How do I Maintain Customer Master Records?

Detailing the steps you need to take when setting up a new Customer in the System

Written By Gerry Mckeown ()

Updated at April 13th, 2022

1.     Introduction:

Before you begin processing transactions through your Sales System, you must first set up your Customer Master records.  These records hold static information about each of your Customers - some of which data may change from time to time and need to be kept up to date.  And, of course, as you engage with new Customers, you will need to add their records to the system.

The Customer creation and maintenance program has a number of pre-requisite files containing associated data which will be used in this program.  These include quite a number of the tables documented in the article “How do I Use Code Maintenance to Control the Behaviour of the System?” and include Currencies, Tax and General Ledger Codes.  So if you haven’t populated these tables already, you should do so before proceeding here.  Another file which is required by this program is the table of Bank Accounts.  These will subsequently be needed for Customer Receipts and Reconciliation purposes and their setup and maintenance is detailed in the Article “How do I Manage my Bank Accounts, Cash and Company Credit Cards, etc.?”.  

As well as providing Financial Reporting (Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, etc.) for the Company as an whole, the System also provides similar reporting for at the level of component parts of the company such as Divisions, Locations and/or Departments.  These sub-company components are defined in the tables set out in the Articles entitled “How do I Implement Extended Business Analysis?.  You only need to set these tables up if you are going to use Departmental Analysis and Reporting. 

And finally you may also need to set up “Price Lists” if you want to implement different prices for different Products and Services for different Customers – but it’s probably best to add these later on.

2.     Adding New Customer Records:

To add a new Customer go to the Sales Tab followed by the Customers Tab and Click on “New Customer”.   To call up an existing Customer for maintenance and update purposes, click on any of the Customer Codes listed in the grid.

On Clicking "New Customer" the following window being presented;

The Account Details Tab:   The first Tab you need to complete is the Accounts details Tab;

The Customer Account Code: can be any length and comprise alpha and numeric characters.  The three fields highlighted in yellow here are inherited from the Defaults Table (see Paragraph 3. of the Article “How do I Review the Company Details & Settings”) and can be over-ridden with different values from the Drop Downs.

Bank GL Account:   Select your Company's Bank Account (General Ledger Code) into which receipts from this customer will normally be recorded. Note that this is not the customer's own bank account but one of your company's bank accounts. Any sales transacted with this customer will be, by default, associated with this bank account.

Account on Hold:   Select whether this account is currently on hold or not.  For example, if there is a long-standing overdue payment against this account, you can decide to flag it as “On-hold” for new Orders and/or Deliveries whereupon appropriate warnings will be produced by the system should you decide to enter such new Orders or Deliveries.

The rest of the fields on this Tab are self-explanatory, but should you need assistance you can click on the “Help” button at the top right hand corner of the window which will bring up an overlay window like this;

Alternatively, clicking on these blue buttons will provide help on a field by field basis throughout;

You don’t have to wait for all the Tabs to be completed before “Saving” your work.  You can click on this field at any time and as many times as you want.

The Account Settings Tab:   Now move to the next Tab;

General Ledger Settings:  Once again inherited from the “Defaults” table and which can be changed here, these entries specify a default GL Account (Sales Account) to which postings will be made in respect of invoiced sales to this Customer. This GL Account will be presented automatically during transaction entry (e.g. Invoice Entry) and can be directed to another Account Code at that stage if required.  The second Account is the default GL Debtors Balance Sheet Control Account (of which there can be several if you want to segregate Debtors by type).

The Drop Downs for Delivery Settings contain all the entries you have previously set up in the Codes Tables.  Note that you can also add new entries to any of these Tables from here and elsewhere throughout the system without the necessity of having to leave this program;

Sales Rep:  Enter the Sales Rep that is assigned to this Customer from the Drop Down.  The Sales system has a sub-system which enables Sales Rep’s Commissions to be calculated based on invoiced sales for associated customers and it is in this sub-system that the details of Sales Reps are set up and maintained.  For full details as to how this facility works, please refer to the Article “How does the Sales Reps & Commission Management Feature Work?”.

Head Office Account:  Tick this box to indicate that this Customer record is in respect of a Head Office Account.  It is possible to link this Head Office account with subsidiary or branch accounts.

Invoice Head Office:   Use this flag to denote whether the Head Office Account associated with this account should be invoiced instead of this Customer Account.  This is used when centralised billing is in place where sales to branches should be invoiced centrally to the Head office account.  If this flag is ticked, you should also specify the Head Office Account Code for Invoice purposes in the Drop Down beside it.  For further details refer to the Article “How does Head Office Accounting Work?”.

Customer Area, Region and Customer Group under Account Dimensions are attributes which can be used for Sales Analysis Reporting.  Inherited from Customer Defaults, they can be over-ridden here.

