xTuple 5.0 includes major changes to CRM functionality and the tax system, including integration with Avalara sales tax software. A lot of features have been added that should make life better for application users. For a list of all the updates, check out the Release Notes. Below are some highlights.

CRM Enhancements
Contacts and Accounts enhancements were made to improve efficiency and user experience. Contacts can now have a relationship with more than one CRM Account. If one of your Contacts works for one of your Vendors AND is also a Customer, the Contact’s Relationship tab will list both.
Company Name field was added on the Contact allowing you to Search contacts by the company name. Sometimes, the company name is listed as the first line of the address, so it’s searchable. Now you can search for the Company Name, since it’s its own field.
Finding Projects via CRM. While navigating the Customer’s CRM tab and the Account’s Activities tab, you can now show the associated Projects with the simple tick on a checkbox. The Projects will appear in the list and can be opened from both locations. You don’t have to leave the Customer or Account window in order to view the Projects.
The CRM Account List now only shows the results available based on the user’s privileges. Example: the user should not be able to see the Vendor in CRM > Account if they do not have “View/Maintain Vendor” privileges. This not only streamlines the user experience based on their privileges but also allows you to have more control over which users are able to see the vendors.
Merging and Purging. A rewritten Contact Merge utility, included merge functions, and CRM Account merge functions. The CRM Account Merge is now able to handle Customers, Vendors, and Tax Authorities. The CRM Account Merge window has a reasonable initial opening size so that it does not require manual resizing.
Enforced unique email addresses for Contacts. With the Contact Merge utility and the unique email addresses, you’ll see a significant improvement in a duplicate-free state.
Ability to send emails from the Contacts, Customers, and CRM Accounts windows using the default email client. This will result with one email per recipient. If you select a list of 5 people, 5 email composition windows will open. This is not the same as sending the same email to all selected records which means you can customize and personalize your emails to the recipients.

Window and Organization Updates
Combined the Project Tasks and To Do items. To Do items have been merged with Project Tasks into a single “Task” object. Tasks can document associations with other documents such as Accounts, Contacts, Projects, Quotes, Sales Orders, Work Orders, and Purchase Orders. Associating the Task occurs on the Task window’s Documents tab. The Tasks screen will also show parent tasks so that you can quickly view all the linked tasks. And, you’ll have the ability to right-click to add tasks to the objects that can have tasks. It helps simplify your daily engagement from having to check both the Tasks and To Do screens to just one place and allows you to create tasks that much faster.
Show the number of records for query lists. Every query will show the number of records resulting from the query. This can help you gauge how much work needs to be done, how many tasks are assigned to you, or how many customers result from a particular filter.
Query filter sorting: Now, when you create a filter, you can sort the columns and order (ascending vs. descending) and the column visibility and those settings will be saved as part of the filter.

Third Party Tax Integration xTuple has partnered with Avalara, a third party tax service, to build a simple and easy tax compliance suite integration with xTuple. Setting up Avalara in your ERP is easy. You’ll need an account with Avalara in order to get your account number and license key. Once you update your tax integration settings in xTuple, link your xTuple tax types to Avalara’s tax codes. The final step will be to ensure that the proper tax types are associated with the items you buy and sell.
Avalara will track all the Sales Tax rules and rates changes so you don’t have to, especially important if you sell across any tax jurisdictions. This improves accuracy and reduces the risk of an audit. You’ll also benefit from the efficiency of Avalara’s automated sales and use tax calculations, exemption certificate management, and return preparation and filing.
See here for more information about xTuple’s integration with Avalara.
Strict country checking is now required and how countries are stored in the database has been changed. Before upgrading to 5.0.0-alpha or later, you must install fixCountry 5.0.0 and migrate the country data.

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