Introduction to customers and vendors

Customers, vendors (suppliers) and staff are all held in Brightpearl as a contact record.

Customers appear for sales order processing and accounts receivable (debtors). Vendors appear for purchase order processing and accounts payable (creditors).


A staff member record is kept in the same database as customers or vendors, but cannot be associated with orders or accounting transactions. If you buy from staff, or sell to staff, you will need to create an extra vendor or customer record. Make sure you use a different email address from their staff login.

Note: A contact can be either a customer or a vendor - never both!

Grouping contacts


If a contact has no company name, or a unique company name, then they are considered an individual. Orders, invoices and financial transactions exist only for that contact.

If multiple contacts share a company name, they are grouped (much like an organization), and one of the contacts is assigned to be the primary contact. Financial records for the whole group are assigned to the primary contact.

Learn more about primary contacts here.

Contact record fields

There are a number of fields on contact records which can be used to group them together.

Learn more contact grouping and segmentation here.


Brightpearl accounting uses the same contact database as order processing, so invoices and payments flow seamlessly through into accounting ledgers. Unlike many systems where accounting and CRM are in separate platforms, Brightpearl is a single database containing everything.

This means that, given suitable permissions, sales operators can see customer account balances and take payments against invoices without needing to interrupt the accounting team.

In a similar way, buyers and purchase planners can see the financial relationship with a vendor, which can be an important consideration when choosing what to buy and when to buy it. 

Learn more about accounts receivable and accounts payable.

Non-customers (leads)

If you work with lists of contacts who are in a sales or marketing pipeline and are not yet customers, they are included in the Brightpearl 'customer' lists and screens. You may wish to use the contact status field to separate leads from customers.

Learn more about contact statuses here.

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