Dynamics 365 – Defining Vendor or Customer Parent/Child Relationships

What to do, what to do?  Several of the vendor and customer accounts are related, but there is no way to demonstrate that relationship in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations!  As a result, some reporting has to be manually adjusted.

Oh yes, there are some options!  But careful thought must be given to this topic before a business process is implemented.  Understanding the potential drawbacks of using the Parent/Child relationship which is available through the use of the Global Address Book (GAB) is a key.

By using the Global Address to create such relationships, it can exist across legal entities. This may be a possible alternative to sharing vendors.  It also allows for relationships between vendors or customers, to be created for many purposes other than the Parent/Child, such as subsidiaries, mergers, buy-outs, etc.  The GAB simplifies the maintenance of the relationships allowing users to keep track of the ever-changing business world.

Setting up the Parent/Child relationship

Identify the Party ID of the Vendors or Customers to be related, from the Vendor or Customer records.

(Hint:  Personalize Vendor Grid to include Party ID)

Navigate to the Global Address Book:  Common > Global Address Book.

  • Open the GAB record.
  • Expand the Relationships tab.

Navigating to global address book in dynamics 365

  • Click New.
  • Click the dropdown in the ID column to reveal the possible Relationship types to select from.

relationship types in d365

  • Select a relationship such as ‘ParentChild’, which will populate the ‘Relationship A to B’ field.

Note: The view can be changed from ‘Perspective A to B’ to ‘Perspective B to A’.

  • Click the dropdown in the ‘Party B’ column and select the Party that is related.
  • Click Save.

Reviewing Relationships

Because the Global Address Book is a “global” concept, managing relationships through the Global Address Book and using one Party ID to represent a Party that may be a customer and a vendor or a customer and an employee, for example, means fewer records, increased data consistency, and easier address maintenance.

Having the ability to review the relationships that have been created and to manage those relationships is another plus!

By navigating to the Vendor or Customer grid, and expanding the Factbox pane, it is possible to view the Relationships by selecting a line in the grid.

reviewing relationships

The same functionality is available from within the Customer or Vendor form.

Need for Consideration

To be completely fair, one must understand the potential not-so-positive side of using the Global Address Book for creating and maintaining party relationships.

First, since a party can play multiple roles, such as vendor,  customer or worker, any relationship placed on that party becomes a relationship for ALL roles.  Relationships are not role dependant.  Said differently, if there is a relationship between two parties, that are both Vendors and Customers, for Procurement purposes, but that relationship does not hold true in the Sales world, the GAB relationship would not be a good fit.

Navigationally, the GAB standard forms are not as robust as they could be, which could result in relationships being built incorrectly.  The Fact boxes are not as fact-filled as they could be either.  Modifications to add Vendor/Customer/Employee ID and Legal entity assignment would make selecting the correct party more accurate, especially when Party names are similar.

Standard Security roles may prove to be a hindrance, since not all roles having access to Vendor maintenance have access to the Global Address Book to maintain the relationships.  Custom security roles may be required.

Additionally, it is possible to build relationships between parties regardless of existing relationships.  A circular relationship could result which could negatively impact reports, inquires and dashboards.  Extreme care must be taken when building and maintaining relationships through the Global Address Book.

global address book relationships dynamics



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