How has NetSuite been Upgraded Over The Years
NetSuite continues to deploy huge key upgrades and updates to critical modules twice every year, making it consistently easier for the NetSuite customers. If you are a NetSuite customer, then you already know how the upgrades keep providing you newer, advanced features, more enhancements, more power to customize, and more value. With the latest 2021.2 making waves and turning NetSuite customers into advocates, let us look at how NetSuite got where it is today.
A Bit of NetSuite History
Considered by many as the first cloud computing software solutions company in the world, NetSuite was founded by Evan Goldberg in 1998. Back then, the company was known by another name: NetLedger. The funding for the company was provided by Larry Ellison, the Executive Chairman for Oracle Corporation. After being the pioneers of the SaaS technology and software delivery model, and seeing outstanding success, NetSuite was officially acquired by Oracle in the year 2016, when the companies merged their resources to be able to serve businesses of every size.
To make it simpler, in this article, we will be talking about the NetSuite upgrade releases from the year 2017 to showcase the transformation into what it has become today. Since it won’t be possible to pen down every detail about every release, we will pen down what we think are the ten most important updates in every release leading up to the latest one.
Being the first update after the Oracle acquisition, NetSuite 17.1 was highly anticipated and the NetSuite developers did not disappoint. There were multiple new enhancements in addition to new features and functionality for NetSuite customers. Here are the top features and enhancements for this release:
- Advanced Intercompany Journal Entry
This release enabled NetSuite users to have more receiving subsidiaries within a single intercompany journal entry. Moreover, you are now able to modify the base currency to any of the currencies set up in your system. Furthermore, Advanced Intercompany Journal Entry allows you to automatically balance the transaction when creating an entry by selecting the “Auto Balance” button.
- Store Pickup Orders
Earlier, there was no easy way to differentiate between the orders that had to be picked up by customers and those that had to be shipped. 17.1 introduced a transaction record, which was specifically for store pickups. This ensured that NetSuite users could track their transaction information easily and conveniently.
- Automatic Location Assignment
This update allowed larger fulfillment companies to also leverage NetSuite and its features and offerings without having to manually assign fulfillment locations for all orders. This feature is flexible and customizable and lets the users teach the system how to assign the locations to ensure that orders are fulfilled in an efficient manner.
NetSuite regularly updates its offering for scripting via SuiteScript. This time, they made an improvement in script-security by editing permissions and also adding new permissions to roles, which allowed users more flexibility and let them decide who will be able to trigger scheduled scripts.
In this update, users were given more options on the types of promotions they will be able to offer to customers. The update allowed for further flexibility for the users by allowing stacking of promotions, and even multiple promotions being offered on one product or purchase.
- Accounting Gain/Loss Management
This update was more of an enhancement to a previous update and it gave further flexibility and authority to accountants to be able to report gain and loss in various different accounts to show compliance to any requirements.
- Time Rejection
This update helped minimize time entry errors by rejecting the entry with a note every time explaining why the time was rejected. The note helped in not making the same mistake several times and helped users learn from their mistakes.
- Electronic Payments
This update was more of an enhancement that facilitated businesses in saving time and minimizing manual errors by automating their processes for payments.
- Custom GL Lines
This enhancement ensured that accounting entry errors were minimized and time was saved by triggering custom GL lines whenever the costing engine ran for NetSuite.
- Inventory Update
There was more than one update regarding inventories. One of them was about In-Transit Ownership. According to the enhancement, the ownership will be able to be transferred only either when the product will be shipped out or when it will be received. The second enhancement was about costing calculations. The update allowed users to gain from more accurate calculations and hence reports because you were also allowed to include the group average cost of items in transit.
The 17.2 update brought further enhancements to the table. In fact, the 17.2 release came up with major changes and improvements for NetSuite’s cloud-native ERP software system as well as its Bill of Materials (BOM) capabilities. This meant good news for product businesses. Here are the major changes and enhancements in the 17.2 update:
- Advanced BOM
One of the most important enhancements for product companies was the Bill of Materials (BOM). Users could now automatically migrate their current assembly item Bills of Materials to new record structures and individual records. New record structures could also be made separately from assembly items.
Moreover, product manufacturers who have single items made in multiple locations could now make and track multiple BOMs based on the location or even manufacturing method. The update also allows one BOM to link to different SKUs, and for software component details to be directly associated with the revision record.
