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Efficiently Control Budget and Expenses with Approval Limits in Dynamics AX 2012

July 30th, 2012 Ajit Srivastava No comments

As a business grows, it becomes essential to put some control on finances. Most organizations therefore have an approval process where there is money involved. The approval process is generally hierarchy-based in the organization, and the higher the amount of money involved, the higher you have to go up the organization hierarchy to get approval.

Approval limits of individual positions help to maintain spending policies as well as control the budget of different areas of a business. Approval limits can be imposed in different areas of an organization, such as:

  • Purchase requisition approvals
  • Purchase order approvals
  • Expense approvals
  • Invoice approvals

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 has the ability to specify approval limits of different employee positions – you can specify how much an employee can approve. To specify the approval limit, you first need to go to Organization administration > Setup > Signing limits > Signing limit policies in Dynamics AX 2012. Create a new policy, and then select the organization hierarchy under policy organization.

Signing limit policy page in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Fig 1: Signing limit policy page in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.

After selecting the organization hierarchy under policy organization, go to Default Signing Limit and create the Default Signing Limit rule details. In the rule details page, you have the option to select the document type for which the rule is applicable. The selections available from dropdown are as below:

  • Purchase requisition
  • Purchase order
  • Expenses report
  • Invoice

Figure 2 shows these document type selections in the dropdown box.

Selection of document type in Signing Limit rule details page

Fig 2: Selection of document type in Signing Limit rule details page.

After selecting the Document type, you need to then enter the approval amount, currency, and the job for each line.

Figures 3, 4, and 5 each show how to set up the approval amount, currency, and job lines in the Signing Limit rule details page.

Entering the approval limit in the Signing Limit rule details page

Fig 3: Entering the approval limit in the Signing Limit rule details page.

Selection of currency in Signing Limit rule details page

Fig 4: Selection of currency in Signing Limit rule details page.

Selection of Job (Position) who can approve the specified amount

Fig 5: Selection of Job (Position) who can approve the specified amount.

So for example, a global company can have different purchase requisition approval limits for different positions, such as: an Account Manager can approve up to $10,000 USD; a Budget Manager can approve up to $50,000 USD; an Operations Manager can approve up to $100,000 USD; and a CFO can approve up to $500,000 USD.

In the Default Signing Limit rule details page, you can set this up as shown in the process below in Figure 6.

Default Signing limit rule details page setup according to different organizational positions, as per example

Fig 6: Default Signing limit rule details page setup according to different organizational positions, as per example.

The setup in Figure 6 means that if the purchase requisition amount is up to $10,000 USD, it needs approval of an Account Manager only. If the amount is above 10,000 USD to 50,000 USD, then it needs approval from both the Account Manager and Budget Manager. If the amount is above $50,000 USD to $100,000 USD, it needs approval of Account Manager, Budget Manager and Operations Manage. For any amount above $100,000 USD, it needs approval from all mentioned positions, including the CFO.

A user can set this up in a purchase requisition workflow so that a purchase requisition is finally approved when the position that’s authorized to approve the purchase requisition amount (as defined by the rule above) does so.

Conclusion

Now businesses can use available Signing Limits out-of-the-box in Dynamics AX 2012 to control purchase budget, expenses and invoice payment, which enabling businesses to gain better control of their finances and savings.

Ajit Srivastava is a Sr. Technical Analyst in the Microsoft Dynamics AX practice at Ignify. Ignify is a leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions to mid-market and Enterprise businesses. Ignify has been ranked as Microsoft Partner of the Year Winner in 2012, 2011 and 2010, and in the Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle, Microsoft Dynamics Presidents Club in 2009. Ignify has offices and team members in Southern California, Northern California, Arizona, Tennessee, Illinois, Washington, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Philippines, and Jakarta.

Forrester Research ranks Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail Point of Sale as a Strong Performer

July 22nd, 2012 Sandeep Walia No comments

In the recently released (June 2012) Forrester Wave for Point of Service, analyzed that top 10 products that have a significant installed base and international presence. Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail ranked as a strong performer ahead of established Point of Sale vendors Epicor and SAP showing that Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail’s superior architecture and flexibility has given it much momentum.

Interestingly the Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail POS is making very strong headway in the enterprise retail market and has wins in retailers that are looking for scalability, agility and flexibility in their POS. This is interesting as traditional POS vendors are beginning to lag and don’t have the ability to invest like Microsoft is investing into the solution.

Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail ranks as a strong performer ahead of Epicor, SAP, NCR

Figure. Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail ranks as a strong performer ahead of Epicor, SAP, NCR

Source: Forrester Wave: Point of Service published June 27, 2012

Also Forrester rated Microsoft on the Dynamics AX 2009 for Retail R2 while the Dynamics 2012 for Retail has significantly more features and in my opinion takes Microsoft to the front of the pack. Microsoft is changing the retail game with modern technology and a very intuitive and flexible User interface According to Forrester, “Microsoft has the most impressive product road map, social networking integration, and mobility, as well as the most comprehensive approach to multicurrency. As might be expected, it also offers the strongest user interface configurability and potential with Microsoft Surface for even more seductive consumer engagement.”

Microsoft not only has an impressive product road map, it has delivered on this road map with the Dynamics AX for Retail 2012 release. With end to end functionality, Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail provides an integrated, familiar and seamless user experience tying together the supply chain from the manufacture with the demand chain to the consumer.

supply chain from the manufacture with the demand chain to the consumer

Forrester rated Microsoft highest of all 10 vendors on the Advanced Functionality criteria showing that Microsoft is not just looking at the basics of a POS but has moved quickly to the differentiators and caters to the retailers looking for enterprise level functionality for things like promotions, mix and match, merchandising etc.

If you’d like to learn more about Microsoft Dynamics AX for retail, attend these upcoming events at the Microsoft Store where you can see the Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail system in action.

Sandeep Walia is the Chief Executive Officer of Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of ERP, POS, CRM, and eCommerce software solutions to mid-market and enterprise businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify is winner of the Microsoft Partner of the Year award in 2012 and 2011. Ignify offers Microsoft Dynamics AX, Dynamics AX for Retail POS and the Dynamics CRM Loyalty Management solution for retailers and to several other businesses. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011 and 2010. Sandeep was ranked in 2010, 2011 and 2012 in the Microsoft Dynamics Top 100 Most Influential People List by DynamicsWorld. Ignify has offices and team members in Southern California, Northern California, Arizona, Tennessee, Illinois, Washington, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Philippines, and Indonesia.

Vendor Prepayment Functionality in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Prepayments are a common business practice, with organizations issuing prepayments to vendors for goods or services before those goods or services are fulfilled. To minimize risk, you can track prepayments by defining the prepayment on a purchase order. Vendors can also create a prepayment invoice that is associated with a purchase order.

New prepayment functionality is available in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, making it easier for organizations to complete, manage and track prepayments to vendors. There are five steps involved with processing a prepayment for a purchase order, which include the following:

  1. Create the purchase order.
  2. Set up the prepayment.
  3. Post the prepayment.
  4. Make a payment.
  5. Settle the payment against the final invoice.

Create the Purchase Order

The first step toward simplifying the prepayment process is by creating a purchase order. Take a look at Figure 1 to see an example of a created purchase order.

Figure 1: Here is an example of a purchase order (so for example, PO 0000511 of $146,200 USD is set up for Vendor 3003)

Figure 1: Here is an example of a purchase order (so for example, PO 0000511 of $146,200 USD is set up for Vendor 3003).

Set up the prepayment

After a purchase order is created, you must then set up the prepayment that will be associated with it. To do that, click on the Purchase tab in the top ribbon, and then click Prepayment (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: To set up prepayment in a purchase order, simply click on the Purchase tab, and then click Prepayment

Figure 2: To set up prepayment in a purchase order, simply click on the Purchase tab, and then click Prepayment.

After clicking Prepayment, a window will pop up, asking for you to enter details regarding the prepayment (see Figure 3). In the Description field, enter the description of the prepayment that you’re creating, and then click the prepayment basis that you wish to apply.

With the prepayment basis, you have two options: Fixed or Percent. With the fixed option, you can apply a fixed dollar amount that you wish to apply to the purchase order amount. In Figure 3, we have entered a fixed amount with the value of $100,000 – so if we choose this prepayment option, $100,000 will be applied to the purchase amount.

With the percent option, you can choose to apply a certain percentage of the purchase order amount (see Figure 4). In Figure 4, we have entered 10% as the percent value, so 10% of the purchase order will be applied as prepayment. As you can see, the system calculates the 10%, showing the prepayment as $14,620, which is of course 10% of the total $146,200 purchase order amount.

