links to videos/embedded office mix presentations (Manually authored by Microsoft experts), wiki contribution topics from the Microsoft community(with approval/audit from Microsoft)  and finally Microsoft BPM topics from the public Microsoft BPM library in LCS.
  • Partner/Customer specific private Wiki not currently supported, but there is news that it is in the road map. This wiki content will be authored by partners and customers and those will be private for use.

Let us deep dive now and see some of these in action.

How to setup the Help system in your Dynamics AX environment: At this point, I assume that most of us are already familiar with what is LCS, LCS project and the BPM libraries(My library, Corporate library and Global library) under the LCS project. Once you have this setup, follow the steps below to setup your help system within AX.

  • In AX, navigate to System Administration > System Parameters > Help tab.
  • Select the LCS Project in which you would have your Business Process Library containing the task guides.
  • As soon as you select this, system will show all the libraries that are available in this LCS project.

Help Setup in AX Env

  • The next step is to select the specific libraries that you want to use for this AX environment. This means that business processes from this library will be shown when you search from help in AX. In this case I will select the Microsoft APQC library.

Help Setup in AX Select

  • Save and close the form.

Dynamics AX Help Pane and the Consumption Experience: Now that we have everything setup, let us see these in action. In this case, I will demonstrate how a user from the Customer Service team of an organization will consume the help topics for creating a Sales order in AX. (Both Wiki and Business process task guides).

  • The user navigates to the Accounts Receivable > All Sales Orders.
  •  Now, as soon as the user is on this form, let us say they are new to the system and are not fully aware of the steps and best practices they need to follow in order to create the order. The immediate thing that comes to mind is “I NEED HELP“. So they click the Help icon on the top right of the page.

Help Button

  • As soon as they click Help, system will automatically render the help information (Both Task Guides and Wiki) that are related to Sales orders and list them as per relevance.

Help Topics Listing

  • The Content under the Task Guides bucket/tab lists all the task guides that are present in the business process library related to sales order. The content under the Wiki bucket lists all topics related to Sales orders from the Microsoft public Wiki.
  • User can find or even search for more specific topics with appropriate key words under the Help Search box.

Wiki Bucket Help Search

  • Once the topics are listed, it is up to the user on how to consume these. If they are a new user dealing with the Sales order process for the first time and they really need step by step guidelines to make sure they do not go wrong, they can Start the Task guide in play mode. This will help them navigate to each click with visual pointers which makes it super easy to follow the steps and execute them.
  • So user selects the required Task guide and clicks Start Task guide button.

Start Task Guide button

  • With this, notice that system will start visual pointed navigational instructions with additional information for the user to execute the steps. System will also show visual indicators on which steps are completed, current step and which are pending, all of these without having to leave the form.

Visual pointers

Visual pointers 2

  • Once the user start a task guide, system will force them to follow the task guide recommended steps. But if they do any actions to deviate from the recommended steps, then  system will automatically prompt the user if they want to Unlock the task guide for them not to follow a particular step for any reason.

Unlock Task Guide

  • User can skip a non-mandatory step if they wish to. The user can also stop the task guide at any point they want.
  • Now, as users uses the business processes on a daily basis and gets familiar with the tasks, they might not need pointed guidelines always. So they can simply consume the task guides in Read only Mode, just to refer to any specific step or additional information on a specific step that they are not sure about.

Read Only mode

  • Finally, if the user wishes to explore more on the specific topic in the Public Wiki, they can chose the link under Wiki tab and it will take them to the Wiki link.

Wiki Link

So that was it from my side on this post. Hope this information will  be helpful. There are a host of new features in this area as well which are slated for future updates in coming months. Stay tuned!!

Of course there are several minor details behind the scenes,such as How to create task guides, what are the best practices, how to publish them to LCS etc. Feel free to drop you questions.