- Advanced Template Support
This update allowed NetSuite users to create and print journal entries with advanced templates. This wasn’t limited to standard journal entries but also intercompany as well as book-specific ones.
The update not only ensured that the journal entries look better, but also makes it easier to print an advanced template. Moreover, custom transactions could now support these advanced templates, because every transaction type now included its own PDF/HTML form to be customized as needed.
- SuiteCloud Processor
In the earlier versions, there was no native solution to prioritize any particular script or queue or even to load balance because queues were First In First Out (FIFO). This update aimed for a more efficient way for queues to work around Scheduled as well as Map/Reduce scripts. The update ensures that only the SuiteCloud Processor assigns queues based on user preferences and priority with the help of algorithms. This maximizes throughput and minimizes wait times across all queues.
- Concurrency Governance
After the limitation and quick retraction right after in 2016, in this update, NetSuite launched Limitations for RESTlet Concurrency Governance. These had a significant impact on the throughput of REST integrations. These limitations meant that customers on the shared service tier had to have a SuiteCloud Plus license to have more than five simultaneous connections. The second-tier customers could start off with only ten connections while those on the top-tier could start with 15.
Fortunately, users could purchase more connections in tens for every SuiteCloud Plus license that they purchased, which is what was missing in the limitations the previous year. These integration limitations have a significant impact because all integrations now have to be evaluated thoroughly and prioritized to minimize licensing costs and maximize throughput.
- Bank and Credit Account Reconciliation
The 17.2 update also introduced new features and enhancements that made it easier for bank and credit account reconciliation. For instance, the Online Bank Statement page was replaced by the Reconcile Account Statement page, and the Auto-Match button was removed. You could delete statements along with the matched as well as unmatched imported transactions but reconciled statements could not be deleted.
Moreover, NetSuite now supported more than the three previously supported import file types. They eliminated QIF from the approved formats and added BAI2 and CAMT. The best part though was Intelligent Transaction Matching, where NetSuite ran its system-based rules first for matching, which were not modifiable, and also allowed users to set custom rules for themselves.
- SuiteCloud Development Framework
This release brought SDF out of Beta, which made SDF far more accessible. Account setup could be done automatically now and it was now easier for partners and customers to build as well as deploy SuiteApp.
NetSuite 18.1 again brought about a host of new features like every time with the users lined up to see what was the latest offering. Here are some of the top features we have put together for the first release of 2018:
- Account Reconciliation Portlet
With this release, there is an account reconciliation summary portlet right on your dashboard. This summary portlet shows your transactions that would need reconciliation and also provides information on how to go about it. This makes the whole process easier and also saves time.
- Navigation Portlet
No longer beta, this update simplifies your navigation to your commonly used menus. The portlet allows you to create navigation categories and sort out all your shortcut links and groups, which are relevant to any particular role in your account.
- Approval Portlet
This appeared on the Employee Center page and made approvals easier for managers and approvers because they could simply respond to any requests directly through the portlet. It allowed them to approve and reject time-off requests, requisitions, purchase requests, as well as expense reports.
NetSuite users no longer needed a separate login for Sandbox because, with this update, it was moved to the URL: System.NetSuite. Hence, the users will find that their Sandbox roles will now appear in the roles in production and that they will have to update their integrations accordingly. The update also brought zero downtime for Sandbox refreshes because the users could access their accounts during the refresh process.
- Dashboard Tiles SuiteApp
With this release, Dashboard Tiles SuiteApp is generally available. It displays your critical business KPIs along with blinking images enabled via conditional alerts.
- Multi-Subsidiary Customers
This release enabled customers to be shared across multiple subsidiaries just like it was possible to do with vendors.
- Supply Chain Control Tower
This feature allows you to analyze as well as simulate inventory demand and supply across the supply chain. This also helps you identify when your supply is not in line with the demand or what you have planned. It also helps plan your purchases as well as streamline future inventory production processes.
- Cross Subsidiary Fulfillment
This new feature allows you to fulfill one sales order from across multiple subsidiaries. This ensured that orders were no longer limited to getting fulfilled only from locations within your originating subsidiary.
