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Multi-Company Configuration

This tutorial describes two ways how ]po[ can be used to manage groups of companies in various configurations:

  • Multiple profit centers within a single company:
    A company has multiple departments that are each responsible for their profit & loss. There is only one legal person.

  • Multiple divisions of one corporation or group structure:
    A company consists of multiple divisions or companies. Each company represents a separate legal person.

  • Partner or collaboration network:
    A number of independent companies have agreed to collaborate in a specific area.

Single Instance Setup

The ]po[ "single instance solution" emphasises integration and collaboration between the participating sub-organizations. Only a single list of users, customers and providers has to be maintained, and the system's information on profit & loss reflects the overall P&L per project and with each customer.

The solution consists of:

  • A single ]po[ server. All users will login to the same server to work.
  • The server is configured with restrictive access control. Users will only have access to projects and companies if access has been explicitely granted.
  • Several different "Profit Centers" are configured in the "Cost Centers" area, representing the different legal or organizational entities.
  • Every project will be extended with the following dynamic fields:
    • Production Center: The profit center responsible for profit & loss of the project.
    • Sales Center: The profit center responsible for selling the project. The Sales CC will usually receive a cut of the project's profit & loss.
  • Restrict the right to create financial documents for project managers and accountants to their own cost center using cost center permissions.

As a result of this setup, you can:

  • Determine the profit & loss per project and per customer:
    These numbers are directly available from the ]po[ user interface.

  • Transfer Services between the participating profit centers:
    There are reports available to determine transfer services (an employee of profit center A providing services to a project of profit center B).

  • Determine the profit & loss per profit center:
    Correct numbers on profit & loss per profit center are available by adding the transfer costs to the profit center's P&L.

  • Extract accounting information for all cost centers:
    Special report allows you to extract the accounting information per profit center.


  • Simple setup: Only a single (centralized) ]po[ server needs to be set up
  • Emphasis of sharing and collaboration: Only a single list of projects, customers and provider exist.

Multi-Instance Setup

As an alternative, you can setup a separate ]po[ instance for each organization participating in the collaboration and define certain data to be synchronized between all particpating ]po[ instances:

  • User information:
    Every user has exactly one "home ]po[ instance". The user's data is syncronized to the other participating ]po[ servers. The user can move between the different systems using single-sign on (changing servers without giving a password). However, the user's access permissions may differ, depending on the ]po[ instance.

  • Projects:
    All projects in all instances are syncronized with the other ]po[ instances. This way, all system seem to share the same list of projects. However, a user is automatically transferred to the project's "home ]po[ instance" if he clicks on the project.

As a result of this setup you can:

  • Allow a controlled level of collaboration between otherwise separated companies.
  • Profit & loss of projects is directly available on each ]po[ instance.
  • Accounting reports are directly available on each ]po[ instance.


  • This setup is a way to allow for controlled collaboration between otherwise unrelated or untrusted companies.

Specific Issues & Questions

  • "Number circuits" for invoice and project numbers:
    By default, the single-instance setup will provide a single space for project and invoice numbers (consecutive numbers) suitable for single-company invoicing, while the multi-instance setup will provide separate number circuits for each instance.
    However, the single-instance setup can be customized if necessary to use separate number circuits per profit center.

Feedback or Additional Questions?

Please go to the "Open Discussions" forum at http://www.sourceforge.net/projects/project-open/ , for additional questions related to this subject. Please use the string "Multi-Company Setup: ..." in the title of your discussion.

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