It’s hard to ignore the amount of improvement between Dynamics AX 2009 and Dynamics AX 2012.  We have supported Dynamics SL for 18 years and Dynamics GP for 10 years.   Dynamics SL has always been the leader in project accounting across the board for the Microsoft options.  Dynamics SL has handled multi-company far better than the other Dynamics ERP options.

What I see now is Dynamics AX has added tremendous functionality in the project accounting area and multi-company areas.  Two improvements I am especially looking forward to that should come soon are a timecard entry screen using HTML5.  This is slated for 2013.  The other feature already exists in Dynamics AX and that is the capability to schedule resources according to needed skillsets.

Like Dynamics SL, Dynamics AX allows journal transactions and other financial data entry into projects.  Account types of journal type, project, and vendor can be entered at the line item level.  Project types of cost, internal and investment can be assigned for a fixed asset.  Dynamics SL had this functionality but it had to be delivered by a nice ISV program by Progressive System Solutions.    The other similarity is that fixed assets can be both related to a project and also used by multiple companies.

The integration between fixed assets and the rest of Dynamics AX is everywhere.  You want to record the gain or loss on the sale of an asset when you invoice someone for that asset-no problem?  This is built in functionality.  You want to begin depreciating an asset as soon as you enter your PO for the asset-no problem.  Dynamics AX allows you to configure fixed assets such that you don’t need to receive the asset-the PO is enough.  You can set this up so that the receipt is assumed.

Assigning bar code numbers can be done in accounts payable.  The fixed asset program also allows you to track multiple value models and loan out the asset to other departments, companies etc.  The value models are used to track another set of books for foreign companies or subsidiaries where the real value (market) of the asset is more important than the book value.   Want to lend out your fixed asset to another division, location, company, branch, etc.?  No problem simply click on the Lend button within the fixed asset form with the asset up that you want to loan.

Consolidations, eliminations, and dealing with foreign currency valuations all got easier.  Elimination journals for example can be set up as automatic and they also allow you to validate the results of the elimination entries.

I would have to say that Dynamics GP financial modules are a bit easier to use.  This is mainly due to the fact however that Dynamics AX encourages more separation of duties and assumptions that different people are doing different tasks rather than the smaller to mid-market firms where an accounts payable person, for example, could be entering the voucher, selecting the bills to pay, and printing the checks.

What else is tremendous about Dynamics GP?  National Accounts and Collections are modules in the Dynamics GP that really set apart GP from other mid-market accounting products.  Dynamics AX has this functionality built into the A/R module-that’s both Collections capabilities and National Accounts capabilities.  For those of you not familiar with National Accounts, this is the feature that allows you to deal easily with parent/child relationships that exist among larger customers.  For example where you may invoice locations 1, 2 and 3 as different customers but then get paid by a centrally located headquarters.

So we still see plenty of opportunity for Dynamics SL and Dynamics GP, but Dynamics AX is promptly catching up and surpassing the two formerly mentioned products quickly.  Dynamics AX is one product to watch as Microsoft continues to invest heavily in improving this product to make it powerful, agile and simple.