Oracle NetSuite 2020.2 – Our Top Ten Countdown of the New Release Highlights

With the second automatic NetSuite update of 2020 now with us, we thought it would be useful to do a countdown of the features we think our varied customer base will find useful.

The Eureka Solutions NetSuite team is among the most experienced and technically proficient in the country, so we hope this is also of assistance to anyone considering a switch to Oracle NetSuite, as this analysis of the latest release is a great example of the continual, automatic improvements and enhancements NetSuite users benefit from.

Enhancements tend to include general enhancements as well as those particularly useful to specific industries. As always, please get in touch if you would like to discuss or view anything in more detail.

There are lots and lots of new features available. This list of ‘top ten’ features was selected by our Senior Solution Consultant, Alan Miles, who has been involved in the vast majority of our NetSuite customer projects, and who has great insight into what is likely to be of most benefit.

The true-cloud based nature of Oracle NetSuite enables users to enjoy updates automatically twice a year, and the useful ‘Release Preview’ process gives you plenty of time to view the newly updated system applied to your NetSuite system, so that you can see how all the functionality will affect your set-up.

You get everything from sneak peaks of highlights through to detailed release notes, and all key processes and any customisations can be tested pre-release. All this is accessed from your NetSuite dashboard.

(Release portlet image)

So, now to count them down …..

Number 10 – Customer Scheduled Maintenance

Not a product feature as such, but a nice feature that gives customers more flexibility and control around when maintenance fixes and updates take place in their system. This will be phased in for different types of updates, starting with Oracle Database upgrades. Note that this doesn’t apply to new release updates (unless you are on a premium service tier), although this is planned to be available once the move to Oracle’s Cloud Infrastructure takes place.

Number 9 – Supplier Prepayment Improvements

This relatively new feature has been given an update to enable even more functionality and flexibility within the supplier management process. This includes the approval process for prepayments being able to be triggered before the payment is made (including via the Employee Centre), the ability to copy or void prepayments, the visibility of a prepayment balance on a supplier account separately from the main balance, and the ability to import supplier prepayments. All in all, giving you yet more control over these payments.

Number 8 – Expense Attachment Security

The last release, 2020.1, introduced enhanced security for files attached to expense claims, meaning the attachments were saved into a dedicated folder per employee, to make sure employees could only see their own receipts.

2020.2 sees the launch of a migration tool which allows you to migrate all existing expense attachments to the new folder structure to make sure files attached before this update are saved securely.

Number 7 – Expense Policies

This is a nice feature that allows you to set up expense policies. We imagine this will be extended further in future but, for now, expense claims can have rules applied to them to allow expense policies to be followed, i.e. to limit the amounts that employees can claim and minimising the need for manual intervention. The criteria for the expense policies can be based on a date range, expense categories (e.g. mileage, accommodation transport), and/or whether the limit is per expense claim or per day. So, for example, a limit could be set for £25 per day for meals. All of this will help to speed up the approval process for expenses and give better overall control.

 

Number 6 – SuiteAnalytics Workbooks Enhancements

We would encourage all NetSuite users to look at this excellent functionality if they haven’t already. SuiteAnalytics is a whole new reporting engine that was introduced a few releases ago and has been expanded and improved in every release since.

Analytics workbooks are a way of defining what you want to report on, similar to the way you create saved searches. But with Analytics you can build pivot tables and charts within the system and there are some major updates included in this release.

One of the key updates is that you can now include multiple datasets in one workbook. You could have one workbook in the system that could be combined sales and purchase data, or actual and forecast data, to allow you to create a set of reports that allows you to see charts and tables across multiple data sets, ensuring everyone has the information they need at their fingertips.

There have also been improvements to the formula builder, making criteria easier to define; tables and charts can be added to dashboards, giving you the view of your data that works best for you; there are filtering improvements and – very usefully – you can now reorder workbook tabs.

Number 5 – Supply Planning

A revamp of the Demand Planning module, making it more flexible and interactive. This update allows product-based businesses to:

  • Define and save supply planning criteria, such as planning horizon, items, locations, and planning rules.
  • Compare multiple plans.
  • Copy a plan and modify its criteria to use in “what-if” analysis.
  • Create multiple plans by product line for “what-if” analysis.
  • Generate supply plans.

(image Supply Planning Workbench)

And we have The Supply Planning Workbench – a pretty major change that we’ll release a blog and schedule a webinar for in its own right, but in summary it allows you to you review actions and exceptions messages, firm up orders, release orders, create planned orders and create new supply change orders.

Number 4 – Bank Statement Import – Auto Create Transactions

This update removes yet another manual process and will be a time saver for anyone wanting to import their transactions and create them automatically. You can automate the process of creating and matching transactions using imported bank data. Auto-create rules enable you to automatically create and match:

  • Deposits and charges for general ledger bank accounts
  • Charges and refunds for general ledger credit card accounts

Auto-transactions can be reviewed before being posted to the general ledger (GL).

 

Number 3 – Automatic Bank Statement Import

The previous release introduced the ability to connect NetSuite to a secure folder (SFTP) that your bank would export statement to, meaning files can be transferred directly from the bank to NetSuite without having to download files locally. NetSuite 2020.2 introduces an automated import of bank statement files using this SFTP connection.

Statement files can be imported automatically once per day and supported file formats include OFX/QFX , BAI2, MT940, and CAMT.053. Custom mappings can also be configured.

It’s worth noting that some banks may charge for the SFTP connection depending on the banking service you have, so that’s worth checking out with your bank.

Number 2 – Intercompany Transaction Framework

Here, there is newly enhanced intercompany transaction management functionality, including:

  • Ability to define default intercompany accounting preferences and markup rates for cross-subsidiary transactions.
  • Cross Charge Automation – a new step added to the period end check list to generate cross charges e.g. for a scenario where one subsidiary takes an order for a customer, but another subsidiary fulfils the order.
  • Intercompany Netting – easier way to settle intercompany balances.
  • Transaction pairing – match intercompany transactions and reduce time spent reconciling at month end.

Number 1 – Invoice Groups (Consolidated Invoicing)

The number one most requested feature in the SuiteIdeas feature request list, this is something we have been waiting for a while for! Consolidated Invoicing was previously available as an addon bundle or bespoke development but, as of 2020.2, consolidated invoicing is now a standard feature, which they call ‘Invoice Groups’.

A great feature for anyone that has the scenario where a customer places multiple orders in a month, this feature allows multiple invoices for a customer to be grouped together and sent as a single invoice. So, if you have a customer that has placed five orders in a month they can be grouped in a single invoice. From the customers perspective they get a single invoice, but it is still the individual invoices that remain that affect your balance – the grouped invoice is a non-posting transaction.

Useful? Want to know more or see a demo?

Hopefully you have found this of interest. There are plenty of other enhancements, including in ecommerce and development … EVERY module within NetSuite has been updated.

For existing users, the release notes will give you all the details of every single feature. For those not using NetSuite yet, just get in touch if you want to see these new features or anything related to NetSuite functionality in general.

Also coming soon – SuitePeople – NetSuite’s HR platform. Launched in US two years ago this is now being piloted in the UK. Once we have more info on the UK specific features, we’ll arrange a detailed webinar and blog for you.