NetSuite vs. QuickBooks: Which Accounting Software Is Best for Your Business?
Accounting is meant to help business leaders understand their company's financial health and performance to influence business decisions.
That makes choosing your accounting software a business decision itself.
But your options are endless… which solution should you choose?
To make this a decision that supports the business as a whole, involve the business team and leadership — not just an accountant or the finance team — in choosing the right software. Getting input from across the company with business needs in mind helps you select a solution that keeps everyone in communication and helps your business grow in the right direction.
Wondering where to start?
You’re probably reading this article because you’re considering two popular business accounting solutions: QuickBooks (by Intuit) and NetSuite ERP (by Oracle). These are each great tools, but they serve very different types of businesses, so it’s important that you know when each might be the right fit for you.
Here’s what you need to know to choose between QuickBooks and NetSuite for your business.
NetSuite vs. QuickBooks: Summary
No accounting solution is right for every business. Instead, you need to determine your needs, based on your size, location, complexity and plans for growth, and choose a solution that is the best fit for your business.
QuickBooks and NetSuite are both popular solutions, but comparing them is like comparing apples to oranges. They serve different types of businesses and offer significantly different solutions.
QuickBooks tends to be best for small businesses just getting started, with low revenue.
NetSuite is for enterprise resource planning (ERP software), not just accounting, so it’s best for more complex business needs and deeper financial management and data analysis.
QuickBooks vs. NetSuite: Detailed Comparison
Unique NetSuite Features
In addition to basic accounting and invoice management, NetSuite offers:
- Multi-currency, multi-tax, and multi-language support for businesses with operations all over the world.
- A variety of user types for different team members, so you can give different permissions and different tasks to finance managers versus employees who need to track time on a project, for example.
- Support for multiple legal entities and integrated reporting for businesses, so you can see a full financial picture of a business that operates in multiple countries or under multiple entities.
- Advanced financial reporting and data analysis compared with QuickBooks. Data for all business processes and departments lives in one place to let users across teams see a comprehensive picture of the state of the business.
- Built-in customer relationship management (CRM) and ERP features, including features to automate marketing, project management, human resources management, financial forecasting, budgeting, and more.
Unique QuickBooks Features
QuickBooks is a basic accounting system for U.S.-based SMBs, SaaS startups, and more. QuickBooks offers basic bookkeeping, accounts receivable and payable, invoicing, inventory management, and expense tracking, plus:
- Easily integrate with more than 650 widely used business tools as your business grows, with popular add-ons for payment processing, accounting, CRM and project management.
- Priced for small and medium-sized businesses, including support for e-commerce, time tracking, and more. You won’t pay for access to tons of features you don’t need, as you might with more robust software.
NetSuite pricing is designed for enterprises and isn’t listed on NetSuite’s website. Some reviewers note pricing of around $100 (USD) per user per month, or about $1,000 per month for the lowest tier subscription with access for 10 users.
Prices vary depending on the size of your team, which features and integrations you’ll use, and the length of your contract. You can speak with a representative to see a price estimate for your company’s size and needs.
You’ll start by licensing a suite based on your number of employees, then add the services you need to create your subscription package. You can pay for the suite and services separately or together as a monthly subscription.
NetSuite editions include:
- Limited: For small businesses with a single legal entity and less than 50 employees.
- Mid-Market: For businesses with multiple legal entities that require multi-currency support.
- Enterprise: For companies with more than 1,000 users on the accounting software.
All three editions include NetSuite CRM and NetSuite ERP, which offer:
- Marketing and sales automation.
- Account (case) management.
- Partner relationship management.
- General ledger.
- Accounts receivable and payable.
- Payment processing for credit cards, ACH and EFT.
- Multi-currency and multi-language support.
- Basic project management.
- Order management and purchasing.
- Employee time tracking and expense management.
- Professional services automation (PSA).
Anytime throughout your subscription, you can add additional features a la carte or as a bundle called an Industry Suite. Pricing depends on the features and your edition level.
