Chidi Okwudire IT Professional. ERP Enthusiast. NetSuite Certified (Administrator, SuiteCloud Developer II, and ERP Consultant). Passionate About Empowerment Through Knowledge Sharing. Always Eager to Learn.

How to Change a NetSuite Vendor’s (or Customer’s) Primary Subsidiary After Booking Transactions

3 min read

By default, NetSuite does not allow changing a vendor or customer’s primary subsidiary once transactions have been booked against the entity. However, as explained in this article, it is possible to achieve the same result via a simple workaround.


To change the primary subsidiary of a vendor or customer in NetSuite after transactions have been booked, simply create a duplicate entity with the desired subsidiary and merge the two entities using NetSuite’s powerful merge tool.

The following clip (7:17) illustrates the process from beginning to end.


As you may know, in a NetSuite OneWorld account, it is not possible to change the primary subsidiary of a vendor or customer after transactions have been booked against that entity.

Note that although the relevant SuiteAnswers articles [I]NetSuite (March 5, 2011). Adding a Vendor Record (Answer ID: 11185). Available at: [Accessed on: July 16, 2021][II]NetSuite (April 30, 2021). Creating a Customer Record (Answer ID: 99213). Available at: [Accessed on: July 16, 2021] claim that the primary subsidiary cannot be changed after entity creation, this is not accurate. You can change the primary subsidiary as long as no transactions have been booked.

However, there are legitimate situations in which you might want to change an entity’s primary subsidiary. For example, you might want to pay the vendor from a different bank account and since bank accounts are subsidiary-specific, you need the vendor’s primary subsidiary to match the subsidiary of the bank account. Or a customer was created with the wrong primary subsidiary and this is discovered after posting transactions have been created using that customer record.

You can always create a new entity but that is not attractive as it would mean losing the history (or having to refer to multiple entity records to get the full story).


The good news is that we can tackle this challenge by applying an easy trick of creating a new entity in the target subsidiary and merging the existing one into it. NetSuite’s powerful merge tool[III]NetSuite (March 4, 2011). Merging or Deleting Duplicate Records (Answer ID: 8898). Available at: [Accessed on: July 16, 2021.] takes care of copying all transactions, notes, links, addresses, etc., and does this quite fast!

The video at the beginning of the article captures the entire process. However, for those more text-oriented, here’s a summary:

Step 1: Enable Relevant Features

If not yet enabled, turn on duplicate detection and merging at Setup >> Company >> Enable Features >> Duplicate Detection & Merge. With this feature turned on, the “Merge” action will be visible under entity records and the duplicate detection tool will be activated.

If you are merging customers, be sure to also turn on the multi-subsidiary customer feature at: Setup >> Company >> Enable Features >> Multi Subsidary Customer. Also check out the limitations of this feature before enabling it.

Step 2: Create a New “Lite” Entity in the Target Subsidiary

Next, you need to create a new entity with the target subsidiary as the Primary Subsidiary.

Since you’ll be merging the existing entity into the new one, it is advisable to keep the new entity lightweight. Typically, I only specify the entity name, primary subsidiary, and any other mandatory fields. Everything else will get copied over during the merge.

In case you have several entities to migrate, you can bulk create the new entity records (e.g. via CSV import) to speed up the process.

Step 3: Merge Records

There are at least two ways to trigger the merge.

  1. You can use the “Merge” button (or context menu action) on the entity record to start a merge. If you go this route, be sure to trigger the merge from the “old” record as NetSuite automatically designates the record you start from as the duplicate, i.e., the one to be merged into another record and deleted.
  2. I prefer to use the duplicate detection tool as it allows more flexibility in choosing master vs. duplicate, etc. I usually update my duplicate detection criteria (Setup >> Company >> Duplicate Detection) to only match on entity name. Then, I make sure that my new record has the exact same name as the old one so that NetSuite flags it as a duplicate and allows me to merge them via duplicate resolution (Lists >> Mass Updates >> Entity Duplicate Resolution).

The merge action is pretty straightforward and fast. Generally, the time taken is dependent on how “heavy” the records involved are. The more transactions, messages, etc., the longer the merge will take.

Further Considerations

Bear the following in mind when merging entities:

  • The action is irreversible! So be sure to first test carefully in a Sandbox account and to inspect fields after the merge to avoid surprises.
  • Tax Agency vendor records cannot be merged. This stems from the fact that vendors with the category “Tax Agency” are handled specially by NetSuite and cannot be shared between subsidiaries.[IV]NetSuite (March 5, 2011). Adding a Tax Agency Vendor Record (Answer ID: 11192). Available at: [Accessed on: July 16, 2021].
  • Subrecords and links are duplicated during the merge process. For example, suppose the records you are merging both have an address subrecord. Even if the addresses are exactly the same (textually), after merging, there will be two addresses. The same will occur if you have custom records linked to the entity. This is the more reason to keep your new entity as lightweight as possible.
  • This approach will work for other entity types that are supported by the merge tool (e.g. Partners and Contacts).
  • As the number of records to merge grows, a more automated approach may be required. And the good news is that it is possible!

This article has illustrated how to leverage NetSuite’s merge tool to effectively change a vendor or customer’s primary subsidiary. It only scratches the surface of what is possible using NetSuite’s powerful merge functionality. I once conducted a migration project in which I applied this technique (in an automated fashion) to convert over 30,000 customer records spread out across 7+ subsidiaries into consolidated multi-subsidiary customers! Feel free to reach out via the Contact menu if you need help with such an endeavor.

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Chidi Okwudire IT Professional. ERP Enthusiast. NetSuite Certified (Administrator, SuiteCloud Developer II, and ERP Consultant). Passionate About Empowerment Through Knowledge Sharing. Always Eager to Learn.

3 Replies to “How to Change a NetSuite Vendor’s (or Customer’s) Primary Subsidiary After Booking Transactions”

  1. Hi, Following this and your post on Reddit (top tip about creating tasks to identify the Master) I’ve updated 3,500 customers. Many thanks!

    1. Hi Stuart,

      Thanks for dropping by and very glad to hear that this too has helped you clean up your master data!

      Keep learning and sharing.


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