Expertly trained accountants with a deep understanding of the software and your industry,
Posted on October 30, 2023 at 5:11 PM
Written by Justin Atneyel
Migrating from one accounting software platform to another is a critical undertaking for businesses. This is especially true when considering a transition from QuickBooks, a solution tailored for small to medium-sized businesses, to NetSuite, an integrated business software suite designed for mid-size to large enterprises. The migration process requires precision, clarity, and a deep understanding of the complexities involved.
With over 25 years of experience working with both NetSuite and QuickBooks and assisting hundreds of clients with their outsourced accounting and accounting software needs, we have an in depth understanding of the pros and cons of both platforms, who they are most suitable for, and the best practices for a smooth migration process from QuickBooks to NetSuite. This guide offers a comprehensive look at the process.
QuickBooks is an accounting software solution designed primarily for small to medium-sized businesses. However, as companies grow and expand, they may encounter limitations with QuickBooks that can hamper their operations. Here are some signs that your business might have outgrown QuickBooks:
Complex Financial Needs: As businesses grow, they might require advanced financial capabilities like revenue recognition, expense deferrals, or multi-entity consolidations which QuickBooks may not handle efficiently.
Need for Advanced Reporting: If you're consistently using external systems or spreadsheets to generate complex reports because QuickBooks can't provide the depth or customization you need, it's a sign.
Increasing Number of Users: QuickBooks has a limit to the number of concurrent users. If your company needs more user access than what's allowed, it's time to upgrade.
Inventory Management Issues: Businesses with extensive inventory needs might find QuickBooks’ inventory management capabilities lacking, especially if they require advanced features like multi-location tracking or detailed product lifecycle management.
Requirement for Role-Based Access: Growing businesses often need more granular control over who can access and edit various parts of their financial data. QuickBooks might not provide the intricate role-based access controls needed.
Lack of Scalability: If your business is rapidly expanding, and you foresee your current QuickBooks setup becoming a bottleneck in the near future, it's better to switch earlier than later.
Extensive Customization Needs: If your business requires extensive customizations and tailored solutions that go beyond what QuickBooks can offer, it's a sign that you've outgrown the platform.
Regularly Reaching List Limitations: QuickBooks has limitations on the number of list items (like customers, vendors, inventory items). If you're regularly hitting these limits, it's a clear sign.
Growing Subscription Costs: As you add more features or users to your QuickBooks subscription, the costs can rise. There might come a point where transitioning to an enterprise solution becomes more cost-effective.
Determining the best accounting software for your business doesn’t have to be difficult.
QuickBooks accounting software is best suited for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that need user-friendly accounting, payroll, and financial management solutions. It's ideal for business owners, bookkeepers, and accountants who want to manage financial tasks efficiently without delving into the complexities of larger enterprise systems. QuickBooks is also beneficial for freelancers or self-employed individuals who need to track income, expenses, and invoicing.
NetSuite accounting software is best suited for mid-sized businesses to large enterprises that require comprehensive and integrated business management solutions. It's ideal for companies looking for a cloud-based system to handle ERP, CRM, ecommerce, and advanced financials. Businesses with multi-country, multi-currency, or complex supply chain operations will particularly benefit from NetSuite's expansive capabilities.
Here we breakdown the target audience, core functionalities, customization and scalability, ease of integration, pricing, and a host of other elements that should be taken into account when reviewing your options.
QuickBooks: Mainly targets small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The software is designed to be user-friendly and requires minimal setup.
NetSuite: Targets mid-sized businesses to large enterprises. It's designed for businesses with complex needs, often spanning multiple locations or countries.
· Basic accounting features like invoicing, expense tracking, and simple reporting.
· Payroll processing (with add-on).
· Basic inventory management.
· Simple time tracking and project management (in specific versions).
· Comprehensive accounting and finance tools.
· Complex financial reporting and analytics.
· Advanced inventory and order management.
· Built-in CRM (Customer Relationship Management).
· E-commerce capabilities.
· Human Resources and Payroll capabilities (though sometimes via partners).
QuickBooks: Offers some customization but is limited in scope. While there are multiple versions of QuickBooks to cater to different needs (like QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Pro, and QuickBooks Enterprise), there's a ceiling to its scalability.
NetSuite: Highly customizable and scalable. Being cloud-based, it's built to grow with businesses and can handle complexities as a business evolves.
QuickBooks: Can integrate with many third-party applications, but might require additional tools or plugins. Some integrations might be more superficial, without deep data syncing.
NetSuite: Offers robust integration with a wide range of external platforms and systems. The SuiteCloud platform allows for deep custom integrations.
QuickBooks: Some versions support multi-currency operations, but it's not designed for large-scale global operations.
NetSuite: Built for global businesses, it supports multi-currency, multi-language, and tax systems for multiple countries.
QuickBooks: Available in both on-premise (like QuickBooks Desktop) and cloud versions (QuickBooks Online).
NetSuite: Cloud-native, offering real-time access from anywhere and automatic updates.
QuickBooks: Generally more affordable for small businesses, with pricing models based on features and the number of users.
NetSuite: More expensive, given its enterprise focus and comprehensive feature set. The price is often customized based on the modules and number of users.
QuickBooks: Known for its user-friendly interface, which is intuitive for users without deep accounting knowledge.
NetSuite: While powerful, it might have a steeper learning curve. It's designed for businesses that need depth and breadth in functionality.
