Definition: Business Partners are people or organizations with which you exchange money, goods or services. Business partners can be customers, vendors, employees, external sales representatives, external purchasing agents, etc…
The fact that there is no “Customer List”, “Vendor List” or “Employee list” in iDempiere and ADempiere sometimes confuses people. You just need to remember to look in the Business Partner window to find these resources. Any given business partner record an be flagged as a customer and/or vendor and/or employee. This means that any business partner can be all three.
You are not required to mix your customers and vendors. Instead you can create a “Joe’s Barber” that is flagged as a customer. This customer might have a customer Search Key of “CUST-1001”. You can also have the same business, “Joe’s Barber”, flagged as a vendor using a different record. The vendor record might have a vendor Search Key of “VEND-1005”.
Deciding whether to merge your business partners should be a conscience decision. Do you want your AP transactions offsetting your AR transactions when calculating your Business Partner’s credit limit? Are you OK with with your AR Clerk seeing AP transactions during the payment/invoice allocation process? You can see discussions and demonstrations of this topic here.