Top 10 Key Differences Between Business Central vs Finance and Operations

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If you’re a business professional trying to set up your Dynamics 365 Business Central for manufacturing, you’ll be faced with one big decision; whether to choose Dynamics 365 Business Central vs Finance and Operations. Both are very powerful solutions by Microsoft, and can probably do a great job for any business.  

However, each is tailored for certain kinds of businesses, and choosing the right one for your business can make all the difference in the world.

But before you can decide which one suits your needs best, you’ve got to have a good grasp of what each of these solutions has to offer.  

What is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations (formerly AX) 

We don’t know why Microsoft changed the name of this ERP from AX to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, but we do know one thing; this ERP was made for big companies.  

Microsoft created this ERP with the largest organizations in mind, and it consistently delivers on that front. That’s probably why many industry experts see Finance and Operations as the perfect all-in-1 solution for all administrative bottlenecks in large organizations.  

The solution comes with some analytics tools based on Power BI and is designed to fit many different kinds of industries, from retail and manufacturing to distribution and the public sector.  

The solution is perfect for companies searching for an ERP with maximum power, flexibility, and adaptability.  

Companies that want to deploy this solution would need to have a minimum of 20 users.  

Like Business central, Microsoft also offers two pricing levels for the Finance and Operations solution. The first and most powerful package is the full Dynamics 365 plan for $210 per month per user, and the second plan is the Unified Operations subscription at $190 per month per user. 

business central vs finance and operations

What is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central 

The Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP is a more advanced version of NAV, which is an older ERP software from Microsoft.  

But Microsoft Dynamics isn’t just an advanced version of NAV — it’s a lot stronger and more expansive than that. It may look similar when one considers the close resemblance in terms of the operating system, but that’s where the similarities end. When it comes to raw power and functionality, Business Central is in another stratosphere. 

The ERP is specially designed for small to medium-sized businesses with anywhere from 0 to 500 employees. These companies are ideally ones with many moving parts that need to be controlled to drive growth.  

Another great thing about Microsoft Dynamics Business Central is that there are two price levels, so even very small businesses can afford the ERP and use it to run their operations.  

business central vs finance and operations

Key Differences Between Business Central vs Finance and Operations  

When looking at Business Central vs Finance and Operations, one thing is obvious. Finance and Operations is the more powerful ERP. It’s more expensive and can support the largest of businesses.  

But are those the only differences that matter? Let’s find out.  

Top Ten Differences Between Business Central vs Finance and Operations 

  1. Traceability: The Business Central solution offers serial number and lot number tracking, while Finance and Operations also offer pallet number and “license plate” tracking functionality.  
  2. Transaction Volume: Finance and Operations can process a lot more financial transactions than the Business Central solution. 
  3. Finances: Business Central has regional management and currency options available for 16 different countries. However, Finance and Operations offer currency options for 30 different countries.  
  4. Deployment Costs: Deployment costs for Finance and Operations are more expensive than the costs to implement Business Central. 
  5. Licensing Subscription Costs: The licensing subscription costs for Finance and Operations is a lot more than the licensing and subscription costs for Business Central. 
  6. Number Of Users: The minimum number of users for Business Central is only 1, while for Finance it is 20. 
  7. Payroll Modules: The Dynamics 365 Finance comes with a Payroll module, while Dynamics 365 Business Central does not. 
  8. Number Of Employees: Finance is an ERP solution for the largest businesses and supports anything from 500 employees above. However, the Dynamics 365 Business Central plan only supports less than 500 employees. 
  9. Modules: Business Central is an all-in-one system that integrates with other modules but works as a stand-alone solution. However, Finance and Operations is a solution that allows you to pick and choose whatever functionalities you need for your operation.  
  10. Core Capacities: The core capabilities of the Business Central ranges across finance, operations, supply chain, CRM, and project management. However, the Finance and Operations ERP core capabilities come with advanced features for finance, operations, manufacturing, supply chain, HR, sales, projects, and customer service.  

Picking Between Business Central vs Finance and Operations

It’s clear by now that the real decider of what solution you should go for is dependent on your current and future business needs.  

The size of your business determines what ERP would be best for you, and which would be a little bit too much. 

But how do you decide? Two important questions can help with your decision.  

  1. How many employees do you have? If your employee count is below the 500 mark by a lot, you’re better off to select Business Central.  

    However, if it’s above the 500 mark by a lot, or just hovers around it, you may want to get the Finance and Operations solution.  
  2. How high is your daily transaction level? If your business does hundreds of thousands of transactions, you certainly have to get the Finance and Operations solution. However, if you only do a few thousands sales transactions, Business Central is just the right fit for you.  

And if you’re just starting and don’t yet know how big your operations will get, it’s smarter to get started with Business Central.  


Both Business Central and Finance and Operations are two powerful ERP solutions designed for businesses by Microsoft. While Business Central is more suited for small to medium-sized businesses, the Finance and Operations solution is targeted at very large businesses with more than 500 employees.

When choosing what solution to purchase between Business Central vs Finance and Operations, it’s important to know the unique features of both and that will help you decide which will better suit your business.

If you’d like help or have questions, reach out to us or call us at 519-585-7524 and we will be happy to have a conversation.

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