With NAV 2018 and Business Central, Microsoft introduced a line-up of new features and functionality that really showed their commitment to investing in and improving the mid-market ERP solution we all know and love (and talk about incessantly, which largely accounts for being no longer invited to any social gatherings anymore).
While most people can probably dream up a list of different use cases across various businesses for each of these shiny new things, we’d like to focus on one universal and practical use for one of these new features, primarily adopting User Tasks in Dynamics NAV to assist with month-end.
It’s no secret that accountants love procedure and timelines, almost as much as they love four-letter acronyms and initialisms (hence the Amazon best-selling accounting romance novel: “COGS Using FIFO Under IFRS vs. GAAP: A Love Story”) so when Microsoft introduced User Tasks as a means of delineating and assigning procedures to individuals, any NAV user who’s ever drawn up a T-account practically giggled out of sheer glee. For the uninitiated, User Tasks show up on the Role Centre as a new cue shown below on the cloud version:
And here in the on-prem version:
So this becomes a very visual cue right on the home screen that tells you: “Hey, you got stuff to do.” Now when you create a User Task, you can give it some description, due dates, priority, and even link it to a Page or Report within the system.
In addition to that, you can add recurrence to it, so you can have it automagically create “copies” of the same task across multiple dates so you can set it and forget it.
Sample Walk-through: Sales Tax Remittance
So, let’s go through the steps to create one of these. We have a whole series of blog posts that talk about month-end processes and procedures in NAV and Business Central, so we could do one of these for each of the tasks, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s pick a random month/quarter-end task – how about sales tax remittance?
There’s a neat report in the system that summarizes the sales taxes collected/paid across the various tax jurisdictions and groups. It’s called the “Sales Taxes Collected” report and it comes in three different flavours to get you the amount of detail you need for your filing: summary, normal, and detailed. Let’s say you use this report in it’s “normal” layout to file your taxes and send remittances online (if applicable). Let’s also say you want to assign this to your Assistant Controller to handle every month, roughly 3 days after the end of the month for the prior month.
First we’ll hop into the User Tasks page (you can search or navigate to Administration > Application Setup > Users).
Then we’ll create a New one by clicking “New” in the ribbon:
Then I go ahead and fill out the actual task – giving it a generic subject, a brief description, assigning it to my Assistant Controller (Blair), setting a start date, due date, priority, and associating it with the Sales Taxes Collected report:
Finally, I want to make this recurring, so I click Recurrence in the ribbon and set it to start from this month and recur every once a month:
At this point, when Blair logs in, he’ll see the cue on his Role Centre showing all 12 of the User Tasks he has:
Once he clicks on that, he’ll also see the past due tasks, formatted in bold and red:
Now, as a personally matter of taste, I don’t like seeing all the tasks show up in the Cue – only the ones that are past due and coming up in a week, so I built a quickie Extension called to handle that and show a Current User Tasks cue on the Role Centre:
Taking Month-End to Task
Now in this example we dealt with just a single task and single user, the sales tax remittance assigned to the Assistant Controller, however you can imagine that there’s a whole litany of other tasks you’d need to do at month-end, assigned to all sorts of different users.
You may have your A/P Clerk follow up on stale-dated cheques, your Assistant Controller perform Bank Reconciliations, your Controller run the inventory and exchange rate adjustment routines, your warehousing staff perform an inventory cycle count, your A/R Coordinator send out customer statements and reminder memos, etc.
We’ve said it time and time again – the more streamlined your month-end closing process, the more timely and relevant your reporting becomes. In our next User Task-related post we’ll show a neat way to compile all these tasks and use a ‘month-end closing’ dashboard to have a finger on the pulse of your month-end progress and be able to immediately see how you’re tracking for closing the month.
Until then, take a peek at our month-end closing blog posts, or download our handy Mastering Month-End in NAV guide: