I received a PO from a customer this morning and this was the PO number: 00001445
Not one leading zero. Not two. But four leading zeroes. Why? Is 1445 not a good enough for a PO number?
Another common one is checks. I received a customer check numbered 000095220. My personal and business checks are nice and simple, with no leading zeroes, so I don't understand why people feel compelled to add zeroes at the front of document numbers.
It seems like the Fabrikam / TWO sample company encourages this, and takes the leading-zero cake with 19 leading zeroes setup in the default checkbooks. I think that would allow for several quintillion checks. Good luck having BofA cash a check that has a 20 digit number.
But are the leading zeroes really necessary? Do they provide any value whatsoever? Can't we just have a check number without the leading zeroes?
Is there some secret about the leading zeroes that I'm missing? Assuming the system is able to roll over numbers and add a new digit, like incrementing from 9,999 to 10,000 (which I believe GP does
[Update: So Jen and Roger submitted comments below, and not surprisingly, they both point out that there are modules and records where GP is not able to roll numbers over and add a digit. For those situations, yes, you're stuck with the leading zeroes.]
Many of the default document numbers in GP have alpha prefixes, so it's not quite the same, but they do have an excessive number of zeroes in them. One of the first things I do when working with a new Fabrikam / TWO database is to change the default next document numbers to values that are usable and don't require me to count a bunch of zeroes. The default numbers are a nightmare to test with, so I usually pare them down to no more than 6 digits after the alpha prefix.
I'm open to explanations as to why this might be an even remotely valid idea. I can only think of one, which I'll keep to myself so as to not encourage the practice, but even that one seems like a very weak justification.