For many organisations, month-end and year-end closing processes may not run as smoothly as they would have liked. To alleviate this problem, Dynamics 365 Finance (D365F) comes with the Period Close Workspace (PCW).
The PCW is a dedicated workspace designed to help finance managers and participants in the closing process to work in a structured way and maintain an overview of the status of the process.
The following figure shows a simplified overview of the components within PCW.
A period close process is carried out based on a Closing Schedule. The closing schedule is generated from a Template and carried out within the time frame specified in the Calendar.
A template consists of a list of Tasks to be carried out. Each task can be associated with a task link that opens a D365F menu point. Also, on the task you can define the day offset and time deadline for the task.
On the task, you can select the Closing Role accountable for the task and the Legal Entities in which the task must be performed.
Financial Period Close Configuration
In the following subsections, we will take a look at the configuration required.
To keep track of the progress for each business area, it is necessary to configure task areas. In the above example, the task areas resemble the sub ledgers, but a company is free to define the task areas in any way they want.
In the same way, closing roles must be defined. A task is always associated with a closing role, so it is possible to track progress by closing role.
As the following example shows, for each closing role, it is possible to define the persons working in that role by legal entity. When a closing schedule is generated, the system will automatically assign tasks to resources in a role, but this can be overridden by the manager.
Lastly, we must define closing calendars to use when we generate the closing schedule.
In the above example, I have created the closing calendar for November 2019. Since I have decided that work is not done on Saturday and Sunday, the closing schedule can take up to five working days.
The Closing Template
With the basic configuration in place, it is time to create the closing template. As mentioned above, the template contains all the tasks that must be carried out as part of the period close process. The following example shows the template task list for a month end process. An organisation can have as many templates as they like and use them for specific purposes.
If we take the “Verify customer aging” task as an example, we can see that it must be carried out on the second day of the process (offset+1) before 12:00pm. The task falls within the “AR Payments Clerk” closing role and is applicable to multiple legal entities. The task link points to the “Customer aging report”.
If we click on the Set dependency menu point, we can see that the task depends on two other tasks that must be completed before this task can start, as the following screenshot shows.
Lastly, if we click on Attachments in the ribbon, we can see that a spreadsheet has been attached to the task.
In this example, the spreadsheet is used by the person carrying out the task to report customer aging. This way, it is possible to attach guidelines, documents and spreadsheets to help the users carry out the task.
Generate Closing Schedule
Now it is time to generate the closing schedule to start the closing process.
Clicking New in the ribbon brings up the dialogue to generate a new closing schedule. In this example, I am creating a closing schedule for multiple legal entities, but it is also possible to generate individual schedules instead.
Processing a Period Close
Once the closing schedule has been generated, it is possible to select it at the top of the workspace as shown below.
As you can see, the workspace has now been populated with data based on the closing schedule.
In the Tasks and status section in the workspace, it is possible to view tasks grouped by legal entity, task area or person. It is also possible to click on the Task list and see all tasks.
In the following screenshot, I have filtered the list on Area = “Accounts receivable” and Task = “Verify customer aging”. Based on the template, the task has been generated in multiple legal entities.
By hovering over the padlock on the line, the user can see the tasks, which must be completed before this task can start (task dependencies), as show in this screenshot.
In this case, Arnie must first do the billing and then post the open payment journals before he can verify customer aging. If Arnie ticks the Completed field he is told to complete the task dependencies first.
As the following screenshot shows, once the task dependencies have been completed, the padlock is removed and Arnie can complete the task.
Before Arnie completes the task, he clicks on Template attachments and opens the attached spreadsheet template.
Once he has filled in the template, he attaches the spreadsheet to the task for future reference. Arnie now completes the task by ticking the Completed field.
Correcting the Schedule
In real life, the closing schedule may require some adjustments as we go along.
Therefore, it is possible add, remove and edit tasks in the schedule.
Closing Schedule Status
There are numerous ways to follow-up on the closing schedule. In the following example, I have selected the “Accounts receivable” closing area and as you can see, 42 of 45 tasks are still remaining. At the top of the list, I can see the (3) completed tasks. The system also tells me that the “Accounts receivable” area is 6.67% complete.
At the top, it is possible to filter on due and past due tasks as well as on legal entity.
This way, the finance managers and individual users can follow progress. If a task becomes overdue, it will be marked with a red exclamation mark. Also, on the left hand side of the workspace, four standard tiles show status information.
Under General ledger / Period close / All financial period close tasks, it is possible to create new tiles and lists and add them to the workspace as personalisation.
The following screenshot shows a list of my incomplete tasks with a due date before today’s date. I have created this query by using the Advanced filter or sort function in the ribbon.
I have added this selection as a tile to the workspace as “My Due Tasks” as shown below.
With PCW, organisations using D365F are now able to structure the entire period closing process across the enterprise making sure dependencies are maintained avoiding errors and potential rework.
For more detailed information on the PCW, please visit the Docs site.