For small businesses, QuickBooks is the most natural starting point for accounting software thanks to its low price point and ease of use.
You can perform your basic accounting and billing functions, like tracking income and expenses, connecting bank and credit card accounts, and creating financial reports. QuickBooks Online offers the low IT overhead of cloud but is a stand-alone program limited strictly to accounting. The Enterprise version has no true cloud option that’s either hosted on-premise or through a third-party hosting provider at an additional cost.
Many companies can run on QuickBooks for years. But what happens when you’re so successful that you’ve outgrown it?
That’s when it’s time to consider an ERP solution, like NetSuite. Read on for some tell-tale signs that you’re ready for ERP and how NetSuite can help you continue growing your business.
NetSuite vs QuickBooks - What’s the Difference?
NetSuite and QuickBooks are both popular accounting applications, but there are some key differences that set them apart.
One main difference is the scope of features offered by each system. QuickBooks is primarily an accounting software that allows youto manage your finances, including invoicing, bill payment and bank reconciliation.
NetSuite, on the other hand, is a full-featured ERP system that includes accounting capabilities, plus a wide range of other functionality, including inventory, production, order management, customer relationship management and more.
Another difference is the pricing and deployment model. QuickBooks is available in both desktop and online versions, with the online version being a subscription-based service. NetSuite, on the other hand, is only available as a cloud-based service, with pricing based on the number of users and the features needed.
When it comes to integration with other systems, NetSuite is generally considered to have a more robust set of integration options compared to QuickBooks. NetSuite offers pre-built integrations with a variety of applications, and also has an API that allows for custom integrations. QuickBooks has some integration options, but they’re limited compared to NetSuite.
Is it time to move on from QuickBooks?
You need more than basic accounting functionality
QuickBooks is great for the basics, but it does have limitations. If you have multiple subsidiaries or foreign currencies, you’ll understand the frustration of financial consolidation. It’s manual and time-consuming. The same can be said for revenue recognition, recurring billing and fixed asset management. While you can create processes outside of QuickBooks to do what you need, you’ll be dealing with manual journal entries, complicated recognition schedule spreadsheets and limited forward visibility.
Implementing workarounds for everyday accounting functions has a huge impact on profitability. The time it takes to manage these manual processes, transfer data back and forth and maintain endless spreadsheets keeps your accounting team from focusing on what matters – managing cash flow and optimizing receivables. Not to mention that your error rate increases significantly with each manual process, so you’ll find yourself questioning your financial data.
You have a mess of systems to manage the business
Even if you think QuickBooks is working for your accounting team, what about the rest of your business? Every department likely has its own systems and none of them are talking to each other. Consider the most basic example of maintaining customer information. That will be stored in QuickBooks for invoicing, your CRM system for sales activity, possibly an order management system for order fulfillment. The list could go on. Multiple departments rely on the same information, but they’re all using a different version.
Now apply that same concept to something that impacts financials, like inventory. Your accounting team may not be concerned about the specifics of product mix and availability, but they need to know the value of your inventory at any point in time. From a cash flow perspective, they need visibility into upcoming purchase orders and sales forecasts. QuickBooks doesn’t give you this level of visibility because it’s not connected to the rest of your business.
Your processes are manual and time-consuming
We’ve already illustrated a few examples of this. The functional limitations in QuickBooks force you to use workarounds to get things done. A common example we see is subscription billing – you end up copying the previous month’s invoices and typing in the current month’s data. Invoicing can take days and it’s ripe for error. Outside of the day-to-day accounting functions, you likely spend a lot of time reconciling data from other systems in Excel. Or perhaps managing entire processes in spreadsheets. The extra time your team spends on these manual processes takes away from more strategic initiatives. At best, it slows your growth. At worst, it can halt the growth altogether.
You can’t answer key questions about your business
Managing your business by gut feel is easy when you’re small – you have your finger on the pulse of the day-to-day operations. But that’s not a scalable model. As you grow, you need to rely more on numbers and less on your gut. Sure, you can pull financial reports from QuickBooks, but your view of the business is limited because you’re only looking at a sliver of the pie. To get a more holistic view, you’re forced to pull reports from multiple systems and reconcile them in Excel. How much time does it take to do that? By the time you get the final report, you’re relying on old data. With QuickBooks, you’ll always be a step behind.
Sound familiar? Here's how NetSuite can help...
NetSuite is a logical choice for companies coming off QuickBooks. It’s an end-to-end accounting solution that automates your day-to-day processes and gives you greater control over your finances. But accounting is just one piece of the puzzle. NetSuite has the other pieces.
1. More robust accounting functionality to support your growth
NetSuite handles all the basic accounting processes that QuickBooks does. But it goes so much further. For starters, NetSuite provides accounting data from a consolidated level down to individual transactions, so you can customize your GL to your needs. Multi-dimensional reporting eliminates the need for a complex chart of accounts, letting you add tracking details at the transaction level.
Thinking back to some of the QuickBooks challenges we discussed, NetSuite addresses all of them, out-of-the-box.
- Comply with revenue recognition requirements and schedule revenue to be recognized automatically.
- Manage billing more effectively with consolidated invoicing, automated rating processes and support for multiple pricing models.
- Easily consolidate financial data using sophisticated tools and a platform for handling multiple subsidiaries and currencies.
- Manage fixed asset lifecycles across depreciating and non-depreciating assets.
2. A single system to manage your business now and into the future
If all you want is more robust accounting functionality, you can start with NetSuite’s Financials First package. But the platform gives you the flexibility to integrate other areas of your business as you’re ready. This allows you to streamline processes across the entire organization. Manually transferring data between systems and reconciling in Excel is a thing of the past. Everyone in your company is using the same set of information to make faster, more informed decisions. And speaking strictly from a financial perspective, your accounting team has more reliable information with real-time visibility into sales, purchasing, project management and more.
3. Efficiency gains across the organization
Efficiency alone is worth the investment in NetSuite – you could see accounting productivity increases up to 50%! Instead of spending hours each week creating invoices and filling in complicated spreadsheets, you can redirect that time to higher-value tasks. The same applies to other departments. Your sales team can leverage sales force automation to stay top of mind with prospects and close deals faster. Self-service tools empower your customers to answer questions about their orders and account standing, without relying on your team to respond to inquiries. And every employee across the organization has the information they need at their fingertips, with role-based dashboards and streamlined workflows.
4. Complete visibility into business data and performance
Understanding how you’re performing and identifying potential risks before they become problems is essential to growing a successful business. NetSuite integrates all areas of your business into one system, so you can see how changes in one area impact the others. Customizable dashboards and robust reporting give you true insight into your data, helping you spot trends and respond proactively to changes in your business.
5. Lower IT overhead costs
Small and mid-size businesses often have limited in-house IT resources, making NetSuite’s cloud ERP platform a great choice. The system availability, data redundancy and security are at a level that simply isn’t economical to achieve on your own. The draw on your IT team drops significantly, not to mention you don’t have the cost of maintaining on-premise servers and software to host your homegrown systems.
Is NetSuite right for you?
Ultimately, whether you use NetSuite or QuickBooks will depend on your business needs and budget. If you need a complete business management suite with features spanning multiple business areas, NetSuite may be a better fit. On the other hand, if you just need accounting software, QuickBooks may be sufficient.
But if you’re feeling any of the QuickBooks pain we talked about, it could be a good time to explore ERP software. While we’ve highlighted many advantages of NetSuite, we know it may not be the right fit for every company.
But as a NetSuite solution provider, we can help you make that call. We’ll get to know your business, your processes and your people. Only then will we recommend the right solution for your business – whether it’s NetSuite or not.