Dynamics GP Segments vs. Dynamics 365 for Operations Dimensions

No matter which ERP system you choose, one of the first items you will need to consider is how to design your chart of accounts. This could be influenced by many factors including your product lines, cost centers, and company divisions.

Both Dynamics GP and Dynamics 365 for Operations can accommodate financial reporting and tracking by multiple sectors of an entity’s business, but the approach is different in each, with Dynamics GP using Segments and Dynamics 365 for Operations using Dimensions.

Segments in Dynamics GP

Segments in Dynamics GP are extensions of the G/L account that can be used to track different functions within a business. For example, suppose a company would like to track costs in their Sales, Engineering, and Administrative departments and would also like to track these costs by their two physical business locations. To do this, the chart of accounts would be built with a main expense account, xxxx, a second segment for department, yyy, and a third segment, zz, for location. Each G/L account would have the following 11-character format:

xxxx-yyy-zz

This works well and supplies information by each department and location for analysis.  The only down-side is that the chart of accounts could get lengthy.  Also, every time you create a new G/L account you need to add not just one, but multiple accounts in GP.

Dimensions in Dynamics 365 for Operations

Dimensions in Dynamics 365 for Operations also allow for tracking of business functions, but the design is different than GP. You can still have an identifier for departments and locations, but the dimensions are considered separate reporting pieces rather than an attached segment of the G/L account. 

In our example above, we want to see our financial information for three business departments and two locations. In GP this would require six separate G/L accounts for each type of expense. For example, telephone expense would need the following G/L accounts:

Telephone-Sales, Location 1
Telephone-Sales, Location 2
Telephone-Engineering, Location 1
Telephone-Engineering, Location 2
Telephone-Administrative, Location 1
Telephone-Administrative, Location 2

In Dynamics 365 for Operations you would need only one G/L account, or Main Account as it is called in Operations, for Telephone expense. Then, when entering a transaction, you would choose from the dimensions the transaction is related to:

Main Account

Telephone Expense

Department Dimension

Sales
Engineering
Administrative

Location Dimension

Location 1
Location 2

As you can see, this greatly reduces the length and complexity of your Chart of Accounts but still allows for analysis by business sector. Also, each time you add a new G/L account you create only one account rather than the multiple accounts you would need to in GP.   Information can be displayed using the full Main Account with all dimensions or can easily be filtered down to view by only one dimension. Data and reports in Dynamics 365 for Operations can also be exported to an Excel spreadsheet with one click for more detailed analysis.

To summarize, both Dynamics GP and Dynamics 365 for Operations can provide detailed financial reporting by business sectors; however, Dynamics 365 for Operations allows for a more streamlined chart of accounts as well as more flexible and efficient reporting options.