Dynamics 365 For Operations Tip: Vendor Prepayments and Revenue Recognition for Fixed Price Projects

Hello, Good to be back here on the blog !!! Jumping straight into the topic here today about a new addition of a feature for vendor prepayments in relation with fixed price project revenue recognition !!

Issuing large amounts of prepayments to vendors is often a common business requirement for large scale, long-term fixed price projects, which involves a lot of sub-contracted work. Vendors often request prepayments for the subcontracting services they are contracted to deliver for these projects. These prepayments can sometimes be just a flat amount based on mutual decisions, or it can sometimes be a percentage of the total cost of the subcontracting service. There can be several months of gap between when the prepayments are issued and when the vendors actually deliver the services.

For such projects, customers usually recognize revenue on a percentage completion basis and need the ability to include these vendor prepayments in the project percentage completion calculation of the project for revenue recognition/revenue estimates calculations.

In this post, we will evaluate one of the new features of Dynamics 365 For Operations (Referred as D365 – Operations from here on), which allows us to consider these vendor prepayments automatically when running the monthly revenue recognition/estimates for fixed price projects for calculating the % completion of the project.

For this demonstration, I have setup a fixed price project and the associated contract already. This project is setup to recognize revenue on a % completion basis.

Contract Setup

Project Setup

The Project Manager has created and submitted the purchase requisition for approval so that the services can be procured from Rebar Supply Co. Ltd. See screenshot below.

PR Submitted

The purchase requisition gets approved by the designated manager and the Purchase order is automatically created. See screenshot below.

PR Approved

The Project procurement team/Project manager then sets up the prepayment details on the project purchase order that was automatically created upon approval of the requisition.

PrepaySetupOnPO

Finance and Accounting team now processes the prepayment invoice to initiate the prepayment to the vendor.

Prepay Invoice

Prepayment

Now that the finance team has processed the vendor prepayment for the subcontracting work, let us now go ahead and see what happens when they run the monthly revenue recognition process for this project.

Notice that system was able to consider the vendor prepayment cost for the project and was able to determine the percentage completion based on the total project budget/forecast defined. See screenshot below

PComp

When this revenue recognition entry is posted, the revenue amount (based on Percentage complete and the total contract value) will be posted to general ledger. We all know how it works from here 🙂

That’s it for today !!

Sandeep

Sandeep ChaudhurySandeep Chaudhury is a Dynamics 365 enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in functional consulting, Solutions architecture and systems integration, with expertise in the areas of Professional services automation(Project Management and accounting), Financials Management, Services Management, Sales and Marketing, Human resource management, Travel and Expenses Management and Procurement & Sourcing modules of Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP. He has experience working with the Dynamics 365, AX 7, AX 2012 R3, AX 2012 R2, Dynamics 365 for Operations and more.

Dynamics 365 For Operations Tip: Now you can use Position based hierarchies in all workflows

Using a Reporting manager hierarchy for routing workflow documents has always been possible in Microsoft Dynamics AX and Dynamics 365 For Operations. This worked great in cases where you were required to route all of an employee’s workflow documents, such as timesheets, expense reports, purchase requisitions and more, to the manager they report to.

Now in Dynamics 365 For Operations, you can use Custom configured position hierarchies to route workflow documents. So, let’s say  you have a scenario where you need to route timesheets of an employee to the reporting manager, but route the expense reports to a manager they report to in a specific project hierarchy, you can configure this in Dynamics 365 For Operations ! Let’s see how?

On the Position Hierarchy Types, you can select the workflows which can use the selected position Hierarchy for outing documents. For example, in the screenshot below notice that the Matrix based hierarchy can be used by the expense report – USMF and Timesheet workflow.

dynamics365-position-hierarchy-types

NOTE: Note that a workflow can use only one custom hierarchy.

Additionally, you will notice that, on the workflow setup form, you can now view and manage the associated configurable hierarchies.

dynamics365-associate-hierarchy

On the workflow setup/configuration, you can select the steps to be assigned to a Configurable hierarchy. See screenshot below.

dynamics365-workflow-step-1

So, when an employee submits their expense report/timesheet, this workflow setup is going to look for the Matrix Position Hierarchy and assign the workflow document to the worker to whom the employee reports in the Matrix hierarchy instead of the managerial hierarchy.

dynamics365-position-hierarchy

dynamics365-ar-administrator

Small, but useful enhancement !! Hope this quick tip is useful.

