Closing a financial period is one of the most important tasks that an Accounting department devotes a high level of effort accomplishing. Tons of time is invested in creating and assigning the various tasks required to close financial periods and inevitably ends up being tracked manually with pages of Excel spreadsheets.

Today, your Financial Period Close and status tracking probably looks something like this:

With this, you are not able to:

  • Have a dashboard of past due, remaining, or blocked tasks.
  • Have a status by company, area, or person.
  • Assign dependencies or add templates or attachments.

In today’s post, we discuss the details of the Financial Period Close workspace and how it can make a department more productive, efficient and close periods faster.

Workspaces in the Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise Edition (F&O) are a new concept which replaces the Role Center from previous versions of Dynamics AX. Workspaces are a “native” component of the application and seem to be more intuitive for the users and help them do more from one central location.

Let’s peek at some of the underlying setups before we discuss the workspace.

How to Configure Financial Period Closing:

  • Under General Ledger Module > Period Close, navigate to Financial Period Close configuration form.
  • Taking a bottom up approach, under the Closing roles tab, create period closing roles per your firm’s policies.

  • Under the Resources tab, select the employees who are a part of the Financial Period closing process. Also, under the “View” dropdown box, you can set “What they will see when they go to this workspace”. Additionally, you can assign one or more closing roles of each of these resources.

  • Under the Task areas, define the different areas of the tasks for financial period closing, such as, General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Banking, etc.

  • Under the Calendars tab, configure and set the calendar for scheduling the tasks of Financial Period Closing.

  • Under Templates tab, create the tasks lists from scratch or from an existing template. This should be your complete list of processes that are required to complete the closing process. You can set up the Task description, module area, due date, assigned role, and company or companies assigned. You can also setup dependencies between tasks and set direct links to different forms to complete the tasks.

  • Finally, create your financial period close schedule, select the start and end dates.

Now that setups are complete, let’s look at the Financial Period Closing workspace from an employee perspective who has a closing role in the process.

April who plays the role of AP Invoicing and Payments clerk in the closing process, navigates to the Financial Period Closing workspace.

  • On this workspace, she gets to see filtered list of tasks and live tiles giving her a dashboard of her status of past due tasks, today’s remaining and blocked tasks, and a summary of all remaining tasks.

  • She also sees the Task list that are assigned to her. For each of the tasks, she sees the due date, dependency and she can navigate to the destination form directly if needed by simply clicking on the task and completing the tasks. For example, she can click the Verify Vendor Aging task to directly launch the aging form.
  • Once she completes the task, she marks the task as Complete by marking the Completed checkbox.

Let’s now look at the workspace from the Accounting Manager perspective.

When Gary, the Accounting Manager navigates to the workspace, he gets real-time status updates in terms of % completion of the tasks by entity, task area, by person and more.

  • So clearly, the manager gets an accurate depiction of the closing process for all employees, the percentages completed in all modules, and for all entities.

In summary, the Financial Closing Period workspace assists in making for a more robust, accurate, and efficient process that enables accounting personnel to complete the month end process much faster and can provide operational and financial reports in a timelier fashion to management and board members.

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Happy Dynamics 365’ing!