The two leading cloud accounting and financial applications, Intacct and NetSuite, might seem to offer similar features, benefits, and even pricing. Software reviews suggest parity, but upon closer comparison, one solution emerges as the clear winner from a total cost, reporting, and productivity basis.
Founded in 1998, NetSuite was the first cloud-based ERP, and no question, has the larger installed base. As the name suggests, NetSuite is a complete suite of solutions for ERP, CRM, PSA and E-commerce. NetSuite customers can choose whatever part of the suite they need, or the entire suite. Or integrate with other solutions via third party vendors, or prepackaged connectors.
In contrast, Intacct is a point solution for accounting and finance that integrates with an ecosystem of 150 (and growing) best-of-breed solutions including Salesforce.com, through pre-packaged, configurable modules. Intacct guarantees the integrity of upgrades and your customizations.
A critical factor impacting total cost of ownership (TCO) is investment in research and development (R&D). Intacct invests 100% on accounting and financials, not other suites, with 4 releases per year, vs. a reported 2 releases for NetSuite. Intacct solution partners add an estimated 10x more investment than a “suite” vendor.
The Cloud Accounting Institute estimates that Intacct has at least 26% lower total cost than NetSuite, based on total cost of implementation, upgrades, ongoing professional service fees, and merchant services (when applicable).
Beyond cost, lets compare the reporting and productivity of NetSuite and Intacct. A little known fact is that NetSuite offers only 3 standard dimensions for tracking key data, while Intacct offers up to 8 standard dimensions, with up to 5 additional user-defined dimensions available.
These differences translate into real-time visibility and business insight with Intacct. Consolidated and multiple entities, multi-book, multi-scenario and multi-currency reporting are all possible with Intacct—along with role-based dashboards tailored to key stakeholders.
Ongoing user productivity should certainly be part of the NetSuite/Intacct comparison. Here again, Intacct integration with best-of-breed solutions for CRM, budgeting and planning, expenses, procurement and other business applications support the productivity of staff and resources. Certainly, clients already using these solutions maximize their productivity, versus having to learn a new “suite” solution.
Intacct supports customized workflows for paperless processing, along with multi-ledger financial architecture flexibility, and formal controls for close and consolidation processes. Intacct easily generates consolidated AR and AP aging reports across multiple entities, in addition to financial statements.
Also affecting productivity, by definition a software suite requires more ongoing technical support to maintain, including database administration. Intacct requires no database administration, but only user management.
Beyond clear Intacct advantages in total cost, reporting and productivity, another difference has emerged. As recent as December 2013, the NetSuite website proclaimed, “NetSuite is the complete ERP solution for the world’s largest companies.” Since then, this reference has been removed.
Meanwhile, Intacct maintains laser focus on building a better accounting and financial management software solution for small and medium-size businesses (SMB), which is integrated with over 150 best-of-breed solutions. With best-of-breed and partner solutions, Intacct now serves every conceivable vertical including professional services, nonprofit, technology, manufacturing, distribution, and more.
As mentioned, that laser focus spills over into R&D, where Intacct invests 100% on accounting and financials, not other suites, with 4 releases per year, vs. 2 for NetSuite. Intacct solution partners add an estimated 10x more investment than a “suite” vendor.
Intacct a Formidable Contender
While NetSuite realized substantial growth in it’s most recent fiscal year, Intacct is gaining momentum as the accounting and finance solution for small and medium-size businesses, likely as a result of the total cost, reporting and productivity advantages of Intacct. Financial markets agree, with Intacct’s recent round of financing announced in February.
Intacct is the accounting/finance solution of choice for the lion’s share of today’s pre-IPO technology start-ups, as well as divisions of multinational corporations, and every size of business in between. And Intacct is surely the leading replacement solution for entry-level software like QuickBooks.
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