Between October 2022 and March 2023, Microsoft will be releasing the next wave of changes to Business Central and other Dynamics products. Wave 2 isn’t quite as big as wave 1 but still has a lot to cover. Let’s start with the changes to the application.
Before I begin, if you’d like to read the update notes in full, I’ve attached a link to Microsoft’s documentation where you can access the PDF pertaining to the update.
Application changes coming in wave 2
Bank reconciliation enhancements
Microsoft are improving the bank reconciliation feature by making it a more efficient process. They are improving the current matching rules and adding new rules to speed up the process of reconciliation. This will increase the matching success rate.
Extended text functionality for VAT clauses
Microsoft are releasing extended text functionality for VAT clauses so that if a country requires a longer text, extended text provides a solution. This is visible in both purchase and sales reports.
Financial reporting replaces account schedules
Account Schedules has been renamed to Financial Reporting, alongside simplifying other terminology and setup. Microsoft are trying to help ease users into Business Central by changing ‘account schedules’ to ‘financial reporting’. The Financial Reporting link will take you to a screen listing financial reports. Users have the ability to add their own custom reports here.
If you use the search bar, and by way of old habits type in ‘Account Schedules’, ‘Financial Reporting’ will come up as an available option in a similar way to if you type in ‘Rapidstart’, it comes up with ‘Configuration Packages’.
The financial reports will have their own name, a row definition, a column definition, and additional parameters that will be set when you open the Financial Report page. In earlier versions, this page was called Overview. Account schedules are changing to Row Definitions. Column layouts are changing to Column Definitions. For both of these, you can amend definitions separately from the financial reports.
New VAT Date field on docs and entries
Users will be able to report VAT statements and returns based on VAT Date instead of Posting Date. This change is important as it’s a requirement for certain countries. This field will be available on all individual purchase, sales documents and journals. Users can define the default value for the VAT Date field, however maintain the option to amend it on a individual document and journal basis. After posting any documents, the VAT Date field will be visible in the VAT entries and G/L entries.
Reverse payment reconciliation journal entries
Users will now have the option to use different number series’ in payment reconciliation journals. As well as this, you will be able to reverse any journal posting you’ve done there.
Multiple remit-to addresses for vendors
Microsoft are adding the ability to have multiple remit-to addresses for each vendor, adding flexibility for paying invoices. Microsoft use the example of a situation where a subsidiary company might ship the goods to you, but request the invoice is sent to their headquarters. By setting up multiple mailing addresses, users have the flexibility to dictate where invoices go on a case-by-case basis.
Configurable and redesigned Intrastat solution
In wave 2 of Business Central’s 2022 updates, Intrastat reporting is receiving improvements with a single common report for all countries and regions. This report makes available the history of previous periods. There are several other small improvements including configurable reporting.
In wave 2 there’s still a focus on onboarding for new users of Business Central. This time, the changes focus on making it easier for customers to find, install and set up connectivity apps in AppSource.
New field descriptions
Microsoft will help clarify the text in field descriptions (tooltips) in order to reduce the difficulty of learning Business Central.
Easily access setup pages
On the back of feedback from users saying, after installing an app, they didn’t know what to do, Microsoft are looking to improve the user experience. Microsoft are adding a new app.json property that developers can use to specify the setup page ID. Alongside that, they are adding an action on the Extension Management page allowing users to run the setup page directly from there.
Working with other applications
Easily find apps to connect to core services
Users can now find and install third party apps that connect to external business productivity services. This is powered by AppSource.
New finance API
Microsoft are adding an API for the finance area. This works with both Excel and Power BI. This allows users to analyse their data from the general ledger and G/L budgets with dimensions. There’ll be a new Power BI app based on this API with a set of standard financial reports and a dashboard with KPIs.
Configure OneDrive integration
Admins can configure which OneDrive-related features are turned on for Business Central, so people can collaborate on business documents and work with other files in the browser. There’s an OneDrive Setup guide in Business Central.
