Dimensions overview

Many ERP and accounting systems have introduced the concept of dimensional accounting, which facilitates real-time detailed information without the need of creating a multitude of GL accounts and thereby complex chart of accounts.

As employee wages form a considerable expense in a business, we have also introduced dimensions to complement the existing accounting integration functionality. In short, using dimensions will result in a business:

  • not having to create multiple locations or sub-locations for each job, project, department, etc  and then have to manage the locations in the chart of accounts;
  • having the ability to assign dimension values against an employees earnings and expense claims in the pay run; and
  • having dimension details included in the payroll journal, thereby avoiding any manual transactions.  

Please note: Currently, the only journal services that caters for including dimension details in the payroll journal are as follows:

    • File export
    • Detailed file export
    • Microsoft Dynamics Business Central 

Businesses that are currently connected to another accounting service can, however, export the dimension data from the 'download journal' button in a finalised pay run.

This functionality is available to users on the advanced/plus plans. If you have subscribed to the applicable plan, you will see the "Dimensions" menu item in Payroll Settings > Pay Run Settings. Otherwise, you can upgrade to the applicable plan to access this feature.

For a short video on the setup, see: Dimensions | Video


This article will cover the following topics:

What is the difference between a 'dimension' and a 'dimension value'?

A dimension is used to group or categorise data for the purpose of analysis. A dimension value is a sub-category or a tag attached to the data to conduct meaningful analysis - this can be done because the data at this level is more detailed. There is no limit to the number of dimension values that can be set up under a dimension.

The basic structure of dimensions and dimension values is as follows:

  • Dimension A
    • Dimension value 1
    • Dimension value 2
    • Dimension value 3
  • Dimension B
    • Dimension value 4
    • Dimension value 5
    • Dimension value 6

To further illustrate the structure, an example for a national hospitality group could be as follows:

  • Area
    • NSW
    • VIC
    • SA
    • QLD
  • Venue
    • Europa Hotel
    • Golden Sheaf
    • Ship Inn
    • Gladesville Hotel
  • Department
    • Kitchen
    • Bar
    • Gaming
    • Restaurant

Adding a dimension and dimension value

A dimension must always be added first before its associated dimension value can be added.

To add dimension(s) and dimension values for Dynamics 365 Business Central users, simply click on the "Import Dynamics 365 Business Central dimension" button. This will automatically import all dimensions data created from within the Business Central account connected to the payroll account (via the 'Integrations' screen), including the code and external id. Any changes or updates to these details cannot be amended within payroll - rather it will need to be done in Business Central and then re-imported into payroll. 

For all other users, add a dimension by clicking on the "Add" button. If this is the first time you are setting up dimensions, you will see the following banner where you can click on "add a dimension now" to start adding a dimension:   


You can setup more than one dimension. Once a dimension is added, this will open up the ability to add a dimension value for that dimension. To add a dimension value, ensure you have first selected the dimension the dimension value pertains to (only relevant if you have created more than one dimension) and then click on "Add": 


In addition to adding the name of the value, the following configuration options available include:

  • External Id: This field is not compulsory and would only be required if the accounting service required this information as part of the journal integration.
  • Automatically enable for: You can define the employees that should be assigned to the dimension value. This then flows through to what dimension values are made available for an employee record to then configure % earnings split, primary dimensions and dimensions that can be assigned to the employee’s pay run earnings and expenses. By default, the dimension value will automatically be assigned to all employees. Otherwise, you can apply different criteria by selecting specific employees (one or more) or defining coverage based on an employee’s:
    • primary location; and/or   
    • location; and/or
    • tags; and/or
    • employee group.

When adding a dimension or dimension value, take note of the following:

  • You cannot set up a dimension with the exact same name as an existing dimension;
  • You cannot set up a value with the exact same name as an existing value for the same dimension;
  • Dimension value external Ids must be unique;
  • All dimensions/dimension values will be made available to all employees in the pay run.

You can choose to bulk add/edit dimensions and values using the "Import" or "Export" buttons from the 'Dimensions' screen. Click on the "Export" button to download an excel or csv file of all existing dimension settings or a blank template if no dimension settings have yet to be configured. Using that file, manually add any new dimensions or values or update any existing settings (ie update the name or external id of a dimension/dimension value). The file contains the following columns:

  • ReportingDimensionId: This is the system generated id pertaining to the dimension. An id will be displayed for existing dimensions. If you are adding new dimensions via the import functionality, keep this cell clear. If you are updating an existing setting, ensure to not remove the Id so that the system knows exactly what setting to update;
  • ReportingDimensionName: This pertains to the name of the dimension;
  • Id: This is the system generated id pertaining to the dimension value. An id will be displayed for existing dimension values. If you are adding a new dimension value via the import functionality, keep this cell clear. If you are updating an existing dimension value, ensure to not remove the Id so that the system knows exactly what setting to update;
  • Name: This pertains to the name of the dimension value;
  • ExternalId: If the business has connected to a specific accounting service that requires an external id to be added to dimension settings, and which would be a value that comes from the accounting platform, enter such value in this cell. Otherwise, this can be kept blank.