Sandeep

Sandeep ChaudhurySandeep Chaudhury is a Dynamics 365 enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in functional consulting, Solutions architecture and systems integration, with expertise in the areas of Professional services automation(Project Management and accounting), Financials Management, Services Management, Sales and Marketing, Human resource management, Travel and Expenses Management and Procurement & Sourcing modules of Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP. He has experience working with the Dynamics 365, AX 7, AX 2012 R3, AX 2012 R2, Dynamics 365 for Operations and more.

Review of new features for Project Management and Accounting in Dynamics 365 For Operations

Dynamics 365 For Operations is a cloud based SaaS service, which provides rich features and functionalities to manage simple to complex business processes across all major industry verticals, such as Manufacturing, Professional Services, Financial Services, Retail, Distribution and more. It provides very rich features and functionality for project management and accounting for the professional services industry. In today’s post, we will review some of the key new features and enhancements that were released for project management and accounting, in Dynamics 365 for Operations (Update 3 released on NOV 1st 2016).

Let us review and discuss these new features in the order of what I think their significance would be for customers.

Dedicated PowerBI Content Pack for Project Management and Accounting Reports and Dashboards:

The is the biggest enhancement /new feature under Project Management and accounting in Dynamics 365 For Operations. Customers will now get access to preconfigured PowerBI Content pack that comes out of the box and provides key project management and accounting related dashboards and KPIs that are readily available for consumption. This content pack offers the following dashboards and reports. (Note: You can get access to the .pbix PowerBI files via the shared asset library in Life Cycle Services)

Projects Overview Dashboard: Shows overview of projects by customers, budget performance and revenue and provides a bird’s eye overview of the projects so that you can promptly review projects that are either exceeding budget, underperforming in revenue to take actions.

proj-db

Project Cost and Revenue Details Dashboard: These 2 dashboards enables you to view the project cost and revenue trends easily by customer and various other classifications and also shows actual bs budget comparisons.

proj-cost

proj-rev

Earned Value Management: Earned value management(EVM) is one of the key project health and success measuring criteria for professional services firms. Traditionally, in the earlier version of Dynamics AX, there was no dashboards/KPIs available out of the box that shows EVM and associated KPIs such as Cost Performance Index(CPI) or Schedule Performance Index (SPI), even though you could develop or customize reports and dashboards for these. But in Dynamics 365 for Operations, the content pack provides these out of the box enabling organizations to measure EVM and associated KPIs easily for projects. A very welcome addition !! (In one of the upcoming posts, I will dive deep into EVM in D365 For Operations)

evm

Project Hours Details report: This dedicated dashboard page shows the hours/time details for projects and resources. This also allows you to measure resource utilizations in various perspectives.

proj-hours

Manage Estimated Costs, Revenues and Item requirements on WBS Task Details form of a project:

In the earlier releases of the New Dynamics AX (Update 2 and earlier) or even in AX 2012, you could always define the estimated costs and revenues for each task on the WBS for a project. In Dynamics 365 For Operations, you can add estimated costs and revenue lines for Hours, Expenses, Items and Fees on the WBS task under ‘Estimated Costs and Revenue Tab” as you were able to do in earlier versions, But additionally, you can also manage these on the “TASK Details” form. You can also add/setup “Item Requirements” on the WBS Task details form, so that when you save and publish the WBS, Project Item requirements will be automatically created. (It was also possible earlier, but you had to transfer the WBS Item estimates to Item requirements specifically). Small enhancement, but can be very useful!

wbs-details

Option to setup ledger accounts for intercompany cost and revenues based on lending and borrowing entities for projects:

The Intercompany timesheet and intercompany customer invoicing has been one of the very useful features of AX which enables organizations to deploy resources from multiple entities on the project of borrowing entity and automate the intercompany timesheets and invoicing and accounting. In earlier versions, you only setup one Ledger account for Intercompany Cost and One ledger account for intercompany Revenue postings, regardless of the resource borrowing and lending entities. Dynamics 365 For Operations now provides the option to setup multiple ledger accounts for intercompany cost and revenue posting based on the resource lending and borrowing entities respectively.

int-cost-account

int-rev-account

Enhancements to Project resource management:

There are some significant changes and enhancements to the project resource management feature in the Dynamics 365 For Operations release. I am listing some of those which I think are important, but will discuss them in greater detail in one of the future posts.

