In this blog, we will give a high-level overview of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, including taking a look at basic navigation, modules and design so you can determine if it’s the right ERP for your business.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a robust enterprise resource planning platform that combines the power of Microsoft Dynamics and the Microsoft Power Platform to provide a comprehensive and sleek solution to fit small to medium-sized businesses but is powerful enough to scale and meet the needs of large operations, too.
Business Central is an ever-evolving software package, complete with monthly and semiannual Microsoft updates to allow businesses to constantly expand to meet new requirements. In this blog, we will outline the essentials of the platform’s modules, the basics of data management, and cool features. We will also explain the different ways Business Central can improve your business efficiency, processes and systems.
This tool is the market leader for mid-sized ERP systems that empowers every organization to improve decision making, financial planning, and day-to-day tasks to improve sales margins, and reduce process complexities.
Core Features and Capabilities
Business Central has two editions of licensing: Essentials and Premium. The Essentials license includes Finance, Sales, Marketing, Purchasing, Inventory, Warehousing and Project Management. Premium includes all the Essential’s functionality plus Service Management and Manufacturing features. The Essentials license covers all business needs besides those directly related to advanced inventory production and manufacturing or on-the-go service management.
The platform is a per-seat license model. This means each employee who needs to access Business Central will need to have a unique license. With this model, user licenses are of two types: A full user or a limited user. The full user has access to the entire system, whereas the limited user only has read access to the system and limited write access.
Business Central has a simple layout that allows new users to jump right into the action. There are over 40 standard combinations of permissions and settings called Role Centers. You can modify these Role Centers to fit the needs of users as their home page. The home page below contains shortcuts to four modules with links to the key features of each module.
Company information is listed clearly at the top left of the screen. Customizable tiles are present that you can use to drill down into the source data, allowing users easy one-click access to critical data.
The Activities section allows users to see a snapshot of overall company activity that you can restrict based on user permissions and views.
The Actions section creates a new business document right from the home screen, which eliminates the need to search for or click on specific modules.
All fields displayed, as well as the order of the fields and the order of the screens on the home page, are highly customizable based on both business and user preferences, reducing the amount of time spent on a task exponentially.
Finances are the backbone of any business, and Business Central has a long list of features available to aid in all areas of financial management. The Finance module in the platform handles all things finance, ranging from the chart of accounts to transactional dimensions (i.e., transaction attributes like departments) and everything in between. Users can create G/L Budgets, track statistical account data, create and post both general and recurring general journals, create and run essential financial reports, and analyze G/L transactions using dimensions.
Cash and Bank Management
Managing cash is an essential component of any successful business, and Dynamics Business Central allows for easy and efficient monitoring of cash flows via the Cash and Bank Management module. Users can create new bank accounts, deposit cash payments, produce positive pay files, process automated clearing house (ACH) payments, print accounts payable checks, reconcile bank statements, and create basic cash flow reports with this module.
The Sales module houses all the activities and documents related to the sale of goods and services. Users can create and post-sales documents like sales quotes, sales orders, and sales invoices, all from this module. Users can also create recurring sales invoice lines to create monthly transactions, post payment reminders, issue sales credit memos, and track sales shipments.
The Purchasing module includes all things related to the procurement of goods or services. Users can create new vendor records, purchase quotes, purchase orders, purchase invoices, and blanket purchase orders. Users can also post return shipments and recurring purchase orders and track overdue vendor invoices from this module as well.
Data Management in Business Central
With Microsoft Business Central, data management has never been easier. You can import data into the tool via staging tables called configuration packages. These configuration packages are highly customizable and can import data directly into any table or field in Business Central (even business documents like purchase orders). You can easily analyze almost all data-driven fields in the platform as well.
Data displayed in Dynamics Business Central with an underline allows for immediate real-time drill-down feedback. This ease of access means anybody with proper permissions can see and analyze key data points such as total purchase orders, customer invoice lists, and inventory ledger entries.
In the images below, we outline the process of the system experience to analyze information.
- Select any underlined data within Business Central.
- The tool navigates you to a drill-down list view of that data type with options to conduct further analysis, filter, make updates, and create actions.
- The Analyze tool creates real-time pivot tables based on the data present in the table you are currently viewing.
Lastly, data migration in Dynamics Business Central is as simple as it gets. A basic data package is created from user-selected fields. Once created, you can copy and paste data into the data package within Excel. Once the data is in the package, one simple click on Import Package will update a staging table where the data can then be published directly into the specific, applicable tables.
In addition to the staging table route, users can also use the “Edit in Excel” feature to directly change and then publish the data to the table in Business Central, all while working in Microsoft Excel.
Cool Features of Business Central
There are many cool features of Business Central that make it an attractive choice for any business. However, there are two key features that make this Dynamics platform a great choice for your business’ new ERP system. The first is called Personalization and Ease of Use. This feature allows users to customize every field and screen in the platform to their liking to assist with user adoption during an implementation.
This feature also allows the user to do things like remove non-relevant fields, change the order of columns, or add extra display fields. All users have access to this feature out of the box, but you can easily remove that permission. Additionally, you can export and apply user profile settings to other users, so all users can work off the same personalized settings if desired.
The next cool feature is the Filtering feature available on all Business Central tables and lists. This feature allows you to create complex filters using date ranges, field values, column headers, and much more. This feature is accessible from any platform table by clicking on the filter pane button.
Once open, you can add or subtract from the list of fields you want to sort by displaying only the relevant fields and data you wish. These custom views and filters can then be saved and reused later or shared with other members of the team to create a similar view of key data.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a simple-to-learn ERP that uses a straightforward interface and design to handle complex business requirements across all ranges of industries and business sizes. The standard modules in Business Central can tackle most business problems, from finance to supply chain and everything in between, in one Microsoft-backed solution.
Additionally, Business Central has over 5000 apps available in Microsoft AppSource. If none of the apps fit the solution, you can easily modify the platform at the backend code level to adapt perfectly to any business process. Implementing the tool is efficient and cost effective due to the structure of the data migration processes.
Lastly, each user can create a personal look and feel to the Dynamics 365 platform using out of the box cool features such as filtering and personalizing. Microsoft Business Central is a clear choice if you want to expand into an all-inclusive ERP system.