Regards,

Sandeep

What is new in General Ledger Module – Top 5 enhancements in the New Dynamics AX (AX 7)

What is new in General Ledger Module – Top 5 enhancements in the New Dynamics AX (AX 7)

Hello Everyone,

Hope everyone participated in the virtual launch of the New Dynamics AX on 9th March and got to learn more about the new fully cloud based ERP.

In today’s post, I will explain the top 5 enhancements that I witnessed and tested under the General Ledger area in the New Dynamics AX.

  1. Financial Dimension Activation
  2. Global General Journals
  3. Global Fiscal calendar management
  4. Dedicated Process driven Workspace for Financial Period Close
  5. Account structure related enhancements

Let’s get straight into it and see some additional details.

1. Financial Dimension Activation: Starting with the new Dynamics AX, new financials dimensions will now need to be activated by a specific role, which has the privilege assigned for dimension activation or by System administrators. The intention here is to simplify the database schema for financial dimensions so that the reporting and data extraction becomes easier.

  • When a new Dimension is created under GL > Dimensions > Financial Dimensions is created, it will be in “Inactive” status by default.
  • Before users can start using this new dimension, it needs to be activated, which can be only done by either a System Administrator or by a role which has the privilege for dimension activation.
  • When the activation is run, system will add the new dimension across all applicable tables in the database and the database schema will change. See screenshot below for reference.

Finnancial Dimension Activation

2. Global General Journals: This new feature will allow accounting team members to create and manage general journals in multiple legal entities staying in one entity, without having to change the legal entity each time when they create or edit the journals.

  • The new global general journal is located under General Ledger > Journal Entries > Global general journals.
  • When you create a new New journal, you can select the Legal entity and the journal name of that entity for which you want to create the journal entry.

Global General Journals

  • You can then continue to create the journal lines inside the current entity and you can directly Open the journal in the other entity if you wish to, or you can complete the entire journal entity, validate and post in the current entity and the unmoral entry will be created and posted in the destination entity.

Global General Journals 1.jpg

3. Global Fiscal Calendar Management: This feature will enable finance controllers and other related users of the accounting team to manage the the fiscal period status and Module level accesses for multiple entities which share the same Fiscal Calendar.

  • Navigate to General Ledger > Ledger Setup > Ledger Calendars.
  • Select the Fiscal calendar and the Fiscal year to see all the Periods under them.
  • Notice that you will now see all the Legal entities listed in separate rows , which share the same fiscal calendar.
  • You can change the Period status and Module level access for the required modules for one or more or all legal entities at once.

Ledger Calendar

Ledger Calendar1

4. Dedicated Workspace for Financial Period Close: The new Dynamics AX brings in a a new dedicated workspace for the financial period close tasks. You all must be very familiar with what workspaces in the new AX are. The purpose of this workspace is primarily to help the corporate accounting team and Controllers to manage their fiscal period closing more effectively and make the process more transparent, get real time insights with the status of closing and get more timely insight into your business.

  • Controllers can create Period Closing schedules and templates.
  • Under each template and schedule, they can create breakdown of the tasks for the period close.
  • Tasks can be assigned to to different team members with required due date and times.
  • Can be done for multiple legal entities.
  • This workspace helps the corporate accounting team to collaborate and update the status of tasks assigned to them and enables controllers to view the status of closing is real time and take required actions.
  • Explaining this topic will become a separate blog in itself. I will try to explain sometimes later in future with a new post on this. Screenshots below shows a quick snapshot of how this workspace looks like.

Closing schedule

Closing schedule 2.jpg

5. Account Structures related enhancements: In the new Dynamics AX, the over all view and arrangement of data fields and tabs on the account structure form makes it more intuitive and easy to use. You can see which entities are using the selected account structure staying in the same form. Most importantly you can now export Account structures to Excel. This allows you to make edits easily in bulk and push it back to AX from Excel.Export to ex cel

Export to ex cel 1

There are a few other minor enhancements under the GL area too, which I will leave up to you all to explore🙂

That is it for this post !! Keep DAXing..