- Workflow Actions
The update allowed you to execute actions in workflow sub list lines. It ensured that modifying and updating line items didn’t require scripting anymore. The new workflow feature hence added to the power of workflows and enabled users to reduce their dependency on developers to be able to customize NetSuite.
- Bin Names
NetSuite 18.1 also allowed you to use a Bin Name and/or Number across multiple locations. Earlier you couldn’t save the same bin to two locations even when the Multi-Location feature was enabled. After this update, this limitation was taken care of.
NetSuite 18.2 was released with a bang with a little something for everyone from retailers and software development companies to non-profit organizations and general businesses. Here is a list of what we thought were the most important updates and enhancements offered in the NetSuite 18.2 upgrade:
- Period End Journal Entries
This feature enables users to include their period-end closing journals and consolidation into their parent-subsidiary. It also lets subsidiaries generate year-end journals to close Profit and Loss balances to Retained Earnings and carry forward the Balance Sheet. However, the feature was limited to OneWorld accounts and could only be enabled individually as per subsidiary.
- Corporate Credit Card Expenses
Earlier, corporate card transactions were only managed using non-reimbursable expenses. This meant having to reconcile manual journal entries. With the update, these expenses can debit an expense account and credit your selected card account, which allows corporate credit card expenses to show as journal entries.
- New Layout for Bank Account Reconciliation
The new layout made it easier for NetSuite users to change and review bank transactions. It also allowed them to make entries for their missing transactions within reconciliation using popups that automatically appear when missing transactions are triggered. Moreover, users could also now access any unmatched transactions by editing user-defined dates.
- Multi-Subsidiary Entity Enhancements
Firstly, the update allows users to mass-create and also mass-update subsidiaries for their vendor as well as customer records via CSV import instead of having to add them manually. Secondly, users can also customize and even search for data on specific subsidiary records, which gives the users greater insight into individual record data.
- Two-Factor Authentication
This is when two-factor authentication became a compulsory protocol for integrations that needed the administrator to log in. This also provided more security and kept user data safe from the access of unauthorized personnel.
- Memorized Transactions
A few enhancements had been made to Memorized Transactions in this release. The first one is a Switch Action button added to Memorized Transactions. The button can be used to change the transactions from “Automatic” to “Remind Me” and also vice versa. Another enhancement was system notes. With the addition of system notes, users can create, edit, and even delete memorized transactions at any time and the update can be viewed later.
- Warehouse Management System SuiteApp
With the new update, NetSuite users can now manage and put away inventory, and pick-pack-ship with their smart devices. The update includes inventory status features as well as composite bar codes, which make inventory management easier and more convenient.
- Payments in Transit
With this update, you can postpone entering your payments into the general ledger up until receipt is confirmed by the vendor’s bank. This way with the non-posting journal entries, this update provides more accuracy in determining whether the cash belongs to you or another4 account.
- Advanced Templates
Further enhancements were made this time around to the Advanced Templates feature. Firstly, there is now a search function allowing users to look for fields on records, linked records, or sub lists, and then show them in the template. Secondly, 2018.2 also brings forward a standard template for custom records that is customizable and can be saved like other native record templates.
Known for outdoing itself every time, NetSuite didn’t disappoint with the first release of 2019. Over the years the user interface, as well as the visibility offered to the user, keeps getting better and better with every release. Here are some of the feature updates and enhancements that we thought you should definitely know about:
One of our favorite updates of this release was to do with tax. The templates for tax could be edited after this update and this was especially important for those who were using the templates that did not support standards set by the government.
Other than this, the update comes with extra tax types as well as more tax-related features and enhancements such as an improvement in tax code search, automatic tax rate updates, and different tax registrations with two-fold tax engines.
- Employee Management
This update comes with even more security for employee data. This is done with stricter permissions as well as streamlining timesheets for employees including working hours and time off. There is a new template for standard timesheets that also has alerts for time off and when the time will expire.
- Customized and Individualized Dashboard
With the new update, users could modify their dashboards according to their needs and roles. This means users can track their tasks and day directly from their calendars.
The updates in this release bring you customer-specific promotions. This means you could define and customize your promotions according to the customer. This helps you win over customers and results in more return on investment.
