SAP Business One Pros and Cons

Jalene Ippolito February 13, 2024

In your ERP research, you’ve come across SAP Business One as a potential solution to simplify and automate your processes. Chances are you’ve found loads of information about how great the software is, but you’re wondering what the drawbacks are.

We get it – ERP is a big investment and no software platform is perfect. You want to gather as much information as possible – both positive and negative – so you can dive into your ERP implementation with your eyes open.In our 20+ years as an SAP partner, we’ve gotten to know the software inside and out. We’re sharing that knowledge so you have a clear picture of the SAP Business One pros and cons and can make an informed decision for your business.

SAP Business One pros and cons


  • Suitable for both small and mid-sized businesses
  • Can be deployed on-premise or in a private cloud
  • A flexible ERP that can be easily customized


  • Not natively web-based (yet)
  • Lacks robust multi-entity management
  • Doesn’t have automatic upgrades

First, a comment on SAP Business One price

Other ERP vendors that use a SaaS (Subscription as a Service) model will often say that SAP Business One is more expensive than their solution. The tricky part here is that you’re not comparing apples to apples.

With SaaS software, the license and cloud hosting costs are rolled into a monthly subscription fee for each user. You’ll continue paying that fee every month, for as long as you use the software.

There are a couple of factors that make SAP Business One’s pricing structure a little different.

  1. Perpetual licenses: You purchase the license up-front for a higher fee and pay an annual maintenance fee for access to upgrades, but you own the software forever. And, unlike SaaS solutions, your license gives you instant access to all functionality – you don’t have to pay more to unlock additional features.
  2. Hosting infrastructure: If you choose to host SAP Business One on-premise, you’ll have additional infrastructure costs, like servers and other hardware, data security, backups, etc. This will be an ongoing cost and may require some investment up-front. Alternatively, you can pay a monthly fee to host your system in a private cloud.

Often, what these SaaS providers are referring to is the higher up-front cost of SAP Business One. But to get an accurate comparison, you need to look at the total cost of ownership over a multi-year period. Only then will you have a true sense of what each ERP solution will cost – and which is more affordable.

SAP Business One Pros

1. SAP Business One can easily fit both small and mid-sized businesses

Many ERP solutions claim to be suitable for both small, simple companies and more complex, mid-size companies. But some public cloud systems are too expensive for small companies (think $3 to $5 million in revenue). The reason is that the subscription model often starts with a ‘basic’ set of features and if you need even one advanced feature, you have to upgrade to the next tier and pay for other features you don’t need.

SAP Business One has a few advantages in this respect:

  • The SAP Business One starter pack provides an affordable option for companies with 2 to 5 users and has very few functional limitations when compared to the full version.
  • When you purchase a professional license, you get access to all SAP Business One ERP functionality right from the start. So, as you grow and need new functionality, you already have access to it – all you need to do is configure the features and adjust your workflows.
  • SAP Business One has built-in flexibility that allows you to adapt your solution to meet the changing complexity of your business. This could mean customizing workflows, implementing an add-on for more advanced capabilities or integrating with other applications.

2. SAP Business One can be deployed on-premise or in a private cloud

While there are drawbacks to an on-premise ERP (more on that later), the advantage for SAP Business One is the choice of deployment options. Some companies don’t want a public cloud ERP system and others simply have no preference.

What’s the advantage of on-premise ERP?

  • You get to choose how data security and disaster recovery measures are managed.
  • You have control over your ERP system and data. This is common for companies that must meet specific data requirements to fulfill contractual obligations with their customers.
  • You have more flexibility to customize and integrate your ERP software.
  • You can upgrade your system on a timeline that works for you.
  • You’re not reliant on an internet connection to run your business. This is a consideration for companies located in rural areas that lack stable internet service.

What’s the advantage of private cloud ERP?

  • You can offload the IT infrastructure and resourcing requirements to a qualified ERP hosting provider who will manage system uptime, security, backups and data redundancy.
  • You can easily access your system from any location using a remote desktop and an internet connection.
  • You have more flexibility to customize and integrate your ERP software than you would with a public cloud solution.
  • You can upgrade your system on a timeline that works for you.

