Dynamics 365 Business Central vs. Dynamics 365 Finance: a comprehensive overview

Microsoft’s suite of apps, Dynamics 365, offers various CRM and ERP solutions for businesses to help them take their processes and productivity to the next level.

In this article, we decided to take a closer look at Dynamics 365’s ERP modules, namely Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics 365 Finance. We have compared the two modules and listed the features that we think are essential for choosing the most suitable solution for you from the two. So, without further ado – let’s get started!

Overview: Dynamics 365 Business Central

Dynamics 365 Business Central is one of several ERP modules that Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 product family offers and was first published as Dynamics NAV and Navision. It is specifically targeted at small and medium-sized companies. Although Dynamics 365 is commonly hosted online (Software as a Service, SaaS), an on-premises version for manual deployment and administration of the software is available, too.

Dynamics 365 Business Central assists small and medium-sized operations with enterprise resource management functionalities related to sales and customer service, finance, manufacturing, supply chains, analytics and more.

Functionalities

Selected features include:

  • Sales and customer service: Cross selling and upselling, keeping an eye on customer interactions, offering excellent customer service (e.g. via self-service portals) and more are all available in Dynamics 365 Business Central.
  •  Finance: Dynamics 365 Business Central offers its users built-in dashboards to track their financial performance and support data-driven decision making. Creating customized data analyses and reports are possible, too.
  • Project management: If you want your customer projects to stay on time and budget, it’s important to check in on them regularly with viable reporting tools that Dynamics 365 Business Central provides.
  • Inventory: With Dynamics 365 Business Central, keeping your inventory up-to-date is as easy as ever. Automated functionalities calculate stock levels and more to maintain the right amount of inventory and help you make smarter business purchases.
  • Warehouse management: Managing a warehouse includes layouts and storage unit dimensions. Dynamics 365 Business Central helps you optimize your operations.
  • Accessibility: You can easily access and work with Dynamics 365 Business Central from any device at any time due to its cloud-hosting option and mobile version.

Key benefits of Dynamics 365 Business Central

  1. ERP and CRM in one platform

Dynamics 365 Business Central is an enterprise resource platform that include capabilities for customer relationship management, too. That means you can keep track of your entire business while at the same time track customer interactions, sales, service requests and more.

  1. Single source of truth

Dynamics 365 Business Central creates a single source of truth for all data across departments, which allows everyone in your company to access and work with the same information.

  1. Simple project management

Aside from its ERP and CRM capabilities, Dynamics 365 Business Central lets you manage projects, too, and offers you a variety of functionalities for creating projects, tracking (e.g. timesheets) and reporting, as well as planning capacities and real-time insights.

  1. Warehouse and supply chain management

Robust warehouse and supply chain management features are part of Dynamics 365 Business Central, too. You can optimize your supply chain by leveraging predictive stock replenishments, automated purchase orders and more. 

  1. Low cost of ownership

Just like all modules of the Dynamics 365 product family, Dynamics 365 Business Central integrates seamlessly with other business applications by Microsoft, for example Microsoft 365. You can download more apps or extensions from Microsoft AppSource or from a Microsoft Dynamics Partner if you’d like to customize your solution further.

Overview: Dynamics 365 Finance

Dynamics 365 Finance, just like Dynamics 365 Business Central, is one of several ERP modules that are included in Microsoft Dynamics 365. The module is clearly targeted at medium to large organizations, and offers a large variety of enterprise resource planning functionalities, which – like the name suggests – focus on finance management and financial processes.

Functionalities

Selected features include:

  • Budgeting: With Dynamics 365 Finance, you can control and optimize costs within different process areas;that means: automating financial data, streamliningprocesses, ensuring accurate data prediction and forecasting, to mention a few. Enabling you to make strategic decisions based on real-time data to increase your productivity is at the heart of the solution.
  •  Processes: Instead of having to manage your activities independently and bringing them together later for analysis, Dynamics 365 Finance unifies your processes from the very beginning and centralizes data intelligence that lets you submit invoices automatically, manage workflows and more.
  • Financials: Dynamics 365 Finance is perfect for organizing, monitoring and managing your financial records. Payables and (global) taxes, for instance, can be managed instantly and accurately, and recurring billing etc. streamlined easily.
  • Global accounting: If your business has offices all over the world, it only makes sense to support your processes with a financial management software that helps you carry out your global accounting, ensure compliance management, calculate taxes accurately and more. Dynamics 365 Finance is perfect for that.

Key benefits of Dynamics 365 Finance

Dynamics 365 comes with many advantages. Here are the ones we think that are most important:

  1. Manage global financial processes

Large companies usually don’t only operate in one country, but have offices all over the world. Dynamics 365 Finance helps you manages your global financial processes effortlessly. 

  1. Built-in analytics

Dynamics 365 Finance leverages Power BI as a standard built-in analytics tool. It makes your analyses and reports deeper, and provides you with real-time data whenever needed.

  1. Lower operational costs

Dynamics 365 Finance is perfect when it comes to identifying and cleaning up redundant resources thanks to its advanced automation capabilities, which results in minimized running costs and optimized human resources.

What’s the difference between Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics 365 Finance?

The key differences between Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics 365 Finance, among others, lie in organization size and flexibility.

  •  Organization size: Whereas Dynamics 365 Business Central is best suited for and thus marketed at small and medium-sized businesses, Dynamics 365 Finance is the right choice for large organizations with more than 500 employees.
  • Flexibility: Although Dynamics 365 Business Central is part of the Dynamics 365 product group and thus integrates with other modules, it is much more of a standalone solution than Dynamics 365 Finance. The Finance module allows you to select and precisely combine the functionalities you need, meaning it’s ideal for customization.
  Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance
Suitable for Small to medium-sized businesses Large businesses
Minimum number of (full) users 1 20
Availability SaaS/On-premises SaaS/On-premises
Customization All-in-one standalone solution Select and combine what you need
CRM capability Includes CRM capabilities Doesn’t include CRM capabilities
Cost of ownership Low Unpredictable

Conclusion

Whether one or the other solutions is the best fit for you, clearly depends on the size of your business and on the complexity of your requirements as well as focus. With Dynamics 365 you can’t go wrong – there are modules and customization options for everyone. The next best step now that your knowledge about Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics 365 Finance has grown is to contact a Microsoft Partner that can give you much more detailed and, most importantly, individual insights and is happy to help you make an informed decision! 

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