- Period End Journal Entries
NetSuite users could make multiple journals at once unlike earlier when they could only make one at a time. Users also have more control because they could now group the period-end journals via segments that impact the general ledger. Moreover, users could also manually omit a period-end journal with the help of GL audit numbering.
This update was especially for those with little technical knowledge. These users could now make certain changes to their website without knowing how to code. The added eCommerce features included best-selling products, a multi-cart feature for B2B businesses, featured products, and Google tags.
- User Interface
This version simplified the user interface and made it easier for the user. There is more graphical representation that helps you in approaching advanced analytics and even track your KPIs. Users could now enjoy drag and drop features in the enhanced user interface and check the visual data summary.
- Professional Service Automation
Users who use PSA can appoint projects via estimation and even move projects from sales orders. The update made it easier to design and prepare projects from scratch so that you have better visibility. Users can also add groups of people to projects as an asset.
19.2 came with many new features and functionality including many enhancements. From expanded development tools to powerful financial capabilities and analytics on steroids, NetSuite 19.2 left no stone unturned. Here are some of our favorite new features and enhancements:
- User Access Reset
This release comes with a one-stop solution for managing access to NetSuite. With this feature, users can easily initiate password resets, reset their 2-factor authentication settings, clear security questions, and even unlock access after the assigned number of failed attempts. The feature helped save a lot of administration time spent on editing employee records for this purpose.
- Banking Data
This update facilitated users with a more convenient way to store their import preferences and also automate their banking upload process at the same time. This meant a huge deal for organizations that had to frequently import their banking data because it helped save a lot of time.
The update ensured that there was no longer any need for customizations for complex approvals on common transactions. The new release supported approval routing with custom matrices and hierarchies, approval delegation, automatic approvals, and much more.
- Sent Emails
This release offered a way out for all the email delivery errors faced in the past. The update provided a list of every email sent or even failed to send to recipients. The feature ensured that users knew whether their emails were in fact getting delivered to the intended destination.
- Logging Time and Expenses
The new update supported logging both expenses as well as time even in offline mode so that could then be done regardless of WiFi or cellular service access. Users could simply sync up whenever they found a connection.
- CCPA Compliance: Removal of Personal Information
This feature helped users comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) or the GDPR (for European users) if it applied to them. It helped them remove personal data from workflow history as well as system notes while maintaining an audit trail. (Personal information includes any data that can identify any individual whether directly or indirectly.
- Antivirus Scan
Rolled out as a mandatory feature in this update instead of beta, this helps prevent users from malicious activity by not allowing them to upload untrustworthy files.
- Supply Allocation
The new update lets you consider future inventory in your inventory commitment which allows for more intelligent inventory planning and better decision making in the future.
- REST Web Services
Though in the Beta stage, this is still a huge update for this release. Users can now leverage all the benefits that come with the REST standard and are no longer limited to restricted protocols like SOAP.
NetSuite 20.1 came jampacked with a multitude of enhancements and features designed especially to bring maximum business impact and return on investment and streamline operations. Here is a list of what we believe are the most important enhancements and features of this release:
- Vendor Management
This release brings automatic vendor prepayments for future vendor bills so that there is no need for any manual intervention. Users can also link one, or more than one prepayments to their purchase orders by creating a new standalone prepayment and linking it to their PO or even by creating the prepayment directly from the PO. Moreover, Employee Center can now approve vendor bills.
- Localization Context Filtering
Developers can run a script that is based on the associated country, which reduces scripts running unnecessarily. The system now automatically determines any localization context for transactions as well as records based on fields such as tax nexus and subsidiary.
- Script Module
Earlier, you could only load files by specifying the file’s internal ID or absolute file path. Now you can also specify and enter the relative file path when you want to load a file. There is also a new redirect method for the N/redirect module. This method uses source transaction information to fill in the form fields.
- Banking Data
An improvement on the update the previous year, users could now set automatic bank feeds straight from their FI accounts and seamlessly import data and balances from day-to-day. There was also an improvement in the Bank Data Matching to facilitate the reconciliation process.
- Sales and Purchases
These custom transaction types allow NetSuite users to create customized transaction records. This feature will enable organizations to be compliant with reporting requirements and regulations and also meet the expectations of certain customers.
