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What Is a Vendor List?

A vendor list is a strategic compilation of suppliers that a company uses to acquire goods and services. It's a vital tool for businesses to streamline procurement, ensuring quality and cost-effectiveness. By carefully selecting vendors, companies can build strong, reliable partnerships. How does your business choose its vendors, and what benefits could a well-curated vendor list bring to your operations?
C. Daw
C. Daw

A vendor list is a group of people or companies that a business uses to purchase items and services from. Unlike the customer list, this list will show all of the vendors that the company pays money to on a regular basis in order to receive the items and services that they need to maintain their business. When accounting software is used, this list will be placed into the program, with a number assigned to them, so that the bookkeeper or accountant can keep track of debts owed and debts paid. It usually is a group that the owner, or lead manager, has approved for use, which is where the term approved vendor list comes into play.

An approved vendor list shows the main people or companies that the business uses on a regular basis, and that have been chosen to be the preferred ones that they go through first, which is commonly called the preferred vendors list. Of course, when the main vendor is out of stock on something, or has raised its prices too high, then other vendors from the list can be chosen instead. These are back-up vendors and are only used when necessary. As new items come out, and price changes go into effect, these contacts may change from a primary to a secondary, and vice versa.

Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

Another set of contacts that can be listed on the vendor list are contractors that are used for repairs and services. These people, or companies, will have separate numbers so the bookkeeper can differentiate between item vendors and service vendors. However, since the business pays money out for these specialty services, they are still considered to be vendors and therefore will be placed on the list so the services and repairs that they provide can be itemized.

Even though many people think that the customer list is a separate section within the list, the truth is that they are completely different. A vendor is a person or entity that the business pays money to for services and goods. A customer is one that pays the company for the same reasons. A vendor list will only include the people that the company pays money to, while the people or companies that they receive money from will be kept on a completely different list, and they will be entered in a separate section of the accounting software, if any is used.

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