How to Assign Dimensions to Master Data & GL Accounts in Dynamics NAV

This article and video continues the series of articles dedicated to Dimensions and explains how to assign Dimensions and Dimension Values to master data and G/L Accounts. In this article, the term “master data” is used to refer to such data as Customers, Vendors, and Items. This article examines how to assign Dimensions and Dimension Values to Customers as an example; Dimensions and Dimensions Values can be assigned to other master data in a similar way.

Introduction

Once Dimensions and their Dimension Values are created (these can be added, changed, and blocked[1] at any time later), the next step is to assign them. Dimensions and Dimension Values are assigned to master data in order to facilitate data entry. For example, if a user assigns Dimension Value “Medium” to a Customer, this is going to save time whenever this Customer is used on a transaction since this eliminates the necessity of assigning this Dimension Value on every occasion.

How to Assign Dimensions to Master Data

This section explains how a user can assign Dimensions to master data. Any user who has the right Permissions can do this. I would like to start with the assumption that the related Dimensions and Dimension Values have already been set up (article “How to Create Dimensions and Dimension Values” explains how to do this).

The next thing we should do is to locate the Customer List which can be done by going to Departments>Financial Management>Receivables>Customers. It can also be located by typing “customers” in the search box and selecting the related choice or by clicking on the “Customers” link in Navigation Pane of the Home Page in some NAV Profiles (e.g. Sales Order Processor).

It is possible to assign Dimension Values either to one particular Customer or to a group of Customers at a time.

In order to assign Dimensions and Dimension Values, select the desired customer in the list and click on the “Navigate” tab in the ribbon, then “Dimensions” button and finally, “Dimensions-Single”[2] choice from the dropdown menu [alternatively, use Ctrl+Shift+D hot key combination]:

Figure 1: Customer List, “Dimension-Single” button

This will open the “Default Dimensions” page. Select the desired Dimension/s and the related Dimension Value/s on this page:

Figure 2: “Default Dimensions” page

What does the “Value Posting” field do? The best way to explain what this field does in general is to explore it on one particular example. Let’s say you would like to assign Dimensions and Dimension Values to Customer 10000 (see Figure 1 above) and you have already assigned the Dimensions and Dimension Values as shown in Figure 2 above – let’s look into this setup:

  • Code mandatory – the “AREA” Dimension is mandatory, but users can pick any Dimension Value (e.g. 40 or 30, etc.)
  • Same Code – both the Dimension Code and the Dimension Value Code are mandatory – users must use the “CUSTOMERGROUP” Dimension with the “MEDIUM” Dimension Value every time they use this Customer
  • Blank – the system suggests using the “Department” Dimension with the “SALES” Dimension Value, but users are free to change both the Dimension and the Dimension Value
  • No Code – the “PURCHASER” Dimension or any of its Dimension Values cannot be used with this Customer

So far, the way of assigning Dimensions and Dimension Values to one Customer at a time has been discussed. In order to assign Dimensions and Dimension Values to multiple Customers at the same time, it is necessary to highlight multiple Customers. You can do so by clicking on a desired Customer and then holding the “Shift” key on your keyboard and clicking on another Customer – the system will select the two Customers you have put your cursor on and all the Customers in-between. If you want to deselect some of the Customers within this range or to select only a few Costumers scattered on the Customer list, press the “Ctrl” key and use the mouse to pick any Customer you want.

Once all the required Customers are selected, click on the “Navigate” tab in the ribbon, then “Dimensions” button and finally, “Dimensions-Multiple” choice from the dropdown menu:

Figure 3: Customer List, “Dimension-Multiple” button

When the “Default Dimensions” page opens, follow the same steps as the steps required for assigning Dimensions and Dimension Values to one Customer at a time.

This section has briefly discussed how to assign Dimensions to Customers. This method is applicable to other master data records (Vendors and Items). The following sections discusses how to assign Dimensions and Dimension Values to G/L Accounts.

How to Assign Dimensions to G/L Accounts

This section explains why a company may need to assign Dimensions to G/L Accounts and then shows how this can be achieved.

