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Customer account numbers

It would be nice to be able to add a customer account number when creating a new customer as well as just their name. Xero has an option to assign account numbers to customers which is handy when sending out statements as customers can use their account number as a reference when making payment. Right now I have to add account numbers manually in xero once the customer has been created in DEAR.


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There is a unique identifier. The customer name must be unique (but it is not case sensitive). Customer codes are a legacy from days of very expensive storage. They are not very friendly, generally speaking ,and in practice I don't have a single client who is missing them (technical users are perfectly happy with the guid provided by the API) which suggests there are good workarounds. When I first started with migrations I suggested appending the customer code of the old system to the customer name e.g. in []s, so searchable, but no one was ever interested.

Xero, by the way, treats contact names in the same way as Dear. Xero did eventually add an account code field (optional). I should survey my users to see how many use it ... not many, I think. 


The generalised feature request would be for additional attributes to be optionally mandatory and optionally unique. I would like this, particularly being able to make a field mandatory, and I think I already requested this (Unleashed now has 'required' extra fields, but only for products and they are not yet integrated into reporting: Dear is still miles ahead.)


As for payment references, it would be much better for customers to reference an invoice number when making payments, rather than an account code, which wouldn't tell you which invoice is being paid, a funny point when you consider this is a topic about unique identifiers.



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@Tristan Thomas, I agree about solving problems for the market rather than custom specific requests.


However, the heart of the issue here, is that DEAR does not create or use a unique identifier for Customers. Using customer name as the uniqueness constraint prevents it from syncing properly with QBO.


While using Additional Attributes as you outlined above is interesting, there is no way to enforce a uniqueness constraint in an Additional Attribute.


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Also, just to add my 2c, something as simple as unique identifiers for customers and suppliers is a pretty stock standard component of almost every other accounting, POS and inventory software system out there.

I have implemented half a dozen systems both SaaS and server based and have yet to see one, apart from Dear, that doesn't have a searchable vendor/customer code that is unique for every entry.

While your work-around is fine for a small number of customers it is still time-consuming and not really workable for a large customer database.

 


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I completely agree. Name should never be used as a unique identifier. We recently found that Customer name changes in Quickbooks don't sync back to Dear because Dear uses customer names as the unique identifier for Customers. This is poor behavior especially since most other areas of Dear correctly have unique identifiers (like SKUs) Customer Name combined with an Account Number should be the uniqueness constraint. Michael

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There's a workaround you possibly may not have considered. You can add codes to the customer name. eg Adelaide Carpet Cleaners becomes Adelaide Carpet Cleaners [00123] which solves the searching at least, and your question about old customer codes. It's a bit ugly. You can also work around that problem by using a custom attribute, which is what customers usually request if they are concerned about legacy codes. 
It's interesting to hear you say that customers prefer to work with their account number. It's difficult to understand how this is more convenient than actually providing the name of their business. Some of your problems are hard to grasp when there seem such obvious alternatives.

For example, for finding customers quickly, it doesn't really matter that you have many business with names starting with Adelaide, because you don't have to match customer names from the start ("carpet" would find Adelaide Carpet Cleaners). Business names do change (rarely), but you can change names in Dear. In practice a business which does change its name seems unlikely to use the old name; usually the struggle is to get business partners to use the new name.
There is some reference in this thread to QBO syncing not working reliably, which is attributed to the missing account code. I do API work, and I can't see how you could improve on the GUID already provided (which is the industry-standard approach). If the QBO integration has sync problems, it is not due to a missing unique identifier. 
I point these things out to perhaps give you some understanding of why I guess Dear is prioritising other improvements, although it wouldn't hurt to have a new field. As you say, Xero has done it, although i do not observe it widely used among my clients. Actually, I can't think of anyone using it. Those who moved from legacy systems relying on account codes show no desire to go back to the good old days as far as this feature goes.



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This would also be helpful when using your integrated POS and setting up a loyalty program. I could offer a loyalty card to customers with a unique barcode or number sequence that represents that customers account number. 


