NetSuite ERP and SRP Review
- Enterprise business management software
- Robust features
- Strong user permissions
- 350 integrations
Some small businesses can get by with basic bookkeeping tools, but others have long outgrown simple accounting software programs and need to bring in the big guns. That’s where NetSuite comes in.
NetSuite is the whole business package, designed specifically for very large businesses and enterprises that have outgrown QuickBooks Pro and have healthy budgets (as plans can start at $10,000/yr).
NetSuite employs a much different business model than the accounting systems we normally review at Merchant Maverick. Instead of focusing simply on bookkeeping, the company sells multiple business management products (including CRM, eCommerce, ERP, SRP, Retail, POS, Reporting, and more). When you inquire into NetSuite, a sales representative will determine which modules you need for your business and what price you can expect to pay. You’ll receive custom software which includes all of the features you need to make your company succeed.
Now you may be asking, where does accounting come in? In this review, I’ll be focusing on two of NetSuite’s products—ERP and SRP.
- ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) – According to Investopedia, Enterprise Resource Planning is a “system that integrates planning, purchasing, inventory, sales marketing, finance, and human resource.” In layman’s terms, ERP is a complete business package for enterprises that operate on an inventory basis.
- SRP (Services Resource Planning) – Services Resource Planning is also a complete business package but for businesses that operate on a services basis. According to NetSuite, they are “the first and only cloud native solution that unites all of the ERP and professional services automation functionality to meet the business requirements and needs of both product and services companies in one single system.”
If you are looking for an enterprise accounting solution, NetSuite ERP or SRP would most likely be the products you’ll need (depending on your business model). Both NetSuite ERP and NetSuite SRP include the robust accounting features you would need to run your enterprise, as well as countless other features, which eliminate the need for additional software and help keep all the features you need in one centralized location.
You may need any combination of the other products as well, such as ERP + eCommerce or SRP + POS, but to learn more about those you will need to talk to a NetSuite representative directly.
If you are interested in NetSuite, continue reading this basic overview of NetSuite ERP and NetSuite SRP. If you thought you were ready for a large business accounting package, but NetSuite’s enterprise pricing convinced you otherwise, check out Xero for a more affordable large business package.
NetSuite software is tailored to your business, so there are no definitive prices. The representative I spoke to said their clients pay anywhere from $10,000/yr to $1,000,000/yr. The good thing about NetSuite is that you will never outgrow the software. Its features are so comprehensive and flexible that the software will expand as your company does. The sky’s the limit with this one.
You can request a free consultation here to get an idea of what you might be paying.
There is also a referral program for NetSuite users that could save you a little money down the road.
Web-Hosted or Locally-Installed:
Web-hosted. Unlike most web-hosted software we review, there is an implementation process for NetSuite. From what I gathered from customer reviews, this implementation process can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to six months depending on your business and the NetSuite solution you choose. Speak to a representative for more information.
Hardware or Software Requirements:
As a cloud-based software, NetSuite is accessible anytime, anywhere, so long as you have an internet connection. The software is compatible with nearly any device. NetSuite also offers an Android app (5.0+) and an iPhone/iPads app (iOS 9+).
Specific Size of Business:
As mentioned earlier, NetSuite is for enterprise businesses. The software is ideal for companies which have long outgrown QuickBooks and need a full business management solution, not just accounting software. NetSuite ERP is optimized for businesses with inventory in multiple locations that need to track information by warehouse or department. NetSuite SRP is ideal for large service based businesses which need complex project management, project billing, and time management features. Both NetSuite ERP and Netsuite SRP also handle global business for companies looking to expand into the international business sphere. There are also incredibly strong user permissions available.
To give you an idea of what NetSuite is capable of in terms of business size, here are some of the companies that use NetSuite as their business management solution: Land O’ Lakes, Williams and Sonoma, Shaw Floors, Guitar Center, The Duck Store, Sierra at Tahoe Resorts, Thos. Baker, Big Agnes, Healing Waters International, and even Quicken.
