If you’re debating between a tool like QuickBooks Enterprise or purchasing a tool like NetSuite, this guide will help you pick the right one for your needs.
Specifically, it discusses the differences in features, what kinds of companies are an ideal match for each tool, and the pros and cons.
If you find you're not a great fit for either tool, (perhaps you need something easier to navigate than NetSuite yet more robust than QuickBooks Enterprise), this post also introduces a potential alternative, SoftLedger.
QuickBooks Enterprise is ideal for small businesses with one bookkeeper or a founder doing all of the bookkeeping themself. You don’t need a professional accountant to manage QuickBooks Enterprise as any mistakes can be manually corrected, though its simplicity makes it a poor fit for growing companies with more complex accounting processes. Therefore, most businesses using QuickBooks have relatively simple accounting processes (single entities, one currency, etc).
NetSuite is ideal for large enterprises with a substantial team of professional accountants and complex accounting processes (such as multiple currencies, entities, etc.). It’s also much more complicated to set up (often requires months and substantial employee training) and there’s less room for error as it is tough to make changes after it’s implemented. However, once your accounting team has it set up and knows how to use it, NetSuite makes it possible to automate many accounting tasks.
If you fall somewhere in between those two (you’re a company with substantial growth yet not quite to the point where you have a full team of professional accountants), a better solution might be SoftLedger. It is easy to set up and use like QuickBooks, though it can handle accounting complexities. Such as multiple currencies, automatic consolidation, cryptocurrencies, and more.
It also is real-time accounting software meaning you know how your company is doing at all times, not just when the month closes. In addition, it offers automatic consolidation so that any changes made to your accounts automatically cascade into the general ledger. If you’d like to try SoftLedger yourself, you can schedule a demo today.
Below, I’ll compare how QuickBooks Enterprise and NetSuite perform in various areas.
Both QuickBooks Enterprise and NetSuite offer accounts payable, accounts receivable, and budgeting features.
In QuickBooks, the accounts payable allows you to pay bills directly from the interface, and the system automatically notes bill payments. Similarly, the accounts receivable function allows you to bill clients directly inside QuickBooks. Additionally, you can find delinquent accounts, and send reminders to those accounts.
NetSuite’s accounts payable and accounts receivable functionalities are similar, yet it offers more automation. For example, if there is a discrepancy between an invoice and a receipt, you can set up an automatic response system to solve the issue. NetSuite will also provide vendor contracts and receipts from each specific vendor.
However, because NetSuite enforces accounting controls, any incorrect invoices sent out cannot be fixed manually as they can be in QuickBooks.
Also, because QuickBooks offers a much simpler system with less automation, it’s easier to get up and running quickly. On the other hand, NetSuite requires months of training and implementation.
Both NetSuite and QuickBooks Enterprise offer a general ledger. Both general ledgers contain key financial data like invoices, receipts, credit memos, deposits, and expenses. However, NetSuite offers substantial data segmentation options and enables users to categorize and label the data.
NetSuite also provides a few other financial management features that QuickBooks lacks, including:
Another factor to consider when choosing accounting software is how it consolidates financial data.
For example, if you receive an invoice late, you'll have to go back in and adjust the expenses. However, once you adjust the expenses, you'll also have to adjust the general ledger to reflect the new expense total. So using accounting software that automatically consolidates and adjusts the general ledger based on changes made to accounts that feed into it is a major time saver.
Unfortunately, QuickBooks does not offer any automatic consolidation capabilities. Any adjustments made to the accounts that feed into the general ledger must be manually adjusted and re-exported. Then, the accountant has to manually adjust the general ledger based on the new data. In addition, if you have multiple currencies, you'll have to consolidate them manually.
NetSuite does offer some automatic consolidation capabilities, though it is not very intuitive. It requires several trained NetSuite experts to set it up and months before it’s fully up and running. As for multi-currency consolidation, NetSuite only applies the foreign currency rates and consolidates the data at the end of the month. Therefore, you don't really know how the business is doing until the month closes.
