QuickBooks is the accounting software of choice for more than 29 million small businesses in the U.S. They have over 80% market share and have a diverse product offering suited to help both small businesses (QuickBooks Online) and larger growing companies (QuickBooks Enterprise) and everything in between (QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier). As companies grow in size and complexity, they often reach an inflection point where they think they’re outgrowing QuickBooks and begin considering other pieces of software. Oracle’s NetSuite and SAP are two of the more robust enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems that larger businesses frequently investigate. This software comes with a lot of functionality, a hefty price tag, and sometimes a six-month-long, or more, conversion cycle. That is why we encourage our clients to stay in QuickBooks, and make the most out of their existing software, as long as possible.
Here we’ll talk a bit about some of the considerable downsides to switching to an ERP, and ways you can greatly increase the lifespan of your QuickBooks solution. You may think that going with a higher level software package might signify that you’ve “made it to the big leagues,” but higher level does not always translate into higher value. Consider these reasons why you want to stay with QuickBooks:
1. QuickBooks Enterprise Is Scalable
As your company grows, so does the size of your back office team. With more than 10,000 QuickBooks engagements under our belt we’ve seen businesses use QuickBooks successfully up to $50M in annual revenue. We’ve also performed workarounds to help businesses who need more than 30 active users. This is something done with the help of a specialized custom programming team, outside what Intuit can provide. We can also perform condenses and summary conversions on QuickBooks files that are becoming too large or unwieldy – removing long-past transactions, old customers, or discontinued products to a separate dormant file – can free up space and increase speed.
A growing company also often brings up concerns about security and permission levels. QuickBooks has detailed permission settings which can help you control who sees what data, and allow you to expand your team without compromising data integrity. So although you may feel you have outgrown QuickBooks, you just need to activate a few more settings and review your permission levels.
2. QuickBooks Enterprise Has Industry-Specific Solutions
One of the reasons a company might feel they’ve outgrown QuickBooks is to add more tools or meet specific industry requirements. However, industry-specific accounting and ERP systems are often poorly documented and updated less frequently. They also can make hiring difficult since staff needs to be trained on a niche system, rather than a cross-industry standard
QuickBooks Enterprise has solutions that meet the needs of:
These industry-specific solutions include all the functionality of QuickBooks Enterprise, but with specific features and reports unique to the industry.
3. QuickBooks Enterprise Integrates Seamlessly With Many Other Systems
In addition to setup, file review and repair, and training, two of the biggest things we do are: workflow design and custom programming. Most companies use more than one piece of software for various important business functions. Having these systems integrated saves time, money, removes duplication of effort, and eliminates opportunities for errors. QuickBooks has a semi-open API, but very little documentation. We employ a team of custom programmers who are able to integrate QuickBooks Enterprise with virtually any product with an open API. This includes CRM and sales systems, proprietary software, and project management solutions. Although these integrations are an initial capital expense, they provide incredible value in the short and long term as they remove administrative tasks that may be taking up valuable staff time. They also allow you to get better insight into your numbers and see how different departments impact each other.
4. You Likely Don’t Have The Manpower For A Switch
Switching to a robust ERP system typically takes at least six months. During that time, your staff would need to enter every figure twice–once in the old system and once in the new. If you are growing quickly enough to feel you have outgrown QuickBooks it is likely that your staff is already stretched thin and may be filling multiple roles. They will lose precious hours of time that would be better spent helping your customers, and building the business.
The complexity of a higher-level system also requires additional manpower to manage. Typically building your system and workflows, migrating the data, and training your team will be done by a consultant on the staff of the new ERP. Many companies even hire an extra external consultant on retainer who has to perform updates, troubleshooting, and data cleaning and can provide them with unbiased advice. Not only will you be paying for these additional consultants, but you’ll need someone on your team to serve as the point person. Time will need to be set aside for all of your departments to review proposed workflows, click through every single screen of the new system, and report any bugs that they find. You’ll also need to dedicate time to training and updating all your documentation to reflect the processes of the new system. If you don’t feel you can reasonably dedicate roughly 1,500 hours of your team’s time to the conversion project, we recommend staying in your current system a bit longer.
5. QuickBooks Enterprise Has A Large Data Capacity
QuickBooks Enterprise handles larger data file sizes as long as the system is configured correctly. The system allows you to track up to a million vendors, customers, inventory items, and employees. This is sufficient for most mid-sized businesses and even departments within some Fortune 1000 companies. Often times QuickBooks users think they have outgrown QuickBooks when they actually have not even come close to the maximum number of data points. Sometimes the sluggishness or issues they are having with the software are a result of improper setup or poor environment (not enough room on the hosting computer), rather than the actual limitations of QuickBooks.
6. QuickBooks Enterprise Offers Advanced Reporting
Industry-specific reports and sample base financial reports are available in QuickBooks Enterprise. The new Advanced Reporting feature allows your staff to create any report you need, including interactive dashboards for a better end-user experience and easy Snapshots into the data that drives your business. You can also customize reports or use the report consolidation tool to combine reports across multiple company files. Advanced Reporting can be difficult to learn and get set up. The Intuit support team is only minimally trained on Advanced Reporting. We recommend working with a expert to implement Advanced Reporting and ensure your data is being correctly tracked.
7. QuickBooks Enterprise Can Track Inventory In Multiple Locations
Many companies feel they have outgrown QuickBooks when they open a new location. However, the Advanced Inventory module for QuickBooks Enterprise Platinum allows businesses to:
- Track inventory in multiple locations and by bin location
- Track serialization and lots
- Keep inventory valued using FIFO costing and use barcoding capabilities
- Work with third-party inventory systems that connect with QuickBooks, should you have additional requirements
As you’ll see from the below chart, QuickBooks Enterprise features are very comparable to other ERPs. But they have the advantage of minimal conversion, decreased training time, and a lower price tag:
Large accounting software products
|Simple to convert||X|
|Minimal staff training||X|
|Needs additional staff to manage||X*|
|Lower cost option||X|
|Scalable to your needs||X||X|
|Handles data files of more than 1 gig||X||X|
|Offers industry and need-specific modules at an additional cost.||X||X|
|Allows customization and integration of other software products such as CRMs and proprietary tools.||X||X|
|Offers robust reporting tools||X||X|
Still Think You’ve Outgrown QuickBooks?
Fourlane can help you determine if you’re missing opportunities in your current software, or it really is time for an upgrade. We are a third-party provider with more than 10,000 accounting software implementations under our belt. Our team specializes in unbiased advice to help you determine which product really will be the best fit for your business. We can also help you determine the ROI of an upgrade.