Employee expense management is a critical aspect of every project-based business. Providing your employees an easy to use expense reporting system is crucial to receiving expense reports in a timely manner. Microsoft Dynamics AX and Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations have always supported end-to-end expense management, but there were a lot of areas that needed improvement in terms of efficiency, speed of expense entry, look and feel and more.
In June of 2019, Microsoft released a re-imagined expense reporting experience in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. Currently, the re-imagined experience is a work in progress and will continue to be updated.
With the June release, a large portion of the “Expense entry and submission” area has been redesigned. The redesign offers a significantly improved user experience as well as improved expense management in Dynamics 365.
Enabling the new Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations features
If you are in 10.0.2 – 10.0.4 versions, you will be able to ‘Enable this new experience” under the Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Feature Management work-space.
Once enabled, you will be able to view the areas redesigned in the Dynamics 365 June 2019 release. These key areas include:
- Setup the behavior of expense reports data fields
- A redesigned expense management work-space
- A whole new experience of expense report entry
Setup the behavior of expense reports data fields
In previous versions of Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, you were able to control which data fields you want to be displayed or not displayed on the expense report header and lines. This was a pretty basic capability.
With the most recent update, you can setup data fields to be:
- Optional: These fields will show up when you got to the Optional fields page on your report
- Recommended: These fields will show up under the Details area of the expense report line
- Required: These fields will be set as mandatory fields and must be filled in before submitting the reports. Previously, we always used expense policies to setup fields as required. So, this is a welcome change and makes it much easier.
- Do not display: These fields will not show up on the expense report lines
There is also a cleaner view of how you want to control the various additional data fields for specific expense categories such as “Hotel”, “Car Rental” and “Airfare”.
A redesigned Dynamics 365 expense management work-space for improved user experience
The new Dynamics 365 expense management work-space has a clean UI and focuses on efficiency. Your employees can see all their expense reports, receipts, and expenses created through the mobile app, all at once place.
Employees are able to:
- Create and submit a new report
- Manage existing reports (copy, delete, recall, or resubmit)
- Enter expenses on behalf of others
- View how you are doing on expenses from the Power BI analytics page
You can create expense lines and click Save and New to continue to add all the lines you have for the expense report.
If the expense lines have any policy violations, the indication for that is very clear and intuitive. You can see the policy error which will tell you what you need to do as per the corporate expense policies. For example, my company requires me to enter a justification when I fly business class.
Uploading receipts in Dynamics 365
The receipt upload and management tool now allows you to upload multiple receipts must faster. Rather than having to upload one receipt at a time, close, and then reopen the attach receipts form to load others you can now upload all receipts by simply selecting each receipt and clicking the upload button.
The first thing you will notice when you create a new expense report from the work-space is the system will automatically prompt you to attach unattached receipts to the report.
The redesigned tool enables better visibility of the available receipts on the report and simplifies the attachment process.
The new interface delivers improved visibility when itemizing expenses such as Hotel or Car Rental. You can now see a preview of your receipt and you are able to enter your itemizations very easily.
Some of my favorite redesigned capabilities include:
- Clean UI
- Viewing receipt preview when itemizing expenses
- Better visibility of policies
- Overall receipt management capability
Microsoft has several more planned for other functionalities in this module.
Here are some of my wish list items that I hope Microsoft will add soon.
- Drag Drop receipts and attachments
- Modern mobile app for expenses does offer everything you need to process expense reports, but it certainly needs some clean up
- Integration with travel purchasing services out of the box such as Expedia and others
- Integration with mileage tracking apps such as MileIQ (It is a Microsoft product now 😊)
- Artificial Intelligence: Why not? AI is not new to F&O and we’re starting to see a lot of AI related features in the roadmap already. What if AI could help organize expenses, remind employees to submit expenses after completing a trip, distinguish between a personal expense vs. a corporate expense, and more?
For more information on expense management, or other Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations features, get in touch with our D365 consultants today.