Figure 3: One of the two prepayment options available in Dynamics AX 2012 is Fixed Amount. With a fixed amount, you can specify the dollar amount you wish to apply to your purchase order with your prepayment

Figure 3: One of the two prepayment options available in Dynamics AX 2012 is Fixed Amount. With a fixed amount, you can specify the dollar amount you wish to apply to your purchase order with your prepayment.

Figure 4: The other prepayment option that’s available is Percent Amount. With a percent amount, you can specify the percentage of the purchase order that you wish to apply to the whole purchase order with your prepayment

Figure 4: The other prepayment option that’s available is Percent Amount. With a percent amount, you can specify the percentage of the purchase order that you wish to apply to the whole purchase order with your prepayment.

For the purposes of this demonstration, we’ll keep the prepayment as 10% of the purchase order amount. After you define your prepayment values, enter a Prepayment Category ID from the dropdown, and then click Save (see Figure 5).

Figure 5: After you define the values that you wish to apply to your purchase order, save the prepayment record

Figure 5: After you define the values that you wish to apply to your purchase order, save the prepayment record.

If after creating a prepayment you decide you don’t want to apply it to the purchase order, you can remove it by simply selecting the Remove Prepayment option in the top ribbon (see Figure 6).

Figure 6: Remove a prepayment on a purchase order by simply selecting the Remove Prepayment option in the top ribbon

Figure 6: Remove a prepayment on a purchase order by simply selecting the Remove Prepayment option in the top ribbon.

After you have configured the prepayment you wish to apply to the purchase order, confirm the order by clicking the Confirm option.

Post the prepayment

After you set up the prepayment basis toward a particular purchase order, you can then post the prepayment. To do that, go to the Purchase Order header, then to the Invoice option, and click Prepayment Invoice (see Figure 7).

Figure 7: To post a prepayment, go to the Purchase Order header, then to the Invoice option, and then click Prepayment Invoice

Figure 7: To post a prepayment, go to the Purchase Order header, then to the Invoice option, and then click Prepayment Invoice.

After clicking the Prepayment Invoice, enter the invoice description and post the prepayment invoice.

Once the prepayment invoice is posted, check to make sure that the vendor transaction and vendor balance reflect the prepayment invoice transaction (see Figure 9).

Figure 9: Check to make sure that the vendor transaction and vendor balance correctly reflects the prepayment invoice transaction once a prepayment is posted

Figure 9: Check to make sure that the vendor transaction and vendor balance correctly reflects the prepayment invoice transaction once a prepayment is posted.

Make a payment

After creating the prepayment and posting the prepayment invoice, it’s now time to make a payment. To do so, first create a Payment Journal, mark the prepayment amount, and then post the journal.

Figure 10: When making a payment on a prepayment, you first create a Payment Journal, mark the prepayment amount, and then post the journal

Figure 10: When making a payment on a prepayment, you first create a Payment Journal, mark the prepayment amount, and then post the journal

Figure 10: When making a payment on a prepayment, you first create a Payment Journal, mark the prepayment amount, and then post the journal

Figure 10: When making a payment on a prepayment, you first create a Payment Journal, mark the prepayment amount, and then post the journal.

At this stage, it is important to also check the vendor transactions and vendor balance (to ensure that everything continues to match up correctly).

Figure 11: Make sure that when you make a payment on your prepayment, that the vendor transactions and vendor balance match up to ensure correct payment

Figure 11: Make sure that when you make a payment on your prepayment, that the vendor transactions and vendor balance match up to ensure correct payment

Figure 11: Make sure that when you make a payment on your prepayment, that the vendor transactions and vendor balance match up to ensure correct payment.

Settle the payment against the final invoice

The final step of the prepayment process is to settle the payment against the final invoice. To accomplish this, first go to Purchase Order and Receive the Products, and then go to the Invoice section and click Invoice. When you’re on the opened form, click Apply Prepayment (see Figure 12).

Figure 12: To apply a prepayment, first go to Purchase Order and Receive the Products, and then go to the Invoice section and click Invoice. Click the Apply Prepayment option

Figure 12: To apply a prepayment, first go to Purchase Order and Receive the Products, and then go to the Invoice section and click Invoice. Click the Apply Prepayment option.

After clicking Apply Prepayment, a screen will open to show the prepayment amount that can be applied to the Invoice Amount (of the purchase order). The “Available application amount” field indicates the prepayment amount (see Figure 13).

Figure 13: After you click Apply Prepayment, a screen will pop up displaying the prepayment amount (in the “Available application amount” field) that you can apply to the Invoice Amount of the purchase order

Figure 13: After you click Apply Prepayment, a screen will pop up displaying the prepayment amount (in the “Available application amount” field) that you can apply to the Invoice Amount of the purchase order.

