Importer - Save Costs and Time with SapphireOne

Importer Overview

An Importer refers to a product or service that is purchased in one country and manufactured in another, with the aim of reducing expenses. This is because certain countries may be able to produce goods more cheaply or efficiently than domestic industries. In addition to trade agreements and tariffs, other factors can impact the overall cost of importing goods and services.

Importing goods can help businesses meet their objectives and provide products that may not be available locally. However, it is crucial to be aware of government regulations, including any clearances and additional taxes.

The role of an Import Manager is to oversee all aspects of planning and importing material products for an organization. This includes managing on-costs such as customs, freight, duty, and insurance expenses.

SapphireOne’s Importer Inquiry function, located in the Inventory Manager menu, serves as the central repository for all importer-related information. This includes tracking details, container information, costing, shipping details, and any recorded transactions associated with the import process. Users have the ability to manage the various functionalities and processes associated with importing goods, ensuring a seamless and efficient process.

Setting Up The SapphireOne Importer

When using SapphireOne Importer, it is important to ensure that the function is activated before use. This can be done by selecting the Purchase On Cost checkbox located in Utilities > Controls > Master Defaults > Invoices. Once activated, the Importer Line will be displayed on Purchase transactions.

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. 

Before creating any new Importer records in Manager, Inventory Classes must be established to determine the groupings used in the Importer function. The Importer function searches through inventory items to the linked Inventory Class and selected Inventory Type.

To view the on-cost factor of each transaction, click the ‘Show More Lines’ button . This will display the Inventory Master Item with a quantity of zero, with child lines displayed below it. The On-Cost factor will be displayed on a line-by-line basis where quantities are not zero. If there are multiple Master items, they will all have a quantity of zero with the children making up the actual quantities in the order.

It is important to note that the on-cost factor manages expenses such as customs, freight, duty, and insurance expenses. As such, it is an essential tool for the Import Manager, whose role is to oversee all aspects of planning and importing material products for an organization. With SapphireOne’s Importer Inquiry function located in the Inventory Manager menu, users can manage all functionalities and processes associated with importing goods, including tracking, shipping, and costs, ensuring a seamless and efficient process.

Inventory Classes

Access the Inventory Class Inquiry screen via: Inventory > Inventory > Inventory Class Inquiry. The Importer examines the selected Inventory Settings to determine the processing method for the Inventory Item. The drop-down menu offers the following options, each with two distinct features:

  1. Product – A product refers to an item available for purchase by a consumer. SapphireOne considers an inventory item linked to a class with the type set as “Product” to be a product. When an OVI or PVI is generated, On-Cost will be applied on top of the base price for the product in the transactions if the importer record contains more than one transaction.
  2. Shipping, Duty, After Duty, Other – These are categorized as On-Cost items, which represent any additional costs incurred, such as Shipping, Duty, After Duty, and Other. SapphireOne will recognize inventory items linked to a class with the Type set as Duty, Shipping, or Other as on-costs, and will not add these costs to their respective transactions. Instead, SapphireOne will calculate the total on-costs and apply them to the inventory items linked to a class with a Type set as Product. For instance, Duty could encompass various Inventory items with the Duty Inventory Setting, such as Duty, GST, VAT, etc., depending on your company’s reporting requirements.

To ensure the Importer functions properly, the Inventory Item linked to the Importer must be classified, or the Inventory Class must have the correct Inventory Settings drop-down selection. Additionally, it is essential to create an Inventory Class for Duty and Freight to segregate costs displayed within the Manager Inquiry function.

When SapphireOne processes 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.  

Setting Up Inventory Items for New Classes

With the additional classes for Duty, Shipping, and Other now in place, refer to the flow chart further down this page. Proceed to create the new Inventory items as needed and link them to their respective new classes.

Next, Configure Your Vendors

Ensure that you have Vendors set up in SapphireOne for the OVI’s and PVI’s that you plan to use in the Importer.

After the Set Up

Create OVI’s and PVI’s for the Inventory items with a Class and Type designated as Product. Add the OVI’s and PVI’s to the Importer record as they are generated (these can also be removed whenever necessary). This process will produce a running cost for the Importer record. As on-costs arrive, enter them as OVI’s or PVI’s to ensure they are recorded in SapphireOne.

Reopen the Importer record as required to import the on-costs. The sequence of entry is not critical, as SapphireOne does not differentiate between Product, Duties, and other on-cost items.

