GP #LifeHacks 101: Use dimensions WITHOUT Analytical Accounting! MDA to the rescue!

AA (Analytical Accounting) provides the ability to add additional details to transactions without adding new segments to your chart of accounts.  It does a lot of other ‘fun’ stuff, but before you dive into the deep end… consider an alternative… consider Multidimensional Analysis (MDA for the acronym fans out there).
Once thought to be removed from Dynamics GP (and maybe even some folks still believe it is not in GP), MDA lives and breathes in Dynamics GP and is an underutilized feature… so let’s take a look at this functionality!

What is MDA and how does it work?

First, Analytical Accounting does much more than MDA.  Budgets, MR reporting and more… but that doesn’t mean that MDA doesn’t have its rightful place in our decision making process.
Let’s explore this scenario.  You have a vehicle repairs expense account on your chart… cool.   But, someone wants to know how much you spend on repairs… by vehicle.
How do we do this?  Keep an excel spreadsheet…, or maybe add a segment that would capture a vehicle id… or perhaps you are considering AA??? NO THANK YOU!!
Let’s do this a different way.  Let’s use Multidimensional Analysis!
Now, in my example, my needs are simple.  I don’t need to budget repair expenses by vehicle and I don’t need this detail on my financial statements.  PERFECT!
Throughout my career, this type of situation (or very similar requirements) turns into Analytical Accounting.  AA is a module within Dynamics GP that can be enabled to track non ledger transaction information, just like MDA, however it does a bit more, plus… it typically takes a healthy amount of consulting time and effort to get things setup.
Back to our example.  We have simple requirements… so let’s keep the solution simple as well.
This type of example can relate to so many things… but we will focus on Vehicle Repairs.
Analysis Groups and Analysis Defaults (found under Financial/Cards) work with Analysis Codes and allow us to keep our chart of accounts unchanged but give us the flexibility to add tags to those transactions.  These tags (or dimensions, cough cough) allow us to analyze the data in SmartLists, Excel, etc… the limitation here, the one that usually stops the process… is that we cannot report on them in Management Reporter.  Remember our requirements… and with so many modern reporting tools available, Analysis Codes can be incorporated into reporting outside of MR.  #ITSANEWDAY
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What are Analysis Groups and Analysis Defaults?

Analysis Groups… well, they Group Analysis Codes 🙂  In our example, our Analysis Codes will be the Vehicle ID (Think Vehicle 1, Vehicle 2, etc.).  Those vehicle IDs, will be grouped together into the Analysis Group called “Vehicle Repairs”.  Pretty straightforward.
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Analysis Defaults are pretty simple too… here is where we define the GL Account we want to use with MDA… and how we want to use MDA if that GL Account is selected as a distribution line.  Analysis Groups can be set to different ‘types’:  those types are Fixed, Required, Optional and None.
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As you can see above, I’ve setup my Analysis Default for account 000-6410-02.  The default settings say that anytime this account is used (General Ledger, Receivables Management, Invoicing, Sales Order Processing, Payables Management, and Purchase Order Processing), I will be required to enter the Analysis Code (or codes) that this transaction relates to… and how much.
We can also setup our Analysis Default to allow for tracking of quantities as well… this is helpful for something like a fuel expense account… maybe we want to track gallons along with the dollar amount spent on fuel, per vehicle.   For the fuel example, we might have a FUEL Analysis Group, that uses the same analysis codes as Vehicle Repairs… but the default setup using the fuel expense GL account.  Ok, focus Shawn, that’s a good idea but back to Vehicle Repairs!

Put MDA to work!

Now that we have this setup for vehicle repairs; let’s enter a payables transaction and take a look at how this interacts with the end user.
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Take note that the GL Distribution account is one of the GL Accounts that I have setup in my Analysis Defaults settings.  Because of this, I get an error if I do not assign an Analysis Code to the transaction.
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To assign the analysis code, from the distribution window, you can either use the ribbon and go to View/Analysis… or, with the correct GL distribution line selected, click the ‘A’ icon in the scrolling window header.
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This will then take you to the Payables Analysis Posting Detail window.  This window should look somewhat familiar.  It is basically the same as the Analysis Defaults setup, except its looking for the actual transaction details.   We set up our example to Require VEHICLEREPAIRS for GL Account 000-6410-02…. so, now that I have used that GL Account, you can see the system is looking for me to add Analysis Codes to this transactions.
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If I click on the magnifying glass for Analysis Code ID, currently I have none setup.
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I can either set these up early on in the process or on the fly like I am now.
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In my case, my transaction was for two vehicles, so I selected them both.  Notice that the totals now match.
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Now we can post the transaction… that’s it!  Except for reporting 🙂  So now that it’s posted, how do we use this data?

Reporting with Multidimensional Analysis

There are report writer options (seen below) but I feel like we should be using the Smartlists for this information – it just makes sense and it exports to Excel 🙂
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Dynamics GP has a Multidimensional Analysis SmartList available right out of the box!
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There is a lot to look at here… it’s just a few columns but as you tell, we’ve captured some powerful data that will allow us to keep track of non GL level transactions and amounts!
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Pretty cool, pretty easy AND we didn’t have to go overboard with Analytical Accounting!
Consider MDA when considering Analytical Accounting.  It may not be what you need, but then again, it might be JUST what you need!
It’s a great option and I would love to hear how you are putting it to use in your organization.

Pro Tip!

Take this one step further and create an Excel Refreshable Report with the MDA Data! Maybe I’ll post about that soon 😉
Thanks for reading!

Shawn Dorward
Microsoft MVP, Business Solutions | LinkedIn | Twitter | GPUG | MSDYNGP
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