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Battle of the ERP Giants: NetSuite Competitors and Alternatives Put to the Test

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Battle of the ERP Giants: NetSuite Competitors and Alternatives Put to the Test

Welcome to the world of enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, where the quest to find the perfect software to streamline your IT and accounting/finance processes is an ongoing challenge. You've likely heard of NetSuite - a powerhouse in the ERP landscape - and you're wondering what alternatives are out there. As a savvy IT or accounting/finance professional, you deserve to have all the facts before making a decision that will significantly impact your organisation's efficiency and bottom line.

In this blog post, we will dive into a detailed comparison of NetSuite and its major competitors, including Sage Intacct, QuickBooks, Acumatica and more. Our goal is to provide you with an unbiased, comprehensive overview of each platform's capabilities, features, and limitations, (with a slight lean towards NetSuite as a preferred solution, given we are a NetSuite Solution Provider).

As you embark on your ERP research journey, let this guide serve as a valuable resource to inform your decision-making process and help you identify the best solution to meet your organisation's unique needs. Stay tuned for a deep dive into each of these NetSuite competitors and why NetSuite continues to be the go-to choice for many IT and finance professionals like yourself.

NetSuite Overview 

NetSuite is a powerful cloud-based business management software suite designed to help companies streamline and automate their processes. It is an all-in-one solution that provides integrated functionality for accounting, inventory, customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), eCommerce, and more. With its easy-to-use and intuitive interface, NetSuite helps businesses of all sizes manage their operations more efficiently.

What sets NetSuite apart from other business management software solutions is its ability to manage multiple functions across a single system. This makes it incredibly cost-effective and increases efficiency. NetSuite also offers a range of add-on modules for specific industries, such as retail, manufacturing, services, and hospitality. It also offers a SuiteSucess implementation methodology, which allows you to go-live NetSuite within 100 days, making it one of the most efficient implementation options on the market. To find out more about NetSuite's modules and implementations, check out our comprehensive guide which explains everything you need to know about NetSuite pricing. 

There are many benefits to using NetSuite. It saves time, reduces errors, and helps businesses stay organized and compliant with industry regulations. It also helps reduce manual data entry and provides real-time visibility into all areas of the business. With its integrated features, businesses can quickly and easily access the data they need to make informed decisions. Finally, NetSuite is highly scalable, allowing businesses to grow without the need to invest in additional hardware or software.

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Sage Intacct Overview

Sage Intacct is a cloud-based financial management system designed to help organisations grow and succeed. It offers powerful financial solutions to help businesses streamline processes, improve visibility, and drive better results. It enables businesses to manage their financial operations with real-time insights, better accuracy, and deeper analysis. Sage Intacct offers solutions for financial management, billing and collections, inventory management, and more. It also integrates with a variety of applications and services to provide a comprehensive solution for financial management and reporting.

Comparing NetSuite vs Sage Intacct

NetSuite and Intacct both offer accounting solutions but differ in several ways. Intacct has a functional advantage with its modular, cost-effective approach, and ease of adoption, especially for companies migrating from QuickBooks. It offers project accounting and resource management capabilities, and has 4 major releases per year compared to NetSuite's 2. Intacct's Budgeting & Planning is less functional than NetSuite's but is more affordable. Intacct also has pre-built Salesforce integration.

On the other hand, Intacct has some weaknesses compared to NetSuite. It lacks native tax solutions outside North America and the UK, and does not provide sales automation tools or native capabilities for HCM, Payroll, CRM, WMS, Ecommerce, or Retail.

NetSuite outperforms Intacct in various aspects, making it a better choice for some businesses. Here's why:

  1. Scalability: NetSuite grows with your business, allowing users to add native payroll, inventory management, CRM, ecommerce, and more, while offering various integration options. It also provides free domestic entities and additional segments.
  2. SuiteSuccess Advantage: NetSuite uses industry-specific best practices to minimize risks and accelerate ROI, while Intacct relies on a standard SaaS approach.
  3. Advanced Reporting & BI: NetSuite offers highly customizable native reporting and business intelligence, allowing users to perform JOIN operations across records within its relational schema.
  4. Multi-Subsidiary Compatibility: NetSuite enables real-time visibility into consolidated financials across all subsidiaries. Intacct may require manual intervention for certain features like generating project invoices or handling credit card transactions at the entity level.
  5. User-Friendly Search: NetSuite's global search functionality, similar to Google, allows quick and easy access to any information in the database, thanks to its unified database structure.

