What's new in Business Central?

Published on 01 May 2024

Topics: Dynamics 365 Business Central, The Microsoft World, Techy Stuff

Discover the newest Business Central features from Microsoft, showcased at the User Day 2024!

The annual User Day is a must-attend event for professionals keen on exploring the latest features and capabilities of Dynamics 365 Business Central, improvements and upgrading options Dynamics NAV, the advancements in the Power Platform, and beyond.

One of the twenty breakout sessions delivered in the afternoon was hosted by our Pre-sales Consultant, Andre Verster. Andre delved into 'What's New in Business Central?' where he covered Microsoft's latest release waves: Dynamics 365 Business Central 2023 - Release Wave 2 (October) and Dynamics 365 Business Central 2024 - Release Wave 1 (April). Andre highlighted key features and upgrades for companies to leverage in their daily operations right away and those set to be released this year.


Dynamics 365 Business Central 2023 – Release Wave 2 (October)

What’s new in the Web Client?

  • Personalisation

Microsoft has introduced enhanced personalisation features, allowing users to customise their profiles by adding all available fields, including those typically not visible upon personalisation. Administrators can now fully tailor their roles by including all fields they wish to display on their pages.

  • Drill to related records

Another notable addition is the capability to directly access details within dropdown fields. Rather than navigating through multiple clicks to locate desired data, users now benefit from the "show details" option, enabling them to swiftly open the respective item card within a single click.

  • Easily identify companies

In multi-company environments, a new feature allows users to easily identify which company they are currently working in. Tabs displaying the company name have been added to the user interface, enabling users to quickly switch between companies and maintain clarity regarding their current workspace.

  • Visual error handling

A new error notification feature has been introduced, displaying error messages directly where they occur rather than solely at the top of the page as in previous versions. Users can now identify and share errors, enabling seamless collaboration through options to share errors directly from Business Central.

  • Global search

Microsoft have introduced a global search feature, accessible through the company data search option, allowing users to search for any data within Business Central using keywords. This functionality enables users to easily locate information related to specific document numbers or entries. Users can also speed up their searches by highlighting a field and pressing alt q on the keyboard to automatically populate the search.

What’s new in the Mobile Clients?

  • Search & Scanning Barcodes

Within the Business Central mobile app, users can now utilise a search function, a feature previously unavailable. Prior to this addition, the absence of search capability was often frustrating, necessitating the addition of pages to roles.

Users now have the capability to add or scan barcodes using their mobile phones, although this functionality requires further development work.

What’s new in Integration?

  • Edit in Excel additions

Previously, the Excel editing functionality was limited to general journals, excluding other areas like warehouse item journals or item journals. However, Microsoft has addressed this discrepancy by reintroducing the ability to edit data in Excel across various sections, including item journals.

What’s new in Warehouse & Supply Chain?

  • Warehouse Operations for Production, Assembly and Jobs

Microsoft have introduced an upgraded warehouse card, offering a new interface for defining advanced warehousing processes. Users can specify which areas of the warehouse will utilise these features, tailoring processes such as put always and picks to specific zones like production or assembly areas. Users are now able to maintain basic operations or opt for more advanced configurations based on their specific requirements.

  • Advanced ‘put and pick’ for basic warehouse setup

A new summary field has been introduced, allowing users to preview the impact of creating a pick before its actual execution. This feature provides visibility into the expected outcomes of the pick creation process, enhancing decision-making and workflow efficiency.

  • Calculate Warehouse Quantities

Improvements have been made to the physical inventory counting process, simplifying the management of stock items, including those not currently in stock.

  • Inventory Count Improvements

Several improvements have been implemented in the area of physical inventory counting within Business Central. Firstly, users now have the capability to include items that are currently out of stock in their inventory counts, ensuring comprehensive tracking. Additionally, item references can now be utilised during the physical inventory recording process. Enhancements have been made to inventory adjustments, providing a smoother process for creating adjustments while other activities, such as receipt processing, are ongoing in the same location. These updates aim to streamline inventory management and enhance operational efficiency.

