NetSuite and Acumatica are two of the leading cloud-based ERP systems available in the market today. As an implementation consultant, the vast majority of my experience has been with NetSuite but I have recently began gaining more exposure to Acumatica. I have started to recognize some of the similarities and differences between the two and how one system may excel in certain functional areas where the other may not. For this blog post, I would like to speak specifically to the difference between the two systems’ inquiry tools – Netsuite’s Saved Search and Acumatica’s Generic Inquiry.

The most effective way to compare and contrast the two tools is to follow the steps required to create the same inquiry in both systems. A simple example that could be used for this purpose is an ‘Sales Orders by Customer’ inquiry in both systems.

I will begin by outlining the procedure to create this inquiry in Acumatica because it is a bit more complex than in NetSuite. The first step in Acumatica is to identify the data tables that will be used in this inquiry. For this inquiry, we will be using the Customer and Sales Order data tables as can be seen in the following screenshot:

After the user has selected the tables to be utilized in the inquiry, a relationship between them has to be established with a field(s) that will serve as a link between the two. To do so, we will navigate to the ‘Relations’ tab on the General Inquiry form and define the following relationships:

In the above screenshot, we have identified SOOrder as the parent table with an inner join to the Customer table in the ‘Table Relations’ section. We also identified the link between the two tables in the ‘Data Field Links for Active Relation’ section. This was done by selecting ‘customerID’ as the Parent Field and ‘bAccountID’ as the Child Field. These are the unique field IDs for the Customer ID on the Sales Order data table and Customer data table, respectively.

The next step in this process is to set up the Parameters on the ‘Parameters’ tab, which are comparable to Filters in NetSuite. For the purposes of this example, we will prioritize setting Date and Customer Parameters. As can be seen below, we have defined that the Date parameters are mandatory. Also, the ‘From Schema’ checkbox indicates that the selectable options of that parameter are limited to only those that have been applied to existing sales orders. 

After the Parameters have been defined, we need to specify the inquiry Conditions which essentially dictate to the system which data should be returned. On the ‘Conditions’ tab, the user specifies how the Parameters should be analyzed in addition to any constant conditions that need to be set. The conditions can be seen below by using the Parameters and grouping them with parentheses.

The final mandatory step to create a General Inquiry in Acumatica is to define the results to be displayed when the inquiry is run. Each row in the screenshot below corresponds to a column that will be visible in the inquiry:

After all of this configuration has taken place, the final step is to simply run the inquiry and view the results.

I would now like to create the same inquiry in NetSuite using the Saved Search tool. As will be seen in the following steps, the process to create this inquiry is a bit less complex that in Acumatica. That being said, the first step is to create a Saved Search of the ‘Transaction’ type:

After we have entered the new ‘Saved Transaction Search’ form, the criteria for the search can be set. Seeing as the inquiry only calls for sales orders to be displayed, the type should be set to ‘S.O.’ as can be seen below:

Once the criteria have been set, the user can move on to setting the filters that can be applied to the Saved Search. However, unlike Acumatica, filters can not be designated as mandatory in NetSuite. We must also fill the ‘Show in Filter Region’ checkbox or else these filters will not be visible in the UI. Also, unlike Acumatica, the field names rather than field IDs are available in these dropdowns. In NetSuite, the ‘Name’ field corresponds to the Customer as can be seen with the custom label that has been applied in the right most column:

The final step in this process prior to viewing the Saved Search is to define the Results which should be displayed. To be consistent with the results that are being displayed in the Acumatica Generic Inquiry, the following results have been set:

In conclusion, the procedure to create a similar inquiry in Acumatica and NetSuite vary quite a bit. While both systems have their strong suits, generating basic inquiries like ‘Sales Orders by Customer’ is more easily achievable in NetSuite.