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QuickBooks Overview

QuickBooks Financial Management is an accounting software system designed and developed by Intuit, Inc. It is one of the most popular accounting software systems available and is used by millions of small businesses around the world. QuickBooks Financial Management is a comprehensive and easy-to-use accounting system that helps small businesses manage their finances and operations more efficiently. It provides users with a wide range of features and capabilities which help automate and streamline their accounting tasks.

Comparing NetSuite vs QuickBooks

NetSuite and QuickBooks are two of the most popular accounting software programs on the market. Both offer a variety of features and benefits, but there are some key differences between them.

NetSuite is an all-in-one enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that includes accounting, inventory management, order management, customer relationship management (CRM), ecommerce, and more. It is a comprehensive solution for businesses of all sizes, offering scalability and flexibility. It is designed to integrate seamlessly with other business applications.

QuickBooks is an accounting software program designed for small businesses. It offers features such as invoicing, expense tracking, and financial reporting. It is easy to use and can be customized to fit the needs of your business. However, it lacks the comprehensive features of an ERP system.

When comparing QuickBooks to NetSuite, it becomes apparent that QuickBooks has several functional weaknesses. Depending on the plan, users may face limited reporting options, with a maximum of 25 users available on the Small Business Advanced package. QuickBooks also lacks multi-subsidiary consolidation capabilities and complex accounting functions like fixed assets, multibook accounting, recurring billing, and revenue recognition. Its inventory management is suitable for simple wholesale distribution or manufacturing needs but falls short for more complex requirements. Additionally, QuickBooks has limited project management and billing features, preventing efficient task-level management, resource allocation, and cost assignment to projects. Lastly, while QuickBooks Enterprise offers industry packages, its dated technology relies on hosted versions of desktop software, further highlighting the limitations compared to NetSuite.


Acumatica Overview

Acumatica Cloud ERP is a comprehensive, cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution designed to help small and midsize companies manage their financials, operations, customer relationships, and more. It provides a single integrated system for a wide range of business processes, including financial management, customer relationship management, distribution and inventory management, project accounting, and more. It is designed to be easily configured, allowing businesses to customize the software to meet their specific needs. The solution can be accessed from any device, from any location, ensuring businesses have the most up-to-date information when they need it. Acumatica Cloud ERP also provides advanced reporting and analytics capabilities, which enable businesses to easily monitor and analyze their performance.

Comparing NetSuite vs Acumatica

When examining the functional weaknesses of Acumatica in comparison to NetSuite, several limitations become apparent. Acumatica's subledger architecture relies on batch processing and lacks a unified general ledger. Out-of-the-box reporting is limited, requiring programming knowledge and third-party analytics, with users often complaining about the report-writing process.

Acumatica is not a "pure" cloud solution, with customers using different versions of the software. While some customizations are straightforward, many are not, and the platform has only recently introduced "no-code/low-code" customization options. Furthermore, customizations tend to break with release upgrades.

International subsidiary functionality and support for multiple base currencies exist, but these features often require a separate instance per country. The platform also lacks real-time foreign exchange feeds, multi-country management through partners, specific country customizations, links to local authorities, and multi-book accounting.

Acumatica's intercompany accounting is provided as a separate module but falls short for unique entities, as its multi-entity branch accounting approach limits all entities to the same chart of account format. The lack of multi-book accounting can impact businesses that need different accounting treatments for the same event, beyond GAAP and IFRS. Lastly, the quality of implementation, training, and support can vary depending on the partner's experience.


Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP Overview

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is an all-in-one business management solution that helps small and midsize businesses automate and connect their financials, sales, service, and operations. It includes a comprehensive set of integrated applications, such as financials, sales, customer service, project management, supply chain, and operations. It also offers integrated business intelligence (BI) and analytics, and modern workplace tools.

Business Central helps businesses streamline processes, improve customer relationships, and make better decisions with real-time insights. It integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office 365, giving users easy access to the tools they already use, such as Outlook, Teams, and Power BI.

Business Central is a cloud-based solution that's designed to be flexible and scalable, so businesses can easily add or remove applications as needed. It's also designed to be secure, so businesses can be sure their data is safe and protected.


Comparing NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics Business Central

When comparing Microsoft Dynamics Business Central to NetSuite, several functional weaknesses emerge. Microsoft Dynamics Business Central reporting capabilities are limited, with few filter options in pre-built reports, constrained slice and dice capabilities, and an inability to drill down to specific transactions. Microsoft offers external solutions like Power BI, but these require partner setup. Microsoft Dynamics Business Central is not designed for multi-country operations and lacks native financial consolidation, necessitating separate databases for each subsidiary and third-party apps like Jet Reports. Transactions are posted in a single subsidiary and database, leading to time-consuming month-end reconciliations for alignment between subsidiaries.