Then select the prepayment to be applied (or if you’ve set up multiple prepayments, you can select those as well), and then click Apply Prepayment (see Figure 14).

Figure 14: If you’ve set up multiple prepayment amounts, you are allowed to apply them to the purchase order (if you select them). Once the prepayment(s) are applied, click on Apply Prepayment

Figure 14: If you’ve set up multiple prepayment amounts, you are allowed to apply them to the purchase order (if you select them). Once the prepayment(s) are applied, click on Apply Prepayment.

After applying the prepayment, enter the invoice description and post the invoice (see Figure 15).

Figure 15: After you apply the prepayment, enter the invoice description and post the invoice

Figure 15: After you apply the prepayment, enter the invoice description and post the invoice.

After the prepayment has been applied and posted, check the open transaction that still needs to be paid to the vendor, and confirm the amount (see Figure 16). In our case, since we applied a prepayment that is 10% of our $146,200 purchase order (which equals $14,620), we see that we still owe $131,580 on the purchase order after our prepayment ($146,200 – $14,620 = $131,580).

Figure 16: After applying your prepayment, confirm that the remaining amount you owe on the purchase order is correct

Figure 16: After applying your prepayment, confirm that the remaining amount you owe on the purchase order is correct

Figure 16: After applying your prepayment, confirm that the remaining amount you owe on the purchase order is correct.

By using the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 prepayment functionality, you’re able to gain greater financial visibility and more cohesive organization of your financial processes. Also, with this enhanced insight, you support and sustain your financial relationships with vendors – crucial for boosting and maintaining business success.

If you would like more information on prepayment functionality in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, please email us at dynamics@ignify.com.

Partha Chattopadhyay is a Manager in the Microsoft Dynamics AX practice at Ignify. Ignify is a leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions to mid-market and Enterprise businesses. Ignify has been ranked as Microsoft Partner of the Year Winner in 2012, 2011 and 2010, and in the Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle, Microsoft Dynamics Presidents Club in 2009. Ignify has offices and team members in Southern California, Northern California, Arizona, Tennessee, Illinois, Washington, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Philippines, and Jakarta.

Ignify Honored at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto

July 10th, 2012 Chelsea Robertson No comments

In a filled-to-capacity session on Microsoft Dynamics at WPC 2012, Ignify was recognized as the Microsoft Dynamics Partner of the Year in the Retail category. Sandeep Walia, the CEO of Ignify, was also quoted during the session to emphasize the support network Microsoft provides to its partners. The session presented the value of Dynamics AX 2012 and Dynamics CRM in catering to the needs of both Enterprise and SMB companies, as well as the exciting possibilities of the cloud.

Sandeep was called up on stage by Christian Pedersen, General Manager – Microsoft, at the Microsoft Dynamics AX vision session to talk about Ignify’s success. I’ve transcribed the conversation between Christian and Sandeep below:

Christian: How have you seen Microsoft’s position within Retail evolve over the past 12 months?
Sandeep: When we first started playing in the retail space, I was a little skeptical given that most ERP players have made the POS a formality. The first release of Dynamics AX for Retail, as any first software version is, was not close to perfect.  But Microsoft has made significant investments since then with multiple releases, and made retail a very important focus area. That includes the in-store experience, delivery of goods to a customer, online buying and ecommerce. The end-result is a very powerful multi-touch experience across channels.  We are today able to provide a retailer a complete retail experience in a box from front-end in store Point of Sale, ecommerce, ability to sell online on marketplaces like Buy.com and Amazon.com through Dynamics online services, an Integrated payment gateway, Loyalty Management, Warehousing, Inventory, SCM, and Customer service functionality . If you stop for a moment and think about that – all of that coming from one vendor empowers the retailer to focus on their business without having to worry about how business systems inter-operate. That truly allows for a Dynamics Retailer. We are well placed to be the most complete retail solution in the market.

Microsoft Dynamics Partner of the Year in the Retail category

With over 600,000 Microsoft partners worldwide, winning Microsoft Dynamics Partner of the Year in the Retail category is a very special honor. When this slide appeared on the screen I was proud to be part of Ignify, and took a picture with my Windows phone.

