In Autotask, you can segment Products into Categories and Types. It can be confusing at first because of the granularity of Autotask Products, so let’s break it down into simpler terms.
A Product Category is simply a group, or bucket, of Products that you want to group together for your own internal organization. For example, you may have two Product Categories: Parts and Software. While not necessary, and probably not very common for most Autotask users, Product Categories can be broken into a Category and a Sub-category, e.g., Parts->Cables, where Parts is the Category and Cables is the Sub-category.
In reality, until you have used the Inventory module for a while, you’ll probably benefit more from the simplicity of having Categories, without Sub-categories, and keeping the Categories very simple, e.g, Parts, Software, Rental Equipment, Projectors, etc.
Billing Types are Autotask-specific, unlike Product Categories. Where Product Categories are for you to map the Inventory system to your personal organizational system, Billing Types tell Autotask how this product will be, well, billed. That said, it can be confusing how Billing Types work with Period Types, so let’s dig into Billing Types since they are relatively new.
Currently, there are three Billing Types:
- Standard. This product will be billed either once or recurring.
- Per Contact. This product is used, and only used, in the Per Contact Billing Rule of a Recurring Contract.
- Per Configuration Item. This product is used, and only used, in the Per Configuration Item Billing Rule of a Recurring Contract
Using Standard vs Per Contact/Per Configuration Item Billing Types
Think of “Standard” as “normal.” For Per Contact and Per Configuration Item, Autotask came out with an update to Recurring Contracts where you can create Billing Rules that enable/disable billing when you associate a Contact or Configuration Item in a Billing Rule in a Recurring Contract, respectively. If you are not using this advanced feature in Recurring Contracts, you can ignore all Billing Types other than “Standard.”