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Alternatives To Quickbooks

Is anyone using an alternative to Quickbooks?

There are several (well more than several) direct competitors to QB.

Anyone using one of them and why?

Answers

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

I have clients and contacts using Xero, Intacct, and one contact using Wave.

The people who choose Xero like the fact that they can start cheap and automated with a tiny learning curve, and over time, they'll be able to build an a la carte accounting system by plugging in apps as their business grows.

People choose Intacct primarily for those dimensions. From QuickBooks Desktop, you pretty much get one dimension; QBO, you get 2; Xero, you get 2; Intacct, a zillion.

People use Wave because it's free.

We are using QuickBooks desktop but are really rigging a few of the features to get better business intelligence. For example, I'm using the Terms field in the invoices for states instead of terms. Our company doesn't entertain terms since we get paid up front, but I do want to see gross revenues by state, so I made a custom report.

I don't know anyone using Microsoft Dynamics GP, but I'm curious about it.

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

My last company switched from Macola to GP. The conversion/implementation ran into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The end result was really impressive. Not the sort of move most people living on QB are ready to make.

Macola's not a bad move, but if you're on QB, there are far cheaper approaches (see my comment below).

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Robert -

I thought Macola had basically "bit the dust" when it migrated to a windows environment. In fact this is only the second time I've heard of some using it in the last 5 years or so.

Disclosure: I made my living for about 10 years implementing Macola in distribution and manufacturing environments, while it was a DOS based program running on Novell Netware. It was a great product back then.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Jaime,

By dimension your talking about "projects" or "departments",etc?

Doesn't QB have a API or the ability to download the data?

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

Wayne

Intacct separates itself from the others for a few reasons, and Jaime's note about "a zillion dimensions" is key-although I've not see a "zillion" quite yet:). So too are the following reasons:
1. You can start with one company/entity, then as your business grows you can add other entities, and you can process transactions in any/all of them without having to: (a) log off, log on, log off again as you change entities; (b) duplicate interco transactions and manually ensure they stay in balance.
2. Your dimensional reporting can be supplemented by statistical accounts for items like operational data (total hours billed, number of orders, qty of items bought/sold) and these can be configured-not customized or scripted-into standard management reports and dashboards to provide useful KPIs and trends.
3. You can do this inside Intacct and avoid downloading into Excel to manipulate.
4. It has solid APIs and integration web services.

Let me know if you want an overview.

David Dobrin
Title: President
Company: B2B Analysts, Inc.
(President, B2B Analysts, Inc.) |

The difference between Intacct and QuickBooks is easily explained if you know the genesis. Netsuite [not mentioned so far, kind of expensive, but another obvious choice] was originally built as a cloud alternative to QuickBooks. Intacct was built as a cloud alternative to Dynamics. Dynamics is a much bigger, more capable system and so is Intacct. Interestingly, Netsuite (to its credit) pivoted relatively soon in its history, because it couldn't make money trying to beat out the very inexpensive QuickBooks product, and it eventually made itself far more like Dynamics, with multiple companies, more dimensions, etc.

Gandhar Rao
Title: Finance Manager
Company: Heroleads
LinkedIn Profile
(Finance Manager, Heroleads) |

Apart from QuickBooks you can look at Intacct which is the general best option as suggested by all and you could also have a look at Financial Force but haven't heard much of it.
If you are using QuickBooks desktop version you should have look at their online/ cloud version, we are using it for our firm and it accommodates multiple locations and currency tags for better reports and by far is one of the simplest systems to use and is pretty value for money given its cloud based.

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

I use xero.com for one of my companies. It's far more robust than QB and interfaces like a true accounting system. It costs $30 a month.

For a different company I use NolaPro. At this point, I use it locally for no fee. If the company takes off, I'll move to the hosted version for a monthly fee. NP has a pretty antiquated UI but it is designed for a distribution/manufacturing operation. If you can get past how ugly it is, it's a pretty impressive system for the price.

Paul Mussault
Title: CEO
Company: EthiCap
(CEO, EthiCap) |

I use both QuickBooks and Xero. In addition to a better user interface and ux, Xero offers more flexibility in bookkeeping and reporting. The marketplace is also very helful so users can customize the systems. Also Xero accounting system is more consistent, with less bugs and the support much more helpful.

Lawrence Caffrey
Title: Bookkeeper
Company: SES Foam
(Bookkeeper, SES Foam) |

Does Intact have the same data integrity issues as QB's - the ability to delete and change transactions unless the period is locked out? My other significant problems with QB's include the inability to record vendor bills for item receipts in locked out periods and unapplied customer credits when applied in subsequent periods changing the closed period accounts receivable detail trial balances. There are other issues of integrity I have encountered only in QB's.

EMERSON GALFO
Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

Lawrence, I am not quite sure if those that you have pointed out are "data integrity issues". There are legitimate reasons why a period is locked out. What you pointed out are process and policy issues. Data integrity issues are issues where data is/was not what you entered or somewhat changed in the process.

Lawrence Caffrey
Title: Bookkeeper
Company: SES Foam
(Bookkeeper, SES Foam) |

Perhaps integrity is the wrong word, but the ability to change or delete recorded transactions after recording is my reason for considering QuickBooks to have completely unacceptable control risks.

Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

I've used many different accounting and ERP systems over more than 30 years. And, I've been through many conversions. I've seen millions spent on new software/hardware for a conversion. Literally!