Note: Not all of the customers listed above use NetSuite ERP or NetSuite SRP, and some use a combination of multiple products. Click on their stories for more information.
Both accrual and cash-basis accounting.
Ease of Use:
As mentioned earlier, NetSuite is tailored to each individual business and can be incarnated in a number of different ways. As such, it is difficult to review. The company did provide me with various demonstrations and other resources to help me get an idea of the software’s capabilities, but I feel very much out of my depth talking about the setup and ease of use of the software.
One area I do feel comfortable commenting on is the aesthetic appeal of NetSuite. Visually, NetSuite is incredibly appealing and well-organized. The customizations are brilliant and the depth of features is almost unparalleled. Dashboards are designed specifically for each employee role in the company, which seems to make the software easier to use (rather than having access to unnecessary features that crowd your dashboard).
- Setup – From what I know of the setup process, the implementation of NetSuite software can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months depending on your business size and needs. Contact a NetSuite representative to learn more.
- Organization – The organization varies depending on your role within the company and the specific software package (or packages) your company implements. You can gather an idea of the organization of the software through NetSuite’s demonstrations. Schedule a personal demonstration here or watch a number of prerecorded demonstrations.
- Instructions and Guidance – See the Customer Service and Support section for more details.
- Problems – I cannot speak to any problems you may encounter while actually using the software. From my research, there is almost nothing NetSuite can’t do, so I don’t have many issues here. There are two things that stand out, and I’m not sure I can even call them “problems.”
- Hard to Acquire Information – From my standpoint as a reviewer, NetSuite did not make it easy for me to find information. But I can hardly blame the company for this. The NetSuite experience is designed for the business owner—not the reviewer (as it should be). The software is optimized and customized for each specific business, so you have exactly what you need. NetSuite encourages prospective users to contact them directly for a telephone consultation to ensure that the software is a good fit for their company. Representatives are very upfront about NetSuite’s services and pricing because they want to make sure you are ready to jump into the enterprise software world. After the phone consultation, NetSuite proceeds with a demo of the software. The company was very willing to help me by providing demos and data sheets, so I assume they are even more willing to help actual customers.
- Lack of Payment Gateways – My only real issue with the software is that there aren’t many payment gateways. On the plus side, there is no additional charge for credit card processing through NetSuite, so you probably wouldn’t need another payment gateway anyway.
There are many overlapping similarities between the NetSuite ERP and NetSuite SRP, but each software focuses on a difference business model and provides distinct features. Below is a brief overview of the key features both software options share.
- Dashboard – Unlike most software we review, the NetSuite dashboard doesn’t consist of one uniform template. Each employee has their own dashboard with feature access that is specific to their role in the company. CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, sales managers, sales representatives, and designated accountants will all have completely different dashboards (see the pictures below for more details). Each dashboard is also incredibly customizable with dozens of different charts and graphs to choose from. You can resize and move everything on the dashboard, and can even change the color theme as well.
- KPIs – NetSuite offers an incredibly useful report called KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators. You can add KPIs to the Dashboard for a quick look at your company’s overall health. They can also be completely customized to show anything from sales to COGs.
- Reminders and Alerts – One of my favorite parts of the Dashboard is that you can set reminders and alerts. You can customize the Dashboard so the Charges on Hold and/or Hours to Approve boxes will blink at you when action is needed. You can also set more specific reminders to stay organized and on top of your work.
- Invoicing – NetSuite offers multiple invoice templates that are completely customizable. Invoices can be sent via email or fax, or you can print them and mail them the good ol’ fashioned way. You can add a class, department, and/or sales representative to any invoice you send. Business owners can also make representatives submit invoices for approval first.
- Estimates – Estimates are created similarly and can be printed or mailed to prospective clients. After you send an estimate, you can easily convert it into an invoice.
- Classes – You can categorize information by location, department, practice, subsidiaries, and more. You can also run reports with a specific class.
- Default Email Messages – You can save any number of default email templates and send them automatically. The software will even automatically generate the recipient’s name into the email before sending.
