Cloud ERP Comparison: NetSuite vs. FinancialForce
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 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 their 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. The ease-of-use is arguably one of the most attractive features about FinancialForce, giving a consistent user experience across all areas of the business.
A great user experience is important – it makes onboarding easier and increases adoption rates. But user experience won’t make up for weaknesses in the product itself. One of the biggest drawbacks of FinancialForce is its dependency on customization to meet business needs. Where other, more robust ERP solutions offer flexibility in the form of configuration, FinancialForce is 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 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 a stand-alone software or paired with their ERP product for a complete business management solution for services companies. With over 24,000 customers, NetSuite draws on its roots as an accounting software 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 business 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.
In our opinion, NetSuite offers a far more flexible solution to support your business over time.
FinancialForce is built for very defined requirements – if you need more robust ERP functionality or flexibility, it’s not a great fit. While it’s easy to use out-of-the-box, it’s not easily configured to your specific business needs and structure. And if you need to integrate with applications outside of the Force.com ecosystem, you could run into challenges. FinancialForce simply isn’t built for flexibility and integration.
The flexibility and depth of functionality you get with NetSuite is hard to beat – in fact, to achieve the same level with FinancialForce, you’d be relying on a collection of third-party apps designed for the Force.com platform.
The experts support this assessment – Gartner ranked NetSuite as a Leader in their annual Magic Quadrant for Cloud Core Financial Management Suites for Midsize, Large and Global Enterprises. By comparison, FinancialForce ranked as a Niche Player.
Ready to explore NetSuite in-depth? As your Canadian NetSuite implementation partner, we’re here to guide you through the process – right from evaluation, through implementation and beyond.