- SuiteScript Debugger
Expense reports, expenses on Bill, billable expenses, and bill credit are now to be reported in the VAT/GST reporting. Searching and reporting are also made easier by introducing new search filters for Expenses and Billable Expenses for applicable tax reports.
- Subsidiary Hierarchy Structure
Users are now able to edit their subsidiary hierarchy structure if they have appropriate permissions.
- Balance Transactions
While earlier, the GL was balanced by Subsidiary only, now users may also balance by segments, for instance, business unit or product line. This feature will be a part of the Period Close Checklist but it may be run at any time. While running the process, a Balancing Journal is created with a new transaction type that maintains all balancing segment values as well as links to transaction details.
- Execution Enhancements
The first release of 2020 included quite a few enhancements to the context of execution for client scripts, user event scripts, and workflows. The execution contexts include Bank Statement Parser, Platform Extension, Bank Connectivity, REST Web Services, Financial Institution Connectivity, Revenue Management, and SOAP Web Services.
The second release of 2020 came with lots of new features and functionality along with enhancements in the previous features. Here is a list of the most important updates from the 20.2 release:
- Invoice Groups
A feature that most had been waiting for, consolidated invoicing was not entirely new because it was earlier available as custom development or an addon, but this release made it a standard feature. It’s a great feature for customers who place multiple orders in the same month because with this, they can receive one invoice for all their orders. (The individual invoices are still reflected on the user’s balance and the grouped invoice is made out to be a non-posting transaction.
- Automated Bank Statement Import
A further enhancement to a feature introduced earlier, bank statement files can now be imported automatically using an SFTP connection. Statement files can only be imported once a day and custom mappings may be configured.
- Expense Policies
This feature allows expense claims to have rules applied so that expense policies have to be followed. For instance, there may be a limit to the amount that the employees can claim, etc. The criteria for the policies can depend on the category it falls into and also whether the expense limit is per day or per unit of expense.
This release brought about a welcome change in giving customers flexibility with regards to maintenance updates and fixes with customer scheduled maintenance. However, the update was only for the premium service users.
- Enhanced Security for Expense Attachment
An enhancement to a feature from an earlier release, this time a migration tool is introduced that enables you to migrate your existing expense attachments into your new folder structure so you can make sure that all your files are saved securely, even if they were attached before the update.
- Supply Planning
This update is more for product-based businesses. It allows them to compare multiple supply plans, define their planning criteria and save them, create multiple plans and sort them by product line, and even copy plans and edit the criteria to be able to use them in your what-if analyses. There is also the Supply Planning Workbench that allows you to create planned orders and new supply change orders, release orders, firm up orders, and review actions as well as exception messages.
SuiteAnalytics keeps improving nearly every release. This time around, there are some major updates on the Analytics workbooks. Users can include multiple datasets now in a single workbook, and then create reports across those datasets that let you have the information you need at your fingertips. There has also been an improvement in the formula builder for SuiteAnalytics, ensuring that criteria are now easier to define, filtering improvements, charts and tables can now be added to dashboards, and workbook tabs can now be reordered.
- Vendor Prepayment Improvements
An enhancement to this feature has brought even more flexibility and functionality to the whole vendor management process. Prepayments can now be approved before any payment is actually made, and users now have the ability to void or copy prepayments. Overall, NetSuite users are given even more control and flexibility over vendor prepayments.
- Intercompany Transaction Management
2020.2 comes with enhanced intercompany transaction functionality. This includes cross charge automation, the ability to define markup rates and intercompany accounting preferences for cross-subsidiary transactions, quicker transaction pairing, and an easier way to manage and settle intercompany balances.
In no particular order, here are the most important highlights of the first release of NetSuite 2021:
- Advanced Numbering
With this update, users were able to assign customized transaction sequences to new transactions. This also supported compliance to transaction sequences mandated by local tax authorities and was good for international companies.
This feature saves a lot of time and brings flexibility for employees and all other approvers because it allows you to approve your transactions right from your inbox. The approver now receives an email about the transaction and can approve or reject the same without even needing to log in to the NetSuite portal.
There is more flexibility brought to billing with respect to the charge setup and frequency. Invoice grouping, a feature introduced the previous year has also been improved and is supported.
