In an ERP project, we are regularly confronted to the problem of duplicate entries in the list of partners (customers and suppliers). Having duplicate entries in the list of customers or suppliers will always lead to problems. The first consequence is that users are confused when they need to select the partner, for a new quotation for example. But the most important consequence of this duplication is that overdue invoice reminders are not complete: the invoice reminders that you are sending by email to your customer don't have the full list of its overdue invoices!
Odoo v14 has great tools to detect those duplicate partners and merge them when a duplicate entry is found and confirmed.
How can you identify duplicate partners? For companies, the most reliable way is to use the VAT number or the national company identification number (SIREN in France). It's important to educate your users to always enter the VAT number or SIREN when they create a new company partner form.
In the base module from the official addons, a warning banner is displayed when another partner already exists with the same VAT number:
By default, this yellow warning banner is only displayed when you are in Edit mode. If you use Akretion's base_usability module, the warning banner is also displayed when you are not in Edit mode.
In the OCA module l10n_fr_siret, I implemented the same warning banner when two partners have the same SIREN:
In a B2C business, it's also important to fight against duplicate partners. For individual partners, the best way to identify duplicate partners is to use email addresses or mobile phone numbers.
So I developed a new module partner_email_duplicate_warn that shows a warning when two partners have the same email address (independently from the case, from starting spaces or ending spaces).
And I also developed the module partner_mobile_duplicate_warn that shows the warning when two partners have the same mobile phone number. This module requires the module phone_validation from the official addons that handle the reformatting of phone numbers to the standard international format such as +33 6 98 76 54 32. When all the phone numbers are properly formatted, it becomes easy to identify duplicate phone numbers.
With all these modules, you should be able to identify duplicate partners in your Odoo v14 database.
Once you have identified duplicate partners, you will certainly decide to delete one of the 2 partners. But, if both partners have orders, invoices or any other objects attached to it, you will not be able to delete any of them. Odoo v14 has a well-designed merge wizard that will allow you to merge the 2 partners. For that, in the list view of partners, select the 2 partners and click on Action > Merge: Odoo will start the merge wizard on those 2 partners. In the merge wizard, select as Destination contact the partner that has the most complete and up-to-date information (address, phone numbers, emails, contacts, etc). The other partner will be deleted and all the orders, invoices and any other document attached to the other partner will be transferred to the destination partner.