Migrating from QuickBooks to NetSuite

QuickBooks is a great accounting platform for stable small businesses. However, as businesses scale and become more complex, they eventually outgrow this legacy system, and seek the functionality of a more robust and all-inclusive cloud platform. It’s an extremely common practice for businesses to start with QuickBooks, then upgrade to a more advanced ERP platform when they start experiencing growing pains with their desktop accounting software. A Quickbooks to NetSuite transition is often essential for many businesses to scale.

ERP, or enterprise resource planning software, not only provides businesses with advanced accounting capabilities, but also CRM, inventory management, human resources software, supply chain management, marketing automation, and more.

Timing the transition from your accounting software to an ERP is essential, and has long-term impacts on your bottom line and future growth potential. No CFO relishes the prospect of upgrading from QuickBooks to a new financial system (ERP). The transition is a big deal that impacts the entire organization. Putting the transition in motion can be daunting.

Rapid growth and organizational change eventually makes the transition inevitable. But what time is the right time? When does transition to a new ERP system become more rewarding and less painful and expensive than sticking with QuickBooks — a great tool, but one designed to serve businesses smaller and simpler than yours has become?

We’ve put together 13 key indicators that signal your business is outgrowing QuickBooks, and that upgrading to a cloud-based ERP is the next best step. If the following indicators are all too familiar, the right time to switch might be now.

When your finance team adds headcount to keep up with expansion.

More stakeholders need ready access to financials, and financial information must update reliably in real time in one place for all stakeholders. That’s not easy with QuickBooks. New hires do not possess the knowledge of informal QuickBooks workarounds that are second nature to your shop’s old hands. As your business expands, it becomes more and more important for everyone to be, literally, on the same page in real-time.

When you routinely supplement QuickBooks with spreadsheets.

Manually created and updated spreadsheets are subject to human error, which leads to expensive confusion and delay. Even perfect spreadsheets come with baked-in delay, as they must be accessed in shared folders or circulated with email which stakeholders can easily misplace or overlook. Worse still, do you find yourself printing spreadsheets and distributing them on paper – and then reprinting everything to correct one error?

When on-time reporting becomes an urgent need and manual entry is just too slow.

In a complex regulatory and reporting environment, monthly reports cannot be late or inaccurate, especially during rapid business growth. Reporting via a QuickBooks/spreadsheet regimen requires meticulous, time-consuming manual work. An ERP, with its always-on audit trails, speeds reporting related to banking regulations and allows quick investigation of activity that could impact security, controls, or financial statements.

When an infusion of private equity capital arrives.

PE funding changes your company’s game, and not only because of complex new reporting requirements. The funding comes with strings attached, and one of those strings often ties to adoption of a cloud-based ERP. Private equity firms recognize the value of financial systems that can scale and provide real time transparency often encouraging portfolio companies to leave desktop and server-based business systems behind.  If PE backing  is on your horizon, be ready for a QuickBooks to NetSuite migration.

When you rapidly add new sales channels, products and revenue streams.

QuickBooks works beautifully in a steady, stable business environment. In contrast, the best ERP systems do not merely accommodate change, they are designed for a dynamic – even volatile — business environment. Manual invoicing, manual collection, and manual recurring revenue processing might work for a small business with a limited number of accounts, but rapid expansion calls for automating such functions and the auditing trails that go with them.

When you add remote teams.

On-site servers require IT staff and VPN expertise to provide remote access.  Business growth requires expanding that staff, to manage and update critical systems for remote workers accessing QuickBooks and spreadsheets. Cloud-based ERPs smoothly integrate far-flung teams, who all see the same version of “the truth.” ERPs eliminate data re-entry mistakes and give remote staff access to real-time data. No added IT infrastructure required.

When data is duplicated in multiple silos.

Early-stage growth companies might hastily add systems: accounting, then CRM, project management, HR, and so on.  These systems often come from different vendors and do not communicate. Each department enters data about customers, employees, inventory etc. The data overlaps , often with slight differences. Updates and corrections do not propagate across the silos which can lead to trouble. With an ERP system, data entered at one point propagates across all departments in real time.

When you acquire strategic partners and/or subsidiaries.

QuickBooks was designed to handle accounting for one business at a time. A robust ERP can absorb and integrate multiple business functions from acquired companies and streamline functions and communication with independent strategic partners. NetSuite is multi-subsidiary, multi-entity, multi-location, multi-currency, multi-language, and multi-book. QuickBooks keeps books. ERPs fuel growth.

When you expand internationally.

