Just like the Brady Bunch had Marsha, Marsha, Marsha, Business Central users have Dimensions, Dimensions, Dimensions, but what is a Dimension?
According to Microsoft, Dimensions are values that categorize entries so you can track and analyze them on documents, such as sales orders. Dimensions can, for example, indicate the project or department an entry came from. So, what does this mean? It means, that dimensions are a code that you can setup and then you can associate those codes with different transactions so that you can analyze your financial reports based on those values.
If you are on some sort of legacy system, or worse yet, still using one of our main competitor’s ERP software, this probably makes no sense to you. So, let me give you an example. If you fall into one of the previous categories I just suggested, you most likely had to build your Chart of Account Structure, and it probably has a 5-digit Primary Segment which says this is Office Supplies, this is Computer Supplies, Cost of Goods, etc. You should also see your Chart of Account String, which is the 5 Digits from the Primary Segment, then maybe another 3 digits for the Marketing Department, and then possibly another 2 digits for the Region. The true downside to how this is setup is really a couple of things. First, you’re usually locked into this setup. Second, you are required to setup every single combination of every primary segment plus department, plus project, or plus whatever it may be, and therefore, you could end up with thousands of GL Accounts. Let me say that again, you could end up with thousands of GL Accounts!
So, what’s different about dimensions? To quote my trusty podcast cohost Ken, “What’s different about dimensions is that first you setup your chart of accounts, and that’s your four character or five character chart, like computer supplies or sales. Then, for all those other ways that you want to be able to report on your Income Statement or Sales or Expenses, you would setup a dimension and you can setup an unlimited number of dimensions.” This means you do not have to setup each unique combination of GL Account and Dimensions. If you have 300 GL Accounts, that is your Chart of Accounts. Apart from this, you’ll setup your different dimensions, like a department dimension with your 30 different department codes, or a project dimension with 20 different projects, and this effectively stops you from having to define what all the different valid combinations would have to be!
So that’s my take on what dimensions are. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!