- Multi-Currency – NetSuite lets you bill in twenty different currencies. Exchange rates are automatically updated nightly. You can also run reports by currency to see how your business is performing globally.
- Importing/Exporting – NetSuite has strong importing and exporting capabilities. You can export files via .xls, .csv, or .pdf. You also have the unique option of scheduling reports to be sent.
- API – NetSuite offers API for developers.
- Contact Management – With the contact management feature, you can add ample contact information and any number of custom fields. The contact page is set up with tabs for Relationships, Company Profile, Communication, Address, Sales, Marketing, Support, Financial, Preferences, System Information, and Bank Payment Details. To make the deal even sweeter, you can add tasks to contacts. You can also attach files to contacts.
- Vendor Management – In addition to contact management, NetSuite ERP helps you easily manage vendors, which is incredibly important for enterprises receiving inventory from all over.
- Finances – This is where you would find the ability to pay bills and complete other necessary business tasks.
- Bank Reconciliation – NetSuite ERP offers a complete chart of accounts and the ability to reconcile your bank statements the traditional way.
- Inventory – This is where NetSuite ERP shines. NetSuite ERP allows you to track and organize the items you sell. You can even track items by location, which comes in very handy for businesses with multiple warehouses or departments. The best part is that NetSuite will help you upsell items on your website by suggesting products that other buyers also purchased. NetSuite ERP also offers supply chain management.
- Payroll & HR – NetSuite ERP allows you to control payroll and HR all in one spot. The software is capable of tracking time, incentive, and reimbursements.
- Reports – NetSuite ERP provides an unbelievable amount of reports. All reports are customizable with custom fields, classes, and even charts and graphs. NetSuite ERP also offers fixed asset lifetime tracking and creates an audit trail with complete transaction history (even down to saving the searches made within the software). To top it all off, NetSuite ERP has country-specific tax reports built into the software.
- Budgeting – NetSuite ERP offers complex budgeting and cash flow forecasting to help you plan for growth and stay on track with how much money you spend.
- Contact Management – With the contact management feature, you can add ample contact information and any number of custom fields. The contact page is set up with tabs for Activities, Messages, User Notes, Opportunities, Projects, Transactions, Items, Campaigns, Cases, Files, Subcustomers, System Notes, and Collection Notes.
- Lead Management – You can track leads and record opportunities in NetSuite. NetSuite SRP even provides a web form businesses can add to their web page that will gather a prospective customer’s information and automatically generate a lead from it.
- Resources – The resources feature is a sort of employee database where you can store information about employees, consultants, and contractors alike. The coolest part about this feature is the search capability which allows you to view a person’s skill level, availability, years of experience, and even their resume. This way, you can always be sure you are choosing the best person for the job. It’s just about one of the coolest features you could ever imagine—and one that comes incredibly handy for big enterprises with many consultants to choose from.
- Project Management – NetSuite’s project management feature is incredibly detailed. The project dashboard comes complete with KPIs, tasks, profit and loss, and a GANNT chart. You can create project templates and save them for future projects. With each project, you can create phases and tasks; you can add a baseline and extensive budgets; you can track markups and discounts; you can even set milestones. You can easily view the labor, expenses, and suppliers attached to a specific project, and you can assign projects and tasks to employees and contractors via the Resources feature.
- Job Costing – View a project’s profit and loss directly from the project dashboard and run extensive reports.
- Time Tracking – Anyone assigned to a task can track time, marking it as billable or unbillable. Employees can add comments and send hours for approval. You can also restrict employees from being able to track time on specific projects if needed. You can run timesheets weekly and send billable hours to clients in many ways.
- Billing – NetSuite SRP gives users plenty of billing options including billing by expense, time, charges, fixed rate, and more. You can also set up fixed fee rules, time-based rules, and expense rules to make billing easier.
- Expense Tracking – You can track expenses with NetSuite SRP and assign expenses to projects. Employees and contractors have the ability to send expenses in for approval (or even multiple levels of approval if you’d like). You can add attachments to expenses as well.
