3 Reasons CFOs Switch From QuickBooks to NetSuite and 3 Wins That Result

Suzy Strutner, Marketing Specialist

July 14, 2020

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(opens in new tab). Doing so not only makes your system more efficient, but it can also shave days off your financial close(opens in new tab): 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(opens in new tab), a cloud solution lets them access their work without a VPN. Cloud vendors can devote more resources to uptime(opens in new tab) and security(opens in new tab) 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(opens in new tab) or multiple currencies(opens in new tab), 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(opens in new tab) 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(opens in new tab), another to handle accounts payable(opens in new tab) and another to manage collections(opens in new tab). 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(opens in new tab) 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)(opens in new tab) system, NetSuite’s capacities extend beyond financials into customer relationship management (CRM)(opens in new tab)payroll(opens in new tab)advanced reporting(opens in new tab) and more. 

Getting an ERP system helps you keep track(opens in new tab) 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(opens in new tab) 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(opens in new tab) as helpful during implementation. 

If you decide to switch, you won’t be going it alone.

?  Hear from a CFO(opens in new tab) who switched from QuickBooks to NetSuite—and see a demo of NetSuite in action!— in our webinar from June 2020.

?  Browse more case studies(opens in new tab) of companies that made the switch.

?  Visit our hub(opens in new tab) of resources on switching from QuickBooks to NetSuite. 

NetSuite has packaged the experience gained from tens of thousands of worldwide deployments over two decades into a set of leading practices that pave a clear path to success and are proven to deliver rapid business value. With NetSuite, you go live in a predictable timeframe — smart, stepped implementations begin with sales and span the entire customer lifecycle, so there's continuity from sales to services to support.