Regards,

Sandeep

 

 

 

Dynamics AX Tip: How to Personalize forms and workspaces in New Microsoft Dynamics AX (AX 7)

Dynamics AX Tip: How to Personalize forms and workspaces in New Microsoft Dynamics AX (AX 7)

Hello Readers,

Until AX 2012 version, personalizing the forms and adding/removing data fields on them was a very important and widely used feature used by customers.

This quick post will help you understand how “Personalizing” looks in the new Dynamics AX. Let us take a look one by one.

When you are on a form or a navigation page in the new Dynamics AX,  you can bring up your favorite Personalize options using the “Right click > Personalize:Form section” option. For example, I navigate to the Accounts Receivable > All Customers > Customer Details form/page > General fast tab and right click on it.

How to add a new data fields on a form/page:

  • Navigate to the form that you want to Personalize.
  • Right click > Personalize: Form section, i.e Personalize:Customer

Personalize Form

  • Click + Add a Field to load the field list form.

Add a field

  • Select the data fields you want to add and click Insert button.

Select Data Fields

  • Another way of adding a data field on a form is to select “Personalize this form” option after right click and Personalize.
  • Note that you can also launch the Personalization pane by navigating to Options > Personalize this form button.

OptionsPersonalize

Personalize this firm

  • Click the + button to load the data field list form. Select the data fields you want to add and click Insert button.

Personaliation Pane

How to change properties of a data field:

  • Once you are on the Personalize form screen, select the “Arrow’ button to enable the property changes for various data fields on the form.

Data Field Property

Data Field Property 1

Hide: Mark this to Hide the selected data field on the form.

Include in Fast Tab Summary: Mark this to show the value of this data field on the Fast tab header summary of the fast tab, under which the data field is present.

Skip in Tab key sequence: Mark this to skip this data field on the tab key sequence.

Don’t edit: Mark this to block editing of this data field.

For example, let us mark the Include in fast tab summary for the  Classification group field and see that it appears on the fast tab Summary.

Data Field Property 2

How to rearrange or move around data fields on a form:

  • Once you are on the Personalize form, select the MOVE option on the Personalization pane and just drag and drop fields to move them around on the form as shown in screenshot below.

Rearrange Data Field

How to show/Hide data fields on a form:

  • On the Personalization pane, Select the Hide/Show button.
  • Now mark the data fields that you want to Hide/show.
  • If you had already made a field hidden, when you try to Hide/Show next time on the form, you can see those fields as marked for Hidden.
  • For example if I want to hide the ABC Code field hidden on the customer details form, I can mark that and upon refreshing the form, the field will be hidden.

Show Hide Data Field

How to add fields to show on the collapsed fast tab summary:

  • On the Personalization pane, Select the Summary button.
  • Now mark the data fields that you want to add to the fast tab Summary when collapsed.
  • For example, I have added the Language data field on the General fast tab.

Add Field to Summary

How to change the display name of a data field:

  • On the AX form/page on a specific data field, right click and Personalize.
  • You can type in the name that you would like to see as the display label for the data field.

  • For example, I have renamed the Search name field to My Search Name on the Customer details form.

Change Display Name

How to block editing of a data field:

  • On the form Personalization pane, click the Edit button.
  • Mark all the data fields that you would like to be shown as Non-editable fields.
  • For example, on the Customer details form, I want the Classification group field to be shown as non-editable.

Block Editing

Block Editing1

How to Reset/Clear out all my Personalization:

  • If you decide to clear out all your form/page personalization,  click on Manage > Clear button on the form Personalization Pane.
  • Reload the page.

Reset Personalization

Reset Personalization1

How to add form data as a Tile onto a workspace:

  • You can also add a filtered data view, i.e. data on a particular form as either a Live Tile or as a list on any workspace you like.
  • For example, I can add the Timesheets for my review as a Live tile to the Manager Self-service workspace.