Users (HR Personnel) can now create their own workbooks for performance management to help them analyze and take action regarding certain individuals or groups if they have overdue reviews for instance. HR can also measure performance by evaluating the overall review ratings. There is also a new goals portlet that makes goals more visible to employees and helps them stay engaged and focused. Managers are also able to assess the level of progress towards certain goals and decide whether they need to reprioritize goals or take any action.
- Purchasing and Billing
This enhancement lets users automate their process for purchasing. This is done simply by making supplier relations easier and simplifying the workflow for purchasing. The feature also automates NetSuite’s intercompany management functionality by supporting cross-charge automation for the returns side as well as the vendor.
- Expense Reports
There is also a notable enhancement made in expense reports where users can now set limits on expense lines instead of limits on the expense reports. Moreover, users can set different limits on the grounds of whether certain expenses are billable or otherwise.
- Best Location
The Earliest Availability popup on Sales Orders lets you “Assign Location” with NetSuite calculating the best possible location for the sales order selected. The calculation for the location for the sales order selected is based on set rules for automatic location configuration as well as availability.
SuiteAnalytics keeps getting better with every release. This time around, users were able to create and apply calculated measures to pivoted data instead of flat data.
It has been a long journey to get NetSuite to where it is today. With its biannual releases, users wait anxiously twice a year to find out what is new and in store for them in the next update and NetSuite has never disappointed them. To save you from going through hundreds of pages of release notes, we have put together a list of some of the most important features and enhancements for the second release of 2021:
- Payment Link
With this release, users can let their customers make their payments online with Paypal or a credit card. The sales invoice in this case can be emailed to the customer with a QR code or a payment link that takes him or her to the payment page. Users can also specify the payments that they are willing to accept and whether they want to allow partial invoice payment via the same payment link. However, payment gateways would require some configuration if they are being used.
Purchase Orders and project expenses can now be directly routed for approval to the project manager. Earlier this wasn’t possible without customization and configuration. Project-based approvals can be done via emails as was shown in the previous update, or even via the User Interface.
- Supply Allocation
There were many enhancements in supply allocation for this release. They included an allocate button used to make it easier to allocate items when dealing with individual orders. Users could also optimize the allocation for gross profit or revenue, and also allocate the available stock and then just close the order and whatever is remaining.
- Bank Statement Matching and Reconciliation
An important enhancement every time, this time around, the focus is on enhancing the user experience by allowing NetSuite users to match all transactions in bulk instead of having to match them one by one manually. This helps save a lot of time and effort for the finance and accounting department.
- Automated Cash Application
With this release, NetSuite users are now able to create payment records for customers automatically and apply them to open invoices as long as they are in the statement but the payment hasn’t been entered yet into NetSuite. For users who have to process large amounts of daily customer payments, this feature comes as a relief and helps save a lot of time doing customizations.
- Subscription Billing
While earlier, SuiteBilling created negative charges to be able to offset other previously invoiced amounts, NetSuite now allows users to just generate the proper charge, which then flows into the invoicing process. So now, recurring invoices do not have to be cleared and they are just usable right from the start.
- Budget Validation and Expense Commitments
With enhancements to the feature introduced earlier this year, this release has now made it possible for users to validate budgets based on standard General Ledger budgets instead of custom budgets. Users can now also validate project-specific budgets.
- Corporate Card Integration
Another enhancement to a previous update, other card providers such as Mastercard and Visa are also supported from here on with some configuration for credit statement import, which is great news for card payments.
- SuiteAnalytics Linked Datasets
NetSuite users can now link datasets that are based on any common field and use them in a chart or a single pivot table. This feature, however, hasn’t been added yet to the User Interface and until it is added, it will need some configuration and scripting.
- SuiteAnalytics Workbooks Interface
Now, pivot tables can also be exported to CSV, which wasn’t possible earlier. With this update, you can export them right after building them for analysis or sharing. Other than this, icons can now be included in conditional formatting and users can load cached data on default to be able to improve initial load times especially with large data sets.
- REST Query Service
With this update, REST Query is finally generally available and out of the beta stage. The REST API is now fully tested, supported, and recommended for integrations, so this was an update looked forward to by many.
As we could see, these were only some of the important updates highlighted by us, because it was beyond the scope of this article to state every update as offered by NetSuite twice a year. If you are a NetSuite user and still haven’t updated to the latest version, we have only one thing to say to you: What are you waiting for?