QuickBooks does not support easy tracking of specific inventory or international transactions. Its audit trail capabilities are not designed to handle complex international trade and could cause your business to fall out of compliance with local, national and global taxes and regulations. A robust ERP can cover a wide range of languages. It offers a configurable tax engine, currency management, regulation and tax compliance, international billing and more.

When you must devise complex workarounds to handle issues unique to your business.

QuickBooks was designed to be simple. Each improvised workaround and third-party app makes the system more complex and thus more subject to glitches. ERPs have a much wider range of native capabilities, including those designed for specific business sectors. The best ERPs can carry  a business from start-up through PE infusions, acquisitions of subsidiaries, IPOs, and mergers with little or no reliance on in-house improvisation or third-party code.

When you see functionality gaps and need to automate accounting with other business functions.

Recurring revenue accounting matters a great deal to, among others, software firms. International manufacturers deal not only with tax and compliance, but also with inventory and shipping. Businesses with multiple locations have special communication needs. QuickBooks is not strong in those areas. It’s a basic accounting system; a growing organization needs a separate business management system to work alongside it. A good ERP does it all. 

When your team spends hours hunting for data.

Employees can spend hours looking for data siloed in one department, buried in spreadsheets with limited access, or even buried in sub-folders on their own desktop computers. This wastes time and makes governance, control and security difficult. NetSuite dashboards and filters get you to the data you want almost instantly. Spend your time – and your employees’ time — analyzing and applying data, not hunting for it.

When your business model changes.

Financial models evolve along with business models.  As an example, the software industry has evolved from delivering software on a disk and a one-time fee to cloud delivery and monthly or annual subscriptions.  QuickBooks is challenged to properly recognize revenue in this situation.  

Good to know: NetSuite Integration Made Easy

The explosion in e-commerce is another business model evolution that challenges QuickBooks.  For e-commerce robust APIs are needed for cash collection, inventory management, returns and inventory management.   The solution is a robust cloud-ERP platform with APIs that support add-ons like Shopify for Ecommerce.

When the scale finally tips from QuickBooks to ERP

Forty percent of NetSuite’s customers converted from QuickBooks. When your organization commits to an upgrade, NetSuite is the best, and likely last, ERP system you’ll ever need. NetSuite’s financial management solution supports businesses at every stage of growth with a cloud-based, unified platform. NetSuite’s platform provides real-time data with customizable fields and role-based dashboards.

NetSuite offers an entire suite of business solutions. Apart from being an accounting platform, NetSuite expands into CRM, ecommerce, HR management software, professional services automation and more. All aspects of NetSuite work together to enhance efficiency, transparency and profitability.  NetSuite also supports dozens of industries with pre-configured Suites. 

Because NetSuite is built for the Cloud, it provides business data in real time and requires no added IT infrastructure. NetSuite works as an end-to-end accounting solution, enabling cash flow and revenue management, automatic quote-to-order fulfillment and integrated planning and budgeting. Its vast, wide-ranging functionality can reduce the need for additional headcount. NetSuite is built to run your entire business.

CFOs of growing businesses view a system migration as a daunting initiative. That’s understandable; data migration can seem especially challenging. Rest assured that ScaleNorth project teams excel at untangling those hairballs of data residing on QuickBooks and spreadsheets, vetting that data and migrating it to NetSuite. ScaleNorth integrates NetSuite with other applications, anticipates future growth, sets up dashboards that fit the needs of a given business, and does it all in a timely and transparent manner. 


If you’re currently using QuickBooks and are interested in unlocking the full potential of your business, it’s time to start the conversation on NetSuite. Businesses that end up making the switch to NetSuite after experiencing any of the aforementioned challenges have increased their ability to scale, are more attractive to investors, enjoy streamlined operations, have more data integrity, and experience overall higher growth and profitability than their stagnating counterparts.

To get the most out of NetSuite as you transition from QuickBooks, you’ll need a sophisticated, experienced and (not least) sympathetic implementation partner. ScaleNorth is exactly that. We provide vast expertise on both the intricacies of NetSuite and of complex business accounting.

ScaleNorth specializes in helping businesses like yours make the transition from QuickBooks to NetSuite. We’ve helped countless businesses implement, customize, and integrate NetSuite into their operations so they can scale to new heights. As Premier NetSuite Partners, our staff consists of certified NetSuite consultants and CPAs. Not only can we help you make the transition, but we offer Business Process Outsourcing such as fractional CFOs and NetSuite accountants, so you can outsource your financial processes for a fraction of the cost of hiring in-house.

Over half of our clients migrated from QuickBooks.  We have detailed migration plans, including our BPO option, to mitigate risk, smooth the transition and quickly realize value.  We listen closely to our clients and customize NetSuite to make it optimal for each of them.

To learn more about NetSuite migrations and implementations, click here.