Add to workspace

Tile on MSS

Additionally, you can also Import and export form personalization using the Manage > Import/Export option on the form Personalization pane.

Export Import Personalization

So, that’s it for today’s quick tip on the new Dynamics AX !!

Regards,

Sandeep

What is New in Business Intelligence in the New Microsoft Dynamics AX (AX 7)

What is New in Business Intelligence in the New Microsoft Dynamics AX (AX 7)

Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP has evolved over several versions starting from AX 2.5, AX 3.0, AX 4.0, AX 2009, AX 2012 and all the way through the New Dynamics AX (Aka AX 7). In each of these versions, this ERP from Microsoft , has undergone several changes and enhancements in terms of architecture, technology, depth of functionality and support for industry verticals etc. The journey from the Client only AX 3.0 version to the fully web enabled version (The New Dynamics AX) has been phenomenal.

As the technology behind the application kept on evolving, so did the Business Intelligence (Analytics) framework for each of these mentioned versions.

In this post, we will discuss a little bit on the evolution of Analytics/Business intelligence framework in Microsoft Dynamics AX and we will also discuss about what are the various Analytics options we have in the most recent release, which is the New Dynamics AX.

The picture below shows a quick snapshot of the evolution of analytics framework in Dynamics AX.

image.png

In the initial releases with version 4.0, the concept of “Perspectives” was introduced which basically presented the ERP data schema to the end uses in a format, that they can use to build analytics. In AX 4.0 the SMDL Model along with the SQL Report builder was primarily used for business analytics building.

Then in AX 2009, Microsoft introduced the SQL Server Analysis services, which basically had the SSAS Projects/ CUBE Projects built for all the major areas of the ERP applications. These CUBES were then utilized to show data on the various pre-built dashboards on the role center pages. In AX 2009 you could also use Microsoft Excel to connect to the SSAS server and then build your own analytics.

In AX 2012, the SSAS Cubes framework was taken a step forward and Microsoft basically used the same technology and concepts, but developed several additional dashboards for the various role centers that were shipped out of the box. One of the major enhancements to the analytics framework in AX 2012 was done by introduction of Power View. Using Power View, you could simply leverage the analysis cubes and build dashboards, graphs, charts, tables, bars and any sort of analytics you wanted.

In the New Microsoft Dynamics AX (Aka AX 7) the analytics framework has evolved further and much better. In the new Dynamics AX, analytics can be primarily of 2 types.

  1. Real time built-in analytics on the workspaces
  2. Power BI analytics and integration with Dynamics AX.

1. Real time built-in analytics in the Work spaces:

Starting with AX 2009 till AX 2012 R3 release, most of the out-of-the-box analytics were contained in the Role center pages, which was basically the Home/landing page for the users when they launch AX client or Enterprise portal. In the new Dynamics AX, you will see something called as the “Workspaces”. You could compare workspaces with role centers, but the work spaces are designed keeping in mind a more process oriented approach.

  • The built-in analytics comes out of the box , as part of standard AX across various workspaces covering all major modules.
  • You can customize these further and create your own analytics in any of the workspaces.
  • One of the examples of such analytics is present under the Cost Administration workspaces. You can find these across all major business areas in the new Dynamics AX.

Cost Admin Dashboard

  • You can furhter click on the analytics to drill down on data right from the analytics and research the data further.

Drill Down.jpg

  • You also have additional option of presenting the data on the analytics by different parameters. For example you can view Top 10 Production variances by Production order number or By Produced Item Name.

Dashboard Options.jpg

  • Below screenshot shows all other workspaces that are available out of the box in the new dynamics AX which has built in real time analytics built-in.

Other Workspaces

2. Power BI and integration with Dynamics AX:

The second (and I think the most powerful and hopefully will be widely used too) analytics option in the new Dynamics AX is, the integration with Power BI, which is Microsoft’s business intelligence platform.  Below are some of the key highlights of the integration of Power BI and new Dynamics AX.