Flow chart for the Importer function


To record the actual on-costs in the OVI or PVI transaction, you must click the ‘Update On Cost’ button at least once. This action will write the on-costs into the OVI or PVI. While you can select this button at any time to view the current on-cost calculation, it is essential to click it as the final step before posting any PVI’s in the Importer record. Posting will lock the PVI, preventing further updates to their last cost.

Importer Inquiry

The Importer Inquiry screen in SapphireOne serves as a central repository for all Importer information. When a user opens the Importer Inquiry, they are presented with a list displaying the basic details of each Importer.

To view the complete details of an Importer, select a single Importer or a group, and then choose the Look View button. To modify an Importer, either double-click on the Importer line or click on the Importer once and select the Modify button Modify, or use the keyboard shortcut. Both screens appear identical, but you can only edit the data by choosing Modify.

To create a new Importer, click on the New button New or use the keyboard shortcut.

Choosing between a Standard Inquiry and a Custom Inquiry Screen

All inquiry screens in SapphireOne offer the option to customise the list of items displayed on the page. This feature, known as Custom Inquiry, allows you to select the data fields to be shown and the order in which the columns of data appear across the screen. Although a client list is used as an example below, any type of inquiry can be customised within SapphireOne.

The list below represents the standard inquiry list, displaying a basic set of data fields for each client record:

Swap to Custom Inquiry

When you select the ‘Swap to Custom Inquiry’ button in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, SapphireOne will display the default Custom Screen, as shown below. This Custom List screen provides the user with two main options for organising the data display:

  1. To add or remove the data field columns displayed on the screen, click the ‘Setup’ button in the bottom right corner of the screen. Within the Setup screen, you can right-click on the column lines and choose from Delete, Move Left, or Move Right. More information on the Setup screen is provided below.
  2. To change the order in which the data field columns are displayed, click the ‘Setup’ button in the bottom right corner of the screen. Within the Setup screen, you can right-click on the column lines and choose from Delete, Move Left, or Move Right. More information on the Setup screen is provided below.

Once you have customised the Custom Inquiry screen, the screen view will be unique to you, and each time you log in, you will see the same custom view. You also have the option to select and save an unlimited number of custom views. This can be done in the ‘Setup’ screen, as detailed below.

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

Custom Inquiry Screen ‘Setup’ Function

To begin setting up your Customised List screen, click the Setup button, as shown above. The Setup screen will appear, as displayed below.


From this screen, users can add and remove data columns as needed. Almost every field within the SapphireOne data tables can be included in the Custom List screen, provided the user has the necessary authorisation.

The screen features several menu items across the top, which include:

  • Reset to Default – Clicking this button resets the display to the default settings determined by SapphireOne. When you add a new data field, SapphireOne will place it on the right-hand side of the data columns. You can then click on the field heading and drag it to your desired location on the screen.
  • Show Related Record – This option allows you to add related fields from other tables. By ticking the Show Related checkbox at the top of the screen, you can select a related record, and a mini view of that related record for the chosen entry will be displayed for the currently selected record. You will need to select the fields to be displayed.
  • Favourite Set – Located at the top left of the screen, this option enables you to save a custom-created screen for future use. For instance, you can have a simple Inquiry screen for general use and a more complex screen view when auditing specific information.

Importer Inquiry Details Page

The Details Page enables users to manage all aspects of the importing process, including tracking, containers, costing, and shipping. It facilitates the monitoring of orders from international suppliers, whether for stock or direct delivery to clients, as well as the tracking of associated expenses like duty, freight, and handling. Such costs are known as On Costs. The importer function comprises several areas, each documented separately for clarity and ease of use.

Importer Area

In this section, users enter the fundamental details of the Importer:

  • ID – Input a unique ID for the Importer.
  • Name – Assign a name to the Importer.
  • Company – Associate the Importer with a company.
  • Notes – Include any extra information about the Importer. Utilize the green clock icon to add a date/time stamp to the notes.

By entering a unique ID reference number and Name, users can track shipments and associated costs for any item that requires on-cost recording and usage. The Notes section also provides an opportunity to add supplementary information in this area.

Tracking Area

This section contains information related to tracking the import:

  • Entered – Displays the user who initially created this Importer.
  • Modified – Shows the last user who modified this Importer.
  • Status – Represents the current status of the Importer, which can be active, completed, or ordered.
  • Tag – An optional field that enables you to label the Importer with a tag.
  • Active – If checked, the Importer remains enabled.
  • In Transit – Allows you to monitor the status of the imported goods.

Container Area

In contemporary shipping practices, goods are predominantly transported using shipping containers. The Container Area provides users with the ability to manage essential information related to these containers:

The drop-down list for container types includes some of the more commonly used options, and users can add additional types as needed. This list is also connected to the Container Volume field located in the Totals area at the bottom of the screen, which displays the volume in cubic meters.

