The Accounts Tab
Introduction to the Accounts Tab
In opentaps the term account can refer to many different sorts of things, but in the Accounts Tab the term means just one thing. That is the Customer Account of a company or organization who is a habitual purchaser, user, and consumer of our products. They frequent our business looking for the kinds of products or services we offer, and they bring us repeat business from time to time. This repeat business is often the most profitable kind of business we enjoy, so the habitual customers are the one we most want to keep satisfied.
The Customer Account is the focus of our account management, and keeping the account satisfied and coming back for more business is the reason that the management processes and the popular term "customer relationship management" or CRM were invented. Thus, it should not be surprising that the Account Tab is the center piece and collection point for all forms of information about each of our Customer Accounts. The Account Details Screen is the main presentation screen for the Customer Account summary of status, activities, orders, history, and documentation. It also provides access to some of the main functions associated with CRMSFA.
Accounts Are Organizations
In opentaps a Customer Account is always an organization or company, therefore it is defined as a "PartyGroup" in opentaps configurations. On the other hand, a Lead or a Contact is always a person or "Party" in the opentaps configurations and database.
Sub-Accounts and Parent Accounts
Because companies and organizations can be complex structures, and we need to conduct business with different sub-units of the complex, the Customer Account in opentaps can have sub-accounts each doing business with your company. In this case, there can be just one parent account for each of the sub-unit accounts. The parent account can be defined during [Create Account] for the sub-unit, but the parent can be changed during [Update]. The parent to sub-unit relationship determines how financial and accounting quantities roll up for the organization. Leads can also have a parent which must be an existing account in the system.
Teams of employees can be assigned to a Customer Account in one of two ways. The people can be defined as a team in CRMSFA > Teams Tab and then the team can be assigned to the account. Alternately, people can be assigned to the account on the [Account Details Screen] directly, in which case they are part of the account's Sales Team.
Cleanup with Merge
Sometimes we may discover that there are accounts in the system which are duplicates or which need to be consolidated for some reason. The [Merge Account] button provides a way to merge data from one account into another eliminating one of them. If the duplicate entries contain conflicting data it may be necessary to clean up the two conflicting entries so that one remains before a successful merge can be accomplished.
Teamwork and Coordination
The Accounts Tab in opentaps is a good example of how the system provides all of the key elements that can make the account management team more successful. The Account Details Screen provides a summary including these three important parts:
Part I. Contexts
- Account information and status
- Account Orders and status
- Customer requests, needs, and status
- Ownership of Account and action items
- Links to Account financial reports
Part II. Communications
- Links to Account phone calls,email,
- Log of other correspondence items entered by the team
- Account visits, and meetings
- Notes prepared by all Account Team members for coordination
- The collection of Account documentation and files saved on the system
- Access to reports about the Account
Part III. Actions and Plans
- The online Calender
- Activity, Event, Meeting plans and history
- Roles, and assignments of team members
Given these ready resources, which are current in real-time, and accessible to every team member regardless of their location (when they have access to the secure opentaps servers via the internet), the only remaining pieces required for excellent Customer Account management are the good people and the good training for their jobs.
For more information about teamwork and coordination using opentaps refer to the manual section What the Teamwork and Coordination Vehicle Does. While our discussion here has focused on the Customer Account management team, opentaps provides similar teamwork environments for other critical teams such as fulfillment, production, accounting and others.
Working with Account Tab Functions
Access the Accounts Tab from the main navigation (splash) screen as follows:
* Click: CRMSFA Icon > Accounts Tab This opens the My Accounts or the My Team's Accounts box. You can switch this display using the button in the upper right corner [My Accounts] or [My Team's Accounts will be displayed. * The relevant "Account List" displays all of the appropriate accounts. * Click: The Account name or ID from this list if you would like to display "Account Details" * Click other function buttons in the Shortcuts box as needed.
