Importer Overview

An Importer is a product or service which is purchased in one country and manufactured in another. The purpose of importing goods is to reduce expenses. This is due to domestic industries being able to produce goods cheaper or more efficiently in certain countries over others. There are also other factors such as trade agreements and tariffs which determine the overall cost of importing of goods and services.

Importing goods can help your business meet its goals and provide goods to customers that may not be available locally. To ensure importing is successful, you need to be aware of government regulations including any clearances by your Government and additional taxes.

The role of an Import Manager is to engage in all activities in regards to planning and importing material products for an organisation. This includes managing on-costs which are overhead expenses such as customs, freight, duty and insurance expenses.

SapphireOne’s Importer Inquiry function in the Inventory Manager menu is the single repository for all Importer information. This includes tracking details, container information, costing, shipping details and any recorded transactions associated with the import process. The user has the power to manage the various functionalities and processes associated with importing goods.

Setting Up The SapphireOne Importer

To begin using SapphireOne Importer, the function must first be activated. To display the additional Importer Line on Purchase transactions, the Purchase On Cost check-box needs to be selected in,
Utilities > Controls > Master Defaults > Invoices.

For the Importer function to work effectively the Inventory Settings must be defined correctly in the Inventory Class screens before any Importer records are set up. If the automatic Tariff collection function is to be used, the required Tariffs must also be correctly setup as well. 

Inventory Classes must be set up before creating any new Importer records in Manager. The Inventory Class settings will be used to determine the groupings used in this Importer function. The Importer function looks through the inventory items to the Inventory Class it is linked to, and then to the Inventory Type as selected in the Inventory Class. 

To check the actual on-cost factor the user will have to use the ‘Show More Lines’ button for each transaction as this will display the Inventory Master Item with a quantity of zero. Then the child lines will be displayed below the Master item where the On-Cost factor will be displayed on a line by line basis where the quantities will not be zero. If there are a number of Master items they will all have a quantity of zero with the children making up the actual quantities in the order. 

Inventory Classes

The Inventory Class Screen below may be accessed at: Inventory > Inventory > Inventory Class Inquiry. Importer looks at the Inventory Settings selection that has been made to determine how the Inventory Item is to be processed. The drop-down menu currently has the following options with two distinct features.

  • Product – A product is an item made available for purchase by a consumer. An inventory item linked to a class with the type set as Product will be considered by SapphireOne to be a product. When an OVI or PVI is raised, On-Cost will be added on top of the base price of the product, to the transactions if there is more than one transaction in the importer record. 
  • Shipping, Duty, After Duty, Other These are considered On-Cost items. On-Cost’s are any additional costs incurred. These are: Shipping, Duty, After Duty and Other. For inventory items linked to a class that has the Type set as Duty, Shipping and Other, SapphireOne will identify these as on-costs so will first not add on costs to these transactions. SapphireOne will total these costs and add them to the inventory items costs that are linked to a class with a Type set as Product. Duty for example could have several Inventory items with the Duty Inventory Setting. Duty, GST, VAT etc. depending on the level of reporting required by your company. 

In order for the Importer to work, the Inventory Item linked into Importer must be classified, or the Inventory Class must have the Inventory Settings drop-down selected correctly. It is also necessary to create an Inventory Class for Duty and Freight in order to separate costs displayed within the Manager Inquiry function. 

When SapphireOne sees Invoices that have Inventory items linked to an Inventory Class that has Inventory Settings that have any of the following selected, it will know that these Inventory items are the On-Cost items.  

Create your Inventory items for the new classes

You will now have some additional classes for Duty, Shipping and Other. Please refer to the flow chart further down in this page. Create the new Inventory items as required and link them to their new classes. 

Finally, your Vendors

Remember that you will need to have Vendors set up in SapphireOne ready for the entry of OVI’s and PVI’s that you intend to use in importer. 

Once Set up

Create your OVI, PVI for the inventory items as set up with a Class and Type as Product. Add in the OVI‘s and PVI‘s to the importer record as they are raised (they may also be removed at any time). This will produce a running cost for the importer record. As the on costs arrive enter them as OVI‘s or PVI‘s so that the on costs are in SapphireOne. 

