Items and Currencies
The items table in NetSuite contains the items you sell, those that make up your inventory, and the things you purchase. You can get to the items table by going to List, Accounting and clicking Items. Right now, we are looking at all of our active items. We could also look at inactive ones by clicking this checkbox, which is the same as what we saw when we looked at the chart of accounts. We can see the name, display name, and description in these fields. We can also see the type, and subtype if there is one. Over to the right we have the base price listed.
We can open any of these items in either edit or view mode. I’ll go ahead and open this first one in edit mode. For each of our items, there is a lot of information we can fill out about it, both in the header, and in the subtabs sections. Because there is so much information we will not have time to cover all of it here, but we will cover the parts that are the most important to most businesses.
One of the first things you might notice is that there are several different places where you can enter the name, number, display name, vendor name, descriptions, and many other ways to refer to an item. So long as you do not change the labels for these fields, most of this should be straight forward, and you can always click on the field label help, if you need more information. The one field that I want to point out is the Item Name/Number. We can see in my instance that this is a somewhat cryptic code. If we think back to when we were performing transactions that involved items, you might remember that this was the code that was displayed. If you work in a business where everyone understands what this code means, this might be fine. However, if you want to make this code a bit more legible you are free to do so. Most of these names, affect how the item is displayed on different web and printed forms.
Under the Purchasing and Inventory subtab, you can set information for this item, such as the standard purchase price, the costing method you want to use, and at what point you want to re-order the product. Though, there is also the ability to use more advanced forecasting functionality to determine when to reorder. You can have different costs for different vendors, if that is something you need.
Under sales and pricing, you can enter information concerning how an item ships to customers, and information that NetSuite uses when it estimates your gross profit for the item. At the bottom, you can enter pricing for each of your price levels. Price levels are setup here under Setup, then Accounting, then under Accounting Lists. I’ll open this in a new tab so we can take a look. If I expand my filters here at the top, I can select, Price Level from this dropdown. Now I am looking at all of my active Price Levels. I could create a new one with the New button. Back at the Item, here toward the bottom we also can enter quantity discounts, so when a customer purchases more than a set number of these, the price goes down. These tabs here allow us to enter pricing in any foreign currencies we operate with.
In the Accounting subtab, we can enter information pertaining to how we want transactions that involve this item to be recorded. We can also enter a Tax Schedule, which is a required field for almost every configuration. Most of the rest of these tabs have fields that are self-explanatory. What fields and tabs you have is going to depend on the item type you are looking at. Right now, we are looking at an Inventory item, but there are many other types.
If we want to create a new item, of any type, we go to Lists, Accounting, Items and click New. Here we see the various types we can create. Assemblies, Groups and Kits are made up of other existing items. Descriptions are not really items at all, but are used to add lines to transactions either for formatting or instructional purposes. Discounts are used to provide discounts at a line level when creating a sales order. The Non-Inventory category is for items that you typically do not maintain a stock of. These would be things that you sell, and have a third party drop ship to your customers. The Other Charge category is generally used for up-charges that are passed on to customers. If you ran an auto shop, and had to charge a used oil disposal fee, when you were performing an oil change for a customer, this is where you would use this item. In that instance, you would use either the for sale, or for resale category. The For Purchase types are items you will purchase for your own internal use. The For Sale types are things you would sell to customers. For Resale would cover what you purchase, but do almost nothing to, and then turn around and sell to your customers. For resale could also include things that you purchase on consignment. Most businesses I have worked with have used primarily Inventory Items, and these are the most common type. They are used when you are stocking something, then selling it later. The Lot Numbered and Serialized allow you to keep track of a group of items or of the specific items themselves. If you want more specifics about item types, check out the SuiteAnswer article #28194, which provides more details than we could cover here.
When you are ready to create your new item simply click on the type, for example Inventory, and you will be taken to this screen. Here you can fill in all the information you need to enter, however we already covered this when looking at an existing item.
While you could very well enter each item one by one in your NetSuite instance, this is not the procedure that most businesses take. Entering something with this form is fine if you will only enter a few, but if you find yourself entering multiple items, there is an easier way. What most businesses do is create a spreadsheet that contains all the information about the items they want to create. That spreadsheet is then saved as a CSV, and imported to NetSuite, by going to Setup, then Import/Export and clicking Import CSV Records. We have not talked about CSV Imports yet, and we will in Chapter 9, but I do want to point out a few gotchas to importing items while we are here. Here in the Import Assistant I have to choose the Import Type, in this case, Items. Under the Record Type, I have to select the type of Items I am importing, and this is the biggest gotcha there is. You have to import these one type at a time. So, Inventory types must be imported separately from markup types, for example. The other gotcha that I want to mention is that if you are importing Groups or Kits, you have to import the individual items you will be kitting first, before you import the groups or kits. In chapter 9 we will talk more about imports.
I want to also call out something that I see a lot of companies do with NetSuite, that is not really correct. Since items can also be things that you use to run your business, and since you can easily put them on your purchase orders, I have seen lots of companies create many different items for the different types of things they use internally. For example, you might have a hundred computers in your organization, and there may be a dozen different configurations. I have seen companies put in a separate item for each configuration. This is not a good thing to do, since it pollutes your items table with data that usually makes no difference at all. A better way to do this is by creating either a few generic items, and providing descriptions on your purchase order, or by using expenses for these items. For the computer example, you could create items called desktop, laptop and server, and avoid having dozens more with exact specifications.
Earlier we saw that there were four currencies we could sell our items in. This is controlled by the currencies you have setup for your business. To setup new ones we go to Lists, Accounting and click Currencies. Here we see the four we already have. We have a single base currency, and all of these are setup to update their exchange rates automatically. We can setup a new currency by clicking new. Here we provide all the information we want about it. One of the most important fields is the ISO Code, if you enter one that is incorrect, you usually cannot save the currency record. This field is also used to perform the automatic exchange rate update. The rest of these fields are self-explanatory, for the most part.
Now that you know how to work with your items and currencies, we can move on to looking at relationship entities and we will do that in the next few videos.