Referral:  This Drop Down field from the Codes Tables allows you to record, for marketing purposes, the source by which you acquired this Customer.  However, if you have no use for this particular code, then you can use it for an entirely different purpose if you wish.

As mentioned in the introduction many Companies will want to analyse their performance at a lower level than that of just Company - such as Location, Department, Division, etc.  Some of the Company’s Customers will always “belong” to a particular part of this lower Company level.  If this is the case then this is the default “Department” for this Customer.  A Department is a sub-division of the company and its uses and setup are detailed in the article “How do I Implement Extended Business Analysis?”.  It is not a mandatory field as you may not wish to use Extended Business Analysis.  If there is an entry here, then it will be presented at Transaction Entry stage where it can be re-directed to another GL Sales Account if required.

The Finance Settings Tab:   Moving on to the next Tab;

Under Bank Details enter the Bank details of the Customer.  These fields will subsequently be used in new functionality currently under development regarding the use of Customer Direct Debits and Credit Cards.  It is also used by some clients to extract a report and import information into alternative DD generating systems.

Credit Terms as defined in the Codes Tables, is the number of day’s credit this Customer is normally allowed before the receipt of funds becomes overdue.  It is also used to calculate when the Invoice becomes due for Payment.

And Credit Limit is the maximum amount of Credit being allowed to the Customer.  During Order entry or Invoice entry, warnings will be produced if this limit, or the Credit Terms limit, is being exceeded.

Payment Method:   This is the normal Payment Method normally used by this Customer to remit funds.

EDI Details:  Mainly used by Customers who deal with large retailers, these fields are used to extract their Sales Invoices in an electronic format to send to their own Customers. The system allows you to generate Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) files for the purposes of billing Customers where this form of file transfer is supported.  Each customer must be identified by a unique EDI number which can be recorded in this field.  The file generated will contain a list of outstanding invoices due for payment and the individual customers will be identified using this ID number.  If you wish to use this facility you will need to contact your system provider who will arrange for your particular format to be specified if it is not already available.

Price Category and Price Lists:  Price Categories allow you to classify Customers into different Groups for individual pricing purposes.  Price Lists allow you to set up and use special price lists for promotions and such like.  The topic of Price Category and Price Lists is covered in complete detail in Chapter 4. and Chapter 5. of the Article “How do I Maintain Products and Services Type Items (Sales)?”.

Discount is the amount of Discount you are extending to this Customer on his Invoices. It’s a straight forward Discount percentage un-related to Payment Terms. Its format is such that 15% should be coded as 0.15.

Franchise:  This flag indicates whether this customer should be treated as a 'Franchisee' in the context of a Franchise implementation of the system.  For more information on this topic please read the article "How do I, as a Franchisor, Interact with my Franchisee Companies?" available within the administration layer.

Default Tax Code:    During Transaction entry, the applicable Tax Codes are generally derived from the Product or Service being sold.  However, there are facilities for entering Invoices without Product being involved (small household items for example).  In Customer Batch Invoicing the Tax Code to be used will be the one quoted here as a default – but which can be over-ridden during transaction entry stage.

Use Tax Code:  You can however, insist that the foregoing Tax Code and Rate is used even for Product related Invoices – by ticking this box.  It will still be a default rate which can be over-ridden during transaction entry.

VAT No. and VAT Exempt Ref. are used to record the relevant Tax Codes for this Customer.

The Contacts Tab:  On the Contacts Tab you can set up a number of Contacts for this Customer together will their phone no. and email address;

To add a new Contact simply click on “New Contact” and fill in the required information.  Use the “Set Primary Contact” to select one as the default Contact for subsequent Orders and Invoices.

The Notes Tab:    On the Notes Tab you can add a series of Notes.  To add a new Note click on “Add New Note”,  type in the Note, followed by “Save”.

The note is saved along with the name of the author and the date it was entered.  You can find more detailed information regarding this particular facility in the article “How Do I Add Notes and Images to a Document?

The Custom Fields Tab:    If there are other items of information that you would wish to hold against each Customer, then you should avail of this facility to add these additional datums.  The topic of Custom fields and how to use and deploy them is detailed in the Article “How do I Create additional User Defined Fields on Master Records?”.

As well as Notes and Custom fields, you can attach one or more Document Images and other Objects (Terms & Conditions, References, Letters of Credit, Voice Mails, etc.) to the Customer’s Master record. Click on the “Paper Clip” symbol displayed next to the “Attach Document” in the top right hand corner of the window and follow the instructions detailed in the article How Do I Add Notes and Images to a Document?

3.     Actions:

If you haven’t already, you should now “Save” your setup or maintenance changes work.  After that there are a number of “Actions” available to you which are documented elsewhere in this series of “How To …” articles;