Re-open the importer record as needed to import the on-costs. The order of entry is unimportant. Product, Duties etc. SapphireOne does not care. 

Flow chart for the Importer function


To write the actual on-cost into the OVI or PVI transaction the ‘Update On Cost’ button must be selected at least once to write the on-costs into the OVI or PVI. Of course, you may select it at any time and it will give the user a current calculation for on-costs. But it must be the last thing you do before you post any PVI‘s in the importer record as posting will lock the PVI and no further updating their last cost will be allowed. 

Importer Inquiry

SapphireOne’s Importer Inquiry screen is the single repository for all Importer information. When opening an Importer Inquiry the user is displayed with a list of the basic details of each Importer.

To obtain full details for the Importer you can Look View by selecting a single importer or a group and then selecting Look View. To Modify Modify an Importer you can double click on the Importer line or you can click on the Importer once and select the Modify Modify icon or use the keyboard shortcut. Both screens look the same but only by selecting Modify can you amend the data. To create a new Importer, click on the New New icon or use the keyboard shortcut.

Choosing between a Standard Inquiry and a Custom Inquiry Screen

All inquiry screens have the option to Customise the list of items that are displayed on page. The Custom Inquiry Option allows you to select the data fields that are displayed, and the order in which the columns of data are displayed across the screen. While a list of clients has been used to demonstrate below, any type of inquiry may be customised within SapphireOne.

The list below is the Standard Inquiry list.

When the ‘Swap to Custom Inquiry‘ button in the lower left hand corner of the screen is selected SapphireOne will display the default Custom Screen as seen below. This Custom List screen gives the user user two main options when organising the order that the data is displayed:

  1. To add or remove the data field columns that are displayed on screen. To add or remove a column, go to the ‘Setup’ button in the bottom right corner of the screen. Within the Setup screen you can right click on the column lines and select from Delete, Move Left or Move Right. Further information on the Setup screen is documented below.
  2. To change the order in which the data field Columns are displayed. To change the order of the columns, go to the ‘Setup’ button in the bottom right corner of the screen. Within the Setup screen you can right click on the column lines and select from Delete, Move Left or Move Right. Further information on the Setup screen is documented below.

Once the user has customised the Custom Inquiry screen, the screen view will become unique to the user and each time the user logs in they will be shown the same custom view. The user also has the option to select and save unlimited custom views. This can be done in the ‘Setup’ screen as documented below.

The Inquiry screen below is the initial Custom Inquiry screen which may be modified by the user.

Custom Inquiry Screen ‘Setup’ Function

To commence setting up your Customised List screen, select the Setup button as seen above. The Setup screen will be displayed as seen below.


From this screen the user is able to add and remove columns of data as required. Almost every field within the SapphireOne data tables is able to be included in the Custom List screen if the user is authorised.

There are a number of menu items across the top of the screen. These are as follows:

  • Reset to Default – Selecting this button will set the display back to default as determined by SapphireOne. When a new data field is selected SapphireOne will add it to the right hand side of the columns of data. You can then click on the field heading and drag it to wherever you want across the screen.
  • Show Related Record – You can also add related fields from other tables. Clicking on the checkbox at the top of the screen, allows you to choose a related record and a mini view of the related record for the chosen record will be displayed for the currently selected record. You will need to select the fields displayed.
  • Favourite Set – You can use this option at the top left of the screen to save a custom created screen for later use. For example, you can have a simplistic Inquiry screen for general use, and a more complex screen view when auditing certain information.

Importer Inquiry Details Page

The Details Page is what grants the user the ability to manage all importing features including tracking, containers, costing and shipping. This allows the tracking of orders from overseas suppliers for stock or orders to be delivered to clients. This allows the tracking of related costs such as duty, freight and handling. These types of costs are referred to as On Costs. There are a number of areas in the importer function and these will be documented on an area by area basis.

Importer Area

Under this area the user is to enter the basic details of the importer.

