Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (often referred to as Business Central or BC) builds on the capabilities of its predecessor, Dynamics NAV (formerly known as Navision). Business Central, however, has many significant and useful improvements that makes it a more modern and user-friendly business management system than NAV. In this blog, we take a look at these improvements to Business Central functionality.
Overarching improvements of Business Central
Moving from NAV to Business Central offers businesses access to a more modern and feature-rich ERP system. At an overarching, strategic level, Business Central is a vast improvement on NAV for the following reasons:
1. Web-based Client
Business Central has a web-based client unlike NAV which is primarily an on-premise application. Users can access the system from anywhere using a web browser, providing them with a more modern and flexible user experience.
2. Integration with Microsoft 365
One of the key strengths of Business Central is its enhanced integration with Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365). The ability of Business Central to connect seamlessly with Microsoft’s suite of productivity apps (Word, Excel, Outlook, Teams, etc) enables unified communication and collaboration within the platform.
3. Integration with Microsoft Power Platform
Business Central also integrates with the Microsoft Power Platform (including Power BI, Power Automate, Power Apps, etc.), allowing users to build custom applications, automate workflows, and create dashboards and reports.
4. Flexible system deployment
Business Central has the capability to be deployed in the cloud, on-premise, or in a hybrid environment. This allows businesses to choose the deployment option that best suits their needs and provides consistent customer experience across all versions.
5. Modern User Interface
Business Central has a modern and intuitive user interface that is consistent with other Microsoft products. This provides businesses with an improved and intuitive user experience.
6. Automatic Updates
Updates for Business Central are applied automatically bi-annually by Microsoft, and patches or hot fixes are applied monthly. This ensures that users always have the latest features and enhancements without the need for costly manual updates.
7. Built-in AI-assisted Features
Microsoft’s next era of business applications, including Business Central, are being transformed by generative AI. Unlike NAV, Business Central leverages AI and machine learning to provide insights, predictions, and automation of repetitive tasks. Early in 2023 Microsoft introduced Microsoft Dynamics 365 Copilot as the world’s first copilot in both CRM and ERP.
8. Integration with Third Party eCommerce and Marketplace Providers
Business Central offers improved capabilities for integrating with ecommerce platforms and online marketplaces, supporting businesses in their digital sales operations.
9. Improved Data Analytics and Reporting
Business Central offers improved reporting capabilities compared to NAV. With its integration with Power BI, users can generate customisable reports and gain insights into their business performance.
10. Multi-tenant Support
Business Central’s architecture allows for multi-tenant deployments, making it suitable for managed service providers (MSPs) and offering more cost-effective solutions for multiple clients.
Individual Feature Improvements in Business Central
As well as the overarching improvements that Microsoft has made to Business Central, in comparison with NAV, there are a range of individual improvements to Business Central’s functionality.
1. Edit in Excel functionality
Business Central gives its users two options for viewing information in Excel: Open in Excel and Edit in Excel. With Open in Excel, you can make changes to the records in Excel, but you can’t publish the changes back to Business Central. With Edit in Excel, you can make the changes to records in Excel and then publish the changes back to Business Central.
2. Ability to copy existing items in order to create new ones
To help save users save time, Business Central has a Copy Item function which allows them to copy an existing item to use as a template for a new item.
3. Dimensions Corrections for G/L entries
When this functionality was first introduced in 2021 many users described it as “the shiny new bike for Christmas” type of feature. It allows users to correct dimensions for general ledger (G/L) entries and therefore correct any data entry mistakes made in journal entries or document posting.
A key selling point of using Business Central is its seamless integration with the rest of the Microsoft stack. Microsoft Teams has grown in popularity ad importance over the last few years, and the Business Central app for Teams offers a number of key features which allow users to seamless collaboration and efficient sharing of BC records and data within Teams.
5. Extended Preview Posting
When posting journals or documents with a large numbers of entries, accountants want to make sure the posting will be correct beforehand. Previewing the posting helps prevent the need for corrections.
6. Shopify connector
The Shopify connector to Business Central went live in June 2022 and is continuously being updated and improved on. The connector allows businesses to connect their Shopify store or stores directly with Business Central. Users are then able to synchronise items, customers and transactions between the two applications.
7. Different G/L accounts for payable and receivable transactions
Sometimes businesses want to post payable and receivable transactions to a different general ledger (G/L) account than the one that’s specified on the customer or vendor posting group. In Business Central you have the ability to let users change the default customer or vendor posting groups by turning on the Allow Multiple Posting Groups functionality.
8. Blocking deletion of G/L accounts
To safeguard accounts from accidentally being deleted, a Block Deletion of G/L Accounts toggle has been added to Business Central’s General Ledger Setup page.
9, Consolidating customer and vendor balances
Sometimes the company you do business with might be both a customer and a vendor. When this is the case, Business Central gives you the ability to avoid making unnecessary payments or receipts by consolidating the company’s customer and vendor balances.
10. Bulk releasing and reopening of documents
When users finish working on a batch of documents, this functionality allows them to release all or some of them to the next stage in the process all in one go. Or if required they can be reopened for further processing.
11. Adding existing table fields to optimise pages
A real strength of Business Central is that it allows individual users the ability to customise their user experiences without having to use code extensions. A recent new addition to this functionality is the ability to add existing table fields to a page.
12. Copilot capabilities for bank reconciliation
One of the ways that Business Central has used AI to improve its functionality is in its bank reconciliation functionality. With AI-powered transaction matching and AI-generated explanations for how remaining transactions could be matched, bank reconciliation becomes less cumbersome and labour-intensive.
13. Copilot capabilities for marketing text
Copilot has also been used in Business Central to help users create AI-powered marketing text.
14. Retention policies
Business Central allows administrators to define retention policies to specify how frequently they want Business Central to delete outdated data in tables that contain log entries and archived records. This is a step forward from NAV’s purge functionality.
How TVision can help you
If you are currently a NAV user and are considering an upgrade from Dynamics NAV to Business Central, download our free White Paper, Why move from Dynamics NAV to Business Central? Please note Dynamics NAV is also reaching the end of Microsoft support so we are recommending all organisations consider their ERP options going forwards, do contact us for a demo of how modern and user-friendly Business Central is.