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Accounting Systems for small businesses

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Robert Honeyman
Title: CFO
Company: Advanced Predictive Analytics
(CFO, Advanced Predictive Analytics) |

My former company implemented Nav (major integration with Saleforce.com to automate and integrate order management, billing, etc.) even knowing that we would have to deal with the hardware side of things. However, since the system was to be used by folks around the world, we decided to find a Tier 1 hosting site to manage the uptime, essentially making it an SAAS experience for the company. Think cloud.

BTW, it took over a year to customize and integrate and probably the better part of $1 million but the end result is fabulous.

Ray Salomon
Title: CFO
Company:
(CFO, ) |

Although growing rapidly, NAV suffers from a lack of popularity in the U.S. For example, when implementing a NAV system in the SF Bay/Sacramento area a couple of years ago, we found only one qualified independent consultant within the area. In contrast, there were dozens who knew Great Plains (now Dynamics-GP).

If I were making a choice, local support would be something I would consider. While many of the less popular programs are very good, support may not be as quick or easy as with more popular applications.

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Director of Global Accounting
Company: Agrinos, Inc.
(Director of Global Accounting, Agrinos, Inc.) |

We chose NAV for it's international/European strength. It does not seem to be a well-supported product (from third party standpoint). It is rock-solid, however.

Topic Expert
Bob Scarborough
Title: CEO
Company: Tensoft, Inc.
(CEO, Tensoft, Inc.) |

There are definitely a number of options for Dynamics SaaS.

Randy Rutledge
Title: CFO
Company: Big Earth Networks, LLC
(CFO, Big Earth Networks, LLC) |

I agree with Mark, this topic has struck a chord.

Before you can plan your trip, you need to know where you are going and what's your budget. Even if Dynamics is your answer, if your budget is $2,500, you cannot get there. If you are facing budget limitations, your only decision might be which flavor of QuickBooks do I purchase. But for about the same money, you can get Peachtree, which does offer an audit trail and a flexible chart of accounts. It is a bit more difficult to implement than QB, but a superior product in my opinion.

One additional suggestion would be to plan, plan, plan. The more time you spend planning your chart of accounts and the reports you need from an accounting system, the happier you will be with the results. Hey, you can always purchase a migration tool and move to something else in six months.

Kurt Kipfer
Title: Retired
Company: Retired
(Retired, Retired) |

Picking up on Randy's mention of Peachtree, my Company was able to use Peachtree Complete Accounting up until we outgrew it, which for us, meant 6-8 users, and 8 or so companies within the consolidated group. From my experience, Peachtree was similar to slightly superior to QuickBooks, however, if you require consolidations, robust reporting, and/or have foreign currencies involved, Peachtree is NOT the answer. Very efficient but not intended for FX and Consolidations. When we moved from Peachtree we migrated to MS Solomon (now called MS Dynamics). It is far more costly and much more robust than Peachtree. Depending on your Dynamic module selections => GL, AP, Budgeting, etc... you can easily spend $10k to $30k + installation.

Hugh Glazer
Title: Managing Director & Founder
Company: WinterView Group
(Managing Director & Founder, WinterView Group) |

I have over 10 years experience with Peachtree. For the money it is much better than the "competitively priced spread", has significantly better controls and is not more difficult to implement(sorry, but I disagree with Randy). It also has significantly better upside growth. I have small one or two person shops as well as 15+ multi-user clients on the various versions.

Arlene Lefkoe
Title: CONSULTANT
Company: Able Accounting Solutions
(CONSULTANT, Able Accounting Solutions) |

I agree with Randy that Peachtree is superior to Quickbooks. I am a Peachtree Certified Consultant and a Quickbooks Pro Advisor, who has worked with both products for years. In my experience, Peachtree is not any more difficult to implement than Quickbooks.They both do basic bookkeeping, but if you have advanced needs, e.g.departments, job costing, inventory, POS, importing data,custom checks and forms, etc.,you should review both products (or any other you consider) to see if they work the way you do and have features that accomodate your business. Both Peachtree and Quickbooks have free trial versions available throgh their website.

Trudy Wade
Title: Controller
Company: Starkey Hearing Foundation
(Controller, Starkey Hearing Foundation) |

I would recommend Sage software. Their MIP package is great. It integrates with their Sage Fundraising 50 smoothly and has many sophisticated reporting options are an inexpensive price. I also got the allocations module that is a life saver.