  • Organization’s Operations resources such as Machines, Tools, Facility etc. can now be added as project resource and can be scheduled on projects. Earlier, only workers (Employees and Contractors) could be designated as project resource.
  • New Resource request workflow enabling a resource allocation manager to control the resource requests from various projects. (It was there in the AX 7 release as Planned resource, but it has be revised up to some extent)
  • Resource role based pricing and cost price visibility based on date of Task and booking.

resource-request

resource-request1

Miscellaneous usability enhancements across various forms:

The following are some of the miscellaneous usability enhancements.

  • WBS Task ID and the Task Name are now visible on the Project Forecasts Transactions forms. This will certainly make it easier to see the forecasts (Labor, Expense, Items, Fee etc.) at each Task level with easy identification of the task, instead of just looking at the Activity ID.

taskidname

  • On the Resource management screens such as Resource Availability, Resource fulfillment, clearing record selections for each date range is now possible and it a whole lot earlier and neat! Certainly a very useful enhancement.

clearresselections

  • Multiple record selections on various forms to take actions is now possible. An example is the price setup form.

multiselect

  • The Project resource availability form’s business logic now considers Employee’s efficiency rate. Earlier the resource availability was based on Competencies and calendar availability, but Efficiency rate might be a good addition. I am not sure yet if I would use/need it that much, it certainly is a good add-on.

res-avail

  • When you select the Project Manager on a project, it is automatically added to the Project Team under the Project Team and Scheduling tab. Make Sense and makes like a little easier 🙂 !!

pm-team-member

  • Timesheet workflow status is Reset if the workflow and Document status are out of Sync. I believe this enhancement is related to cases when the “Approval status” of a timesheet changes, but the corresponding workflow status does not change sue to unexpected intermittent issues. If this happens, my guess is the workflow status will automatically reset to match with the timesheet document/approval status. I was not able to review and test this feature yet.
  • You can now select a funding source specifically on Fee journal lines. This will prove to be a very useful enhancement, especially in cases where there multiple funding parties responsible for a project contract and when booking Fees for the contract, you can select a specific funding source if you want to bill the partially fee to that funding source. (Note: This was indirectly possible in earlier releases where you could do a Project Free Text invoice and select a funding source on the line, which in turn will post a project Fee transaction.

proj-fee-fundsource

Hope this was helpful! Till next time..

Sandeep

Sandeep ChaudhurySandeep Chaudhury is a Dynamics AX enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in functional consulting, Solutions architecture and systems integration, with expertise in the areas of Professional services automation(Project Management and accounting), Financials Management, Services Management, Sales and Marketing, Human resource management, Travel and Expenses Management and Procurement & Sourcing modules of Microsoft dynamics AX ERP. He has experience working with the Dynamics 365, AX 7, AX 2012 R3, AX 2012 R2 and more.

Vendor Self-service portal and Vendor collaboration in Dynamics 365 For Operations

Having a fully functional vendor self service portal in an enterprise class cloud ERP solution is a huge advantage and allows your organization to streamline the collaboration with vendors, thereby helping you reduce back office efforts and improves accuracy of business transactions with vendors and procurement. Dynamics 365 For Operations provides this right out of the box !

In today’s quick post, we will take a look at some of the key capabilities of the Vendor Collaboration/Self-service portal in Microsoft Dynamics 365 For Operations. Let us first look at some of the key setups involved.

Activate a vendor for Self -service/Collaboration:

  • On the vendor master record > General fast Tab, select Active (PO is auto-confirmed) or Active (PO is not auto-confirmed).

vendor-master

  • Setup the Primary contact for the vendor. I have setup Erin in this demonstration.

Prim Contact.jpg

  • Setup the user account for the vendor contact/vendor user. You will need to setup a Azure AD account for this for the vendor user and assign the Vendor(external) or Vendor admin(external) or both of these roles to this user. Then link the vendor primary contact to this user. Important Note: Note that you would not want to give the System user default role to this user, as this is purely an external user.

vendor-role

Additional Note: Since the vendor is an external user, you would definitely want them to personalize Dynamics 365 screens to add new data fields on their views. To block this, you can Block personalization for the vendor user in Dynamics 365 for Operations.

With the understanding of the some of these basic setups, let us now see , what are some of the key features of the self-service portal.