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Dear would be better if had a dedicated customer number field in the customer information screen, preferably above the company name. Id like to use the Xero account number field, why can't that feed back & forth to Dear rather than me having another opportunity of human error. We would have to manually enter this data into additional attributes which creates another step of loading/opening another 2 windows at least. With 4000 customers, it's safe to expect 120-160 mistakes. And then more issues if we decide to change an account number, like we used to upgrade customer number 1830. (Numbers mean cash account) to WSC (letters for customer with a 30 day EoM trading account)

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Account Code is a standard feature in accounting systems and usually serves as a unique identifier for things like integrations to other systems. More importantly, customers usually use it in the payment references....it's important and really can't be difficult to add, even if it is initially only to pull from Xero.

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@Tristan Thomas, I think you're a bit harsh suggesting I want a custom solution. I'm trying to help Dear improve by suggesting improvements. This is a simple feature that me and others would appreciate. Next time I won't bother. Also, I support @Michael Kuzyk's comments. I use Additional Attributes for less important details. Customer and supplier unique identifiers are a basic detail that you should implement. If nothing else, it might stop duplicating suppliers in Xero. If the Dear architecture can't allow it, say so. There are other "custom" solutions that I'd like too that I'm sure I'm not the only Dear user to need; 1- a search feature for quotes by docket & product inside customer window like sales. ( its like searching for a needle in a haystack currently if you do lots of quotes, even if you split it to different customers) 2- a pricing matrix / system that increases sell prices if cost price increases. 3- a method to find out how many sales per week/month/year in the product window. (How are we supposed to forecast and create purchase orders or we have to run a report which is for every product when we only want details on one item. ) Again thanks to @Michael Kuzyk. I was going to give up.

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i have also asked for this feature. an additional field that can be searched for where we can have a unique number for assiging to that account. 


i have had customers ask what is their account number so that they can include it in EFT payments so that their payment is allocated to their account correctly.


so far we have not had an issue but with well over 1000 active accounts, we expect sooner or later a payment received might be allocated to the wrong account without this simple data.


further more, when i pay all our suppliers, i put in the account number that is on their statement, it helps temp staff allocate payments correctly.


also, lots of our customers still come in and say their old account number because it's quicker for me to put in an account code that search through all the businesses, whose name starts with the town we are opperating in.


in Retail manager that we came from, we used to have letters like "RSSW" as an account code for customers with an account and numbers like "180" for COD customers.


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Did I mention that we currently receive at least 3 payments per month that we can’t allocate because the reference is to vague to select a customer. When we had customer numbers, they would be the reference number, so it was easily recognized as a customer number and applied accordingly. Also, heaps of our customers still come in and give us their account number from the old software. Also, is this is an obsolete requirement, why do businesses like xero offer it? It’s still standard practice in big businesses/software everywhere. Why are we being treated as a nuisance for asking for a neccissary feature because you have not understood its benefit? Further more, Tristan Thomas wants me to start a new request for each of 4 suggestions I made. Why can Dear staff instigate these improvement rather than create extra work for Dear users? Who’s serving who here? I’ve had the same issue with tech staff from Dear Support where they agree there is a valid issue that should be addressed and they instruct me to start a new request. I’m over it. Good luck. If my customers suggest an improvement to me on the phone or counter or email, I don’t send them away and ask them to start again on a website forum, that would be bad customer service.

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Using the Customer Name as a unique identifier is frustrating from a data migration perspective. Would be nice to generate a unique account number of 8-12 characters for each customer (similar to Vend POS for example eg. John-39CM)


eg. we've got 5000 customer records to import into DEAR (converting from an older CRM system). I've got two retail customers called "John Smith" who have different addresses and contact details.


However, when importing into DEAR - I've got to make their names different so they import as separate customers. And really, "John Smith 1" and "John Smith 2" just looks unprofessional in the system. Thought about using middle initial, but there is still the possibility that that will be the same.


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If we were to set a unique Customer ID number utilising additional attributes would that number be searchable on the View All Customer page?

 

YES!  Additional Attribute are searched in both the Sale list and the Customer list through the DEAR front-end.  


You CANNOT search for Additional Attributes through the API for either Sales or Customers (at this time; May 2017) 

Note that this field exports to the Xero contact so Xero's link feature gives you a button to take you immediately to the Xero Customer page.
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