  • You can use Power BI Online to build complex data analytics from your Dynamics AX database. Using Power BI online, you can also connect to Azure SQL Server data base and build your content packs and  publish them with required permissions.

PBI Online

  • You can use Power BI Desktop app and also mobile apps to connect SQL server database of your Dynamics AX application and then build any analytics. For example, the screenshot below shows a simple analytics of sales by customer groups. I have built this using the CustInvoiceJour table. You can use the advanced reporting options of PowerBI to build complex queries and joins.

PBI Desktop 1

PBI Desktop 2

  • After creating analytics in Power BI Desktop, you can publish them into the Content packs in Power BI online.

PBI Desktop 3

  • Once you have your content packs are ready, you can Add power Bi analytics as tiles onto the workspaces in the new Dynamics AX.

Pin Tiles to AX

Auth PBI to AX

  • With the RTW release of the new Dynamics AX that was released during the Technical Conference (Feb 23rd to Feb 25th), Microsoft has released a few Pre-built Power BI Content packs for Dynamics AX (Primarily around Retail and Finance areas) that customers and partners can leverage for reporting. Partners can also build their own Content Packs as their intellectual properties, and make them available for consumption by customers. To access the Pre-built content packs provided by Microsoft for the RTW release of new dynamics AX, Sign in into your Power BI online account, Or launch Power BI desktop app.

PreBuilt Content PacksLong enough  post !!!! Smile

Note that this was not a Power BI specific blog post. I just wanted to highlight the key business intelligence options we have available in the New Dynamics AX and a very brief on how Power BI looks to be treated as a first class citizen inside the new Dynamics AX for BI and reporting. Stay tuned for future posts on How to build analytics for Dynamics AX using PowerBI and how to consume Content packs published by Microsoft or other partners.

Till then….Have a great time !!

Regards,

Sandeep

 

What is new in Project Planning and Resource management in the New Dynamics AX (AX 7)

What is new in Project Planning and Resource management in the New Dynamics AX (AX 7)

Hope everyone is getting their grips tight on exploring the various possibilities in the new Microsoft Dynamics AX and also hope you all are having a great experience at the Technical Conference in Seattle. The journey of AX 7 from Preview, CTP 7, CTP 8 all the way through RTW has been phenomenal. The Dynamics AX team at Microsoft team has done a commendable job in getting the New Microsoft Dynamics AX out to the market !!

In today’s post, I will explain some of the key enhancements and changes that I think are important and will be beneficial for customers.The enhancements are primarily around 3 key areas of the Project Management module as described below.

Project Work Breakdown Structures:

Starting with the CU7 release of AX 2012, the work breakdown structure functionality for the projects introduced several key enhancements that made it more usable for industries who’s projects are driven by stringent cost controls , such as Construction and Engineering. In the new Dynamics AX (i.e AX 7), there has been certain changes/enhancements introduced in the WBS area. Let us take a look what are those changes.

  • Ability to create and review WBS changes before publishing them.
  • After you have created the WBS, it will not come into effect until you Publish it.
  • If you make changes to a Draft version of the WBS, you can discard the Draft changes to get it back to the earlier version.

Project WBS

  • You can now create and view the Cost and Revenue estimates on one screen which makes it easier to view the estimates without having to toggle a lot between the WBS node and the Estimate lines (as it used to be in AX 2012).

Project WBS 1

  • Cost and Revenue estimates can be established for Project Roles, instead of actual workers.

Project WBS 2

Project Roles and Pricing setups with roles:

Project roles concept was introduced in CU7 release of AX 2012, which basically allowed the project managers to generate and configure project team based on the roles and not actual workers. In the New Dynamics AX, this functionality is extended further which will open up new possibilities on how this functionality can be used.