Once the file includes all the data, click on "Import" to start the process of uploading the file that will then add new or update existing dimension settings. When data is being imported, the validations listed above will also apply.

Assigning default dimension values to employees 

Similar to assigning an employee to a default (primary) location, you can also assign default dimension values to an employee. This means that any earnings and expenses created within the pay run will automatically assign those dimension values. Assigning default dimension values to employees is optional and is configured via the employee's Pay Run Defaults screen. Click in the 'Primary Dimensions' field to display a list of all dimension values. You can select multiple dimension values but only one dimension value per dimension.  

Splitting employee earnings by dimension value

Refer to splitting earnings by dimension for detailed instructions on setting this up for your employees.

Assigning dimension values in the pay run

From within the pay run, dimension values can be assigned to an employee's earnings as well as expense reimbursements. Assign default dimension values to employees via the Pay Run Defaults screen. When you do this, the dimension values will automatically pre-populate. By assigning dimension values to employee earnings, the payroll journal will also categorise ancillary components such as superannuation, PAYG and net earnings. This is explained in further detail below.

Assigning dimensions to employee earnings

A dimension field will display on each earnings line in the pay run as follows: 


To select one or more dimension values, click in the dimensions field where a dropdown will then appear listing all dimension values per dimension. Only a maximum of one value per dimension can be selected.


Assigning dimensions to employee expenses

Similar to assigning dimension values against employee earnings, dimension values can also be assigned to any expense reimbursements in the pay run.

Screen_Shot_2022-07-09_at_3.23.06_pm.pngImporting/exporting dimension values in pay run 

Using the existing import pay run functionality will allow you to bulk assign dimensions values against employee earnings and expenses. The 'Earnings Lines' and 'Employee Expenses' worksheets in the  export template will include a column for each dimension set up in the business and, where required, enter the dimension value in the applicable cell.

Reporting dimension values in the payroll journal

When posting/downloading the payroll journal, this will now include dimension data to reflect any dimension values assigned in the pay run. As stated at the start of the article this functionality currently only applies to businesses using either the 'File export', 'Detailed file export' or Dynamics 365 Business Central journal service.

Businesses that are currently connected to another accounting/journal service can, however, export the dimension data from the 'download journal' button in a finalised pay run. The 'Details' worksheet of the journal file includes a column for each dimension set up in the business and, if any dimension values have been assigned, will be displayed in the applicable cell.


Deleting and restoring dimension / dimension values

Dimensions and dimension values cannot be deleted in the payroll account for Dynamics 365 Business Central users - instead any deletion should be managed directly within Business Central. For all other users, a dimension or dimension value can be deleted if it is no longer required. To delete a dimension, which will also delete its associated values, click on the bin icon positioned to the right of the dimension dropdown:


To delete a dimension value, click on the bin icon positioned to the right of the dimension value name.

Deleting a dimension or dimension value will not remove these from historic pay run data or payroll journals. Rather, it just means that the deleted dimension (and associated dimension values) or the  dimension value will not be made available to assign in pay runs moving forward. 

If you have deleted a dimension in error or need to re-use the dimension, you can simply restore the deleted dimension using our restore deleted items functionality. A few things to note when trying to restore a deleted dimension or dimension value:

  • If you want to restore a dimension value that was deleted as a result of the dimension being  deleted, you must restore the dimension. This will then automatically restore the associated values of that dimension;
  • You cannot restore a dimension or dimension value that has the exact name as an active dimension or dimension value;
  • You cannot restore a dimension or dimension value whose external Id matches exactly that of an active dimension or dimension value.

Dimensions in timesheets

Assign Dimensions in Timesheets

  1. You can assign dimension values either when creating a new timesheet or approving a timesheet your employee has created. To learn how to create timesheets for employees, read this article here
  2. Next, navigate to the employee you need to assign the values to. If they have dimension values enabled then the corresponding ‘Dimension’ columns follow the Locations column. timesheet
  3. Click on the drop-down in each dimension column. This drop-down will populate with the relevant dimension values that are enabled for the employee for the relevant dimension.
  4. The dimension will be added to the timesheet.
  5. NB.Only one dimension value can be added per dimension for each timesheet line (no more than one dimension value from the same dimension can be assigned per timesheet line).


Approve dimensions in Timesheets

The dimensions column is located after the locations column

When a timesheet has been approved, it is possible to revert it to a submitted state and therefor make changes again by following the instructions here

You can edit a line in a timesheet that has been submitted by clicking on the pencil edit icon. 

In the edit modal navigate to the Dimensions field. 


To edit a value: When the dimension field is selected then a drop-down will show a list of dimensions and corresponding dimension values enabled for the employee.

To delete the value: The displayed dimension values in the edit modal will precede with an 'X' that when selected removes the dimension value from the timesheet.

In the drop-down the user can select one checkbox for a dimension value per dimension

When a dimension value is checked then the dimension values will be saved and attached to the timesheet.

Click Save

Click Submit and Approve, if required. 

If you have any questions or feedback, please let us know via support@yourpayroll.com.au.

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