You can purchase QuickBooks desktop software to download or use the cloud-based QuickBooks Online solution for broader access. QuickBooks Online pricing includes:
- Self-Employed Plan: $15 per month, designed for freelancers. Features are basic, including the ability to track income and expenses, send invoices, connect payment options, estimate quarterly taxes and run simple financial reports.
- Simple Start Plan: $25 per month, for small businesses with contractors. Track revenue, expenses, sales, sales tax and cash flow; and send invoices and estimates.
- Plus Plan: $70 per month, for businesses with small teams of employees. Get everything in Simple Start, plus time tracking for employees, inventory tracking, and the ability to manage and pay bills within the accounting software. Get access for up to five managers.
- Advanced Plan: $150 per month, for SMBs who want personalized support and advanced reporting. Get access for up to 25 users.
QuickBooks Payroll Pricing
You can add payroll to your QuickBooks plan or purchase QuickBooks Payroll on its own to manage both W-2 and 1099 employees, including direct deposit, 401(k), and health care benefits.
- Payroll Core: $45 + $4 per employee per month. Manage payroll and benefits for employees and contractors.
- Payroll Premium: $75 + $8 per employee per month. Get access to workers compensation administration, mobile employee time tracking for workers in the field and same-day direct deposit.
- Payroll Elite: $125 + $12 per employee per month. Access a personal HR advisor and personalized product support.
When to Move from QuickBooks to NetSuite
Chances are that after you use QuickBooks for a few years, the software — even with integrations — won’t be sufficient for the needs of your growing business.
You might need to switch from QuickBooks to Netsuite because:
- Your CEO can’t make business decisions without easy access to financial information and a consolidated view over multiple entities
- Your business teams are dealing with inefficient reporting processes to get information from finance and sales teams.
- The pricing doesn’t work well with the size of your team.
- You need a solution that gives you consolidated views over multiple business entities or countries as you expand internationally.
- You need better visibility of financial data across teams, so you want to combine all business functions under one solution.
- You’re adding new sales channels and products to manage.
One of the biggest reasons for the switch is — especially for fast-growing companies — to anticipate your expansion. The earlier you implement NetSuite, the easier it will be to make the switch. And even if you don’t use100% of the solution from the beginning, you’ll be able to easily add additional features.
If you’re expanding internationally, one of NetSuite’s major advantages is the way it supports multiple legal entities and multiple currencies. The software consolidates information for all entities into a single system (in multiple languages) to help you understand how your business is performing on a global level.
NetSuite also increases your efficiency as the business grows. Instead of relying on manual reporting and communications among teams, you can integrate all business processes in one place and allow real-time visibility to everyone who needs it.
How to Make the Switch
NetSuite offers a dedicated service to help growing business customers make the upgrade from QuickBooks to NetSuite. Its SuiteSuccess program is designed to move customers to the NetSuite cloud and be fully functional in the new system within 100 days.
Note that you don’t need to buy all the bells and whistles in NetSuite’s offerings right upfront. Start with just what your business needs now, because you can upgrade anytime but can only downgrade during your contract renewal period.
If you don’t have experts internally to handle the migration, you can work with one of NetSuite’s implementation partners for support. You purchase the solution from these third-party affiliates and receive personalized support as you set up and use your new system. Choose a partner familiar with your industry for support tailored to your business needs.
Make Your Choice Between NetSuite and QuickBooks
Ready to move on from Excel spreadsheets?
Regardless of the accounting software you choose for your business, look for a solution that includes the types of integrations and customization that can provide the functionality your business needs.
QuickBooks is focused on small businesses, and we expect it to continue to grow in that market rather than expand to serve larger, more complex enterprises.
NetSuite, though it has a much smaller user base, serves large enterprises QuickBooks can’t support. We expect it to continue to improve its user interface and add integration capabilities to better serve that market it captured.
Want to know more about your options for accounting solutions? Check out our report compiled by studying more than 500 companies: Overview of Invoicing Solutions for B2B SMBs in the US.