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… continued from part (3)

G. Dynamics AX Project Analysis
Within this subsection, the standard Dynamics AX earned value management tools will be analyzed and compared to the additional analysis option arising from the project setup and posting exemplified before.

G.1. Dynamics AX Standard Earned Value Analysis Tools
The standard Dynamics AX earned value analysis tools consist of an EV chart and an actual vs. forecast chart and are illustrated in the next screen-print. As both charts rely on the standard Dynamics AX SSAS cubes, a processing of those cubes is required before project analysis can be made.
What you can identify from the EV chart is a single EV data point that is identical to the planned value as the project has been finished. Interestingly, the EV data point is reported at the beginning of the project as all transactions have been recorded in future periods. As the EV chart is only able to calculate and illustrate one single EV data point, not detailed EV analysis over the lifetime of the project can be executed. What is more, actual costs values cannot be identified from the chart. Whether this is a bug in the authors Dynamics AX test environment or whether this is a general lack of the EV chart tool could not be identified.
The lower actual vs. forecast chart compares the actual and forecasted, that is planned, project values. As mentioned in the beginning of this post, such a comparison does not make much sense as the underlying reason for the actual vs. forecasted difference cannot be identified.

Based on this analysis, it can be summarized that the standard EV analysis tools available in Dynamics AX are not of much use for a detailed project analysis.


G.2. Alternative Dynamics AX Standard Earned Value Analysis Tools
Now let’s have a look at the additional project analysis opportunities that the project setup and project postings shown above offer.

The first thing that you can identify when opening the fixed price project estimate window is the EV that has been calculated and posted for the different project stages and that can be identified in the accrued revenue column of the estimate form.
In addition, the cost variance can be identified in the general tab of the estimate form.
Through a personalization of the estimate form, the EV and cost variance can be identified by default in one single screen for the different project stages without implementing any system adjustment.
Unfortunately, the schedule variance cannot be identified by default in the estimate form. Yet, as the schedule variance is defined as the simple difference between the planned and earned value, a simple system modification allows also including this value in the estimate form as well as other project reports.

If you shun making a system modification for executing the EV analysis you can also use the Management Reporter (MR) for doing this analysis. The only prerequisite for doing the analysis in MR is that forecast values have been copied to the budget module.
Once this has been realized the EV analysis can be executed by setting up a simple MR report that combines actual and budget values. Example:


H. Summary
Overall it can be summarized that Dynamics AX fully supports the Earned Value Management technique through a corresponding project setup.

What is more, the project accounting approach illustrated in this blog post allows creating project and financial statements based on the POC (percentage of completion) as well as the CC (completed contract) method in parallel and thus allows you following different accounting principles such as local GAAP, IFRS and US-GAAP in parallel.

… to be finalized in part (5)