Both NetSuite and QuickBooks are highly functional, feature-rich and designed to help businesses automate and streamline their accounting tasks and financial processes. NetSuite ERP is an all-inclusive, enterprise-level platform that covers the most detailed and wide-ranging aspects of business financial management, best-suited for larger businesses. QuickBooks Online, on the other hand, is a user-friendly and accessible platform, designed to meet the everyday accounting needs of a variety of small-business owners.
NetSuite ERP and QuickBooks Online are, on the whole, accounting solutions for different types of businesses altogether. If you think your business falls somewhere in the middle of these two platforms, you’ll likely want to explore alternative solutions, like QuickBooks Enterprise or Sage Intacct.
NetSuite vs. QuickBooks, summarized
NetSuite ERP is an all-inclusive, enterprise-level solution designed for larger businesses that need more than day-to-day accounting and financial planning tools.
QuickBooks Online is best-suited for the majority of small-business owners due to its variety of options, feature-rich software and user-friendly platform.
QuickBooks Enterprise and Sage Intacct are worthwhile alternatives for accounting solutions whose functionality falls in between NetSuite ERP and QuickBooks Online.
There are a number of different products that live under the names “NetSuite” and “QuickBooks.” Under the NetSuite product arch, there are financial platforms, human capital management solutions, omnichannel commerce systems and more. Similarly, although QuickBooks has more of a sole accounting focus, QuickBooks products include Self-Employed, Online, multiple versions of Desktop, Payroll, etc.
When it comes to the solutions that will be most relevant to small businesses, two products stand out: NetSuite ERP and QuickBooks Online. Both of these platforms are cloud-based systems designed to help business owners manage the whole of their finances and streamline the way they operate.
How QuickBooks Online compares
Read more about how QuickBooks Online stacks up with the competition.
At a high level, NetSuite ERP and QuickBooks Online are designed for the same purpose — managing and optimizing your financial processes. Both NetSuite and QuickBooks are equipped with accounting functionality, including everything from tax tools to inventory tracking. Plus, both solutions are cloud-based, allowing you to access your account wherever you have internet access. When it comes down to the specifics, the NetSuite ERP platform can accommodate much more detailed and expansive processes, whereas QuickBooks Online is designed to meet the day-to-day needs of small-business owners.
NetSuite ERP features
NetSuite ERP (which stands for enterprise resource planning) is the financial management branch of the larger NetSuite product suite. Unlike QuickBooks Online, which offers four distinct subscription plans, NetSuite ERP has one overarching platform that can be customized and adapted as your business needs.
NetSuite breaks down the makeup of this software into the following categories:
Financial management: Finance and accounting, billing, revenue recognition, financial reporting, global accounting and consolidation.
Financial planning: Planning, budgeting, forecasting.
Order management: Pricing and promotions, sales order management, returns management.
Production management: Product data management, work order management, planning and scheduling, quality assurance.
Supply chain management: Planning, execution, collaboration, support.
Warehouse and fulfillment: Inbound logistics, outbound logistics, inventory management, warehouse solutions.
Procurement: Sourcing, purchasing, payments.
NetSuite ERP is a highly detailed and expansive platform. Ultimately, however, if you’re comparing NetSuite vs. QuickBooks, you’re likely most concerned about the accounting tools that are included within the NetSuite solution.
Finance and accounting features
Within the finance and accounting functionality of NetSuite, you’ll find the features you need to manage your books, taxes and payments. NetSuite ERP includes:
Customizable general ledger.
Accounts receivable and accounts payable management.
Automated domestic and global tax compliance tools.
Fixed asset management.
Payment management with SuitePayments for payment processing.
Plus, within other parts of the software, NetSuite offers tools that you’d typically find within accounting solutions, such as:
Recurring billing and subscription management.
Advanced reporting and forecasting tools.
Inventory tracking across multiple locations.
Pricing tools, sales orders and purchase orders.
These are just some of the accounting and financing features included with NetSuite ERP — making it a truly enterprise-level software.
QuickBooks Online features
Although QuickBooks Online is often considered one of the most feature-rich accounting solutions for small businesses on the market, it does not reach the level of specificity or breadth of the features of NetSuite ERP. However, within four different subscription plans, QuickBooks Online does provide all of the tools needed for the day-to-day management of small-business accounting.
The first QuickBooks plan, Simple Start, includes the most basic business bookkeeping and accounting functionality. It offers:
Income and expense tracking.
Receipt capture and organization.
Tax planning tools.
Invoicing and payment processing.
Sales tax tracking.
1099 contractor management.
Intuit and third-party integration options.
Mobile app access.
The next plan, QuickBooks Online Essentials, offers all of the features of Simple Start, as well as:
Up to three users.
The QuickBooks Online Plus plan includes all of the functionality of Simple Start and Essentials, plus:
Up to five users.
Project profitability tracking.
The final QuickBooks Online plan, Advanced, is the most comprehensive of all the web-based versions of QuickBooks. This plan includes all of the features of the first three plans as well as:
Most powerful reporting.
Up to three accounts for business accountants.
Unlimited chart of accounts entries.
Unlimited tracked classes and locations.
Import and send batch invoices.
Business analytics and insights.
Customizable access by role.
Dedicated QuickBooks account manager.
On-demand online training.
Enhanced custom fields.
Simplified bill payments.
Between the four plan offerings, QuickBooks Online can manage a wide variety of bookkeeping and accounting processes. It does not include the granular, truly exhaustive features of NetSuite ERP and is much more suited for the everyday business owner.
