Introduction to Customers and Suppliers

Information about your Customers, Suppliers and all other companies with whom you have some contact is stored in the Customer register. This register is available in the Sales Support module and in the Sales and Purchase Ledgers. Storing Customers, Suppliers and other companies together in one register means that you can make full use of the Calendar, Task Manager, Mails and Letters with companies of all kinds (the last two require you to have the appropriate Value Packs). It also means that you will only have to maintain a single record for a company who is both a Customer and a Supplier.

Throughout these web pages, the term "Customer" is usually used when describing the use of a record in the Customer register in a sales context, while "Supplier" is used in a purchase context. "Supplier" implies that the Supplier box in the header of the Customer record has been checked.

On the sales side, you can group Customers of a similar type together using Customer Categories. Every Customer belonging to a Category will be given the same default Price List and Debtor Account, saving you the work of having to specify these in each individual Customer record. Defining and assigning Customer Categories also makes modification easier: if it is necessary to assign a different Debtor Account, for example, you only need to make one change (to the Customer Category), rather than many (to each of the Customer records). If you specify information both for a Customer Category and in the Customer record on an individual company belonging to that Category, the information entered in the Customer record will take precedence. For example, if you specify a Price List in a Customer Category and in a Customer belonging to that Category, the one in the Customer will be used.

Similarly, on the purchase side you can group Suppliers of a similar type together using Supplier Categories. All Suppliers belonging to the same Category can be given the same default Creditor Account, saving you the work of having to specify this for all Suppliers individually. A company that is both a Customer and Supplier can belong both to a Customer Category and to a Supplier Category.

Prior to FirstOffice and Office/2 version 4.1, Customers and Suppliers were stored in separate registers. In this version, the two registers were made into one. When you update to this or a later version, you can use the 'Convert Suppliers to Customers' Maintenance function in the System module to bring the information in the two registers together. This is described on the Combining Customers and Suppliers page.