Expense Reports Reimagined
With version 10.0.3 for Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO), released a few weeks ago, comes a ‘re-imagined’ expense report. The new Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations expense report can replace the current expense report forms, and is intended to make this process more streamline than it is today. Let’s put that notion to the test…
To enable this re-imagined process, you will need to use another new feature that has been released in version 10.0.3, Feature Management. This is a new workspace which allows you to enable new features / functionality delivered in each release. By default, these new features are turned off, allowing you to determine if you want to deploy it to your organization or not.
Find the Feature Management workspace and click to open. The workspace will list out new features since the last monthly update. Find the Expense Reports Re-imagined feature and click on it.
On the right you will see some details about this feature. At the bottom right find the ‘Enable Now’ button and click on it. This will enable the feature.
Close out of the Feature Management workspace. You will need to refresh your browser to see these changes in D365FO.
Before we go much further, it is important to note that the existing Expense Report entry form has not gone away. This existing expense reports page can still be available to users thru either the My Expenses > Expense Reports menu option in Expense Management.
Once you have reopened D365FO, the following changes have occurred;
- A new menu item to manage visible fields on this form has been added
- The Expense Management workspace will now open the ‘re-imagined’ expense report form
Let’s look at each of these…
Expense Fields Visibility
The Expense Fields Visibility option can be found under the Setup > General menu in Expense Management. This form manages which fields will be visible to the users when they are using this form for Expense entry.
The form has five separate tabs to manage these fields. The Expense Report tab will determine which fields to use for the creation of a new report. Two options are available for these fields (Recommended, Do Not Display). Selecting the former will display these fields while the latter will hide them.
The Expense tab will determine which fields are visible to the user for expense report lines. The Hotel, Car Rental, and Airline tabs have additional specific fields that can be made visible for expenses in those categories. There are four options for visibility for these fields;
- Optional – The field will be displayed on a secondary form on the expense report
- Recommended – The field will be displayed on the primary form on the expense report
- Required – The field will be displayed on the primary form on the expense report. The field also requires a value to be entered before it can be submitted for approval
- Do Not Display – The field will not be shown on the form
Please note – the controls here only apply to the re-imagined expense report form. The ‘existing’ expense report display is still managed by the Setup > General > Expense Report Fields form. The display values on these separate forms do not sync up. For example, if you choose to display the Project ID field on the ‘existing’ expense report form, you will set this field to ‘Display’ in the Expense Report Fields form. If you choose to have this same Project ID field display in the ‘re-imagined’ form, you will also need to set the display value to ‘Recommended’ in the Expense Fields Visibility form.
Expense Management Workspace
Now that all the fields are set for display, you can click on the Expense Management Workspace tile. This will open the re-imagined expense report form.
By default, your existing expense reports will be listed on this form. Notice up top that next to the username there is an option for a dropdown menu. From this dropdown we can select either myself or any of my delegates and enter expenses for them as well.
From this form you can manage your existing expense reports, manage receipts, enter and manage open expenses, and see the current status for all these records.
New Expense Report
Click the ‘+ New expense report’. This will open the form to create a new Expense Report. On this form, complete the fields that are displayed to start a new report. Also notice there is an option to add all existing expenses and receipts that may already be entered but not yet assigned to an expense report.
For this example, all existing expenses and receipts have been added to this report. When we click OK, the report details display as follows;
The left side of this form now displays my expenses for me to review. Notice that each line has a visual indicator next to it. A green indicator means no additional action is required for this line. A yellow indicator (not pictured) is a warning to indicate action may be required. A red indicator means action is required for this line.
If we highlight the second line in my example, over to the right we can see the details for this expense line.
Here is where we can edit this expense line and provide more details as needed. Note the fields displayed are the ‘Recommended’ fields from our setup form. Any fields designated as ‘Optional’ will appear on the Optional Fields sub form. From this area we can update Financial Dimensions and Itemize this expense line as needed by clicking on the Actions menu.
We can also get additional info on the issue(s) for it. If I click on the ‘See Policy’ button, this will provide me the following details for the line;
Once the receipt is attached to this expense line, the indicator should become green.
You can also enter additional expense lines manually by entering them directly to the expense report. Simply click ‘+ New Expense’ button, which will open the New Expense detail form. Enter your expense info and click Save. This will add the expense to this specific report.
Another method to add expense lines to a report is the unattached expenses. These may be imported credit card transactions that have not been processed thru an expense report to date. These may also be open expenses you have entered that you did not include into the report when it was created. To select these expenses, click on the ‘+ Unattached Expenses’ button. This will open the Add Unattached Expenses form, where you can select the specific expense transactions to include in it. Simply check the lines to include and click OK. These lines will now be part of your expense report.
To add receipts directly to D365FO click on the Receipts menu option. Now click the ‘+ Add Receipts’ function. These can be added one at a time by clicking the ‘Browse’ button, finding the receipt file or image, then clicking ‘Upload’.
To enter expenses directly to D365FO (and not on a specific expense report), you can do this in the re-imagined workspace as well. Click on the Expenses menu option. Now click the ‘+ New Expense’ function. This opens the
Fill out this form as required by selecting the expense category, amount, date, and any notes. Click the Save and New function. The record is saved, the form stays open, and is cleared for the next expense. Close the form, and all your expenses are saved.
One other nice function on this form is the currency calculator available to you as you enter expense lines. When entering an expense line, you can select a currency other than the default one. When done, a currency conversion is calculated on the transaction.
Submit Expense Report
To submit an expense report you can click the Submit button in the upper right of the expense report form. Also note the sub menu functions that are available for this expense report by clicking the ellipsis on the far right.
The re-imagined expense report form is more user friendly and streamline than the ‘existing’ form for sure. It is very easy to navigate to manage / update all your specific expense report information.
There are some drawbacks to this new feature as it exists with the 10.0.3 release.
- Approvals for expense reports cannot be done in the re-imagined form
- Integration for Travel Requisitions is not included yet
- Per Diem are not supported by this new form. If you are using Per Diem, you will need to use the existing expense report forms to enter expenses
- The links on the Employee Self Service page for expense entry still point to the existing expense report form
This is also clearly a first pass at what appears to be the path forward to a more overall improved expense entry process. Little functionality is added to the expense report process in this re-imagined form.
If your organization truly needs a more streamline entry process for your end users now, then this feature may make sense to implement. Understand you would be entering expenses in the new form but editing / approving / posting them in the existing one.
Otherwise it may be worth the wait, as Microsoft adds functionality to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations expense report, in future releases in the coming months.
If you have any questions / feedback, please contact us here at DC.