Although NetSuite and QuickBooks have the same overall functionality and purpose, when it comes to their features, NetSuite ERP offers enterprise-level tools that extend beyond the reach of QuickBooks Online.
Thus, when comparing NetSuite vs. QuickBooks in terms of pricing, the two largely differ.
NetSuite ERP pricing
Like many enterprise-level business solutions, NetSuite operates on a customized pricing system. This means, instead of listing pricing out on its website, you have to contact NetSuite directly and work with them to come up with a plan (and price) that works for your business.
The cost of your NetSuite ERP software will largely depend on the size of your business, the features you need, whether you’re bundling different products, how many users you need and more.
Although there is no way to definitively say how much NetSuite will cost without working with them, various online reviews put pricing at nearly $1,000 per month.
QuickBooks Online pricing
QuickBooks Online pricing is much more straightforward. QuickBooks prices its software on a monthly subscription basis according to the plan you choose:
Simple Start: $25 per month.
Essentials: $50 per month.
Plus: $80 per month.
Advanced: $180 per month.
QuickBooks also offers paid add-ons — QuickBooks Payroll, Tsheets and more — that you can integrate for additional monthly costs.
Even though the QuickBooks Online Advanced plan is often considered expensive for small-business accounting software, any of the four QuickBooks Online plans is going to be much more affordable for the majority of small businesses in comparison to NetSuite ERP.
Benefits of each
Despite some surface similarities, NetSuite ERP and QuickBooks Online are designed for different types of customers.
NetSuite ERP is an enterprise-level solution. Even in comparison to some other enterprise-level platforms, like Sage Intacct and QuickBooks Enterprise, NetSuite ERP includes a vast amount of features designed to accommodate any and all business finance and accounting needs. If you’re looking for an all-in-one platform that can be uniquely customized and tailored to your business, NetSuite is a compelling option. In addition to its ERP software, it offers a variety of other tools that will allow you to manage all of your business processes in one place.
In addition to NetSuite’s feature set, the web-based nature of its software is notable. Although QuickBooks Online is also web-based, not all enterprise-level software systems have made the move from local hosting to the cloud. Because NetSuite is web-based, it offers greater accessibility and flexibility in comparison to some other enterprise-level solutions.
There’s a reason why QuickBooks Online is one of the most popular small-business accounting solutions on the market. QuickBooks Online can accommodate businesses of all shapes and sizes, is highly functional and is an approachable and user-friendly system.
QuickBooks Online can better meet the needs of most small businesses, without overwhelming them with features and functions they don’t need. Plus, QuickBooks is upfront and transparent about its pricing, allowing you to adequately compare what it offers and how much it costs compared to other solutions on the market. Although QuickBooks Online is often critiqued for its high cost in comparison to competitors, there’s no doubt that it's more affordable than NetSuite.
Although the NetSuite website suggests that its solutions can accommodate small businesses, based on the projected cost and intensive detail of its software, it seems safe to say that QuickBooks Online would better meet the needs of the majority of small-business owners.
You might be wondering about the middle ground: What if your business grows to need more than QuickBooks Online can offer but doesn’t need something as expansive as NetSuite ERP? Luckily, there are some alternative options that may be a better fit for your business.
Although any of the QuickBooks Desktop solutions (Pro, Premier, Enterprise) may be able to offer you a middle ground between QuickBooks Online and NetSuite ERP, QuickBooks Enterprise perhaps comes the closest to what NetSuite has to offer.
With QuickBooks Enterprise, you can choose between three different subscription plans and if you want your software locally installed or cloud-hosted. Overall, QuickBooks Enterprise goes beyond what QuickBooks Online offers in that its industry-tailored software, can accommodate up to 30 users and can include advanced reporting, inventory, pricing and payroll tools. Plus, Enterprise includes all of the capabilities of QuickBooks Pro and Premier — sales orders, cost tracking for products and inventory, pricing tools and more — features that are more advanced than what’s offered in QuickBooks Online.
Although QuickBooks Enterprise may not be as detailed as NetSuite ERP — and doesn’t offer the same range of add-on platforms — Enterprise does offer transparent pricing, so you know exactly how much the software will cost your business. For the most basic Enterprise level (Silver without hosting), you’ll pay $1,155 per year for the subscription. For the hosted version of Silver, you’ll pay $140 per month — making it cheaper than QuickBooks Online Advanced.
If you want one of the most robust accounting software systems out there but don’t need features (or cost) at the level of NetSuite ERP, you might consider QuickBooks Enterprise.
If you need something in between the functionality of QuickBooks Enterprise and NetSuite ERP, you might consider Sage Intacct. Sage Intacct is an enterprise-level software designed to cover the full breadth and detail of financial management.
Sage Intacct breaks down its functionality into similar categories: core financials, dashboards and reporting, billing, budgeting and planning, platform and advanced functionality. Within these categories, all of Sage Intacct can be customized for your business — including specific features, reports, modules and users.
Sage Intacct takes managing business finances to the next level, beyond basic accounting and on to advanced budgeting, forecasting, asset management, global consolidations, revenue recognition and more.
Unfortunately, as an enterprise-level software, the cost of Sage Intacct is also quote-based. So, it’s difficult to determine how much Sage Intacct will cost your business (without contacting them) and how that cost compares to other users. Nevertheless, due to the impressive functionality of this system, it’s certainly worth considering if you think you need an accounting platform similar to NetSuite (as opposed to one similar to QuickBooks Online).
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.