Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations: D365O Capabilities by Module - dummies

Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations: D365O Capabilities by Module

By Renato Bellu

A good way to get a feel for Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations and understand just how deep the feature sets go in D365O is to skim a list of the advanced capabilities in various modules. You should expect any ERP module to have the same basic features at a minimum, so in that sense all ERP applications are the same: If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

For example, in any Accounts Receivable module, you should be able to create customers and enter credit memos; in any Accounts Payable module, you should be able to create vendors and enter vendor invoices; as another example, any decent ERP system will allow you to create multiple addresses per customer or per vendor.

Truth to tell, any ERP system will have all the same basic common ERP modules, such as General Ledger, Budgeting, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, and Inventory Control. What makes D365O stand out from the pack is that it offers advanced features in its common modules as well as special modules that not all ERP systems have. To see what this means, all you need to do is check out some of these uncommon (in other words, more advanced) modules, as well as some of the advanced capabilities found in D365O’s common modules.

This list describes the advanced D365O modules:

  • Warehouse Management: Less advanced ERP systems have no separate module for warehouse management, but, rather, the warehouse location entity is simply one facet of the Inventory Control module; furthermore, the complexity level of the warehouse entity is overly simplified in many ERP systems, whereas in D365O the warehouse management features include the concepts of zones, zone groups, container packing policies, and dock management profiles.

Many companies, if they require software to manage their warehouse operations, run a completely separate software application for the Warehouse Management function.

The problem with running a separate warehouse system is that you need to write and maintain custom integration programs between your Inventory Control module, Purchasing module, and Sales Order module in the base ERP package.

The D365O module for warehouse management is fully integrated with the other D365O modules, so no integration programs need be developed — which is a major advantage and cost savings. Unplanned disconnects between an external warehouse management system and the core ERP are all too common, and time-consuming troubleshooting of broken integrations is often an ongoing disruption to otherwise efficient operations.

  • Questionnaire: A separate module for questionnaires isn’t typically included in most ERP applications. However, the questionnaire is an important way for organizations to evaluate employee job performance as part of a human resources (HR) function.

    Questionnaires can also be used for customer satisfaction surveys and to solicit feedback from customers for a variety of purposes.

Bear in mind that if your organization uses Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement, a new module called Voice of the Customer also has survey functionality, so you may want to use it as well (or instead).

  • Product Information Management: Product information management (PIM) is a way to centralize information about your products so that all parts of the supply chain can speak the same language and have real-time access to changes in product descriptions, product images and diagrams, product specifications (specs), categorization of products, part numbers, and other attributes and identifiers related to the products your organization makes, distributes, and sells.

In recent years, stand-alone systems have sprung up that allow you to funnel information from your ERP system and other sources, such as suppliers’ websites, into a centralized product information management hub. Of course, extensive custom integration programs are needed to accomplish this task, whereas with the D365O Product Information Management module, your PIM is embedded into your ERP system — a great advantage for your company because the product information is available in the Sales, Purchasing, and Inventory Control modules of the ERP with no need for custom integration programming.

D365O includes features to implement Kanban manufacturing. These features appear in the Production Control module and the Warehouse Management module. Kanban is a visual method for controlling production invented by Taiichi Ohno of Toyota, considered the father of lean manufacturing and the just-in-time (JIT) inventory replenishment method. The idea behind lean manufacturing is to make only as much product as you need based on the amount of product that has been pulled from the shelf by customers (known as pull manufacturing), rather than making product based on a forecast of what you hope the customers will buy (known as push manufacturing).

In this way, you avoid making too much or not enough product because of inaccurate forecasts. However, to make JIT work, you need to respond quickly to fluctuations in inventory. D365O can help your organization adopt a Kanban manufacturing strategy.

The following listing of advanced features in D365O is meant to give you an overall feel for the depth of the D365O feature set. The Microsoft Docs website provides a great deal of useful documentation regarding these features. Also confer with your authorized Dynamics 365 solution provider to learn more about how any of these advanced features can be implemented for your organization.

Here are some of the advanced features in the General Ledger module:

  • Consolidation of subsidiaries into a consolidated organizational entity
  • Forecasting of cash flow and currency requirements
  • Up to ten dimensional segments on a single account (Financial dimensions allow you to slice and dice your data for analysis and reporting purposes)
  • Automated allocation based on default templates defining percentages by dimension
  • Importing of currency exchange rates for exchange rate providers (no need to manually key in the exchange rates)
  • Settlement and revaluation of currency amounts
  • Compatible with the OpenXML format for electronic reporting for compliance with localization requirements of foreign governments
  • Mass financial period close, which can save you time by closing more than one financial period at a time
  • Posting restrictions by user group (helps with separation of duties)

And here are some of the advanced features in the Fixed Assets module:

  • Cross-company depreciation runs
  • Depreciation calculation using background processing

Advanced features in the Accounts Payable module include

  • Positive pay (an automated fraud detection tool specifically designed to deter check fraud)
  • Mobile invoice approval
  • Royalty management and broker contracts
  • A vendor collaboration invoicing workspace (lets vendors see the status of their own invoices using an online portal)

Advanced features in the Accounts Receivable module include

  • Electronic signature certificates
  • Trade agreement journals contracts you set up with your customers to specify pricing arrangements
  • Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) direct debits
  • Customer pools for collections
  • Customer aging snapshots, which allow you to quickly view the accounts receivable aging of a customer without having to re-run the aging routine
  • Automation of nonsufficient funds (NSF) charges

Advanced features in the Cash and Bank Management module include

  • Letters of guarantee
  • Bank facility agreements (the terms and conditions a bank has agreed to extend to you for loans)

Advanced features in the Inventory Management module include

  • Consignment inventory
  • Commodity pricing
  • Forecast models
  • Product safety compliance (essentially help with tracking and reporting on restricted products and reported products such as creating product safety data sheets)
  • Warehouse load utilization reporting
  • Attribute-based pricing models

Advanced features in the Sales and Marketing (Sales Order) module include

  • Rebate agreements and rebate program types
  • Customer category hierarchy
  • Prospects, leads, and opportunities
  • Sales agreements
  • Shipment specifications
  • Shipping deviations (A handy way of viewing the differences between your actual ship dates and confirmed ship dates)

Advanced features in the Procurement and Sourcing (Purchase Order) module include

  • Purchase requisitions expenditure review
  • Intercompany order price discrepancies (A clean-up tool to help you synchronize prices and discounts for intercompany sales orders and purchase orders)
  • Legal entity-specific business rules and thresholds for fixed asset determination (Essentially this allows you to set different dollar thresholds in different companies for when the system will consider a purchase to be worthy of capitalizing it as a fixed asset.)