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How to set up cash flow analyses with Dynamics 365 Business Central

f you want some help to decide what to do with your cash, have a look at the charts on the Accountant Role Center:

  • Cash Cycle

  • Income & Expense

  • Cash Flow

  • Cash Flow Forecasts

This topic describes where the data in the charts comes from and, if necessary, what to do to start using the charts.




The Cash Cycle and Income & Expense charts


The Cash Cycle and Income & Expense charts are ready to go, based on the Chart of Accounts and account schedules. The accounts are where the data comes from, and account schedules calculate the relationship between sales and receivables. Some accounts and account schedules are provided. You can use them as-is, change them, and add new ones. If you add G/L accounts to your chart of accounts, for example, by importing them from QuickBooks, you'll need to map to the accounts on the Account Schedules page for the following account schedule names:


Enter accounts in the Totaling field for Total Revenue, Total Receivables, Total Payables, and Total Inventory. To map to a range of accounts, or more than one specific account, enter the account numbers separated by ".." or by a vertical bar, respectively. For example, 1111..4444 or 2222|3333|5555.


Tip:

Verify your mapping by choosing the Overview action.


Set up the Cash Flow chart


The Cash Flow chart is based on the following:


  • A chart of cash flow accounts.

  • One or more cash flow setups. These specify the accounts to use for general ledger, purchases, sales, services, and fixed assets.

To help you get going, some accounts and cash flow setups are provided. You can add, change, or remove them.


To set these up, search for cash flow accounts, choose the link, and then fill in the fields. Hover over a field to read a short description. Repeat these steps for cash flow setup.


Set up cash flow forecasts


The Cash Flow Forecast chart uses cash flow accounts, cash flow setups, and cash flow forecasts. Some are provided, however, you can set up your own by using an assisted setup guide. The guide helps you specify things like how often to update the forecast, the accounts to base it on, information about when you pay taxes, and whether to turn on Azure AI.


Cash flow forecasts can use Azure AI to include documents with a due date in the future. The result is a more comprehensive prediction. The connection to Azure AI is already set up for you. You just need to turn it on. When you sign in to Business Central, a notification displays in a blue bar, and provides a link to the default cash flow setup. The notification displays only once. If you close it, but decide to turn on Azure AI, you can use the assisted setup guide, or a manual process.


Note
Alternatively, you can use your own predictive web service. For more information, see Create and use your own predictive web service for cash flow forecasts.

To use the assisted setup guide:


  1. In the Accountant Role Center, under the Cash Flow Forecast chart, choose the Open Assisted Setup action.

  2. Fill in the fields in each step of the guide.

  3. Choose the Lightbulb that opens the Tell Me feature icon, enter Cash Flow Forecast, and then choose the related link.

  4. On the Cash Flow Forecast page, choose the Recalculate Forecast action.

To use a manual process:


  1. In the Accountant Role Center, search for Cash Flow Setup, and then choose the related link.

  2. Expand the Azure AI FastTab, and then choose the Azure AI Enabled check box.

  3. Choose the Lightbulb that opens the Tell Me feature icon, enter Cash Flow Forecast, and then choose the related link.

  4. On the Cash Flow Forecast page, choose the Recalculate Forecast action.

Tip:

Consider the length of the periods that the service will use in its calculations. The more data you provide, the more accurate the predictions will be. Also, watch out for large variances in periods. They will also impact predictions. If Azure AI does not find enough data, or the data varies a lot, the service will not make a prediction.


Create and use your own predictive web service for cash flow forecasts


You can also create your own predictive web service based on a public model named Forecasting model for Microsoft Business Central. This predictive model is available online in the Azure AI Gallery. To use the model, follow these steps:


  1. Open a browser and go to the Azure AI Gallery.

  2. Search for Forecasting Model for Microsoft Business Central, and then open the model in Azure Machine Learning Studio.

  3. Use your Microsoft account to sign up for a workspace, and then copy the model.

  4. Run the model, and publish it as a web service.

  5. Make a note of the API URL and API key. You will use these credentials for a cash flow setup.

  6. Choose the Lightbulb that opens the Tell Me feature icon, enter Cash Flow Setup, and then choose the related link.

  7. Expand the Azure AI FastTab, and then fill in the fields.