Shared View of Purchase Order Communications and Responses with Vendor:

  • Let us say Contoso Entertainment Systems USA wants to order some Wiring Harness and Speaker Units from their vendor Fabrikam Suppliers. The purchasing clerk at Contoso USA creates the PO. The purchase order is shown below.

po

  • He then sends the PO to the vendor portal for obtaining confirmation response from vendor.

send-for-conf

  • Notice at this stage, the PO status is “In External Review”.

po-status

  • Now, Erin the contact Fabrikam Suppliers logs in to Vendor portal and can see that the PO that Contoso just sent is right there on the portal. He  logs in and navigates to Purchase Order confirmation workspace.

vendor-portal-po-conf

po-for-review

  • He sees that the PO sent by Contoso appears there and then he goes into the PO details.
  • At this point, as a vendor Erin from Fabrikam can review the PO header and line details and do the following.
    • Print a copy or original PO if he needs to send it to anyone else.
  • printpo
    • Review the PO Header and Line information and Accept or Reject the PO Confirmation request. If he accepts the PO confirmation request, then the PO will be automatically confirmed.
  • accept-reject
    • Additionally, Erin can suggest changes on the PO, such as Mode of delivery, Delivery date and Quantity. Erin can also view or attach Notes and documents both at the PO header and line levels at this stage. Let us say he changes the Quantity of the Wiring Harness to 170, as Fabrikam does not see to have enough stock at the moment to fulfill the order.
  • suggest-change-1
  • suggest-change-2
    • Eric can substitute a specific PO line if needed. He can also split the delivery of the PO into multiple deliveries for each PO line. Let us say, he splits the delivery of Wiring harness into 2 deliveries as shown below. He also adds appropriate note saying that they can deliver only 170 Qty. of the Harness ordered and they will need to delivery them in 2 schedules.
  • split-delivery
  • split-delivery2
  • notes
    • Erin can now go ahead and Accept all the changes he suggested and proceed further Accepting the PO with changes. He clicks on Accept with changes on the PO. At this point, Contoso will review the suggested changes on the PO on their side and confirm the changes, after which Eric has to do the final acceptance without making any further changes.
  • accept-with-changes-1
    • The purchasing clerk at Contoso can now view the suggested changed and accept the changes followed by final acceptance from the vendor.
  • vendor-accepts-changes

 

Vendors can manage their Contacts and New Collaboration Users easily:

  • The primary contact/user at the vendor can view and manage the contacts and users for the vendor portal.
  • They can create new contacts and request to provision new vendor users for collaboration portal.
  • Can update contact information of the vendor users any time, anywhere.

vendor-users

provision-user

vendor-user-requests

Vendors can view and inquire on invoices and payments using the portal workspace:

  • Vendor can review the status of the their invoices and payments online.
  • Create purchase order invoices and upload invoice documents on the portal.
  • Inquire status of payment for the invoices.

vendor-invoice-workspace

vendor-creates-invoice

vendor-invoice-attachments

Vendor can view and inquire information about consignment inventory:

consignment-inventory

Vendor portal and Vendor collaboration feature  continues to be one of the major investment areas for Microsoft in Dynamics 365 For Operations, which means we will only continue to see more and more new features in the upcoming platform updates in next few months. Stay tuned !!

Sandeep

Sandeep ChaudhurySandeep Chaudhury is a Dynamics AX enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in functional consulting, Solutions architecture and systems integration, with expertise in the areas of Professional services automation(Project Management and accounting), Financials Management, Services Management, Sales and Marketing, Human resource management, Travel and Expenses Management and Procurement & Sourcing modules of Microsoft dynamics AX ERP. He has experience working with the Dynamics 365, AX 7, AX 2012 R3, AX 2012 R2 and more.

Project Services Automation (PSA) in Dynamics 365, What options are available and what is best for you!

With Dynamics 365 now officially launched, I am sure most of the customers and prospects are anxious and keen to explore more on this and find out what is right for them, which services they should chose within Dynamics 365 to drive the Digital transformation of their organization.

Project Service Automation in Dynamics 365

First thing first! Dynamics 365 is a fully Cloud based SaaS service and has various services/solutions offered under it. You can refer to my earlier post for a brief explanation on what each of these services are and what they really mean. In today’s post, we will discuss on what is the story of Project Service Automation/Professional Service Automation (PSA) in Dynamics 365, what options does customers have for PSA in Dynamics 365 and which option may work best for their organization.

There are 2 primary options/services for Professional/Project Services Automation in Dynamics 365.

OPTION 1: A Fully integrated PSA solution within Dynamics 365 for Operations.

(This was Previously known as New Dynamics AX/AX 7)

  • This is the fully integrated Enterprise ERP solution that supports both project operational and financial automations, all within one solution.
  • Project operational processes such as project management, project accounting, end to end project procurement and end to end project sales & distribution are fully supported in this.
  • For those who are familiar with Dynamics 365 for Operation (Known as New Dynamics AX earlier), this is really the Project Management and Accounting module and it’s built in integration with the other modules of AX.
  • Traditionally customers always had to build integrate Dynamics AX with Dynamics CRM if they wanted to establish the seamless flow of customer and project data from Lead to Project delivery. With Dynamics 365, the built-in integration of Dynamics 365 for Operations and Dynamics 365 For Sales/Marketing is already off to a great start and will only improve significantly in future.