First of all, it is worth discussing why companies assign Dimensions and Dimension Values to G/L Accounts. Well, once Dimensions and Dimension Values have been assigned to master data completed, every time these records are used in a transaction (e.g. a Sales Invoice), the Dimensions will be automatically assigned to the transaction and once this transaction is completed and posted – the Dimensions will move to the corresponding G/L Accounts. However, there is always a chance that a user may forget to assign correct Dimensions to a transaction. In this case there exists a risk that wrong Dimensions may hit a G/L Account. As a consequence, financial reports may be inaccurate. Therefore, to minimize chances of an error, companies assign Dimensions to G/L Accounts.

For instance, judging by the setup of the Customer (see Figure 2 above), it is possible to conclude that the company is interested in running a financial report on the “Department” Dimension (since it has been assigned to the master data). However, since the “Value Posting” is set to blank, any Department can be used on a posting. Thus, unless a user pays attention, an incorrect posting may be created if on this particular transaction, the Department dealing with the Customer is “Production” rather than “Sales”.

Another example is if the General Journal is used to post directly (without a Customer) to the revenue G/L account. Unless the “Department” Dimension is made mandatory on the corresponding G/L Account/s, a posting may yield inaccurate dimensional data as users may forget to add a Dimension. Therefore, it may be beneficial to assign Dimension and Dimension Values to G/L Accounts which will help minimize chances of an error upon posting as users will get an error message if they try to post to a given G/L Account without assigning a required Dimension.

How to assign Dimension and Dimension Values to G/L Accounts? In order to assign Dimension and Dimension Values to G/L Accounts, it is necessary to navigate to the Chart of Accounts page in NAV: Departments>Financial Management>General Ledger>Chart of Accounts. It can also be located by typing “chart of accounts” in the search box or selecting the corresponding choice in the navigation pane if the Accounting Manager profile is used.

The procedure of assigning Dimension and Dimensions Values to G/L Accounts is identical to that of assigning Dimension and Dimensions Values to master data (see Section 2 above). For example, if a company is trying to maximize the accuracy of dimensional data on one of the revenue Accounts, and specifically wants to report accurately on the “Department” Dimension, the Dimension setup of the revenue Account can look like shown in Figure 4 below:

Figure 4: Default Dimension page on, “Sales, Retail – Dom.” G/L Account

The Figure above shows that the “Department” Dimension has been made mandatory on the “Sales, Retail – Dom.” G/L Account. Upon enabling this setup users will be unable to post to the Account above unless they have specified a particular Dimension Value for the “Department” Dimension before they post[3].

In brief, this section has addressed the question of setting up Dimensions and Dimension Values on G/L Accounts. In particular, it has shown that assigning Dimensions to G/L Accounts can contribute positively to financial analysis.

Conclusion

As a conclusion, it is worth mentioning that after the Dimension and Dimension Values have been assigned, it is a good idea to test the new setup (in the Test environment) prior to deploying the solution to the Live environment. Correctly set up Dimensions and Dimension Values on master data allow saving time on processing transactions by eliminating the time required for setting up Dimensions every time. Moreover, the fact that users can assign Dimensions and Dimension Values to master data only once rather than adding them every time, makes it easier to avoid errors on transactions thus keeping the company’s records clean and easier to work with as well as more professional for auditing purposes. Efficient and effective setup of Dimension and Dimension Values on master data and G/L Accounts contributes to the positive dynamics of financial and other analyses and facilitates decision making to help businesses succeed further.

At Encore, Solution Specialists help companies set up and use Dimensions and Dimension Values in the most efficient and effective way. This article contributes to this objective. The team of Solution Specialists at Encore is happy to answer your questions and to help you and your company to score your ERP goals – contact us through the Contact form on our website.

Related Articles

[1] If a Dimension has been used on at least one posted transaction, then it is impossible to delete this Dimension. It can only be blocked to prevent users from using it.

[2] Selecting the “Dimensions-Multiple” button choice in this case will result in exactly the same effect and can be used in the same way as the “Dimensions-Single” choice.

[3] Please note that to what G/L Account the systems posts a Sales Invoice or a different transaction depends on the setup of the Posting Groups. This topic goes beyond the scope of this article; however, Encore specialists are always open to questions and can help to set up the NAV Posting Groups to help Optimize your business.

This post was written by Iaroslav Pankovskyi, PhD

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