For professional services firms, finding the right software can be a challenge. Project management will be a central component, but there are so many levels of sophistication to choose from. You have the simple project management tools (Basecamp, ClickUp and the like) and project accounting software that pulls in the financial aspect (like Mavenlink). And then there’s full-fledged project-based ERP that combines Professional Services Automation (PSA), financial management and sales.
While each solution has its place, we’ll focus our attention here on the last option. More specifically, we’ll look at two of the top ERP solutions for services companies – FinancialForce and NetSuite. Both are classified as PSA solutions, with the option to integrate ERP for a complete business management solution.
FinancialForce is a cloud ERP and PSA solution built entirely on the Salesforce platform. It’s a bit of a niche ERP solution, with the bulk of their user base coming from existing Salesforce CRM customers. They tend to lead with their PSA product to get into larger professional services firms that already run Salesforce and build on the single platform approach. It’s worth noting, however, that FinancialForce isn’t a product or division of Salesforce – it’s a separately owned product in the Force.com ecosystem.
For the companies already on the Force.com platform, FinancialForce can be a natural next step to tie in project and financial management. It allows you to easily move from your sales-focused activities to project management and billing without leaving the Salesforce environment. Ease-of-use is arguably one of the most attractive features about FinancialForce, giving a consistent user experience across all areas of the business. Not to mention that a good user experience simplifies onboarding and increases adoption rates.
Be aware that FinancialForce is highly dependent on customization to meet business needs. Where other ERP solutions offer flexibility in the form of configuration, FinancialForce is much more likely to require customization. What does that mean for you? Instead of setting up the system in the way that best suits your needs, you’ll be changing the code. That requires experienced developers (that come at an added cost) and can increase the risk of functionality breaking when you upgrade your system.
About NetSuite for Professional Services Organizations
NetSuite’s leading PSA solution (OpenAir) can be used as stand-alone software or paired with their ERP product for a complete business management solution for services companies. With over 33,000 customers, NetSuite draws on its accounting software roots to bring deep financial management capabilities to the table plus robust professional services automation. It’s a great fit for multi-national organizations with support for multi-currency and local accounting standards across many countries.
The platform offers flexibility to configure the solution based on your needs. And, as your business grows, it’s easy to add new functionality within the same solution using other modules, like NetSuite CRM. In the case that you do need to integrate with another best-of-breed solution, NetSuite is designed to be easily integrated, giving you total flexibility over your solution.
Which project-based ERP is better?
The best solution will depend on your needs.
If you’re a heavy Salesforce user and have well-defined requirements that can be met with FinancialForce’s native functionality, that could be a great option for you.
On the other hand, if you want more flexibility to adapt the system to your processes, NetSuite might be the ticket.
If you want to take a closer look at NetSuite, let’s connect. As your North American NetSuite partner, we’re here to guide you through the process – right from evaluation, through implementation and beyond.