Dynamics 365 Operations for Firms with Complex Contracting Requirements

There is a 3rd party solution which I am heavily involved with that is provided by SBS Group.  This solution, AXIO Professional Services for Dynamics 365, tailors Dynamics 365 to the needs of project-based firms.  Software companies, architecture and engineering firms, management and IT consultants and government contractors will find immense value in the advanced contract, billing and revenue recognition benefits provided by AXIO.

Advanced Billing and Contract Management for Dynamics 365

Not all project-oriented companies will require a solution as advanced as AXIO so it is important to invest time and resources into documenting your processes and future needs before purchasing any solution.  I’ve seen many companies dismiss research only to get half-way through a costly implementation before deciding to “back up and start over”.  No fun.  On to option 2…

OPTION 2: Dynamics 365 For Project Service Automation service/solution, Stand-alone solution which can be integrated with Dynamics Financials or any other financials solutions

  • A purpose built, specific solution for stand-alone project service automation.
  • This supports key project service processes such as project management, resourcing, project execution and billing up to some extent (Not Advanced Billing).
  • For those familiar with Dynamics CRM Online, this is basically Project Service Module of Dynamics CRM online, now improved with Dynamics 365.
  • Since this solution was built in traditionally within Dynamics CRM online, the Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation probably integrates more seamlessly with Dynamics 365 for Sales in current state.

The table below shows a high-level comparison of the key features of Project Service Automation (PSA) solutions between Option 1 and Option 2 mentioned above.

Project Features Available in Dynamics 365 Comparison

With that said, let us now understand what an organization should consider while choosing between these 2 options for professional/project service automation solutions in Dynamics 365.

We can think of various deciding factors that can play a role in choosing one of these solutions, however I will mention some of the common factors that I think are crucial to be able to choose between these 2 solutions.

You should choose the stand-alone Project Service Automation solution of Dynamics 365 if,

  1. Your current financials system (Dynamics or non-Dynamics) works fairly well and is well set for the organization and you are not really looking to revamp the financials and accounting processes of your organization. You can choose the Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation and integrate it with your current financial system.
  2. Your organization is keen on deploying a specific, purpose built, targeted solution to solve issues related to Project services only (Project management, time and expense, billing etc.). You can deploy Stand-alone Project Service automation and integrate with your existing financials solution.
  3. Your organization is in the Small to Medium in size and does not have very complex project management and accounting needs. In this case, you will probably be better off choosing Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation and Dynamics 365 for Financials.

You should choose the fully integrated Project Service Automation solution, i.e. Dynamics 365 for Operation if,

  1. Your organization’s strategy is to have one unified ERP system to manage projects end to end, along with Financials and Operations (Procurement and Supply chain), all in the same application.
  2. Your organization’s focus is more on having coverage of features and business processes in areas such as Project management, project procurement, project supply chain, project financials accounting and human capital management, all in one application.
  3. Your organization is decently large and has project based operations with focus on project based distribution/engineering/project based manufacturing.
  4. Your organization is a Hi-tech consulting and service provider/AV integrator having the need to fully streamline the project financials and the complex project/contract revenue recognition, all in one integrated ERP.
  5. You are professional services organization and you have complex billing and accounting requirements for your projects.

I would like to reiterate; the above analysis is just my opinion and what I think are some of the key factors differentiating the two key Project Service Automation solution options in Dynamics 365. Companies with complex contracts management and/or subscription billing will most certainly find that Dynamics 365 for Operations with AXIO Professional Services from SBS Group provides the most effective solution overall.

I am sure we all can count on several other factors and probably argue several alternate possibilities. Feel free to comment or contact me if you would like to discuss.

Regards,

Sandeep

Sandeep ChaudhurySandeep Chaudhury is a Dynamics AX enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in functional consulting, Solutions architecture and systems integration, with expertise in the areas of Professional services automation(Project Management and accounting), Financials Management, Services Management, Sales and Marketing, Human resource management, Travel and Expenses Management and Procurement & Sourcing modules of Microsoft dynamics AX ERP. He has experience working with the Dynamics 365, AX 7, AX 2012 R3, AX 2012 R2 and more.

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