Migrating from QuickBooks to NetSuite is a significant undertaking that requires careful planning, execution, and validation to ensure accuracy and completeness of the migrated data. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate a NetSuite implementation:
· Determine which data from QuickBooks needs to be migrated. This could include lists (like customers, vendors, items), open transactions, historical records, etc.
· Review any custom reports or fields in QuickBooks and decide if similar customizations are required in NetSuite.
· Always create a backup of your QuickBooks data before starting the migration. This will serve as a safety net in case of issues during the migration.
· This is a good opportunity to clean up data. Remove duplicate entries, archive old records, and correct any inconsistencies in your QuickBooks data.
· Use QuickBooks' export feature to extract data. Most data can be exported to Excel or CSV formats, which are commonly used for migrations.
· Structure the data in a way that aligns with NetSuite's import templates. This might require reformatting columns, renaming fields, or converting certain data types.
· Establish a clear mapping between fields in QuickBooks and NetSuite. This ensures that data from one system accurately maps to the corresponding field in the other system.
· Utilize NetSuite's Data Import Tools:
· NetSuite offers built-in data import tools. These tools allow you to import bulk data from CSV or Excel files.
· Always perform a test migration with a small subset of data first. This helps identify potential issues before the full-scale migration.
· Once you’re confident with the test results, proceed with the complete migration. Depending on the data volume, this might take some time.
· Once migration is complete, conduct thorough checks to ensure data integrity. Reconcile balances, compare records, and validate transaction histories.
· Test various functionalities in NetSuite to ensure that the migrated data functions correctly. This includes running reports, processing transactions, and verifying integrations.
· NetSuite, being a more comprehensive system, might have a steeper learning curve for users accustomed to QuickBooks. Arrange training sessions and provide resources to help users transition smoothly.
· After going live with NetSuite, monitor the system closely for any anomalies or issues.
· Establish a support mechanism for users to report problems or seek assistance with the new system.
· Downtime: Plan the migration process during off-peak hours or weekends to minimize disruptions.
Seek Expertise: Given the complexity, you might consider hiring a consultant or utilizing a service provider specializing in QuickBooks to NetSuite migrations.
Ensuring a seamless and error-free migration from QuickBooks to NetSuite requires adherence to several best practices. Here we list three key best practices that can largely influence the success of the migration and NetSuite implementation:
Why it's crucial:
Data is the foundation of any accounting or ERP system. Before migrating, it’s essential to ensure that the data being moved is accurate, consistent, and free of redundancies.
Steps to implement:
· Audit Data: Review data in QuickBooks for inconsistencies, incomplete records, or anomalies.
· Data Cleanup: Remove or archive obsolete records, merge duplicates, and correct erroneous entries.
· Data Validation: Before export, validate key data points such as balances, open transaction counts, and historical records to ensure accuracy.
Why it's crucial:
Testing is a risk-mitigation strategy. By initially migrating to a staging (or test) environment, you can spot and rectify errors without jeopardizing your live operational data.
Steps to implement:
· Pilot Migration: Migrate a subset of your data to the staging environment in NetSuite.
· Functional Testing: Execute real-world scenarios in the staging environment to check if processes work as expected. This includes generating reports, executing transactions, and verifying custom features.
· Feedback Loop: Document any issues or inconsistencies identified during testing. Address these before proceeding with the full-scale migration.
Why it's crucial:
Migration isn't just about moving data; it’s about ensuring your team can effectively use the new system. As NetSuite is more comprehensive than QuickBooks, employees might face a learning curve.
Steps to implement:
· Training Sessions: Organize multiple training sessions tailored to different user roles. This ensures that each team or department understands how to use NetSuite for their specific needs.
· Provide Resources: Offer manuals, how-to guides, and access to online resources to help users become acquainted with NetSuite.
· Open Communication Channels: Establish channels where employees can voice concerns, ask questions, or provide feedback about the new system. Addressing these in real-time can prevent disruptions and boost confidence.
Plumb has provided outsourced accounting services to a selected group of industries, including construction and real estate, professional services, ecommerce, and manufacturing and distribution, for over 25 years. We are also solely focused on utilizing three distinct accounting software platforms: QuickBooks, NetSuite, and Sage. Thanks to our laser-focus on these industries and accounting software
platforms, not only do we have a depth of knowledge and understanding that few other firms can offer, but we appreciate and recognize the challenges and goals of our clients.
We are both an official NetSuite Accountant Partner and QuickBooks ProAdvisors. This means our team has been rigorously trained in the best practices of both platforms. The fact that they work exclusively within these tools, day in and day out, only increases their mastery and knowledge.
“Plumb’s experience and assistance has been crucial as we embark on an accounting system migration. Throw in the curve ball of an unexpected change to our internal Controller, and Plumb’s expertise in accounting best practices, across industries, and with NetSuite has been game-changing for us.”- Mike Williams, VP, Duncan Galvanizing
While QuickBooks is an excellent solution for many businesses, recognizing the signs of outgrowing its capabilities is crucial. Transitioning to a more expansive system in a timely manner can save costs, time, and ensure smoother business operations. While the process can be intricate, with careful planning, adequate resources, and a systematic approach, businesses can seamlessly transition and harness the capabilities of a more robust system.
Thanks to Plumb’s decades of experience working with clients who use both QuickBooks and NetSuite, we are uniquely positioned to help ensure a seamless NetSuite data migration process.
Please schedule a complimentary consultation with our accounting experts. We’re here to help.