Christian: As we change towards a “workload” driven approach and change the conversation away from ERP and CRM…. How will that fit with conversations you’re having with your customers?
Sandeep: Customers are very interested in productivity discussions and how we can not only automate current processes, but also bring best practices to the table so that we can optimize business processes. We’ve been able to win deals and also streamline implementations by leveraging Microsoft SureStep and proprietary documents and other project artifacts that we’ve built on the SureStep framework that compress implementations. Having said that, ERP and CRM functionality is still important and the continued investment in the products along with the powerful productivity gains we can bring through powerful role centers and other automation and business improvement tools lends to a great story for success for partners and our customers 

Christian: I know you’re doing business in multiple areas and know that one of our joint partners is in the audience – can you share a few words with us around your work with Zones?
Sandeep: Zones has been an incredible story. We were in a situation where we had a new product release just shipping out of the door and our primary competitor was Oracle. By being able to showcase the power of productivity and deep functionality of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, we won the deal over Oracle exactly one year back. We also had a rapid go-live on Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and in the first rollout implemented Enterprise financials for Zones USA in the system to deliver automation for their Accounts Payable and other financial functions. In a second rollout we implemented Dynamics AX 2012 for their India subsidiary. We are now working on our third rollout for Supply Chain automation. The project implementation has been a great partnership between Zones, Ignify and Microsoft where we’ve had combined executive leadership guiding the implementation to do probably one of the fastest ERP rollouts for a billion dollar-sized organization.

Chelsea Robertson is a Sales Coordinator at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of CRM, eCommerce and ERP, software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011.

Security Framework in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 – Part One

July 9th, 2012 Khushhal Garg No comments

Today, I am going to focus on the new security framework in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 has a new security framework based on role-based security. In Dynamics AX 2009, it was hard to setup security without a developer, but in Dynamics AX 2012 a system administrator can setup security roles with very little help required from developers. In case data level security is required, developer help is required to create XDS policies, which is a new concept in Dynamics AX 2012. But once XDS policies are created by a developer, an administrator can manage security and assign users to security roles.

In Part I of today’s topic, I will cover the Security Model Overview.

Security Model Overview: The new security framework in Dynamics AX 2012 contains many new elements. Figure 1 contains all the elements that are part of it.

  • User groups no longer part of the security framework.
  • Security roles, duties, privileges are new elements used in security framework.
  • Domains are replaced with Organizations.
  • Companies are replaced with Legal Entities.
  • Security keys are no longer used.
  • Flexible Authentication
    • External users can connect to Enterprise Portal without having an account in Active Directory.
    • Active Directory groups can be used as authentication type, which is a great help as a system administrator can control the access by Active Directory groups. If a user is removed from an Active Directory group that already has access to AX, the user will lose access to Dynamics AX without needing to do anything in Dynamics AX. Similarly, if a user is added in an Active Directory group that already has access to Dynamics AX, then the user will automatically get access to Dynamics AX without needing to add the user explicitly in Dynamics AX.
    • Roles are added directly to the groups similar to Active Directory users.
  • Hierarchical level security support is available.

Dynamics AX 2012 comes with over 80 security roles, which is a great help. These can be used as a starting point to setup security. New security roles, duties and privileges can be created based on business requirements.

Permissions can be set on user interface elements, tables and fields, SSRS reports, service operation securable objects.

Extensible data security (XDS) is a new concept added in the Dynamics AX 2012 security framework to control data security. In Dynamics AX 2009, Record Level Security (RLS) used to control data security. Though RLS exists in Dynamics AX 2012, it is not recommended to be used as it will be deprecated in the next release. I will cover it in more detail in future blogs on the Dynamics AX 2012 security framework.

Security Model Overview

Figure 1: The new security framework in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 contains many new elements, such as user authentication and authorization; security roles, duties, permissions; hierarchical level security support; etc

List of definitions for technical terms used in regards to Microsoft Dynamics AX

Figure 2: Here is a list of definitions for technical terms used in regards to Microsoft Dynamics AX

Stay tuned for Part II to cover more on the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 security framework. In the meantime, if you have any questions about Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, please email us at dynamics@ignify.com.

Khushhal Garg is a Technical Manager of Microsoft Dynamics AX at Ignify. Ignify is a leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions to mid-market and Enterprise businesses. Ignify has been ranked as Microsoft Partner of the Year Winner in 2011 and 2010, and in the Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle, Microsoft Dynamics Presidents Club in 2009. Ignify has offices and team members in Southern California, Northern California, Arizona, Tennessee, Illinois, Washington, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Philippines, and Jakarta.