Users can also record the Container Number for tracking purposes. To register a container, click the + button, and to remove a container, select the – button. There is no limit to the number of containers that can be added as needed.

Costing Area

The Costing Area focuses on the expenses associated with goods in transit:

  • Method – Enables users to document the costing method for the importer event (Quantity, Value, Weight, Volume, or Carton Volume).
  • CPV – Custom Purchase Valuation refers to the value of the goods as declared to customs.
  • Travel Insurance – Represents the cost of insuring the goods during transit.

Shipping Details Area

This section provides a space for entering shipping details and dates, featuring several user-customizable drop-down menus and date entry fields. Shipping times and in-store dates can also be recorded.

  • Document # – Allows entry of a document number, if required.
  • Date In – The date the transaction is entered into SapphireOne.
  • Load Date – The date the cargo is loaded.
  • AQIS Ref – Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service reference number.
  • Voyage # – The unique identifier for the voyage of the vessel carrying the import.
  • Vessel – A reference to the ship transporting the import.
  • Vessel 2 – An additional field for cases where a second vessel carries the import.
  • BOL – The Bill of Lading, a document issued by a carrier acknowledging 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 for the import.
  • In Store – The estimated date the shipment is expected to arrive in store.
  • POA – Payment On Account, representing any partial payment on an amount owed.
  • POL –
  • Ship From – The location from which the import is shipped.

Line Entry Area (Transaction)

This section features two tabs, with the Transactions tab being the primary area for users to select and view transactions that comprise the importer record. The list displays transaction details similarly to a Vendor Transactions inquiry.

  • Up and Down buttons – Allow users to move a transaction up or down in the list onscreen, changing the items’ priority.
  • Reprioritise button – Enables users to order items based on their priority, determining the sequence in which they should be loaded into a container when space is limited.
  • Open transactions in inquiry button – When clicked, SapphireOne displays a list of current transactions restricted to those within the import function at the moment. Users can then edit these transactions as needed.
  • Look button – Upon selection, SapphireOne presents the item selection pop-up, enabling users to choose transactions in the usual manner.

Line Entry Area (Items)

When users select the Items tab, SapphireOne displays all Inventory items that make up the transactions. This allows users to check whether the correct Inventory Classes have been set up for the items. It is essential to note that for the importer to work correctly, these classes must be correctly set up. Furthermore, all lines in the importer record must have a type specified in the Type column.

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

Totals Area

This area displays several totals for the Importer record:

  • Total # Invoices / Orders – Represents the total number of orders linked to the importer displayed onscreen.
  • Cost – The total cost of all orders.
  • Purchase – The total value of purchases.
  • Pre Sold – The total value of orders already bought by clients.
  • Duty – The total amount of duty owed from the import.
  • Freight – The total fee for the shipment.
  • Other – Any additional costs.
  • Container Volume – The total volume of the shipment’s container(s).
  • Volume – The current volume used by the shipment.
  • Volume Available – The remaining volume in the container(s).

If the product measurements in the importer record are entered into the items master file, SapphireOne will determine the container volume and the product volume, thereby maintaining running Volume and Volume Available totals.

Example of Processing an Importer Record

The creation timing of the Importer record is not crucial. 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 transactions added to it as they are raised.

However, when the importer record has all transactions in it, users must select the On Cost button to get a final On Cost figure for the imported transaction items. It is important to note that if any transactions are deleted from or added to an importer record, SapphireOne will not automatically update the On-Cost value in the product transactions.

1. First Create the Product Transactions

To start with, create a PVI for an overseas vendor. Use the FX button to set a rate of 0.75 exactly, and then manually enter a round figure of USD 15,000.00. Note that these inventory classes should have a Type in importer of P for Product.

The total value of the product transactions is approximately USD 15,000.00, which is equal to AUD 20,000.00. This is because of the 0.75 FX rate entered for the USD.

2. Shipping Freight Costs etc.

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

3. Tax and Duties

Raise PVI’s or OVI’s for any applicable tax or duties for the shipment. For taxes and duties, GST should not be payable, so a 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

Action Page Overview

The Action Page is a versatile tool that can be added to major records and transaction tables. It includes various 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, as well as All Day Notifications. This provides users with a centralised location to manage and organise their tasks, meetings, and notes, improving efficiency and productivity.

The Action Page allows users to use the add or delete buttons to add or delete actions as required. Simply select the relevant button to add or delete an action.