- Commissions – Users can track commissions easily with NetSuite SRP. Business owners can set up multiple commission plans and price levels and can run commission reports as well.
- Accountant – The accountant dashboard allows a user to manage the financial state of the company via the chart of accounts, billing, statistical analysis, fixed assets, AR Aging and AP Aging reports, and more. There is also a handy end-of-month checklist that helps keep the company’s accounting tasks on track.
- Reports – NetSuite SRP provides an unbelievable amount of reports. All reports are customizable with custom fields, classes, and even charts and graphs.
Customer Service and Support:
NetSuite offers three paid support plans (contact NetSuite for pricing).
- 8:00am – 6:00pm (your local time)
- Online support
- Online classes
- Online support
- Toll-free technical center
- Phone support
- Online support
- Toll-free technical support
- 24/7 phone support
- Dedicated technical support team
- Dedicate platinum support manager
In addition to these support plans, the following customer support options are available to all users:
- Phone & Fax – You can contact each office location via phone or fax. There are 10 offices in the US and 18 internationally (find more information here).
- Help Center – There is a Help Center within the software in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
- Demonstrations – NetSuite has recorded several software demonstrations that can be found here.
- Webinars – NetSuite also hosts a couple of webinars and month. Check out the webinar schedule for topics and times.
- Data Sheets – Data sheets are one of the most helpful resources I found. A data sheet is basically a pdf with important information and info graphs about each NetSuite product. There are over 60 topics covered in these data sheets, and they can help you decide which NetSuite software is right for you.
- White Papers – White Papers are eBooks on topics varying from “Cloud ERP Systems for Enterprises – Key Considerations,” to “Empowering Financial Services Firms to Reach Beyond the Limitations of QuickBooks,” to “The Great Debate: One Integrated Business System vs. Soiled applications.” eBook categories include advertising, back office management, eCommerce, energy, financial services, front office management, healthcare, manufacturing, media/publishing, nonprofit, retail, services, software, and wholesale distribution.
- YouTube – NetSuite has a comprehensive YouTube channel with hundreds of videos. You can find everything from demonstrations to customer testimonials. I probably used this more than any other support form.
- Blog – NetSuite also offers a blog full of advice and news.
- Social Media – NetSuite actively maintains Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. They also have Flickr and Instagram accounts that focus primarily on business conventions. None of these sources offers much in the way of customer support, so I’d look elsewhere if you’re trying to find specific information.
- Additional Training and Certification – You can also register for training courses to learn more about using NetSuite. These courses cover a range of topics and vary in price and length, so be sure to check out the Course Catalog if interested.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
NetSuite has a large internet presence so finding reviews was easy; finding reviews that were specific to NetSuite ERP and NetSuite SRP, though? Now that was a different story. The following complaints are derived from a mixture of software specific reviews and overall reviews about the NetSuite itself. Generally, users love NetSuite, but there are a few recurring complaints:
- Too Expensive – Some users find NetSuite too expensive, and from a small business mindset I can understand this. However, compared to other ERP solutions (such as Oracle, SAP, etc.), NetSuite is often lauded as a much cheaper solution that still offers all of the features needed to run a large business, and then some.
- Difficult to Learn – Quite a few users claim that the software is too complex and difficult to learn.
- Long Implementation Process – A couple users have complained that the implementation process took far too long and cost more money than they originally thought it would. Many of these complaints came from customers who opted for remote implementation; generally, people advise local implementation or hiring a third-party to set up the software.
- Poor Customer Service – This is probably the most common complaint. According to one customer, NetSuite “misses the mark with training and support.” A few users claimed NetSuite’s customer service wasn’t prepared for the growth their company experienced.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
NetSuite is highly rated across the board with 4/5 stars from Software Advice, GetApp, and Capterra. TrustRadius gives the software 7.1/10 stars, while Serchen gives it 4.3/5 stars. Testimonials and videos can also be found on the company’s site.
The most common highlights of the software include:
- Incredibly Robust – Users like that the software has all of the features they could ever need in a single location. Many people also like the customizability of these features.
- Easy to Use – NetSuite is easy to use overall, especially when compared to other enterprise software options.
- Ideal for Global Business – NetSuite has the capabilities needed to support global business. Users like the fact that the software handles multi-currency, multi-languages, and multiple locations, warehouses, and departments.
- Low Cost – As mentioned above, a few users say that NetSuite saves them quite a lot of money on IT costs, multiple software fees, and time. Several users switched from SAP and Oracle because the pricing was more appealing with NetSuite (especially considering the features gained).
- Consistent Upgrades – Users appreciate that the software upgrades consistently—twice every year to be exact.
Here is what a few customers are saying about the NetSuite user experience:
“In a bigger company I had to depend on other people for reports and things that I needed, and here with very little training I could get into NetSuite. And it was inventory, it was everything right at our fingertips” – Frances Atherton, VP of Merchandise at Thos. Baker
“Having used SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and other accounting and ERP software in the past, I can confidently say that NetSuite is by far the easiest to use and easiest to report out of. The controls and features and functionality NetSuite offers are outstanding for this fully cloud-based solution.” – Jay, Ecoark Holding, Inc.
“NetSuite SRP software is very easy to use and robust. We operate our business with a very lean staff with the help of NetSuite. Every business should migrate to the cloud and NetSuite is the only provider that really gives the customer a single data core solution. We have used NetSuite to build out new features and add the functionality that is cutting edge for a small business like ours. We have used it on many occasions to differentiate ourselves from our competition and provide valuable information to our customers.” – Gloria Perez
Integrations and Add-Ons:
NetSuite offers nearly 350 integrations. Not all of these are direct partnerships with the integrated software and many are available because of NetSuite’s open API. Nonetheless, the number of integrations is impressive, especially considering that NetSuite is such a full software package already and doesn’t need to offer as many integrations as it does. The only downside is that very few of these 350 integrations are payment gateways.
Some of the most notable integrations include:
- Avalara – Automated sales tax solution that automatically calculates sales tax from a customer’s address.
- Magento – One of the top internet retailer platforms out there. Read our full review here. (Brought to NetSuite by Patchworks.)
- WooCommerce – An eCommerce platform that integrates seamlessly with WordPress. Read our full review here. (Brought to NetSuite by Patchworks.)
- Shopify – eCommerce platform for online stores. Read our full review here. (Brought to NetSuite by Patchworks.)
- Salesforce – A CRM and marketing solution complete with customer service options for your small business. Read our full review here. (Brought to NetSuite by Folio3.)
- Adobe Sign – Accept electronic signatures online.
- Expensify – An expense management solution with reporting and automatic expense reimbursement.
- PayU – A payment gateway that lets you accept payments online with NetSuite.
“We maintain reasonable and appropriate security measures to protect Customer Data from loss, misuse, and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, and destruction.”
When you look into NetSuite’s security, this is about all you will find. There is a privacy statement available, but no concrete details regarding how NetSuite handles data security and storage. It unnerves me that the company is not more open about their security procedures.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that this software is quite distinct from the normal SAAS companies we review, so software security probably involves entire IT teams and designated representatives.
Overall, the number and depth of features NetSuite offers are far beyond anything I’ve reviewed before. It’s no wonder to me that NetSuite is the number one choice of over 40,000 business organizations.
That being said, NetSuite is only the number one choice for businesses which fit a very specific profile. Enterprises and large-scale businesses needing complex accounting tools, project management, and inventory features could really benefit from NetSuite SRP or NetSuite ERP. If you are one of these businesses and ready to commit to a large-scale and expensive enterprise solution, I highly recommend signing up for a free product tour. Watch as many demos as you can, pick the brain of a NetSuite representative, and do your homework before jumping into any contracts.
If your business needs a full-scale accounting system but isn’t quite NetSuite-ready, I recommend looking at Xero’s large business plans for a more affordable option.