Clearly, neither QuickBooks nor NetSuite can offer an automatic consolidation software that is easy to use. This is actually a key reason why we built SoftLedger. It is one of the only real-time accounting software solutions that consolidate data automatically. So if you make one small change to the expenses, it will automatically cascade down through the general ledger.
In addition, it handles multiple currencies really well. Rather than waiting until the end of the month to apply the foreign currency rates, SoftLedger does this immediately. This way, you know exactly how you're doing at any point in the month.
QuickBooks Enterprise Gold, Platinum, and Diamond users have payroll included in their plan, though you can also purchase one of their payroll add-ons, Assisted or Enhanced Payroll. With these solutions, you can take care of tax processes such as filing W2s and providing 1099s. It's also easy to pay employees as you can create paychecks just by entering the hours worked.
NetSuite also offers payroll add-ons, but it isn't part of the core offering. With their SuitePeople Payroll System add-on, you'll be able to automate payroll processes. For example, gross-to-net earnings, benefit deductions, withholding taxes, and more.
It also allows accountants to quickly view the payroll summary and then drill down to individual paychecks.
A major difference between QuickBooks and NetSuite’s payroll systems is their general ledger. Because NetSuite’s general ledger has a two-way sync, any last-minute changes to payroll will be automatically updated in the general ledger as well. This is necessary for larger companies to close the books faster.
Both QuickBooks and NetSuite offer plenty of integrations, including HubSpot, Salesforce, Shopify, and plenty of others.
However, what happens if they don't offer the integration you're looking for?
In QuickBooks, you can use the apps in their app store, and if you want to add your own custom solution, you can try to get it approved in the app store.
NetSuite allows you to integrate with other solutions, though it's pretty tricky. For example, you need someone that knows NetSuite's proprietary programming language. They would then need to go in and configure NetSuite to work with your system. Unfortunately, this is difficult and rather expensive.
Therefore, if you want something that's easier to integrate with, consider trying SoftLedger. It uses the Rest API, which means, unlike NetSuite, your team can quickly and painlessly integrate with our system. Learn more about SoftLedger and our API here.
If you see your company growing beyond a handful of accountants and dealing with increasingly complex accounting scenarios, QuickBooks Enterprise might not be the best solution for your team. While the enterprise offering does allow larger businesses to function, there is a lot of manual work required that becomes too cumbersome for complex accounting.
For example, it won't allow you to export anything larger than 60,000 rows. In addition, it doesn't offer granular user permissions and provides limited options for managing multiple users in the system.
In short, QuickBooks was built for small businesses, and despite having an enterprise offering, it isn't built for enterprise companies.
On the other hand, NetSuite is built for large accounting teams that need a robust software solution to handle complex accounting processes and advanced user controls. While this is excellent if you have a team of trained accountants, it can be overwhelming for smaller teams of two to five accountants.
If you fall into this range, consider SoftLedger. It offers substantial user controls, plenty of automation processes, real-time data, and automatic data consolidation. However, it isn't nearly as expensive or complicated as NetSuite, making it more user-friendly and easy to get up and running. Try SoftLedger today and see if it's right for your team.
If you're growing and need new accounting software, here are some thoughts to help you make the best choice.
QuickBooks Enterprise is a great solution for those that don't have a team of accountants yet more advanced capabilities that the lower-tier QuickBooks options don't offer. Most QuickBooks Enterprise users prioritize ease of use and simplicity over advanced features and automation.
If you're a substantial company with a team of trained accountants and need a robust system to handle complex accounting processes, NetSuite might be a good solution.
However, if you're somewhere in the middle and need a simple solution that is easy to use yet offers advanced features like real-time data, automatic consolidation, and even cryptocurrency capabilities, SoftLedger might be the best option. It takes only a few weeks to get up and running, and most users don't require substantial training as it is fairly intuitive.
If you'd like to see if SoftLedger is the best option for you, sign up for a free demo today.
A CPA with more than 10 years of varied public and private accounting experience, Ben has led many complex financial projects to successful outcomes.
Ben holds a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Maryland.