  • You can now setup Project Hourly Cost and Sales prices for project roles, along with the other criteria such as Customer, contract, project, employee, category etc.
  • The system will then use this price data automatically when you create and setup Cost/Revenue estimates for the WBS tasks using project roles, in scenarios where you setup the project team using project roles instead of actual workers.

Project Roles Prices

Project Resources Management:

  • AX 2012 allowed to designate only workers (Employees & Contractors) as project resources. Other Operations resources of the organization which are created and managed under the Organization Administration Module were never allowed to be designated as project resources and could not be scheduled and used for projects. The New Dynamics AX will allow to designate the organization’s Operations resources as project resources and schedule them on the project and tasks under the project.
  • This new functionality also lays the foundation to be able to schedule non-human resources of the organization in the projects, such as location, Tool, Machines etc. which will be available in future releases.

Project Resources

Project Resources 1

  • We now have the ability to view and manage the Planned resources on a project and compare planned Vs. actual resources. The new Dynamics AX allows to auto-generate project team based on the resource requirements. Dummy resources are created and assigned to the project tasks and you can replace those with actual resources when you are ready.

Auto Generate Team

  • The new Dynamics AX has introduced the concept of Booked Vs Assigned Hours. You can think of Booked hours as a high level booking of a resource on a project, where as the assigned hours are the number of hours which the resource is booked on actual tasks of the project in the work breakdown structure of the project.

Booked Vs Assigned

  • The new dedicated Resource Fulfillment page allows to view the the resource requirements for all the projects and view available resources and their assignments all in one central location.

Resource Fullfillment

Till Next Time…!!!

Regards,

Sandeep

Introducing the New Microsoft Dynamics AX (AX 7) – Public Preview

Introducing the New Microsoft Dynamics AX (AX 7) – Public Preview

Hello All,

With the Public Preview of the “New Microsoft Dynamics AX” now out, I am sure all of us are excited to learn more about it and start exploring all possibilities with the new version.

Read  more about the new Dynamics AX on the Blog Post on SBS Group’s Blog spot.

Regards,

Sandeep

Straight Line Revenue Recognition for Projects in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3

Straight Line Revenue Recognition for Projects in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3

The Project Management and Accounting module of Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP has been supporting revenue recognition mechanism for fixed price projects (Both Long term and Short term) using the functionality called “Estimates for Fixed Price Projects”. This functionality supports both ‘Completed Contract” as well as “Completed Percentage” based revenue recognition for Projects.

One other common revenue recognition that is widely used primarily for short term duration contracts is the “Straight Line” Revenue recognition. This happens primarily for contracts with subscription services, short term Insurance contracts etc. For such short term subscription service contracts, the contract amounts are normally recognized on a proportionate basis., i.e over the period of the contract for the subscriptions.

With the release of Cumulative Update 8 (CU8) for AX 2012 R3, this functionality is now supported under the Project Management and Accounting module.

In today’s post, I will explain this functionality from how to set this up in AX and then how the revenue recognition will happen for the project.

Scenario: Let us say you are a online software service provider and you have customers that have subscribed to one of your software services for 6 Months duration. i.e. from 03/01/2015 to 08/31/2015. The total amount for the subscription contract is USD 3000.00 and you have agreed upon to bill them upfront, on the start date of the contract, i.e on 03/01/2015. Even though you billed them on the beginning of the contract, due to the nature of the contract you will need to recognize revenue proportionately over the period of the contract.

Setup Estimate/Revenue Recognition Template:

The first step on this process will be to setup the Cost Template for the Straight Line Revenue recognition functionality.

  1. Navigate to Project Management And Accounting > Setup > Estimates > Cost templates.
  2. Create new record.
  3. Select Completion based on = Straight Line.
  4. Save the record. Refer to screenshot below.

Cost Template

Setup Contract, Project:

Let us now create and setup the Project Contract and Fixed Price Project for our scenario.

