I first reviewed NetSuite when it was a relatively new product, roughly ten years ago. Oracle Small Business Suite, NetCRM, and Advanced Accounting were all part of an integrated suite of tools at the time. Even in those early years, it was gaining capabilities that would eventually allow it to compete with the midrange market’s lower end. It received five stars from me. NetSuite has progressed quickly and smartly since then. The competition, on the other hand, has improved. Despite looking at best-of-breed solutions, no one scored five stars in my most recent round of reviews.
Today, the NetSuite family includes a number of distinct integrated, cloud-based applications, each with its own focus. We looked at NetSuite ERP, which focuses on financial management but is far more powerful and adaptable than entry-level accounting software; we looked at this aspect of the product. Its basic solution (which costs on average $129 per user per month) comprises General Ledger, Accounts Receivable and Payable, Inventory, and Fixed Assets, as well as a variety of additional less comprehensive capabilities.
NetSuite ERP is primarily a customer relationship management system, but it also includes features like as sales force automation, marketing automation, customer support, and order management. NetSuite Ecommerce provides a comprehensive set of capabilities for managing your online sales. Both are simple to integrate with the main banking system.
ERP is a Little Louder
The term “accounting software” is substituted by “Enterprise Resource Planning systems” when discussing the type of financial management that midrange solutions like NetSuite provide (ERP). An ERP system like NetSuite is a good example. It automates and combines important back-office procedures in ways that are both deeper and broader than QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions and Sage 50 Quantum Accounting.
ERP, such as NetSuite, starts with the same fundamental financial management responsibilities that QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions and Sage Quantum 50 Accounting do, but it can do a lot more. The basic configuration includes the record formats and transaction forms that accounting personnel utilize for duties relating to their areas—and they’re more comprehensive than those provided by Intacct or Microsoft Dynamics GP. This is a significant point of differentiation.
You can make invoices, pay bills, and submit purchase orders as a result of this. Because you know how many widgets you have in stock and can coordinate the shipping process, you can provide products to clients in a timely and correct manner. You can organize papers, track time and expenses, generate reports, and keep detailed history of your interactions with others. In contrast to Microsoft Dynamics GP, payroll is not a built-in feature. You must register with a fully integrated partner.
NetSuite, on the other hand, extends well beyond bookkeeping. It knows how to comply with various foreign accounting regulations, for example, and is more than just multi-currency. It doesn’t simply keep track of your fixed assets; it also handles the entire lifecycle of those assets. It allows for advanced revenue recognition management rather than just keeping track of revenues and costs.
NetSuite is more than simply an inventory management system; it also manages the complete supply chain. Repetitive, rule-based operations can be automated whenever possible.
The base of NetSuite is significantly more versatile than the foundations of Sage 50 Quantum Accounting and QuickBooks Enterprise Solution. Its database possibilities are limitless, and it does more than just manage job and project details; it also performs full-fledged project accounting. Whereas Excel connectivity is a positive in low-end accounting, one of NetSuite’s benefits is its ability to go beyond spreadsheets and allow firms to conduct unique, system-wide inquiries based on any criterion imaginable (Intacct offers similar functionality). NetSuite is an extraordinarily strong financial planning tool because it provides real-time access to almost any data in the system via
customized templates and custom reports, as well as the ability to build unlimited what-if scenarios.
An Outstanding User Interface
NetSuite and Intacct do a wonderful job of making the working environment feel less like gazing at a tax return all day. NetSuite organizes the site into simple sections (Setup, Transactions, Reports, and so on), which you may access via a horizontal toolbar at the top of the page. A drop-down menu appears when you hover over one of them (for example, Reports’ Reports Overview/Saved Reports/Purchasing/Time & Billables), displaying the activities and data available there. Three more buttons on this toolbar show recent records and shortcuts, as well as returning you to the home/dashboard/preferences pages.
On many screens, a horizontal bar below the toolbar contains a row of supplementary links. This bar can be seen across the site and contains a variety of icons and links to frequently used tasks (Create New Event/Customer/Invoice/Project, for example). This bar displays context-sensitive features, suchas Documents/Search, under other tabs.
The actual working screens are quite well-designed. They must contain a large number of command links, fields, drop-down lists, radio buttons, and other items due to the site’s complexity. NetSuite developers have accomplished this without making you feel claustrophobic, as certain Microsoft Dynamics GP panels do. Even when working on data-intensive tasks like creating a new Opportunity, the forms are well-designed, with core information in the top half and tabbed data fields for associated information like Items, Activities, and Contacts/Partners in the bottom half. In addition, NetSuite makes greater use of screen space than Intacct or Dynamics GP, resulting in improved
comprehension and usability.
Making the Incomprehensible Simple
NetSuite is appealing to non-accountants for more than just the interface and navigational strategy. It’s simple to comprehend, friendly, and familiar, with few jargon-filled terms and phrases. With a few exceptions, Intacct also performs admirably in this regard. The least understandable of the three is Great Plains Dynamics.
Accounting at the intermediate level is a highly complex procedure that is typically carried out by teams of employees, despite its ease of use. NetSuite provides a wealth of online and physical resources to help those individuals succeed. Users may help themselves with extensive online instruction, a complete setup menu, and a searchable Knowledge Base. When extra help is needed, the NetSuite Solutions Providers network can help with setup, implementation, and/or extending the site’s current capabilities.