In the early stages of a business, many finance teams rely on Excel and QuickBooks as solutions for managing financials. While both can be appropriate for a young business, many companies continue to rely on limiting processes far longer than they should, fearing that more robust systems would be too costly or that training staff would be time-consuming and complex. But at some point, it becomes inevitable—you need a QuickBooks alternative if you want to continue to grow.

But when looking for an alternative to QuickBooks, where do you start? There are many solutions out there, offering a myriad of functionality to businesses large and small and in every industry. To find the right fit for your business, it’s best to take a step back and evaluate your current software stack first. This will help you see where your gaps are and what you really need in a financial solution (and beyond).

  • Do your current business systems integrate with each other?
  • What is the total spend on your current software stack?
  • Are you able to produce real-time business reporting?
  • Are your systems scalable?

Let’s dig into these questions to give you a better idea of what it could mean for your business.

Systems Integration

According to an Adobe study, more than 80% of business leaders say they encounter problems because their internal applications don’t talk to each other. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone. As evident by that staggering number, it’s really easy to end up with this problem.

Few businesses start out needing (or being able to justify) a full suite of business software. But as needs begin to arise, problems are “solved” by acquiring one-off systems. Before you know it, you have disparate software for each function: finance, HR, marketing, distribution, inventory, etc. While each solution might work well for its respective team, businesses now have siloed data and no way to integrate critical functions. This leads to ineffective processes, wasted time, and lack of visibility across the business.

When deciding if a QuickBooks alternative is needed, ask yourself this:

How would your business benefit from having all of your functions integrated?

IT Spend

Most businesses that start on QuickBooks do so because of its low cost. Starting at just $20/month, there is no denying it’s an affordable option. While cost is an important factor, it shouldn’t be the only thing you consider when evaluating new software. Content expert Adam Fout says it best:

“Think about the features that are absolutely critical for your business. Price (and everything else) is secondary to a piece of software that saves you time or makes you money.”

If we think of QuickBooks in terms of TCO—the sum of the software’s direct and indirect costs—it might not be as cheap as once thought. Many users incur additional fees for add-ons, integrations, training, and support. Going one step farther, what inefficiencies are presenting themselves as a direct result of the software? How much time is wasted on workarounds and manual processes? It’s also important to consider the cost of the business’s entire software stack and if it could be consolidated by a comprehensive suite. At the end of the day, it’s best to go into software evaluations with a clear picture of what you’re already spending and the functionality you’re seeking.

When deciding if a QuickBooks alternative is needed, ask yourself this:

How much are you willing to spend to solve the problems and inefficiencies that ail your business?

Reporting & Analytics

Data visibility is arguably the most important factor in a business’s success. Without the ability to see and analyze critical KPIs, you’ll have no idea what needs adjusting or which initiatives are driving revenue and should be continued. Unfortunately for QuickBooks, utilizing a disconnected accounting software makes it tough, if not impossible, for users to gain access to meaningful, real-time business data.

On the other hand, comprehensive business management software, like NetSuite, captures every detail of a business event, process, and/or transaction. By pairing this data with built-in and configurable business intelligence tools, your company will have access to valuable insight—from the individual employee level to the company level.

When deciding if a QuickBooks alternative is needed, ask yourself this:

Would having access to timely, seamless, efficient and cost-effective reporting and analytics help your business grow?

Scalability

Recently, we spoke with a wholesale distribution company who told us that every time they would create an invoice it would take QuickBooks seven minutes to load it. Can you imagine dealing with hundreds of orders a week and having to wait seven minutes each time? If you don’t have a calculator handy, that turned out to be roughly 11 hours of wasted time, every week, just waiting for QuickBooks to process. Their large inventory was overloading the application and it would come to a grinding halt.

The problem? Scalability (or lack thereof). While this may sound extreme, we hear anecdotes like these regularly.

  • “We don’t have access to up-to-the-minute reporting that we need to make critical business decisions.”
  • “We waste so much time playing “hunt the spreadsheet” because we’re doing more accounting outside of QuickBooks than in it.”
  • “We’re losing sales because the sales team doesn’t have access to the customer’s financial records.”

If your business is expecting, or currently experiencing, growth, it’s high time to seek another solution (but we suspect you already are). Consider software that lets you easily add and customize functionality, support multiple currencies, manage subsidiaries, and more. A comprehensive system like NetSuite will scale with you to facilitate your expansion and provide the flexibility to grow.

When deciding if a QuickBooks alternative is needed, ask yourself this:

What are your biggest growing pains? What functionality do you need in a business management software to take growth to the next level?

NetSuite as a QuickBooks Alternative

If your company is struggling with the challenges we’ve discussed here, it may be time to consider an integrated business management suite that can add more value to your IT spend, provide up-to-date business intelligence, and scale as you grow.

NetSuite’s unified suite of applications spans the entire business—accounting to distribution to marketing and more—and links key business processes together on the same platform, giving customers the critical visibility they need to make smarter, faster, more informed business decisions.

Want to learn more? See how NetSuite can help your business grow by building a custom demo today.

 



The first step in finding the right QuickBooks alternative for your business is determining what you have versus what you need. While we’d be willing to bet that NetSuite would check all of your boxes, take some time to ponder the questions we posed. Use that as a framework to help guide your search for the right solution.

 

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