Chris Sommerfield
Title: Associate Professor of Oceanography
Company: University of Delaware
LinkedIn Profile
(Associate Professor of Oceanography, University of Delaware) |

QB has audit trails and can be closed on a monthly basis. I have passed many audits with big 4 firms with QB and we were over $10M and growing with international currency consolidations using FASB52. I worked for another company and wanted to try Netsuite. The old bait and switch were it sounded like it was going to cost about $1,000/month and it turned out to be over $100k/year vs $1,000 one time payment for QB. I also like QB since I can install, backup and do most sys admin items on my own.

Ray Salomon
Title: CFO
Company:
(CFO, ) |

One advantage to QB that we should not overlook is the ready availability of experienced staff. Unlike some other (probably equally good systems) it is very easy to find people who know QB.

As one who has passed a public company audit with QB, I recognize its limitations. At the same time, for the price of QB, I was able to do the additional work required to comply with SOX.

Those looking to upgrade to any new system should start by identifying the shortfalls in their present system. In other words, what present problem will be solved or future problem will be avoided with the new system. A key is to ensure that the software vendor then describes (preferably in writing) exactly how the new system will address the issue (vs. the more typical "...the new system will handle that..." While the software resellers can be valuable resources, they also don't get paid unless they sell a new system.

Stephen M. Filreis
Title: Owner
Company: Fiscability, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Owner, Fiscability, LLC) |

I am surprised not to see any mention whatsoever of the SAP Business One product suite. It is the only integrated solution where you get all the functionality and can turn off what you don't need, instead of installing what you need now and have to go back and upgrade to get what you need later. In other words, unlike other systems, it is NOT modular but integrated. It comes with a full ERP solution of manufacturing, distribution, Bill of Materials, Property, CRM and financials. It is completely integrated with Crystal reports, giving you full drill down through all of your reports. You can execute queries which are also drillable and easy one-button exports to Excel. There is a full audit trail.

Since it is from SAP, the world's largest supplier of ERP solutions, it is solid and stable, fully tested. There are certified add ons for specialties and industry-specific solutions. It runs on SQL Server, so virtually any company can manage it, but is also available as a hosted solution or even SaaS. Having used the Sage products in both for profit and non profits, Dynamics/Great Plains/Solomon as well as SAP in a large company and Quickbooks Enterprise in smaller environment, SAP B1 provides the best of all worlds: a solid solution backed by a large stable company focused on providing software to enterprises, a flexible and scalable implementation and an incredibly fast ROI. Together with ease of implementation and support, it's a solution that cannot be beat.

While many systems require extensive work every time a new version comes out (-- I have spent tens of thousands upgrading Dynamics to a new version), this is a quick exercise to upgrade -- usually seamless to the users and very inexpensive in terms of time and money.

I would be delighted to discuss at greater length offline and demonstrate how we can implement this system in your business in a very short period of time, with a payback in many cases measured in months. It's not $3000 like QB Enterprise, but you would be surprised at the cost vs its competitors when you break it down.

If you are looking for an accounting system to deliver numbers, stick with QB. If you are looking for a system to run your business and provide valuable information, check out SAP Business One.
Steve Filreis
steve [dot] filreisatfiscability [dot] com

Anna Bielecki
Title: Chief Financial Officer / Controller/Sen..
Company: ToBe Enterprises
(Chief Financial Officer / Controller/Senior Consultant, ToBe Enterprises) |

I always had the understanding that SAP is not for small business. Is that correct? If yes, why?
Anna

Robert Honeyman
Title: CFO
Company: Advanced Predictive Analytics
(CFO, Advanced Predictive Analytics) |

but after discussing with SAP analysts, the supplier agreed that $300k meant $600k.

Mark Linder
Title: VP Finance
Company: Performance Solutions
(VP Finance , Performance Solutions) |

A running joke in the industry is that your SAP implementation is done when you are out of money.

Mark Linder
Title: VP Finance
Company: Performance Solutions
(VP Finance , Performance Solutions) |

The Business One product shares nothing with SAP's tier 1 product. SAP bought the package from a developer in Israel. It was really designed more for the European and Eastern markets. In fact, for a long time it didn't have the out-of-the-box functionality to create a paper based check. The mid-market is relatively new playing field for SAP and they are still trying to learn how to deal with customers and support. The US market still is NOT the primary focus of B1 so be careful if you are considering it.

