Think, for a moment, about the individuals who use NetSuite on a daily basis: top-level executives; employees with a wide range of jobs, including accountants and warehouse managers; and even, at times, groups outside the company, like customers and vendors. While some of these individuals may need access to all the information in that company’s instance of NetSuite, most of them do not. Most of them just need access to very specific records and dashboards. NetSuite provides the flexibility of different user interfaces for different users through roles and centers.

NetSuite Roles

What is a role? According to SuiteAnswers, a role is simply a “defined access configuration that can be assigned to users.” In other words, each standard role has specific access permissions and restrictions automatically built into it. Keep in mind that roles are different from users—one user could be assigned to any number of roles.

Types of Roles

First, let’s take a look at some of the standard roles NetSuite provides. To see the standard roles available to your company, navigate to Setup > Users/Roles > Manage Roles. On this page, you will see both standard and custom roles. Standard roles include things like A/P and A/R clerk, Accountant, Bookkeeper, CEO, Developer, Retail Clerk, and Warehouse Manager, to name a few. When a user logs in with any one of these roles, he would have access to everything permitted for that role. A person’s role dictates what the user interface will look look like, including specialized dashboards and specific top tabs.

The most powerful role is the Administrator role. Any user logged in as the Administrator would have unlimited access to all the data in their instance of NetSuite, including all the records, reports, and transactions. This individual also has the ability to access and customize roles for other users.

Customizing Roles

If you are logged in as the Administrator and would like to customize a role, you can do so on the Manage Roles Page. On this page, find the standard role that you wish to customize and click Customize next to that role under the Edit column. On this page, you can name your custom role and then proceed to customize the permissions and restrictions.

You could also create a new role from scratch by navigating to Setup > Users/Roles > Manage Roles > New. However, creating a new role this way would be tedious. Customizing a standard role is a much faster and simpler way to create a new role, since all the original permissions and restrictions are already built into it.

Setting a Default Role

Since one user may have access to multiple roles at once, it’s helpful for each user to be able to set a default role. The default role would be the user’s primary role, and this would be the role NetSuite would log them in as. To set a default role, click your name in the upper righthand corner of NetSuite. On the My Roles page, you will see all the roles you have access to. To change the default role, hover over the three dots to the right of your preferred role and click Make Default.

Changing Roles

Being able to set a default role can save you a lot of time, but sometimes you just need to toggle quickly between roles. To do that, simply hover over your name in the upper righthand corner of the screen and select the role you need to view. If you leave NetSuite while logged into one of your non-default roles and then log back in later, NetSuite will automatically bring up your default role.

NetSuite Centers

So, where do centers come in? According to this Help Center page, “each role is tied to a center, meaning a set of tabbed pages that display as the NetSuite user interface. . . . A role’s center determines the pages that users see when they log into NetSuite.” In other words, different roles have different centers—different tabs that appear when a user logs in as that role.

Types of Centers

NetSuite comes with several standard centers that organize the NetSuite user interface in a logical way to supply the information that each role would need. These centers include the Classic Center, Accounting Center, Sales Center, Employee Center, Support Center, and Vendor Center, to name a few.

Customizing Centers

As with the roles, you can also create your own custom centers. In fact, you can use custom centers only for custom roles. To create a new center, navigate to Customization > Centers and Tabs > Centers > New. On this page, you will provide a label for your custom center and an optional ID. To actually select which tabs will appear on your new center, you need to create new tabs and directly apply those tabs to the new center. To create new tabs, navigate to Customization > Centers and Tabs > Center Tabs > New.


We trust that you’ve been able to learn more about roles and centers and their unique contribution to the organization of NetSuite! For more articles like this, check out the related posts linked below. And don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list so that you don’t miss any of our upcoming posts!