3 Reasons CFOs Switch from QuickBooks to NetSuite and 3 Wins That Result
Suzy Strutner, Marketing Specialist
When demand for your product grows, your revenue grows. And when your revenue grows, your finance team grows. And when your finance team grows, your behind-the-scenes systems can get wildly disorganized.
It’s no surprise, then, that many CFOs switch from QuickBooks to NetSuite. Doing so not only makes your system more efficient, but it can also shave days off your financial close: It’s not uncommon for finance teams to reduce their close from six days to four after switching systems.
A comprehensive system like NetSuite also provides wins beyond the accounting department, which indirectly (and sometimes very directly) makes a CFO’s job easier.
Here are a few of the main reasons that CFOs switch from QuickBooks to NetSuite—and the benefits they see.
CFOs’ trouble with QuickBooks
Maintaining a server
Many companies use the desktop version of QuickBooks because the online version can’t handle certain tasks, like foreign banking for example. This can lead to a situation in which QuickBooks is the only system in the company that runs on a server vs. the cloud. In this scenario, maintaining a server just for QuickBooks takes time and IT personnel that could be better used elsewhere. Plus, there’s the potential for server errors. Having your team log on to a server is also not as convenient as giving them logins to a truly cloud-based tool: If, for example, your team has to suddenly start working from home in a pandemic, a cloud solution lets them access their work without a VPN. Cloud vendors can devote more resources to uptime and security than a typical business can do on its own. They also update automatically to better account for changes in accounting rules and other regulations.
Shuffling multiple users
When company information lives on a server, team members usually need to install QuickBooks on their computers in order to access it. This poses a problem when they get new computers or pick up a loaner laptop for a day: They have to reinstall QuickBooks, which is time consuming and requires recalling a string of complicated passcodes. Plus, many QuickBooks licenses only allow a few users into the system at any given time, meaning team members frequently have to remind each other to log out so others can log in.
Copy + pasting invoices
Then, there’s invoicing. QuickBooks often poses a problem for companies that use billing systems based on usage, in which they charge clients for monthly use of a software or service.
For these types of billing systems, invoicing in QuickBooks is often tedious and manual: For example, it might entail simply copying last month’s invoices and typing the current month’s data into them. This process can take days.
Deciding to switch
CFOs decide to switch from QuickBooks to NetSuite for a variety of reasons: Often, they’ve implemented NetSuite at previous companies. Or a specific functionality, like NetSuite’s ability to manage recurring revenue or multiple currencies, might solve a specific problem at their company.
These specific functionalities are the most common reason CFOs switch to NetSuite, per a recent survey of customers. CFOs also choose NetSuite because it will be able to grow along with their department, revenue and company overall (also known as “scalability”) and because it’s cloud-based.
Regardless of the reasons they switch to NetSuite, CFOs often see similar results:
CFOs’ wins with NetSuite
A speedier month-end close
For finance teams that spend way too much time with those homegrown, manual processes, NetSuite can make things simpler. Instead of hitting “copy + paste” on multiple invoices, for example, teams can use tools like SuiteBilling to upload usage files right into the system.
Then, instead of working long hours to close their books in the required timeframe each month, teams often find themselves with time to spare. Billing becomes a half-day task instead of a three-day project. CFOs get time to actually review their reports before sending them to investors.
The finance team’s responsibility grows
Aside from simplifying processes, NetSuite can allow CFOs to get more of their teams involved in managing the company’s finances. NetSuite lets CFOs set up a custom dashboard for each team member based on their role, then share only certain data with each team member. Accordingly, you might assign each team member a “piece of the puzzle”: one to handle banking, another to handle accounts payable and another to manage collections. Each team member will see only the data necessary to complete their “piece of the puzzle,” while you as the CFO will have an overall view. The divvying of jobs allows everyone to be an “expert” in a single piece of the process. It can also remove pressure from the one team member who often handles the firm’s finances in QuickBooks and finds themselves drowned in requests from others at the company.
As team members move up the ranks into higher roles, they can offload tasks to junior team members. Those homegrown QuickBooks processes are often too convoluted to teach someone else, meaning one person gets “stuck” doing them—for years. NetSuite processes, however, are easier to document and teach to others.
Less need for IT
Those calls to IT—about maintaining the server or for help logging in to QuickBooks—often disappear when CFOs switch to NetSuite. Often, your company’s NetSuite administrators are on the finance team, making the team fairly self-sufficient as far as technology is concerned.
More than just accounting Many execs choose NetSuite because it’s not simply a better way to do accounting but rather a better way to run your entire business, from human resources to inventory. As a full-fledged enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, NetSuite’s capacities extend beyond financials into customer relationship management (CRM), payroll, advanced reporting and more.
Getting an ERP system helps you keep track of your finances, inventory and customer communications as your company takes on more customers, said Brenda Budzinski, director of finance at Nebraska-based popcorn distributor Preferred Popcorn.
“QuickBooks is designed to serve small businesses, but once you start growing and servicing more customers, you need more robust systems,” she said.
Advice for those thinking about the switch
The idea of switching systems can be daunting for finance leaders. But many CFOs agree the swap is worth it, partly due to NetSuite’s Financials First methodology, in which you’ll master the software’s basic functionalities—like managing customers, orders and items/SKUs—before moving on to more complicated ones like reporting and procurement.
CFOs also cite regular project updates from NetSuite’s Professional Services team as helpful during implementation.
If you decide to switch, you won’t be going it alone.