Ray Salomon
Title: CFO
Company:
(CFO, ) |

One thing I would recommend with any software is that you investigate the availability of local support before deciding. At a former employer, we moved to MS Dynamics-NAV (formerly Navision). While the software was fine, it was almost impossible to find local support professionals in the metro Sacramento/SF Bay Area. Unless you can do everything you want yourself (which is unlikely given the power of many systems), you will likely want/need help. Support costs enough without incurring the additional expense and delays of travel.

Hugh Glazer
Title: Managing Director & Founder
Company: WinterView Group
(Managing Director & Founder, WinterView Group) |

Put Accufund on your shopping list. Its a great product. I can recommend an experienced VAR if you need one.

Mark Schauwecker
Title: Financial Manager
Company: Mark F Schauwecker, CPA
LinkedIn Profile
(Financial Manager, Mark F Schauwecker, CPA) |

Has any one utilized this software? I currently work with QB 2009 for a NFP with about $85K in revenue. At that level I produce fairly straight forward financial statements and did their 2009 Form 990PF.

Your comments are welcome!

(Agent, JKS Solutions, Inc.) |

For small business I have found QuickBooks one of the best software platforms available. For a low cost, you get a complete system, easily corrected and adaptable to changing needs. Yes, it does have an audit trail. It resides in the background. I have taken many businesses off of other software and put them on QuickBooks. I highly recommend it. You may just need a bit of customizing and training to get it to do what you want.

James Wind
Title: Controller
Company:
(Controller, ) |

I have used Quick-books in a separate operation, and it did have limitations. Especially if someone likes to have the audit trail capability, and double entry. pcMRP is a package that is very inexpensive, can have virtually unlimited seats, and a whole bunch of different add on modules. They have a website at PCMRP.com.

Greg Palermo
Title: CFO
Company: Borne Holding Corp
(CFO, Borne Holding Corp) |

If you've outgrown QB or will in a relatively short time frame, make sure you take a look at MAS 90 /200. This package is relatively simple and I've implemented it for a global ecommerce retailer as well as a start-up manufacturer with good results. Additionally, the package is highly scalable with many third party apps available as well.

You will pay consideraly more than QB.

Mike Larkin
Title: CFO
Company:
(CFO, ) |

I've got a 25 person, <$10M manufacturer looking for a software system. They have nothing now. Needs to have accounting, manufacturng, BOM, Sales...Needs to be easy to use considering there is no experience in the company.
Any recommendations

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Mike
Yours is a good question but not really answerable in the way you need an answer:). Here are a couple of tips (I do software evaluations for a living):
1. Define/clarify the business model (not just whether process manufacturer, made to order/engineer to order, discrete etc)- how do you need to interact with customers, vendors etc?
2. What are your key business needs (expressed ideally in terms of business scenarios that vendors must demonstrate)? If you don't have this defined, don't start looking. This covers both transaction entry and management oversight/reporting etc.
3. What pains are you trying to address-convert to business scenarios-how you want to work in future.
4. Involve key users-make them have skin in the game-they may as well start learning now, because they will be better equipped to cope with the new system and the change that will impact their lives.

There is a bunch more to do, but these are key first steps.

Best regards

Len Green

Mark Linder
Title: VP Finance
Company: Performance Solutions
(VP Finance , Performance Solutions) |

How do they grow to that size and have "nothing"?
IMHO they are already pushing the limits of entry-level products like QB and PT. Sage MAS90 would be something to look at. Go back through this entire thread and read the recommendations on selecting software.

Didier Jupillat
Title: CFO
Company: Atlantic.net
(CFO, Atlantic.net) |

Mike,

At my previous employer, a small agribusiness <$10M with 40 employees, I was running Peachtree Premium and was very happy with it. I was using all modules except "Jobs" and I can tell you I had no problem whatsoever running Payroll on my own and using all the functionalities of the Inventory module. I found the latter very flexible and whatever I couldn't do well with it (like in-depth cost-accounting), I could still "trick" the system to integrate and report what I needed.

As a matter of fact, I would recommend Peachtree to any small manufacturer, precisely because of the flexibility of the Inventory module (with bill of material capability), while I would not recommend QuickBooks when a solid Inventory module is needed.

