In today’s post, we’ll be focusing on new features, changes to existing ones and other amendments coming to Business Central in 2022 in release wave 1. With any of these waves of releases, it’s important to note that the publishing of functionality is staggered across a six month period. Microsoft won’t release all of the functionality from the get-go. We won’t cover every single feature addition coming either, only those we see as key changes. However, we have attached a link to Microsoft’s full release notes towards the bottom of the post. With that said, let’s take a look at what you can expect to see!
Looking at the release notes, it’s fair to say this wave’s releases has a large focus on the application side of things.
Check documents and journals in while you work
Microsoft are an introducing a simple but useful new feature, to alert users prior to them clicking ‘Post’, that their document isn’t valid in its current state. These are described as “unobtrusive visual indications”. This feature will firstly be available by turning it on, on the Feature Management page. After this, the system will automatically monitor the details you enter and flag up issues. If you wish to disable this feature, on the General Ledger Setup page, there’s an Enable Data Check field which you can toggle on and off.
Blocking deletion of G/L accounts
On the General Ledger Setup page, the Check G/L Acc. Deletion After will allow users to input the start date of the period you are required to hold the data for, determined by your country/region. After the period has closed and there’s not been a transaction in the set time, users can delete G/L accounts. Conveniently, Microsoft are also adding a Block Deletion of G/L Accounts toggle to the same page. Corresponding with the aforementioned field, this will fully prevent users deleting accounts, unless this toggle is disabled.
Auto-accept intercompany transactions for journals
On the Intercompany Setup page, Microsoft are revamping the Intercompany Setup page, adding new fields to automate the creation of intercompany transactions, posted through the Intercompany General Journals.
Enhancement to Payment Reconciliation Journals
Users will now be able to view the totals for debits and credits on the footer of journals. As well as this, users can preview before posting.
Improvement to the Jobs page
With sales orders, for example, users can specify different sell-to and ship-to customers. This level of control is being introduced to jobs. With this release, users will now be able to bill a different customer than those who they are performing the job for. On top of this, ‘Your Reference’, ‘External Document No.’, ‘Payment Terms Code’ fields are all being added to the Jobs page.
The Bank Deposit page will allow you to record the total amount for a deposit, together with the individual items, e.g. cheques or cash, that make it up. This makes reconciliation a simpler process, with the deposit lines reflecting the reality of what was paid in. The Bank Deposit page will mention the bank account deposited into, amount, document date, currency code, dimensions and deposit lines.
The deposit lines will contain information about the individual deposited items and include the document date and number, account type and amount.
After entering the relevant details, posting the deposit will update the ledgers. Any posted records will be held on the Posted Bank Deposits page.
Block VAT and General Posting Setups
This feature will make Business Central notify users if they don’t have G/L accounts in posting groups or posting setups. This includes the VAT/Tax Posting Setup and the General Posting Setup. You will be able to enable this feature in the My Notifications page.
You can’t delete a posting setup line when there are transactions based on that configuration. However, a new Blocked field will allow that configuration from being used in the future.
Fixed Quantity in product Bills of materials
With this change, there will be a Fixed Quantity option in the Calculation Formula field on production BOM lines. This ensures that consumption quantity will always remain the same, regardless of output of scrap.
When you are running a production order, in spite of how much scrap there is set against a bill of material, this field will allow you to specify that amount should be ignored when planning replenishment, meaning you will not factor scrap into your planning.
Set default dimensions on locations
Users will now be able to set default dimensions against a Location Card. Having set these up here, any documents or journals you use will carry through these values. You will be able to delete or amend the dimension value on the line if that’s a requirement. There’ll be the option to require users specify dimensions for locations to post an entry. As well as this, users can include the dimension values for a location in Default Dimension Priorities and Dimension Combinations.
Jobs now support both inventory and warehouse picks
Warehousing is something we have covered in some detail lately. If you’d like to see how Basic and Advanced warehousing works, click here and here, respectively. The ability to create warehouse and inventory documents will now be possible for the purpose of completing a Job. To give you an example, you have to pick a particular item that’s required to complete an on-site job.
Geographical expansion for Business Central
As usual, Microsoft are looking to branch out further with Business Central. In this release, Angola will be the latest country to have its own localisations.
Consolidate customer and vendor balances
It’s not unusual for a company to be both a vendor and customer of yours. In these circumstances, consolidating invoices would be beneficial to save on transaction fees. Due to this, Microsoft are releasing two fields; one will be ‘Balance as Customer’ on the Vendor Card, the other is ‘Balance as Vendor’ on the Customer Card. For these fields to appear, you will have to perform a specific action on the Contact Card for Type: Company.
To be able to amend these fields, you need to add an additional Business Relation (Customer or Vendor) to the contact. To do this, click ‘Actions’, ‘Functions’, ‘Create As’ and ‘Vendor’ or ‘Customer’. When you do this, depending on which you have chosen, a new field will become available on the Card with an additional relationship attached.
