Intuit QuickBooks Online is one of the most powerful accounting software solutions for small, midsize and large businesses across the U.S. With hundreds of third-party integrations, a user-friendly interface built for non-accountants and a useful mobile app, QuickBooks Online gives new business owners the perfect entrypoint into the complicated world of corporate finances.

However, QuickBooks Online’s cloud-based accounting system can only take businesses so far. Once you’ve hit a certain level of corporate complexity, you’ll need to consider upgrading to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system like NetSuite. These more sophisticated software systems bundle enterprise accounting with a host of crucial top-level features, enabling you to manage your entire organization on one unified platform.

Below, we explain everything you need to know about making the switch from a cloud-based accounting software like QuickBooks to an integrated ERP like NetSuite.

NetSuite vs. QuickBooks: Feature comparison table

FeatureNetSuiteQuickBooks Online
Starting priceCustom$30/mo.
Free trialNone30 days
User limitUnlimited (addt'l fee)Up to 25
CustomizabilityExtremely customizableLimited customizability
Chart of accountsYesYes
Inventory managementYesWith some plans
Global business managementYesNo
Best forGlobal enterprisesSmall to large domestic businesses
Learn moreTry NetSuiteTry QuickBooks

Plan and pricing information verified and up to date as of 10/14/2023.

Key signs you should switch to NetSuite

QuickBooks Online is one of the best accounting programs for small businesses — but if your once-small business has grown into a large corporation, you’ve almost certainly outgrown your small-business accounting software.

Instead, you need a heftier financial solution that can easily support dozens (even hundreds) of users while delivering advanced, data-driven insights into your business’s financial trajectory.

There are a few dead giveaways that your business has outgrown QuickBooks and needs to shift to an ERP like NetSuite sooner than later:

  • You’ve leveled up to the highest QuickBooks plan tier, QuickBooks Advanced, but it still doesn’t have all the accounting features you need.
  • QuickBooks’ reports don’t give you enough detailed insight into your business’s finances.
  • Your workarounds for making QuickBooks more customizable are too time-consuming and too clunky, and you’d prefer software you can customize yourself from the ground up.
  • You can afford to invest in a fully integrated, modular business software system, and you’re confident the added financial insights it gives you will justify the price.
  • Dozens of people at your company need access to your core financial software, and you want to ensure each user has a personalized dashboard with customized user permissions.

In short, if your business’s finances have become too complex to be comfortably managed with a smaller-scale program like QuickBooks, switch to NetSuite.

Best practices for switching from QuickBooks to NetSuite

Once you’ve outgrown QuickBooks, how do you switch from your old QuickBooks account to a new NetSuite application?

Start by getting in touch with a NetSuite representative to schedule a quote. Naturally, ERPs are more complicated than basic accounting software, so plan on spending quite a bit of time walking through NetSuite’s capabilities, understanding its modules and determining which features you need.

Next, prepare to transfer data from your old systems, QuickBooks included, to NetSuite. Start by backing up your QuickBooks data by creating a local backup. Then, export your QuickBooks reports and lists into files you can easily upload to your new NetSuite system.

Repeat this process with every other business software system that will become redundant once you implement NetSuite.

Some software solutions, like sales tax software Avalara, helpfully integrate with both NetSuite and QuickBooks. Others, like QuickBooks Payroll, integrate solely with QuickBooks, so you’ll want to back up the data and export it in a NetSuite-compatible format (like a CSV file).

Scaling up with third-party software like Avalara

Even once you make the switch to NetSuite, you'll still need third-party solutions to tackle specific tasks like sales tax management. Avalara's sales tax solution syncs with both QuickBooks Online and NetSuite, making it easy for businesses to switch from QuickBooks to NetSuite without missing a beat.

Alternatively, your NetSuite implementation specialist can tackle data migration on your behalf. Implementation looks different for every company and depends in large part on what you’re willing and able to spend on the process.

Depending on your business’s size, complexity and ERP needs, implementing NetSuite can be a months-long process that requires a good deal of upfront spend.

Also See: The 6 Best Accounting Apps

Which accounting software is best for you?

QuickBooks Online and NetSuite both have plenty to offer businesses of all sizes and in any industry. The right accounting program for you is determined in large part by which accounting features you need, how complex your organization is, how many employees you have and what you can afford.

Choose QuickBooks Online over NetSuite if . . . 

  • You are a first-time business owner, solopreneur or sole proprietor.
  • You have between 10 and 250 employees.
  • Your business operates largely in the U.S.
  • You’re working with a fairly limited accounting and bookkeeping budget.

Switch to NetSuite from QuickBooks Online if . . . 

  • Your large corporation wants to manage all business operations on a unified platform.
  • QuickBooks’ features are too limited for your needs.
  • You want completely comprehensive reporting features with excellent company insights.

Bear in mind that as an ERP solution, NetSuite is generally more expensive than QuickBooks Online (though NetSuite does have a starter solution for small and midsize businesses). Most NetSuite users pay both a monthly base fee and per-user fee as well as an implementation fee when they’re first getting started.

Put another way, if you’ve just launched your first business, QuickBooks is probably the better choice for you. And if you’re part of a bigger business or growing corporation, the right software for you is just as clear: Upgrade to NetSuite.

Frequently asked questions

Why do people switch from QuickBooks to NetSuite?

Businesses tend to switch from QuickBooks Online to NetSuite when they hit enterprise status and their business finances become too complicated for QuickBooks to handle.

Is NetSuite better than QuickBooks?

NetSuite and QuickBooks were built for different audiences, so it’s hard to say whether one is better than the other. Generally speaking, though, NetSuite’s ERP solution is better for enterprises than QuickBooks Online, and QuickBooks Online is better than NetSuite for small business operations.

Does NetSuite integrate with QuickBooks?

No, NetSuite does not integrate with QuickBooks Online. However, both QuickBooks and NetSuite integrate with some of the same popular third-party apps, including sales tax software like Avalara, ecommerce apps like Shopify and CRM software like HubSpot.

Read next: How to Integrate Tax Compliance Apps with Netsuite (TechRepublic)

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Stay up to date on the latest in technology with Daily Tech Insider. We bring you news on industry-leading companies, products, and people, as well as highlighted articles, downloads, and top resources. You’ll receive primers on hot tech topics that will help you stay ahead of the game. Delivered Weekdays