  • ID – Enter a unique ID for the Importer.
  • Name – Name the Importer.
  • Company – Link the Importer to a company.
  • Notes – Add any additional information about the Importer. Use of the green clock allows a date/time stamp to be added to notes.

The entry of a unique ID reference number and Name allows the user to track shipments and related costs on any item where on costs are required to be recorded and used. There is also provision for Notes to be added in this area. 

Tracking Area

Details related to tracking the Import are found in this area.

  • Entered – The user that initially created this Importer will be displayed here.
  • Modified – The last user that modified this Importer will be displayed here.
  • Status – The current status of the importer. These are active, completed and Ordered.
  • Tag This is an optional field that allows you to mark the importer with a tag.
  • Active – If checked the Importer will remain enabled.
  • In Transit – Allows you to track the status of the importer goods.

Container Area

When shipping goods these days most are shipped in shipping containers. The drop-down list for type has some of the more common types and more may be added to the drop-down list by the user. The drop-down list is also linked to the Container Volume field on the totals area at the bottom of the screen. 

This declares the volume as in cubic meters. The Container Number may also be recorded for tracking purposes. To record a container, select the button and to delete select the button. Any number of Containers may be added as required. 

Costing Area

This area relates to expenses of the goods being in transit.

  • Method – Allows the user to record the method for costing the importer event (Quantity, Value, Weight, Volume or by Carton Volume).
  • CPV – Custom Purchase Valuation. The value of the goods as declared to customs.
  • Travel Insurance – The cost of insuring the goods for transit.

Shipping Details Area

Provision has been made in this area for shipping details and dates to be entered. There are a number of user create able drop-down menus and date entry fields. Shipping time and in store dates may also be recorded. 

  • Document # – If a document number is required it may be entered here.
  • Date In – This is the data that the transaction is entered into SapphireOne.
  • Load Date – The date that the cargo is loaded.
  • AQIS Ref – Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service reference number.
  • Voyage # – This is the unique identifier for the voyage the vessel will take carrying the import.
  • Vessel – This is a reference to the ship that is carrying the import.
  • Vessel 2 – In the occasion there is a second vessel carrying the import.
  • BOL – The Bill of Lading is a document that a carrier gives to recognise the receipt of cargo for shipment.
  • Ship Date – The date the import was shipped.
  • Ship Time – The time the import was shipped.
  • ETA – Estimated Time of Arrival of the import.
  • In Store – Estimated date that the shipment is expected to arrive in store.
  • POA – Payment On Account, is any partial payment on an amount that is owed.
  • POL –
  • Ship From – The location the import is shipped from.

Line Entry Area (Transaction)

This area has two tabs. The transactions tab is where the user first selects and then views the transactions that will go to make up this importer record. The list is displayed in the same manner with the same details as when a Vendor Transactions inquiry is executed. 

The user may use the Up and Down buttons to move a transaction up or down in the list onscreen. This changes the priority of the items. The Reprioritise button allows you to order the priority of items. This is the order of priority of which they should be loaded into a container, in case there is insufficient room for all of the order in the containers. 

If the user selects the Open transactions in inquiry button the SapphireOne will display a list of current transactions limited to those that are in the import function at this time. The user may then edit these transactions as normal. When the  Look button is selected, SapphireOne will then display the items selection pop up as seen below enabling the selection of your transactions in the normal way.

Line Entry Area (Items)

When the Items tab is selected, SapphireOne will display all Inventory items that make up the transactions. The user may then see if the correct Inventory Classes have been set up for the items. Remember that for importer to operate correctly these must be set up. All lines in the importer record must have a type in the Type column. 

Each time an item is added or deleted from an importer record the user has the option of selecting the current on cost figure. However before the Invoices in this importer record are posted, the user must select the Update on Cost button to perform a final update on the on-cost figure. Once the invoices that go to make up this importer record are posted the on-cost figure will be locked in as modifications to posted transactions are not allowed. 

Totals Area

This area displays a number of the totals for the Importer’s record. 