For those that don’t see public cloud as a must-have, but also don’t want the hassle of hosting on-premise, private cloud may be the perfect middle ground.

3. SAP Business One can be easily customized

While all ERP systems can be customized to some extent, SAP Business One has more flexibility than most. Here are a few of the options.

  • SAP Business One has several options for custom reporting, ranging from simple drag-and-drop tools to more technical custom queries.
  • Everyday users can customize screen layouts and workflows, add buttons, create macros and much more using Boyum B1 Usability Package – no software developer knowledge needed.
  • For specific industry requirements, you can access nearly 500 add-ons in the SAP Business One ecosystem.
  • In cases where you need custom functionality, you can customize the software, integrate with third-party tools or even extend your solution with custom applications.

The range of options gives you the flexibility to make simple changes to your system with minimal technical expertise, while also allowing for more complex customizations when needed. If you need significant customization or complex integrations, it’s important to vet your SAP Business One partner carefully as the depth of skill can vary.

Book a call with an SAP Business One expert ›

SAP Business One Cons

1. SAP Business One isn’t natively web-based (yet)

This is considered the biggest disadvantage of SAP Business One for a few reasons.

Anywhere access

With remote work becoming the norm, accessing your ERP system from any location is a top priority. This is easy to do with public cloud ERP software – simply open a browser and log in. Companies that host SAP Business One on-premise don’t always have the necessary infrastructure to support remote access, which means employees must be in the building to do their work. The easiest way to get around this is to host SAP Business One in a private cloud so you can remotely access your system via a remote desktop.

User experience

When you compare the SAP Business One desktop application to browser-based alternatives, it can look a bit outdated. Some people jump to the conclusion that it means the software is hard to use or lacks the features you’d find in a cloud-based solution – but that simply isn’t the case.

One area where cloud ERP solutions have a usability advantage is in reporting. While SAP Business One has strong reporting capabilities, the tools require a bit more technical knowledge compared to the intuitive report builders found in other solutions. This can typically be overcome using third-party reporting and dashboard tools.


As we mentioned earlier, hosting SAP Business One on-premise requires additional investment in the infrastructure required to support it. In addition to hardware, you also need skilled IT resources to properly manage the technical environment, backups, data redundancy and cybersecurity. For most small and mid-size companies, this is a tall order. Hosting your system in a private cloud – often managed by your SAP Business One partner – provides the same benefits as a public cloud solution.

Will SAP Business One move to the web?

The good news is that SAP is investing heavily in the SAP Business One web client to improve the user experience. Currently, the desktop application is still required and is the best choice for heavy users, like accounting and operations. But the web client offers more flexibility for sales users and executives who primarily access the system for reporting purposes.

2. SAP Business One lacks robust multi-entity management

While SAP Business One has strong financial capabilities that will meet the needs of many small and mid-size companies, it doesn’t include a unified multi-entity chart of accounts structure. If your business has multiple companies (in Canada or other countries), each entity will have a separate SAP Business One database. Some companies find it somewhat cumbersome to manage high volumes of intercompany transactions and complex consolidation.

There are solutions to handle intercompany consolidation within SAP Business One, but it all depends on the complexity of your requirements. Before you rule out SAP Business One based on this functionality, we recommend talking with an SAP Business One partner like ProjectLine to understand what you need and what options are available to you.

Book a call with an SAP Business One expert ›

3. SAP Business One doesn’t have automatic upgrades

As an on-premise ERP solution, SAP Business One doesn’t provide automatic upgrades the way public cloud systems do. It’s up to each company to decide when they want to upgrade to a newer version.

Whether you have automatic upgrades or not, you should always allocate time for proper testing before you go-live with a new version. This is easier to do when you choose the timing of your upgrade. You can consider the busy periods, major projects and other factors that impact your team’s capacity – you’re not beholden to the software publisher’s timing.

The risk here is that you can end up in version lock, stuck two or three major versions behind. These upgrades can be more difficult than simply going from one version to the next.

Ready to explore SAP Business One?

At ProjectLine, we help growing businesses like yours simplify processes, increase productivity and scale faster using SAP Business One. We can answer any questions you have about SAP Business One, show you how it will work for your business and create an implementation plan that meets your objectives.

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