The larger your company, the more important it is to keep information organized. NetSuite provides this organization in a number of ways, but Classifications, Subsidiaries, and Accounts are three of the main ones.

The Classifications: Departments, Classes, and Locations

There are three main classifications in NetSuite: Departments, Classes, and Locations. These overlap with one another in some ways while being unique in others.

Creating New Classifications

Creating these classifications is fairly simple. First, you need to make sure they are each enabled in Enable Features. Enable Features groups them all together under the Classifications category of Company, the first subtab. After enabling these features, you can create new Departments, Classes, or Locations by navigating to Setup > Company > Classifications and selecting the New tab next to the specific classification you want to create.

On the page to create a new classification, you will name the classification, choose an optional parent classification of the same type, and (if you have OneWorld) associate the new classification with one or more of your company’s subsidiaries.

Similarities with Classifications

So what are the similarities that these classifications have? First, they are each, essentially, types of records. If you wanted to organize information by departments in your company, you would make a separate Department record for each department. The same goes for either Classes or Locations. The fact that these classifications are simply groups of records is significant, because it means that they act in all the normal ways you are accustomed to records acting. You can associate Department, Class, and Location records with other records, as well as with specific transactions.

Another similarity with Departments, Classes, and Locations is that they all serve roughly the same purpose: to organize and track information on records and transactions. Suppose, for example, that you work in the sales department of a large retail company and part of your job is to manage sales orders. Perhaps you’ve created thousands of sales orders in just the last few months—not mention how many sales orders others in your company have created! How can you keep these sales orders organized? One way would be to associate each sales order with a Location. That way, you would always be able to easily connect each sales order to a specific store.

A final key similarity with these classifications is that you can use them to restrict access to certain records and transactions. The type of restriction ranges from limiting which users can view certain records and transactions to allowing some users to view but not edit those records and transactions. This capability goes a step further than the previous one. Not only are certain records and transactions associated with specific classifications, but a user’s relationship with those classifications would affect his access to those records and transactions. For example, to return to our sales order example, you may want to restrict who can edit a sales order by what department the user works in or which location the user works from.

Differences with Classifications

While Departments, Classes, and Locations do share many similarities, they also have key differences. Perhaps the most obvious difference is in what each category includes. Departments includes broader categories of a company—such as the sales department. Classes includes basically any way that you want to break down information outside of Departments or Locations. One example that SuiteAnswers provides is that you may want to track sales orders by new customers and returning customers, so you could create a “New Customer” class and a “Returning Customer” class. And Locations includes all the physical locations, including both stores and warehouses, of your company.

Another key difference is that the Locations classification differs from the other two in some ways. For one thing, new locations require much more information when they are created than the other two classifications do. Where the other classifications just need to be named and associated with a subsidiary, a new location needs information like the address of the location, the type of location (store or warehouse), and the Branch ID. You can also upload a logo for the new location and set the time zone the location is in. Another difference between Locations and the other two classifications is that, while you can create an unlimited number of Departments and Classes, you would need to use the Advanced Item Location Configuration feature in order to create more than 1,000 location records.

The Role of Subsidiaries

So where do subsidiaries come in? Subsidiaries are a broader way to organize information. One key thing to note with subsidiaries is that they are the primary means of organization for companies that use OneWorld. You can associate specific classifications with subsidiaries. For example, you would want to associate the different locations represented in the parent company with a specific subsidiary. As with the three classifications, you have the option to apply subsidiary restrictions to different users. In the overall hierarchy of information access, however, subsidiary restrictions trump classifications. In other words, if a user is associated with a specific subsidiary, then any restrictions on that subsidiary automatically apply to that user, even if other users in the parent company with the same role would normally not have those restrictions.


Finally, let’s take a quick look at Accounts. What are they and how can they work? Accounts are simply financial accounts, including everything from Bank accounts, Asset accounts, A/P and A/R accounts, and Liability accounts. You can create a new account by navigating to Setup > Accounting > Manage G/L > Chart of Accounts > New. When creating a new account, you can associate it both with specific subsidiaries and with the classifications. The benefit of associating accounts with specific classifications is that, as SuiteAnswers states, “after you select a class, department, location, or a combination of segments, this account can be selected only on transactions where those segments are also selected.” This ability to restrict access to accounts through subsidiaries and classifications helps to maintain the integrity of a company’s financials.

Study Tips

As always, SuiteAnswers would be the best place for you to go for more information on these topics. While this article hits the highlights of a handful of key SuiteAnswers topics, for more information you should check out these topics in SuiteAnswers: Departments, Classes, Locations, Subsidiaries, and Accounts.


Hopefully you have found this breakdown of Classifications, Subsidiaries, and Accounts to be helpful! For more SuiteFoundation tips, check out the related posts linked below. And don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list so that you never miss any of our upcoming posts!