  • Total # Invoices / Orders – This represents the total number of orders on screen linked to the importer.
  • Cost – Total cost of all orders.
  • Purchase – Total value of purchases.
  • Pre Sold – The total value of the order that has already been bought by clients.
  • Duty – The total amount of duty owed from the import.
  • Freight – The total fee for the shipment.
  • Other – Any other costs.
  • Container Volume – The total volume of the shipment.
  • Volume – The volume used currently by the shipment.
  • Volume Available – The volume remaining in the containers.

If the measurements of the product in the importer record has been entered into the items master file, SapphireOne will know the volume of the container/s and the volume of the product. It will then keep running Volume and Volume Available totals. 

A practical Example of the Processing of an Importer Record

The timing for the actual creation of the Importer record is not critical. The transactions may be raised first, and then the Importer record created, and all the transactions added to it immediately. Alternatively, the Importer record may be created first and the transactions added to it as they are raised. 

The only item that does matter is that when the importer record has all the transactions in it, is to select the On Cost button to get a final On Cost figure for the imported transactions items. Remember if any transactions are deleted from or added to an importer record, SapphireOne does not automatically update the On-Cost value in the product transactions.

First Create the Product Transactions

For this documentation we will create a PVI for an overseas Vendor. Using the FX button set a rate of 0.75 exactly. Then manually enter a round figure of USD15,000.00 as seen in the screenshot below. 

We have a value in total of approximately USD$15,000.00 which is in fact AUD$20,000.00. That’s the 0.75 FX rate entered for the USD. Remember that these inventory classes should have a Type in importer of P for Product. 

Shipping Freight Costs etc.

Next create any shipping and any freight PVI’s. GST on imports into Australia is payable on shipping and freight costs so a Tax code of S should be applied for local suppliers. For overseas suppliers, they should have a Tax code of E for exempt and the Use checkbox should be selected. This will then override the collection of GST from them in the transaction. Note that these if raised locally as below will be in AUD. Remember that these should have a Type in importer of P for Product. 

Tax and Duties

Next raise either PVI’s or OVI’s for any Tax or Duties that is applicable for the shipment. On Taxes and duties GST should not be payable so Tax code of E should be applied. Note that in this example it will be in AUD. Remember that these should have a Type in importer of D for Duty. 

Create a new Importer Record

First select the Importer function then select the new button to create a new importer record. 

Transactions Tag

The user will have to enter in the internal reference numbers and then use the + button to select the transactions that are to be part of this Importer function. 

Alternatively, they could select the button and search for the required transactions. As each transaction is entered the user could check the line details by selecting the Items tab. 

Items Tag

As you insert the transactions select the Items Tag as seen below. Then check that all of the Inventory Line Items have the correct Types/Codes as set up in the Inventory Classes. P for Product, S for Shipping and D for Duty 

Once all transactions are in the On-Cost figure may then be calculated. After you select the On Cost button SapphireOne will display the dialog asking to confirm the on costs. Select the ‘Yes’ button to update the on-cost factor in the purchase transactions. 

The final result in the Purchase Transaction(s)

Invoice/s PVI’s of USD$15,000.00 which when converted at .75 = AUD$20,000.00. Add on PVI’s AUD$1,000.00 for Shipping and AUD$2,000.00 for GST = AUD$23,000.00. On cost figure of 1.15 = On cost total in USD $17,250.00. Times the exchange rate of .75 in SapphireOne = AUD $23,000.00. 

Actions Page

The Action Page is a separate table that can be added to the major records and transaction tables. This includes actionable items such as Calendar Reminders, Meeting Invites, Alarms, Emails, To-Do Lists, General Notes, Private Notes, Meeting Notes with Date and Time, Start and Finish stamps plus All Day Notifications.

You can Add or Delete Actions . If you double click on an existing Action it will open, ready to be modified.