  • Bin contents on Item Journals

Now, when processing an item journal, users can access bin content directly. The introduction of the "get binned content" function means users can conveniently view bin content within the item journal itself, eliminating the need to navigate through multiple screens.

  • Warnings if no QTY entered on Item Tracking

Users now receive warning messages when no quantity is entered on their item tracking.

  • Warehouse doc posting preview

Users can now preview posts before executing them in the warehouse, providing an opportunity to review and confirm actions before finalising them.

  • More visible Warehouse Bin descriptions

When navigating menu options related to bin content, users now have the ability to expand dropdowns and view additional columns, offering clearer visibility.

Dynamics 365 Business Central 2024 – Release Wave 1 (April)

What’s new in Jobs/Projects?

  • Jobs now called Projects

In the latest April 2024 release wave, there is a renaming of "jobs" in Business Central to "projects." The transition to "projects" aligns with the logical nature of the functionality, as users typically create and manage projects within the system.

It's important to note that, despite the name change, the underlying table structures and functionalities remain the same; only the labels have been updated to reflect "projects" and task lines are now referred to as project planning lines.

  • Multi project invoicing

Now, when creating a sales invoice, users have the capability to include multiple project lines on a single invoice. This feature is particularly useful for consolidating invoices across various customer projects into one invoice. Similar to the "get shipment lines" function, there is now a "get project planning lines" option, enabling users to select and add desired project planning lines to the invoice seamlessly.

  • Archiving

Microsoft have introduced a dedicated "archive project" feature allowing users to initiate the archiving process for specific projects. Similar to archiving purchase orders, this functionality permits users to maintain various stages of archived projects. These recent enhancements to project management build upon previous developments, such as the ability to add items and perform shipments on projects introduced in the April 2023 release.

  • Improved role centre for timesheets submission

A new self-service option has been introduced, allowing users to monitor the status of their timesheets. This enhancement enables users, particularly project managers, to easily track timesheets in progress, pending completion, or already submitted, streamlining the approval process for timesheets.

What’s new in Integration?

  • Field Service Integration

This integration extends to Business Central, specifically linking Field Service with the Business Central project and jobs modules, easing invoicing processes and enabling direct integration of field services functionalities into Business Central.

What’s new in the Mobile Clients?

  • Worksheets

Previously, accessing worksheets such as item journals or timesheets was not possible on the mobile app due to limitations with worksheet functionality on mobile devices. However, this functionality has now been enabled.

What’s new in Finance?

  • G/L account FX revaluations

Microsoft have recently introduced the ability to include an FX account in the chart of accounts, allowing for exchange rate updates on GL accounts. Users can perform revaluations on GL accounts based on FX rates.

  • Dispute Status

Unlike the limited three-character "on hold" field, the dispute status allows for the creation of a comprehensive list of dispute statuses. Users can specify whether a dispute status overrides the on-hold status, providing more nuanced management of invoices. While currently exclusive to customer ledger entries, there is hope that this feature will be extended to vendor ledger entries in future updates.

What’s new in the Warehouse & Supply chain?

  • Package Tracking

Users can now add package tracking in addition to item tracking. This enhancement enables users to track packages alongside serial numbers and lots, providing increased flexibility in tracking different types of inventory.

  • Country of Origin on Item Tracking

For shipments and receipts involving goods from various countries, the country of origin information, previously confined to the item card, is now being extended to item tracking lines. This extension allows users to specify the country of origin for individual items, accommodating scenarios where goods may originate from multiple countries. This update is expected to be implemented in the following months after the major release in April 2024.

What's been added to Copilot?

Microsoft are making significant investments in Copilot within Business Central. Here are some of the areas where Copilot has been added to Business Central.