Regards,
Didier

Rebecca S Williams
Title: Vice President, Finance
Company: BDNA Corporation
(Vice President, Finance, BDNA Corporation) |

I am looking for an ERP solution. We have 10 entities being reported in 5 different currencies, multiple software product offerings, more intercompany relationships than I care to count, etc. The US and APAC entities are on QB and the EU entities Sage. Intercompany reconciliations, consolidations, revenue recognition, financial planning and analysis, etc. are done in MS Excel (2007 is buggy and keeps corrupting our files). I need a small/mid tier ERP solution with consolidations, foreign currency, revenue recognition, (ideally) automated intercompany transactions, and a financial planning and analysis tool. Because of the resource contraints of our IT guy (and the lack of desire to add headcount), a cloud computing solution is going to be my only option. In my past experience, Softrax's Sales Operations and Revenue Recognition module was superb; however, they only offer an enterprise solution. I'm going to speak with NetSuite and Intacct. Has anyone had experience with aplicor? Other cloud solutions known that could address my company's needs? Does Dynamics - GP offer a cloud solution?

Many thanks in advance,
RSW

Topic Expert
Paul Benedetto
Title: CFO, Director of Finance, Consultant
Company: Nextwave Software, Rethink Fabrics
(CFO, Director of Finance, Consultant, Nextwave Software, Rethink Fabrics) |

Speaking from direct experience, both Intacct and NetSuite can address your needs; having forex, consolidation and revenue recongnition capabilities. I've used Intacct since 2002, almost its inception and it gets stronger each year. NetSuite is also right up there. If there are specific questions on either system feel free to give me a shout - as I have active accounts/use on each platform for companies that I work for. Thanks. - Paul

Robert Wilson
Title: President
Company: R L Wilson & Associates LLC
(President, R L Wilson & Associates LLC) |

I am a recruiter assisting two east Texas firms and both need CPAs and staff accountants and I only have a couple of weeks as they are in the tax season. Anyone know or recommend a place to search for candidates? I am fairly new to this industry but know the best way to find experts is to talk with other experts. If you have a referral, I can be reached at rwilsonatnctv [dot] com

Kelly Kruse
Title: CFO, Exec VP
Company: eParidigm Partners
(CFO, Exec VP, eParidigm Partners) |

I was exposed to Intacct during my last contract assignment. Was extremely impressed. Highly reccommended. A application that is up and coming is Workday. I would look into it but keep in mind it is relatively new. Workday has a great upside as it has a Human capital and payroll apllication as well.

Karen Martin
Title: Business Analyst
Company: Texas General Land Office
(Business Analyst, Texas General Land Office) |

Iam working with Sage MIP and there is a field called varGLALastCheckNum in table DIM_GLA. Does anyone know what varGLALastCheckNum is?

Joanie Mann
Title: Principal Consultant
Company: Cooper Mann Consulting
LinkedIn Profile
(Principal Consultant, Cooper Mann Consulting) |

In considering solutions for small business accounting, the thing that we can all be assured of is that the company will make at least one more purchasing decision in finance/accounting solutions during the business lifecycle. This is one of the reasons that I have a hard time recommending a pure SaaS/Web framework app for really new businesses. While the web offers a lot of capability that localized IT and software can't, it also creates somewhat of a limitation on innovation and exploration in terms of functionality.

QuickBooks is nice recordkeeping software, Peachtree and other Sage products are better at actual structured accounting... NetSuite is a strong accounting solution. But QB and PT offer something that NetSuite doesn't... somewhere to go from there.

Neil Brown
Title: CFO & CIO
Company: KatalystFP
(CFO & CIO, KatalystFP) |

I have used many different systems (AccPac, Solomon, Navision, 4th Shift, Quickbooks, Peachtree) over my career and they all have pros and cons.

I have found that finding the right fit for a small business is tough. Personally I will never use Quickbooks again and I did like using Peachtree. But I am loving using SaaS now as it makes everyone's life easier.

I was looking at two companies Kashoo (www.kashoo.com) and Xero (www.xero.com). I settled with Xero because of their bank account reconciliation. I have over 100 escrow accounts and it makes life a lot easier for me.

I think we all need to look at new sources as I have found that the traditional sources are not the best and want far too much for how little they do.

Just my 2 cents. :)

Yanira McCall
Title: CFO
Company: McCall Field Services Inc.
(CFO, McCall Field Services Inc.) |

We use Quick Books Enterprise at our office. There are usually only three people using it at the same time. My computer is hosting it so I run fast but the other pulling from me are very slow. Our file size is 628 KB. Does anyone have a recommendation on the best way for set it up to increase speed.