  • Diary Area
    • Sequence – SapphireOne will automatically enter in a unique sequence number.
    • Title – Enter in a title for this action.
    • Type – Use the user customisable drop down menu to enter in a type. This will then form a permanent type within the drop-down.
    • Action – Use the user customisable drop down menu to enter in an Action. This will then form a permanent action within the drop-down.
    • User – SapphireOne will enter in the user who is creating this action although, this may be altered if required.
    • Private – If this check box is selected SapphireOne will only allow the User as entered to view or modify this action.
    • Status – The user has three options.
      • Open – Action is open and active.
      • Hold – Action is active but no alarms will be active.
      • Completed – Action is now Inactive and will not be displayed in any list of actions.
    • Tag – A tag may be attached to an action. This will then form a permanent tag within the drop-down. To add a new Tag category, type the name of new tag into the tag box on the screen and then hit the tab key. Then select Yes from the pop-up window to confirm. Alternatively, if you wish to remove a Tag from the list, select the drop-down menu and click on the name of the Tag you wish to remove whilst simultaneously holding down the Command (MacOS) or Control (Windows) key. Then select Yes from the pop-up window to confirm the deletion from your current list. 
    • Link – When created from within a transaction or a record, a link to the transaction or record is automatically created by SapphireOne. When created from the Options Menu, Palette or Workbook, the user will have to select from the drop down menu if the action is to be linked to an item or function. There are 12 items on this list from Clients to Manager.
  • Check List area – A user created check list for creating actions. A check box is provided so that a user can selected them off as they progress.
  • Dates and Times Area:
    • Start/Finish – You can set an action to have a Start and a Finish time, or select the check box for an all Day option.
    • Completed – Once an action has a completed date entered it will no longer be active and displayed in any lists of actions.
  • Alarm Area – An alarm can be set to email someone at a certain date and time, or send your user a reminder and/or email if the email has been entered.
  • Recurring Area – If necessary the alarm may be set to at set periods established by the Type drop down menu. The recurring period may also be set by date if required.
  • Notes Area – You can select the Green clock icon to add Time and Date stamps to your notes. You can also highlight the text in the Notes area and right mouse click to customise the Font, Style, Colour and Background Colour to your preference.
  • Invite Attendees Area – You can invite multiple attendees to your event and keep track of if they have accepted or rejected your invite. These attendees can be notified by email if the email has been entered.

Documents Page

The Documents Page is used to store and record documents and information relating to data entry, transactions and master tables.

Documents Area

Any type of document can be attached to the Documents area. Examples of types of documents include Adobe Acrobat, Spreadsheet Documents, Word Processor Documents, Photo Files, JPEG, CSV, HEIF, MP4 files and more.

Documents can be attached using Drag & Drop functionality. To use this functionality, simply drag a document or file from the local computer into the Document List screen and it will append automatically.

Please note that when creating a new record in SapphireOne, you are unable to attach a document until the record has an entered ID.

There are eight buttons and icons on the Document List screen. These are as follows:

  • When the button is selected SapphireOne will open the currently highlighted document for viewing. (The appropriate software must be installed on the local computer or device).
  • When the button is selected SapphireOne displays a popup which asks the user if they want to Import a New Version of the currently highlighted document. (The new version will still be linked to any transactions as was the old version).
  • When the Scan button is selected SapphireOne will access a scanner, and following the usual prompts allows the user to Scan a Document Directly into the data file and link it to this transaction. (The appropriate scanner with software must be installed on the local computer, device or network).
  • The Save button allows the user to save the currently highlighted document.
  • The Link Document button allows the user to link the currently highlighted document to other transaction or transactions in the data file. A popup will be displayed allowing the user to make their selection.
  • The Link Existing document button allows the user to link an existing document in the data file to this transaction or record. A popup will be displayed allowing the user to make their selection from a list of documents.
  • The Delete button when selected will delete the currently highlighted transaction or record.
  • When the Add button is selected SapphireOne will display a search function allowing the user to select a document that is currently on the local computer or device.

Details Area

The Title and Type of the document are displayed in the Details Area.

Last Modified Area

The documents area keeps a record of the Time and Date of when the document was last modified in addition to who initially added it.

Links Area

The links area allows you to record links to other places this document has been attached to. You can add and remove Links using (+) and (-) .

History Area

The history area records changes made to the document.

Notes Area

Any relevant notes which relate to the document may be recorded here. Clicking the green clock icon will add a date/time stamp.

You can review our Blog and YouTube channel for additional information and resources on SapphireOne ERP, CRM and Business Accounting software.

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