  • Generate Product Descriptions

This is the first Copilot feature added to Business Central in the 2023 Release Wave 1. This feature enables users to create product descriptions seamlessly by using the information of the item card. This feature was further improved in the 2023 Release Wave 2, specifically the user interface.

  • Bank Account Reconciliation

The addition of Copilot in the Bank Reconciliation was added in the 2023 Release wave 2 to assist with speeding up the bank reconciliation. Bank statements can be imported, journals automatically posted and matching entries suggested on the Bank Reconciliation.

The 2024 Release wave 1 took the investment of Copilot to the next level. Here are the features added in the latest release of Business Central:

  • Map e-documents to purchase order lines

The e-documents feature in Business Central streamlines invoice processing by automating receipt and processing tasks. Copilot enhances this by improving invoice-to-purchase order matching, reducing time spent on manual tasks. Its ability to identify corresponding purchase orders, even when invoices don't align perfectly, is especially valuable for small and mid-sized businesses. Copilot's new mapping functionality enables automatic matching of invoice lines with purchase order lines, enhancing efficiency in document tracking and updating purchase orders in Business Central.

  • Ask Copilot

Copilot in Business Central revolutionises learning by providing instant access to field-specific information from Microsoft Learn. It guides users through concepts and tasks, significantly reducing the time needed to ramp up on Business Central. With Copilot, field-specific help is just one click away, streamlining setup and implementation processes. Its ability to digest large volumes of text ensures users receive summaries and key insights, maximising understanding and productivity. Hovering over fields will provide users with descriptions detailing their intended purpose or functionality. Users can leverage Copilot to obtain additional insights and information regarding specific fields and their associated data.

  • Extend Copilot using richer development tools

Copilot developers can now benefit from richer development tools, enabling the creation of more advanced generative AI experiences in their extensions.

The developer tools for Copilot in Business Central offer essential components such as signature UI elements and an AI module for seamless integration with Azure OpenAI Service. Additionally, developers gain access to guides, samples, and telemetry for efficient development. With the 2024 release wave 1, extensions can now leverage enhancements like placeholder text in multiline input fields for clearer instructions and the ability to add prompt guides. Moreover, Copilot actions can now be contextually displayed on various interfaces, enhancing user interaction and accessibility.

  • Creating sales lines

In a sales documents, users are able to use free text, files, or prebuilt prompts to create sales lines seamlessly with Copilot.

  • Copilot with Analysis tabs

Users can now describe how they want their data analysis needs to be structured and Copilot will create the Analysis tab according to the description provided, saving users time to create these analysis tabs manually.

  • Creating product information faster

Copilot can assist with item creation for item related information such as item variants.

  • Chat with Copilot

Particularly intriguing is the "Chat with Copilot" feature, quite similar to the TNP’s “Ask Nora” product. With "Chat with Copilot", users can chat with Copilot and receive tailored responses based on Business Central data, facilitating self-service operations.

  • Licensing

As for licensing, details are yet to be clarified by Microsoft, leaving uncertainty regarding potential additional fees associated with Copilot. Currently, it appears that Copilot functionality is included with Business Central licenses, but further developments may shed light on any changes to licensing arrangements.

Hot off the press: Page Scripting

Another intriguing addition is page scripting, offering a unique capability to record various processes within Business Central. This feature includes a recording tool to capture specific processes, particularly beneficial for testing purposes. The functionality promises to streamline testing and User Acceptance Testing (UAT). However, there are still aspects to explore and test, such as its impact on data and how it interacts with other processes. Nonetheless, with Business Central's biannual releases, page scripting holds the potential to significantly enhance the testing process.

In summary
TNP's User Day provided delegates with a comprehensive understanding of new features, such as improved personalisation and seamless integration with Field Services, covered in an expert session led by Andre Verster. Innovations like Copilot and page scripting highlight Microsoft's commitment to enhancing user experiences and driving digital transformation. These advancements equip businesses with the tools needed to thrive in today's dynamic market.

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