Explore financial dimensions and dimension set concepts


Financial dimensions

This topic explains the various types of financial dimensions and how they are set up.

The Financial dimensions page contains the segments in your accounting structure, which is critical for reporting purposes.

Use the Financial dimensions page to create financial dimensions you can use as account segments for charts of accounts. There are two types of financial dimensions: custom dimensions and entity-backed dimensions. Custom dimensions are shared across legal entities, and the values are entered and maintained by users. For entity-backed dimensions, the values are defined somewhere else in the system, such as in Customers or Stores entities. Some entity-backed dimensions are shared across legal entities, whereas other entity-backed dimensions are company-specific.

After you create the financial dimensions, use the Financial dimension values page to assign additional properties to each financial dimension.

You can use create custom financial dimensions to correspond to legal entities. You do not have to create the legal entities in Dynamics 365 Finance. For example, if you have multiple legal entities, you can create a custom financial dimension to represent an organization. All transactions should be associated to that custom legal entity. This is more commonly used if the implementation is non-finance.

However, financial dimensions are not designed to address the operational or business requirements of legal entities. The interunit accounting functionality in Finance is designed to address only the accounting entries created by each transaction.

Before you set up financial dimensions as legal entities, evaluate your business processes in the following areas to determine whether this setup will work for your organization:

  • Inventory

  • Sales and purchases between financial dimensions and legal entities

  • Sales tax calculation and reporting

  • Operational reporting

Some of the limitations include the following:

  • You can use sales tax functionality only with legal entities, not with financial dimensions.

  • Some reports do not include financial dimensions. Therefore, to report by financial dimension, you might have to modify the reports.

Custom dimensions

To create a user-defined financial dimension, in the Use values from field, select Custom dimension. You can create a custom dimension for an entity that does not exist in Dynamics 365 Finance.

You can also specify an account mask to limit the amount and type of information that can be entered for dimension values. You can enter characters that remain the same for each dimension value, such as letters or a hyphen (-). You can also enter number signs (#) and ampersands (&) as placeholders for characters that will change every time a dimension value is created. Use a number sign (#) as a placeholder for a number and an ampersand (&) as a placeholder for a letter. The field for the format mask is available only when you select Custom dimension in the Use values from field.


To limit the dimension value to the letters "CC" and three numbers, enter CC-### as the format mask.

Entity-backed dimensions

To create an entity-backed financial dimension, in the Use values from field, select a system-defined entity to base the financial dimension on. Financial dimension values are then created from that entity. For example, to create dimension values for projects, select Projects. A dimension value is then created for each project name. The Financial dimension values page shows the values for the entity. If those values are company-specific, the page also shows the company.

Activating dimensions

When you activate a financial dimension, the table is updated so it includes the name of the financial dimension. You can enter dimension values before you activate a financial dimension. However, a financial dimension cannot be consumed anywhere until it's activated. For example, you cannot add a financial dimension to an account structure until the financial dimension has been activated. When you select Activate, all dimensions are updated and show status changes.


On the Text translation page, you can enter text for the selected financial dimension in various languages. On the Main account translation page, you can enter text for the main account in various languages.

Not all dimensions are valid for all legal entities. Additionally, some dimensions might be relevant only for a specific period. In these cases, you can use the Legal entity overrides section to specify the companies that the dimension should be suspended for, the owner, and the period when the dimension is active.

Financial dimension sets

Use the Financial dimension sets page to create financial dimensions. A financial dimension set contains either financial dimensions or financial dimension combinations. The main account is always included and can be combined with other financial dimensions. The main account can also be the only financial dimension included in a financial dimension set.

The order in which financial dimensions in a set are displayed determines how transactions are sorted and fields are printed on reports.

For example, a financial dimension set includes the Department and Cost center financial dimensions. The financial dimension set is set up so that the Department amounts are displayed first on reports, followed by the Cost center amounts.

When you view or report on financial transactions, the financial dimension sets that are defined can be used individually or in pairs. You can select a primary and secondary financial dimension set. The secondary financial dimension set includes more detailed information about the amounts that are in the primary financial dimension set.