Balances

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. Part 6 discussed the advanced rules for an account structure. This final posting of the series will describe the balances functionality using dimension sets in AX 2012.

Prior to AX 2012, Dynamics AX calculated balances as part of posting for every possible segment combination of an account number. This had a major impact on the performance of posting into the general ledger. To improve the posting performance, the balance calculation was removed from the posting process and from the time of shipping AX 2012 through the most recent R3 release, has had some major changes. Let me describe them to you.

Beginning with AX 2012, balances will only be calculated based on how you have set up the financial dimension sets. A financial dimension set is an ordered set of financial dimensions. Out of the box, we ship one dimension set that includes only the main account segment. Users can set up additional dimension sets based on the level of balance you care about. So if you want to view the trial balance by BusinessUnit and MainAccount, you need to create a financial dimension set with those financial dimensions included. If you don't care about the balance of Department only, balances will not be calculated for that segment if a financial dimension set is not created.

You can create as many financial dimension sets as you need, but the set of selected financial dimensions must be unique across the financial dimension sets. For example, you can only have one dimension set that only contains MainAccount but you can set up another dimension set that contains MainAccount as well as another dimension.

When creating a new financial dimension set, the balances must be initialized. Once initialized, the button label will change to Rebuild balances. Rebuild balances does the same thing as initializing by clearing the balance and recalculating. You should only need to do this if you don't think the balances are correct for some reason.

The Update balances button will update the balances with anything posted to the general ledger since the last time the balances were updated. You can schedule the update as a batch process which may or may not be set up as recurring.

When we shipped AX 2012, balances needed to be manually updated or scheduled to be updated. There was an option to update the balances with posting and this option just triggered the update process to run after posting was completed. This process was not intuitive to users and improvements were made with AX 2012 CU4.

With  AX 2012 CU4, we removed the option to update balances with the posting and automatically updated the balances when we needed them. Viewing the trial balance list page or generating the trial balance summary report are examples of when AX needs the balances. The financial dimension sets still need to be initialized when set up and you can optionally schedule the balance update to run as a recurring batch process if you don't view the trial balance very often as this can impact the performance of opening the list page.

We have continued to add performance improvements to the balance calculation and other fixes through the release of Dynamics AX 2012 R3. With the latest release, rebuilding balances should be a rare occurrence. If you find that you are still having to rebuild the balances, please contact your Microsoft Dynamics partner or enter in a support request so that we can determine the issue.

This concludes the Planning your chart of accounts blog series.

Regards,

Kim