  1. Navigate to Project Management and Accounting > Common > Projects > Project Contracts.
  2. Create the new project contract.
  3. Create the New fixed price project and link to a project group that is associated with the newly created Cost Template.
  4. At this point, note that the Actual Start Date and Actual End Date fields on the Project details form becomes Mandatory. This is because, system will depend on the Actual start date and Actual end dates, to determine the percentage completion automatically when you run the Periodic Revenue Recognition function(Estimates) for this project.
  5. Refer to screenshots below.

Project Group Setup

Project Details Setup

In this scenario, I will setup Actual start date = 03/01/2015 and Actual End date = 08/31/2015.

Project Details Setup Dates

Bill the Customer Upfront:

The next step is to the create and setup the On-account transaction for this project, which we can bill to the Customer Up-front on 03/01/2015.

  1. Select the project created above and click Manage > Bill > On-account transactions.
  2. Create a new record.
  3. Setup the on-account transaction for USD 3000.00

On Account Invoice

  1. To bill the customer, click Manage > Bill > Project Invoice Proposal.
  2. Create and complete the invoice processing and post the invoice.
  3. At this point, note that the Invoiced revenue is actually posted to a Balance sheet account based on the configuration we did in the project group setup and no revenue is recognized for the project at this point.

Invoice Posting Voucher

Recording Expenses/Costs on the Project:

Note that during the tenure of the project, you can also record all the expenses such as Labor (Time) and expenses such if any for accurate probability of the project. The source of the costs can be Timesheets, Expense reports or any cost journals for the project.

For the demonstration, I have already posted some hours and expenses on this project and we will see in the next step how this information shows up on the Revenue Recognition summary screen with profitability details such as Gross Margin.

Recognize revenue for the project periodically(Monthly in this case):

Now, let us evaluate the process of periodic revenue recognition for this project every month and see how system automatically calculates the % complete and the accrued revenues.

  1. Since the contract started on 03/01/2015 and we will recognize the revenues on a Monthly basis, let us run the first revenue recognition on 03/31/2015, end of March 2015.
  2. To do this, navigate to the Project and click Manage > Process > Estimates.
  3. Create new Estimate and select Estimate date = 03/31/2015
  4. Note: For this demo scenario we are running the revenue recognition manually. Ideally you can setup the estimates to run for all your fixed price projects to run and post automatically in a Batch.
  5. See that Estimates(Revenue Recognition) form has got some improvements in CU8 release. It has several additional data fields to present clear details of the revenue recognition history for the project such as Invoiced Revenue(WIP), Contract value, Percent complete etc.
  6. After we have run the first Revenue Recognition process on 03/31/2015, notice that System automatically calculated the Percentage Completion based on a Straight Line basis. The total number of days in the tenure of the subscription is 184 Days(March to August) and we ran the first revenue recognition at the end of 31 days for the project. So system automatically calculated the Percentage complete as 16.85 %.
  7. Notice that system shows Contract Value = 3000.00, Invoiced Revenue = 3000.00, Percentage Completion = 16.85 %, Revenue recognized now (Accrued revenue for March) = 16.85% of Total contract value.
  8. Now, let us review and post the Estimate to recognize revenue. Once the estimate is posted, revenue is recognized and the amount is posted to GL (P&L Account setup in project posting profile).

Create Estimate

Post Estimate

If you see the above Voucher, notice that system posted the accrued revenues as well as moved the Costs to P&L accounts from WIP. Since I had setup the Costs to be posted to Balance sheet accounts in my configuration. It depends on what you configure the cost to be posted to.

You can follow the same process and post the estimates/revenues for each of the periods until the end date.

Below screenshot shows a summary that I have created and posted the revenues for each period till the 100% completion on 08/31/2015.

All Estimates

Finally, once the subscription contract is over, you can follow the standard AX elimination of the estimates to reverse the WIP sales values.

Estimate Elimination

Hope this quick demonstration was helpful !! Till Next time….

Best, Sandeep

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