Advanced Rules

Part 1 of this series provided a high level overview of the components that make up the chart of accounts in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Part 2 focused in on the chart of accounts components. Part 3 talked about the financial dimensions. Part 4 focused on the new account structures that were introduced in AX 2012. Part 5 discussed the relationship of an organization hierarchy with an account structure. This posting discusses the advanced rules for an account structure. The components I will discuss in this blog are the following from the conceptual model provided in Part 1:

So what is an advanced rule? How is it different than an account structure? Why would I set up an advanced rule? These are just a few of the questions we get on this topic and I will use this blog post to help answer them.

So what is an advanced rule? You can think of an advanced rule as appending another structure to an account structure. Basically, it is just another type of dimension hierarchy that determines if a dimension value is required, and if entered, if it is valid. The financial dimensions added as part of an advanced rule are segments of an account number. If an advanced rule adds a financial dimension that is already included in the associated account structure, the user will only see and be able to enter the value once. The advanced rule does get used when validating the combination with the most restrictive between the account structure and the advanced rule as the winner.

How is it different than an account structure? At least one account structure is required for data entry whereas an advanced rule is an optional setup component. The main account is a required segment in an account structure, but is not allowed as a segment in an advanced rule structure. An account structure can have a relationship with an organization hierarchy when two or more of its segments are organization units (BusinessUnit, Department, CostCenter, LegalEntity or ValueStream) but this relationship cannot be set up using an advanced rule. Budgeting currently only supports financial dimensions defined in the account structures and does not support any financial dimensions defined using advanced rules.

Why would I set up an advanced rule? The intent of the feature was to be able to add additional segments for a small range of accounts without having to create another account structure. For example, tracking the VIN number when entering against the vehicle maintenance expense account or tracking the campaign with the revenue accounts. Some have used the advanced rules to define the combination rules between the segments of the account structure. Some just have the main account in the account structure and use the advanced rules to add the dimensions. Note that this is how the dimension hierarchies and rules upgrade into AX 2012 so there is some familiarity to this setup for existing customers. Thinking of usability and maintenance, I would recommend only creating advanced rules when you want to track additional dimensions for a subset of accounts and build the primary constraints using the account structure(s).

Advanced rules are set up per account structure. You can have multiple advanced rules for an account structure but the advanced rules cannot be shared across multiple account structures. When you select to add a new advanced rule to an account structure or edit an existing one, the associated account structure is put into a draft status for you. This means you need to activate the account structure in order for the advanced rules to be used.

Any segment of the account structure can be used as a filter for the advanced rules, but you can only define one filter for a specific segment as the rules are considered "AND" rules. This means that if you want to create two filters for the MainAccount segment, for example, Where MainAccount is 110180 and Where MainAccount is between and includes 40000 and 499999, you will need to create two advanced rules. If you do not add a filter to the advanced rule, the advanced rule is always in play with the associated account structure.

The advanced rule example below is stating that when the MainAccount segment is between and includes accounts 606000 through 606800, add the financial dimensions defined in the Project advanced rules structure.

Advanced rule structures are similar to account structures in the setup and user experience with the difference of advanced rule structures do not allow the MainAccount segment and account structures require it. You can have as many segments (up to 11) in an advanced rule structure and you can define the constraints for each node similar to how you define them for an account structure node.

Multiple advanced rule structures can be included in an advanced rule. The segments will be added to the account entry control in segment order for the advanced rule structures which are in alphabetical order.

The next, and final post for this blog series will discuss balances functionality for AX 2012.