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5 Questions That Will Help You Decide If You’ve Outgrown QuickBooks

Making the transition from QuickBooks to an ERP is an easy decision to put off. Whatever new solution you choose, you know it will cost more. The learning curve will be steep. Implementation can take months. But if you’re one of the 4.5 million businesses that uses QuickBooks, chances are you hope to outgrow it one day. And when that day comes, you’ll be looking for clear indications that you need to make a change.

Consider this a guide to finding that moment. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, it’s probably time to start making the move from QuickBooks to an ERP system.

1. Do you struggle to provide all the information you need in a timely manner?

QuickBooks works well if you’re closing the books for a small team every month. Once the board or management needs a more real time picture of the business, it starts to fall short. With an ERP, more data and advanced reporting allow for granular insights to be generated on short notice.

2. Do you spend a lot of time outside QuickBooks?

When you’re using QuickBooks, most in-depth analysis happens in a spreadsheet or some other software. Not only does that ad hoc workflow incur switching costs, you’re also likely to create disparate sources of data that end up getting siloed. In an environment like that, it’s not uncommon for employees to have informal systems of tracking everything from customers to expenses to revenue.

If you’re drowning in spreadsheets or adding on systems to get the job done, consolidating into one solution with robust reporting will help tighten your processes.

3. Do you have structural changes on the horizon?

Even if scale isn’t the problem with QuickBooks, structural issues can cause headaches just as reliably. If you have any plans to open up multiple locations, transact in different kinds of currency, acquire or get acquired, or consolidate multiple bodies of historical data into one system, then QuickBooks is not going to meet your needs. An ERP will.

4. Is volume or number of users a problem?

There’s no getting around it: QuickBooks was built to handle small amounts of data, and it gets overwhelmed relatively easily—especially the desktop version. If the software is taking 20 minutes to load or data is getting corrupted, you’re probably hitting a functional limit. That’s also true if you have a large number of users attempting to work in QuickBooks.

With an ERP, you’ll have a powerful solution capable of nimble operation no matter your volume of data or number of users.

5. Are you looking for a multi-location solution?

Although Intuit is strongly pushing users to embrace QuickBooks Online, many businesses still use the old-fashioned desktop version. That may be the more cost-effective option for small operations, but it also prohibits any kind of remote work. That’s a problem if you ever want to access financial information or perform everyday tasks from outside the office. When you move on to your ERP, make sure it’s a cloud-based solution and never worry about where your workers—or your data—are located.

QuickBooks might still be still effective

If your business hasn’t yet reached the stage where the above questions apply to you, there’s no need to leave the perfectly adequate coverage you get from QuickBooks. For our part, Abacus integrates equally with both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online — though the latter provides you more flexibility, and more support as Intuit increasingly moves users towards the cloud.

QuickBooks remains the most popular small business accounting software in the US due to its cost-effectiveness and its ease of use. But if things go according to plan at your company, there will come a day when you outgrow the software you have today. When that happens, you’ll likely be migrating to a cloud-based ERP system.


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