After you have performed these steps, on the Payment Journal page, you can use the ‘Net Customer/Vendor Balances’ action. This will produce journal lines which net the balances for the customer and vendor side of things.
Finding documents and entries efficiently
The find entries action allows you to search for entries made in relation to a particular posting. In the latest release, Microsoft will make this feature available on all role centres. The Ctrl+Alt+Q combination is the keyboard shortcut for using this action anywhere on the system.
In-client performance profiler
Building on from the introduction of new functionality added to the AL performance profiler, Microsoft are allowing developers and those with the relevant authority to capture user flows within the web client, as well as see information such as the length of time used in the web client. This allows users to see which extensions use up the most time. One benefit of this is it allows users to track performance, without necessarily requiring a developer. The in-client performance profiler will be a new app page which can be reached from Help & Support.
Demo tool and data for manufacturing
Microsoft are making the demo tool in Business Central better with manufacturing-related data being added, allowing users to demonstrate manufacturing scenarios to customers.
Changes to how Business Central interacts with other products
Microsoft are constantly looking to improve their integrations between products. In this post, we cover interactions between Business Central and other Microsoft products. However, in a previous blog we ran through Business Central’s new integration with Shopify. Click here to give that a read.
Excel layouts for reporting
When creating layouts for reports, users typically between Word or RDLC. There will now be an additional option – Excel. Excel layouts will work the same as Word and RDLC, in that you create the template and save it on Business Central. Users will be able to put to use the available suite of functionality that Excel has to offer when designing the layouts.
To do this, run the relevant report with the option ‘Excel document (data only)’ from the report request page. This will generate an Excel file with sample data and the available fields for the report. You can then add your layouts to other Excel tabs in the file. Like with Word or RDLC, you must import the file as a custom file and run it, to test it.
Improvements to Microsoft Teams integration
The ‘details’ window now occupies more space on the screen, showing more fields. As well as this, Business Central can be opened in full from this details window.
The Outlook add-in now allows users to copy email attachments to Business Central records. The add-in matches the contact to the email sender. You can then navigate to the records associated with the contact and copy the specific email attachment to the record. For example, if this was for a customer, you could navigate to a sales order in Outlook and attach files from the email to the customer’s specific sales order. Users have the ability to pick and choose how many attachments they wish to add to the record. The file will now be in the ‘Attachments’ section of the record, accessible to all users on the record.
Sharing files on OneDrive
Users can now share files on OneDrive, using the ‘Share’ action, which will take the file from Business Central to OneDrive for Business. It’s worth bearing in mind that Business Central’s permissions will apply to the record within the client, but won’t outside of the client. However, there will be a feature which allows you to limit who the resulting link will work for. Where you have configured OneDrive’s level of sharing permissions, these will pass over to Business Central.
Improvements to the Power Automate and Power Apps connector
Microsoft list changes that are coming to enhance the usability of Power Apps and Power Automate in conjunction with Business Central. The first comes in the way of support for finding, filtering and sorting data. The next is support for adding related records. They also state there will be improvements to reliability.
Licensing and permissions
Speaking of permissions, let’s take a look to see what’s changing on that front.
Define default permissions for a user who will sign up
Business Central admin users will now be able to define which permission sets or user groups are available for different product licenses and plans. Upon signing up, the user will have available to them any of those permissions sets that the admin user elected. This greatly improves the permission assigning process as it pus the user within the correct boundaries right from the start.
Permission set handling enhancements
In this release, admin users will be able to group permission sets based on a tenant’s needs and then adjust any accordingly afterwards. Admin users will also have the ability to subtract permissions within a permission set. So unless a function is possible with another permission set, the permission to perform the action is not granted.
Updating only licensed users from Microsoft 365 runs more efficiently
Where an organisation has many users, Azure Active Directory may also have a large number of user accounts. After wave 1’s release, when an admin runs Update users from Microsoft 365 function, only those with a valid Business Central license will be queried and updated.
These changes revolve around the usability of the Business Central application.
Copy link from share menu
Where users are accessing Business Central through the application, or through products like Microsoft Teams, users can copy page links without having to use the website address bar. This is a small but helpful change for those sharing data.
New desktop app accessibility
The Business Central app available to install from the browser window will now become more accessible on the Microsoft Store. The app is available online and on-premise, and is a replacement for the legacy desktop app.
With any ERP system, it’s a tough balance between offering as much functionality to the user and not overwhelming them! Microsoft are constantly striving to make Business Central as user-friendly as possible, so it’s not surprise to see onboarding changes.
Business Central tour guide
This new feature will demonstrate how the user can configure their personal Role Centre using personalisation. As it stands, some roles can take a tour of their homepages but Microsoft are looking to enhance the tour to decrease onboarding time.
Thanks very much for reading. If you’d like to see Microsoft’s full piece on wave 1’s releases, click here. On this page, towards the top you’ll see a link to a PDF file which contains the full details. For reference, those relating to Business Central start on page 254 (it’s a long one!).