Delegated admins can edit in Excel
Admins can now refresh and publish a client’s data to Business Central from Excel. This works in the same way it would for a user in the Azure Active Directory. Admins can also create new datasets in Excel directly.
Microsoft are making more countries available to Business Central, bringing them to over 100 countries in total, over 50% of the world’s total. An impressive feat!
Service declarations for F01DGS for Belgium and Intrastat for Italy and France
Users can report when exporting from one EU country to other EU countries. Belgium, Italy and France require reporting for exporting to other EU countries. This feature is available for all countries as an extension.
Integration with Microsoft Power Platform products
Microsoft’s Power Platform consists of Power BI, Power Apps, Power Pages, Power Virtual Agents, Logic Apps and Power Automate. In Power Business C… I mean Business Central, Microsoft are looking to enhance the integration with these products. They’re doing this by improving the Power Automate connector and the Automate action. Striving to simplify the process for citizen developers connecting Business Central with other systems.
Personalise and design the Automate action group in the web client
Microsoft will amend the Automate action group so that any changes will rely on personalisation or designer. This means they can be moved, hidden or promoted. This applies to personalisation (changing layouts for an individual user) and customisation (on behalf of a role or user group) or designing a global customisation for everyone.
Power BI apps with dimensions
Users will be able to use Power BI apps in AppSource for Business Central dimensional analysis. In AppSource, there are apps available specific to Finance, Sales and Customer Relationship Management.
Use personalisation to show or hide Power BI parts on lists
The visibility of Power BI Reports is now determined by personalisation. Previously, users had to use the Show/Hide Power BI Reports action on the page.
Development changes coming in Business Central wave 2
Promoted action groups and action messages
Promoted actions are actions that are visible straight away after visiting a page. A new change allows users to promote actions themselves using personalisation.
Governance and administration
Communication from Microsoft
In Business Central wave 2, Microsoft will send information about changes and issues affecting environments more proactively. The main platforms for communication now are Microsoft 365 Message Center and Service Health Dashboard. This will include messages to convey information on outages.
Restore deleted environments
A big change is coming to managing environments. When you delete an environment, it’ll be put into a soft-deleted state for seven days. After that period, they will be deleted completely. In the meantime, it can be undone in the Business Central admin center. This saves users from regretting, what could be, a costly mistake!
Use service-to-service authentication with admin API
In wave 2, Microsoft are adding service-to-service authentication for the tenant administration center API helps manage environments in the Azure Active Directory tenants, without the need to manually reauthenticate.
Microsoft are making improvements to Excel reporting in Business Central, a feature that was new in wave 1. Users can now select the Excel layout in the report’s request page.
Excel report datasets
Microsoft are making it easier to create Excel layouts by adding dedicated Excel report datasets. The first datasets dedicated for Excel reporting are based on: General ledger data and Customer and Vendor ledger entries.
Service and platform
Get Power BI reports on telemetry with one-click
Tenant admins will now be able to install a Power BI app which reads data from the ‘telemetry resource’ environment in the Azure Application Insights. The app provides detailed performance metrics for your tenant.
Run, send reports from the request page
Users will now be able to run reports and have them sent directly to the report inbox. This allows users to keep working and come back to the reports inbox later when it’s finished.
User experience improvements coming in Business Central wave 2
Legacy list views are hidden
A legacy view is a list view that was created by developers in one of the previous versions of Business
Central by placing them on the role center page. Business Central displays legacy views with modern views on the list page. However, the quality is lower with legacy views. From Q3 of 2023 (2023 release wave 2), list views will no longer support legacy views or display them on list pages. Whilst this may not directly influence users now, you can choose to enable this as of release wave 2 of 2022 using the Feature Management page.
Switch companies across environments
In the Business Central app bar on the right-hand side, users will be able to see which company and environment they’re working in. Users will also be able to access the company switcher pane from anywhere in Business Central, using either shortcuts or the app bar.
Users can search for companies they have access to, grouped by environment. This includes production and sandbox. Users can switch companies in their current browser window. Alternatively, they can open the selected company in a new tab and have the two side by side.
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