My take away, in hindsight, has always been the same: Debits are still debits and credits are still credits. I've seldom found the conversions over the long run, to be particularly cost effective. That isn't to say they failed. But that a lot of money was spent with mixed results. Nothing outstanding that one could say was a clear "winner".

Sometimes I think finance people are too focused on the software tools as a way to better performance rather than their own ingenuity and ability to use them. I saw the same thing when I used to snow ski. Many amateur skiers spent more time selecting equipment and re-waxing their skies with different waxes to improve their skiing, when focusing on their basic skills would have been more appropriate.

I've watched more than a few accounting software demos showing all kinds of bells and whistles with reporting capabilities. The problem in the end is, those bells and whistles only work if all of that "extra" data is entered which creates even more work than before. And, there is more proprietary software to learn. Not just the accounting system but the reporting system. If one doesn't work with this on a daily basis, and I don't since I adopted the mantle of CFO, it becomes cumbersome to "relearn" the software's intricacies every time one needs something from the system and staff is not around to provide it. On top of that, the software is always changing! Updates, new versions, discontinuance of support of old versions that are working perfectly fine for you, companies merging or going out of business. Orphan accounting systems are white elephants! But, when you own it, you can at least attempt to keep it running and in my experience, often do.

And finally, I find it interesting that so many are accepting of "the cloud". I can see it's benefits but, there are some "dark clouds" out there. Just ask our IT consultants.

The first is, security. I don't have to tell you how many security breaches there have been on a large scale. HD, Target. Even our nations electrical grid!
Giving up complete local control of any sort, allowing your financial and other information to be stored offsite and depending on a third party to guard it, seems a bit chancy to myself as well as IT pros I know. The only people I've heard claiming that there is no more risk than internal controlled systems are those selling cloud based services. No biases there of course.

And worse, when going to the cloud, one becomes completely dependent on data communications to points outside of one's control and dependent on another third party for a basic, business need. Which in my experience, while pretty darn reliable, can be disrupted and you have little or no control over that when it happens. Internal networks can have communications issues, but you have much more control over their functionality, reliability and getting them fixed when there are issues.

Call me a Ludite but.............................. :-)

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Anonymous -

You make some valid points up to the security issue. The examples you cite are actually to the best of my knowledge in-house shops, not cloud shops. If that is the case (this is call hedging one's assumption), then your argument is actually inverted, in that the in-house IT department is not the white knight.

Regardless, a large ISO or other certified SAAS (Cloud) Vendor spends more money on security and other issues than most companies do, because that is their business. Are their companies (not cloud vendors) that can or do it better, I'm sure, but the average company, the answer is probably no.

Anonymous
(CFO) |

Do you still use MS-DOS? Lotus 123?

Steve Rabin
Title: CPA
Company: Steve Rabin CPA
(CPA, Steve Rabin CPA) |

I've seen the same data integrity issues in QB mentioned above become motivations to change systems. QB does not implement a solid close and it is easy to accidentally change a locked period resulting in confusion and delay.

I have done SEC reporting for a consolidated entity using QB Enterprise, but it was an effort. Cost accounting in QB (second "dimension" in conversation above?) is an effort, not nearly automatic. Inventory/production accounting is not well supported. QB has trouble with very large numbers and with foreign currency. FAR compliance is a pain. Payroll integration can be an effort. Customer Support has declined a lot in recent years. Data transfer between versions and platforms can be a challenge.

Xero is popular with companies I work with.

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

Wayne,

Dimensions can include departments or projects...and other ways to slice & dice a company. QuickBooks has lesser-known dimensions such as the Customer Type and Job Type field, but there are still limits in QB which don't exist in Intacct.

I am not well-versed in API matters, but although as you know it's easy to export from QuickBooks to Excel, there are limitations in importing into QuickBooks and it's generally not a DIY matter.

This is the first thread I have ever read in which someone said that Xero is more robust than QB. Alone, without apps plugged into it, Xero doesn't come close. With the exception of that dimensional reporting, you have to export everything to Excel in order to do most analysis. But that "ecosystem of apps" is wildly impressive. Project management, time tracking, forecasting, dashboards, multicurrency, and soooo much more.

Mandy Calder
Title: CFO
Company: Miss CFO
(CFO, Miss CFO) |

I really like Xero and tend to recommend it to my clients in preference to Quickbooks. I really like the auto bank feeds, integrated payroll and project costing. It works really well with my clients who are mostly in TV production. You can also invite any number of people to access the data at various levels at no extra cost. The fact that it is cloud based also makes it super flexible. Really good value at around $30 per month

Sheryl Smith
Title: Controller/HR Manager
Company: Freedom Health LLC
(Controller/HR Manager, Freedom Health LLC) |

Be Careful if you ever decide to use Everest. It is cumbersome. We are a manufacturing company and when it comes to lot history tracking it leaves much to be desired. The biggest problem we found is the lot history will track the built, the adjustments, but not customers invoices. We are really in need of a good accounting system with extensive lot tracking at a reasonable price. Does anyone know of any?

Debbie Schultz
Title: Manager Consulting
Company: Bridgepoint Consulting, LLC
(Manager Consulting, Bridgepoint Consulting, LLC) |

There is a good QB vs Xero video on youtube that is worth the 20-30 minutes for you to compare. Bottom line is that they are comparable (QB SaaS product). Next tier I find is Intacct and FF.com - FinancialForce is very strong for professional services companies or nontech and specifically for SF.com shops, as it's on Salesforce platform. For manufacturing or revenue recognition needs, it's NetSuite or Oracle SaaS generally in my experience...

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