Diary Area

The Diary Area in SapphireOne provides users with a comprehensive range of options to customise their actions. It includes a sequence number, title, type, action, user, privacy settings, status, tag, and link fields.

  • Sequence – SapphireOne automatically generates a unique sequence number for each action.
  • Title – Enter a title for the action.
  • Type – Choose from the customisable drop-down menu to input a type. This will subsequently become a permanent type within the drop-down.
  • Action – Utilise the user-customisable drop-down menu to input an Action. This will then become a permanent action within the drop-down.
  • User – SapphireOne automatically inputs the user creating this action, though it can be modified if necessary.
  • Private – If this checkbox is selected, SapphireOne will only permit the specified user to view or modify this action.
  • Status – The user has three options: Open, Hold, and Completed.
    • Open – Action is open and active.
    • Hold – Action is active, but no alarms will be active.
    • Completed – Action is now Inactive and won’t be displayed in any list of actions.
  • Tag – Users may attach a tag to an action, which will create a permanent tag within the drop-down. To add a new tag, type the name of the new tag into the tag box and press the tab key. Select “Yes” from the pop-up window to confirm. To remove a tag from the list, click on the tag name while holding down the Command (MacOS) or Control (Windows) key. Select “Yes” from the pop-up window to confirm the deletion.
  • Link – When created within a transaction or record, SapphireOne automatically generates a link to the transaction or record. When created from the Options Menu, Palette, or Workbook, users must select an item or function from the drop-down menu to link the action. There are 12 items on this list, ranging from Clients to Manager.

Check List Area

SapphireOne offers a user-friendly checklist tool to create and track actions, allowing users to check off completed items as they progress.

Dates and Times Area

  • Start/Finish – Set a Start and Finish time for the action, or select the checkbox for an all-day option.
  • Completed – Entering a completion date for an action deactivates it, and it will no longer appear in action lists.

Alarm Area

Never forget a task again – set up alarms to send reminders via email at specific dates and times. Users can also receive email notifications with the provided email address.

Recurring Area

If necessary, the alarm can be set to recur at intervals selected from the Type drop-down menu. Additionally, the recurring period can be defined by date.

Notes Area

Click the green clock button to add time and date stamps to your notes. You can also customise the font, style, color, and background color of the text in the Notes area by highlighting it and right-clicking.

Invite Attendees Area

In the event module, you can invite multiple attendees to your event and track their acceptance or rejection of the invitation. You can also send them an email notification if their email addresses are provided. Additionally, you can manage and track attendees’ RSVP status in real-time.

Documents Page

Documents Page Overview

The Documents Page centralises document and information storage for transactions and master tables, streamlining organisation and management for easy access and improved efficiency.

Documents Area

The Documents Page simplifies file management by allowing various document types to be attached via drag and drop, including PDFs, spreadsheets, photos, and more. It provides a centralised location for document and information storage for transactions and master tables, streamlining organisation and management for easy access and improved efficiency.

Documents can only be attached once the corresponding record has an assigned ID.

Documents List Screen Options

There are eight buttons on the Document List screen, as follows:

  1. Open – Allows viewing of the currently selected document.
  2. Update – Prompts the user to import a new version of the selected document while maintaining links to any associated transactions.
  3. Scan – Accesses a scanner for scanning documents directly into the data file and linking them to the current transaction (requires a compatible scanner with software).
  4. Save – Saves the currently selected document.
  5. Link Document: Enables linking of the selected document to other transactions in the data file, presenting a popup for user selection.
  6. Link Document – Allows linking of an existing document in the data file to the current transaction or record, displaying a popup with a list of documents to choose from.
  7. Link Existing Document – Allows linking of an existing document in the data file to the current transaction or record, displaying a popup with a list of documents to choose from.
  8. Delete – Deletes the currently selected transaction or record.
  9. Add – Displays a search function for selecting a document from the local computer or device.

Details Area

The Details area allows users to add a custom name, description, and tags to each document, enabling easy search and location of specific documents. These details can be customised to meet the specific needs of the user or organisation, further improving the efficiency and organisation of the Documents Page.

Last Modified Area

The Last Modified section displays the date and time when the document was last modified, as well as the user who made the changes. This feature helps maintain accountability and enables efficient tracking of document modifications.

History Area

The History area records changes made to the document, including the date, time, and user who made the changes. This provides a valuable tool for tracking and managing document revisions.

The Links area allows users to record links to other places where the document has been attached. Links can be added or removed using the (+) and (-) buttons, providing an efficient way to manage and organise related documents.

Notes Area

The Notes area allows users to add any relevant notes related to the document. Clicking the green clock button will add a date/time stamp, further improving document tracking and management.

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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