Accessing Accounts -- The Account List, and Shortcuts
The Account List can be customized for your use by sorting the Account ID column is ascending or descending order, and you can change the columns displayed by pointing at the Account ID column heading and then clicking on the drop down arrow that appears. Then point at the "Columns" item to open a selection box for the columns that will be displayed in the Account List box.
To export the Account List data in Excel spreadsheet format click the [Export to Excel] button at the bottom of the list box. This will download the Account List in full detail (all columns) to your local computer desktop in your local download folder.
The Shortcuts boxes on this page provides for locating an Account using search, and for creating a new account with a full set of detailed information.
There is also a small "Create Account" shortcut box displayed, for use when you need to create a new account on the fly, with the minimal amount of initial information. This requires only an account name, but you may wish to capture a phone number or an email address before clicking [Create Account]. You will need to come back later and enter several important items of information to make your new account fully functional within the system.
Find an Account Using Search -- The Accounts Tab provides a standard Find function using search, which is explained in Find a Person or Organization with the Search Block
Create a New Account
In opentaps there are four ways to create a new Account using three different functional Tabs:
- Use the Accounts Tab > [Create Account} button to use the full detail data capture screen provided.
- Use the Accounts Tab > "Create Account" shortcut box to create a new account on the fly with only one item of data (the new account name), and one Click: [Create Account]. Fill in more data later on the View Account screen.
- Use the Leads Tab > View Lead Screen > [Convert Lead] button to convert a Qualified lead into an Account with a Contact, both derived from the Lead data. Refer to The Leads Tab for more information.
- Use the Partners Tab > [Create Partner] button to create a special type of account for your business partners (resellers), which supports special functionality in opentaps. Refer to Working with Partners for guidance on this case.
Using the Accounts Tab > [Create Account] button which opens the Create Accounts screen, proceed to fill in data fields as described in the Create Account Screen, then when finished Click [Create Account] at the bottom of the page to save and create the account. Then, the View Account screen opens and you can fill in additional information that may be available, such as additional addresses for specific purposes like shipping, more contact names and numbers, additional shipping and billing accounts, and Notes concerning the new account and possible follow up activities and responsibilities for the sales team.
Merging Two Accounts
In the Accounts Tab the standard function block [Merge Accounts] is provided and is further described in the manual page Merging Duplicates in CRMSFA. When accounts are merged, one of them survives and one of them is deleted. Be careful to allow for the deletion that occurs.
To Merge Accounts in CRMSFA > Accounts Tab > [Merge Accounts] you proceed as follows:
* Enter or lookup the ID of the account to be eliminated in the first data box labeled "From Account". * Enter or lookup the ID of the account that will survive in the second box labeled "To Account". * Click: [Merge]
This will move data items associated with the first listed account into the second listed account. Then the first listed account is removed from the database and cannot be recovered. Be careful when merging.
If there are known conflicts between data contained in the two accounts, for example the primary address may be in conflict, and you are not sure that the correct one will be preserved, you can remove the incorrect data entry form one account so that the other account entry will be retained after the merge.
If you have a list of accounts that needs a lot of cleanup of duplicate accounts, it may be possible to use an available system service for eliminating duplicates of various kinds. This service is for use by technical system administrators only. It is described in some more detail at Merging Duplicate Customers.
Work with Account Details
Customer Accounts Versus Partner Accounts
Partner Accounts are a special type of Customer Account that is required when you want to use the special partner functions of the CRMSFA > Partners Tab for handling reseller agreements, third party (End-Customer) billing support for Partners, and the special invoicing method for Partners.
Be sure to create your Partner Accounts in the Partners Tab unless you are sure that you will not be using the special features provided there. There is no direct conversion of Customer Accounts into Partner Accounts.
Standard Function Blocks
The following standard CRMSFA function blocks are provided in the Accounts Tab and some other Tab areas. For more information on them click the links that follow:
- Find a Person or Organization with the Search Block
- Merging Duplicates in CRMSFA
- Contacts Information Block
- Using The Notes Functionality
- Bookmarks and Files Block
- Pending Activities
- Activity History