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QuickBooks Enterprise 2016: Alternatives to Subscription Pricing?

My post about the change in pricing for QuickBooks Enterprise 2016 to the annual subscription model has drawn a LOT of feedback.

QBES Box Shot (left) copy
Most of the comments have been provided to me privately, and they center around these two major themes:

  • Disappointment in the increased costs of accounting software for those impacted by the subscription model

  • What are the alternatives to QuickBooks Enterprise?

ALTERNATIVES TO QUICKBOOKS ENTERPRISE?

Let's take a closer look at this question, since it is on the minds of many at the moment.

First, we need to review one critical point before getting too far into this conversation. And that point is:

  • QuickBooks Enterprise, when properly positioned, is designed for businesses with 20-99 employees.

To expand on that concept, QuickBooks Enterprise does NOT play in the same space as any of the following that you may think are alternatives:

A business that tries to "squeeze" into one of the above packages and move out of QuickBooks Enterprise will likely be making a very poor decision.

While the cost savings of moving into one of these packages may look enticing at first, the significant loss of critical functionality, database size/functionality, user security and other essential features will hamper most businesses almost instantly. Costs will rise exponentially once the business realizes their mistake and yet another alternative is explored.

A BETTER COMPARISON

As mentioned above, QuickBooks Enterprise is well positioned for those businesses that have 20-99 employees. Is it found in smaller or larger businesses? Sure. But that is the "sweet spot" in terms of comparing Enterprise to other packages in the marketplace.

Given that, we're now getting into a conversation of some of the "mid-market" packages out there. And this is where the numbers get interesting...

SOME NUMBERS PLEASE?

So let's do this - let's assume you are looking at the 5 user package of QuickBooks Enterprise on the annual subscription basis and trying to compare it to other alternatives out there.

Estimated total costs per year of QuickBooks Enterprise vs. others in the mid-market space:

Hmmmmm....the numbers that looked big a while ago don't look quite as big when stacked up against other competing packages.

APPLES TO ORANGES?

Many have said that comparing QuickBooks Enterprise to other packages such as NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics GP isn't an accurate comparison.

They feel that alternate packages such as these have far more horsepower and functionality than QuickBooks Enterprise does. While I'm not an expert in these other packages, from what I have seen of them, I would tend to agree with this assessment.

However, with an increase in functionality comes an increase in complexity for your staff, increased maintenance costs and a bigger hurdle to obtain a solid return on investment.

Some businesses simply don't want or need all the "extras" that come with some of these other packages.

And that is where QuickBooks Enterprise fits in...do you see that too?

MOVING AHEAD WITH ENTERPRISE...

If your business decides to forge ahead with QuickBooks Enterprise, I welcome the opportunity to assist with your purchase. As a leading reseller of Enterprise, count on me for the best discounts and promotions for your purchase.


WHAT'S YOUR TAKE?

Agree with my assessment? Disagree in no uncertain terms? Share your thoughts in the comments box below - I look forward to hearing from you!

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Comments

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Hi Ralph:

Thanks for sharing these insights - most appreciated!

Those are some serious figures being tossed out there for NetSuite.

I work with some NetSuite consultants and will ask them to weigh in on these figures if they can.

Scott Gregory

I had seen prices similar to this for NetSuite ($11-12K per year). I contacted NetSuite and a sales rep called me. We had a lengthy conversation about our business - we are a small wholesale bakery with 40 employees and 10 users of our accounting system. The NetSuite sales rep gave a rough cost estimate of "$40,000 to $90,000 and possibly more per year". This was an annual recurring cost not an implementation cost. He said the first year, with the implementation cost, would be about 2 times this amount. This is obviously not anywhere near the cost of QuickBooks Enterprise and well out of reach for us.

Some reader comments that were submitted via e-mail:

> Frank H writes:
"Excellent post – your observations, analysis/comparisons, and recommendations are spot on!
Thanks…"

> Steve B writes:
"Very disappointed with the QB decision to force Enterprise clients into a subscription service. This will more than double, and maybe triple our accounting program costs. I will definitely be seeking an alternative when the time comes."

> Lu H writes:
"I am annoyed by the subscription addition because we are a 1-user small company whose database outgrew QB Pro. We have to keep so much information readily available because we issue licenses to reproduce the choral music we sell and these licenses always list all materials they have purchased. So we switched to Enterprise. By adding a subscription on top of the support plan cost, that really impacts us."

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