Dan Jebens
Title: CFO
Company: ToolWatch Corp
(CFO, ToolWatch Corp) |

Yanira, You should really install Enterprise on it's own dedicated server. They have instructions in the documentation that came with Enterprise how to set it up on a dedicated server. Our files size is similar and speed is pretty good. We have all sorts of things hung off of QB and they run fine with the dedicated server setup.

Steve Marino
Title: Controller
Company: National Support Services, LLC
(Controller, National Support Services, LLC) |

NetSuite - Extremely flexible, easy to use, fully integrated modules, not very difficult or costly to customize. Very weak with respect to controls (payables, general ledger reporting - don't underestimate the importance of this.

Great Plains - A great system, very flexible, no need to customize, endless modules, great support and scalable beyond $100M. Unfortunately, it is costly so evuate your needs carefully.

Anonymous
(SAE) |

Just came across your post from a year ago. I don't know where you got your information but the controls in NetSuite are far from weak. Perhaps your information is outdated.

Barry Boese
Title: CEO / CFO
Company: Baac Office
(CEO / CFO, Baac Office) |

Regarding NetSuite, a good way to justify the costs are to estimate staff time savings if you go with NetSuite. For example, if you have 10 employees, and you could save 1 employee's time with NS, that could be cost savings in the range of say $40,000 per year. You would not necessarily need to terminate 1 employee in 10 to pay for NS, but you could likely gain revenues and other efficiencies by all the time savings that NS provides.

Also, think of NS as more than an accounting system, as it can be used for Sales, Marketing, Warehousing, Customer Support, etc. If you gain more benefits from it than just accounting, you can more easily justify the costs.

Patrick Fleck
Title: CFO
Company: AnswerLab, LLC
(CFO, AnswerLab, LLC) |

I've had good luck with Peachtree for small companies. The next step up would be something like MAS90, which I used extensively in a couple of past companies. It is definitely a hardcore accounting system with solid controls. I never had bugs or instability issues. It integrated well with Adaptive Planning too. I was able to mirror the MAS90 chart of accounts structure in Adaptive Planning 1:1, so my report users in the business units and the executive suite never knew whether the source of a report was MAS90 or Adapative Planning. We used FRx to write our MAS90 reports by the way, which is a great tool.

Jaime Campbell
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Tier One Services, LLC
(Chief Financial Officer, Tier One Services, LLC) |

Jim,

This high-energy and no-right-answer discussion of accounting software aside, your fundamental assumption is incorrect. QuickBooks does have an audit trail and it is easy to block a period from being changed.

Regards,
Jaime

Anonymous
(Accounting Manager) |

Wouldn't Xero be in consideration at under $10MM in sales? I imagine the of going to a mid-level system like Intacct or NetSuite would be cost prohibitive or even risky given how the Company may not support the capital investment needed in training and implementation.

It's very difficult for an SMB to justify $50K+ spend on an ERP vs. a couple of thousand for a system like Xero that can automate a lot of backoffice pieces (e.g. - AP, Cash Recons, Payroll, etc). I think that's why so many fast growing SMBs stick to QB and never switch.

Ziyoda Mirsaidova
Title: Business Analyst
Company: Finnet Limited
(Business Analyst, Finnet Limited) |

Try kpi.com Accounting Software for your business. It is suitable for a small business requirements, and you can use other modules of a software within the subscription package. http://www.kpi.com/accounting/

Alex Turner
Title: Editor
Company: Neowinn
(Editor, Neowinn) |

Problem with accounting systems is a common occurrence. To avoid this kind of difficulty, I turned to software support professionals. Opted for this purpose team Codenetix and hade made the right choice. It is not always better to change the accounting system, sometimes it is necessary to apply for technical support to the professionals, I trust Codenetix in this regard.

Kritika Pandey
Title: Software Analyst
Company: SoftwareSuggest
LinkedIn Profile
(Software Analyst, SoftwareSuggest) |

You should try HDPOS Smart Billing software it's a leading billing software with proven features, accuracy, and functionality. It handles your time and expense tracking, project, and client management, invoicing, online payments and reporting, leaving you more time to focus on what you do best, your business. HDPOS provides audit trail also with free unlimited demo and 30 days free trial.

Lilly James
Title: Software Provider
Company: SoftwareSuggest
LinkedIn Profile
(Software Provider, SoftwareSuggest) |

HDPOS SMART Online offers a range of features for all types of small businesses. This includes freelancers, consultants, online merchants, store and restaurant owners, service providers and more. Whether you're just starting out, expanding or have an established business, HDPOS Smart accounting software is packed with basic and advanced features to meet your accounting needs.

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