Customization in Microsoft Dynamics Business Central is challenging, requiring a developer to work outside the application using Visual Studio, often with partners who charge on a time and material basis. Native support for revenue recognition, subscription billing, and payroll is absent, relying on third-party applications. Launched in 2018, Microsoft Dynamics Business Central is a relatively young product, rearchitected from NAV, an on-prem solution, and hosted on Azure. It has around 20,000 live customers and requires additional modules for more robust CRM and HR capabilities. These modules have distinct databases and user interfaces, creating siloed data and requiring partner setup for the Dataverse middleware layer.

Microsoft depends on partners for sales, implementation, and support, which can cause delays and complications. Partners also offer their own modules or industry extensions, disincentivizing them from sharing product suggestions with Microsoft. Microsoft Dynamics Business Central transitioned customizations to Visual Studio, and some partners are still adjusting, resulting in lengthy implementations and customizations that break during upgrade cycles. Hidden costs for Microsoft Dynamics Business Central include partner-coded customizations during and after implementation.

Microsoft Dynamics Business Central had not qualified for the Gartner Magic Quadrant in 2020 or 2021, likely due to lacking at least 250 organizations using the cloud service in production. However, in 2022, Microsoft Dynamics Business Central ranked near the bottom of the "Services Oriented" quadrant as a "Niche Player." Customers with growth aspirations may quickly outgrow Microsoft Dynamics Business Central, necessitating another ERP implementation for Microsoft's enterprise product, D365 Finance, or a competing solution. Microsoft Dynamics Business Central's lack of multi-country support and native financial consolidation highlights its limitations compared to NetSuite.


SAP Business One Overview

SAP Business One is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution designed to streamline the operations of small and medium-sized businesses. It provides users with an all-in-one solution for managing their finances, inventory, customer relationships, and other business processes. The software's dashboards, analytics, and reporting tools make it easy to gain insights into the performance of the business. SAP Business One integrates with other software solutions, like SAP HANA, to provide an even more comprehensive view of operations. It also offers customizable features to meet specific business needs. 

Comparing NetSuite vs SAP Business One

When comparing Oracle NetSuite to SAP Business One, a range of distinctions surface. NetSuite offers easy customization and integration with third-party apps, enabling customers to adjust processes, interfaces, roles, and reports. Its unified platform allows seamless addition of applications like HR, CRM, and commerce. In contrast, SAP B1 implementations involve an average of seven different software providers, necessitating partner consulting fees for system maintenance as business needs evolve.

NetSuite provides powerful native and end-user configurable reports and analytics, facilitating customized reporting with drill-down capabilities from summary to detailed levels. SAP B1 requires an additional software package, SAP Crystal Reports, for customized reporting. This demands technical skills, often leading customers without in-house expertise to pay for custom consulting from SAP partners.

NetSuite is built to scale, with many customers starting as small businesses and growing into large enterprises. SAP B1 targets companies with fewer than 350 employees, and performance declines with higher user numbers. Customers outgrowing B1 need a whole new implementation to transition to the next-level SAP ERP. Moreover, NetSuite offers native financial consolidation and multi-subsidiary management, while B1 requires additional add-ons at extra cost.

NetSuite's implementation methodology incorporates leading practices supporting business transformation, drawing from thousands of deployments to provide a set of workflows, KPIs, reports, and dashboards at go-live. In contrast, each SAP B1 implementation is a custom build, with varying costs and a propensity to exceed budget.

As a leader in true cloud implementations, NetSuite serves over 24,000 organizations running on the same multi-tenant cloud version. SAP struggles to gain traction in cloud deployment, with minimal ERP customers on its cloud versions. B1 is a single-tenant solution hosted on third-party infrastructure, necessitating manual upgrades and consulting fees to ensure customizations remain intact during the process.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, navigating the complex world of ERP solutions can be challenging. By examining NetSuite and its top competitors, we've provided valuable insights to help you make an informed decision for your organization. Each solution has its strengths and weaknesses, but it's essential to choose one that aligns with your company's unique needs and growth aspirations. With this comprehensive comparison, you're now better equipped to identify the best fit for your IT or Accounting/Finance department, ensuring your business can thrive in the competitive landscape. Remember, the right ERP solution can be a game-changer, enabling you to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and ultimately drive success.