Of late I have been dabbling again with zuora after initial stint couple of years back. It's been ages since I blogged (at least it seems so). Customer accounts are theoretically / functionally similar to Account object in Salesforce.
Or more appropriately in salesforce "companies that we sold to are Business Accounts".
In salesforce Account Object holds all the critical information like:-
1. Address details
2. Number of employees
3. People associates with that Account as related records like contacts
4. Business done with then as related Opportunities
5. Documents associated with them as attachments
and so forth.....
Similarly in Zuora
An customer account is a account that collects all of the critical information about the customer, such as contact information, payment terms, and payment methods.
Zuora uses the Account object to track all subscriptions, usage, and transactions for each customer account. Each account is a source of a recurring invoice stream.
Every subscription must be associated with an account. At least one active account must exist before any subscriptions can be created.
You would frown and say well so other than the subscription part where is the difference?
The difference lies in the details of schema or in how zuora works:-
1. Both Salesforce and zuora provide capability to add custom fields
1.The fields that can be added in zuora are of type text, picklist and checkbox only while salesforce provides you an array of options.
2. You cannot create any lookup / master detail based custom field in zuora or as they call it they dont provide "Relationship" fields in zuora
So what happens when you might want to associate an account with another account say as a :-
1. Lead Manager
3. Decision Maker
Well as of now the most easiest way of such association is using:-
1. Some sort of account hierarchy
2. A custom picklist field to denote type of account.
You might wonder why not provide something as basic as a lookup or relationship field- the answer might lie in the may Zuora works - it synchronizes data back and forth between itself and salesforce hence any modification of relationship schema might make their sync all the more complex.
But if you think a strong case of advocating "Relationship" fields at the "Customer Account" zuora like salesforce has a vibrant community and idea floating platform, you can post your idea and up-vote it here - Zuora Ideas
Watch this space for more in future!!