Sunday, August 31, 2008

If Quickbooks is bad, Netsuite is worse

Frustration with Quickbooks --lack of interoperability-- was the reason why I looked into Netsuite in the first place. This was few years ago. I needed to integrate our billing with an our accounting program. QB was just not up to it. We were using Excel to generate the final invoices and then rekeying everything into QB. I figured there should be a better way.

I started searching for NETLEDGER and ended up on the Netsuite site. Later it turned out that Oracle had purchased NETLEDGER and converted it into Netsuite. So I made the call to Netsuite.

The first thing I noticed about Netsuite as a company was that they were extremely professional. I had recently re-read SPIN selling workbook and could not help but notice that the sales staff at Netsuite was using a sales process based on a combination of SPIN selling and Customer Centric Selling. "....very interesting...."

Their product itself was ok. Nothing extraordinary, but still interesting. But when I worked out the pricing (I hate per user pricing models) it turned out that it would be cheaper for me to develop an inhouse billing system than to sign up with them. In the meantime I discovered sql-ledger (

While I was trying to decide between the costly hosted package versus free open source, someone from Netsuite called me for follow up. She was very nice and cordial. When I told her that I was considering an open source alternative, she said she was sorry for me. Sorry as if I had come down with an incurable disease. I think this response was scripted and well rehearsed. So I got a bit peaved and decided I would not go ahead with Netsuite no matter what.

That was the end of it until I got a routine email blast from Netsuite. This was peculiar.

The mail came from: Lesly Nagie
The header was addressed to: mark at vteams (me)

In the body, the email started like this:

Hi Douglas.......

blah blah blah blah

Kind Regards
David Probyn.

If you haven't caught the inconsistencies, let me outline them for you:

The email came from Leslie
The email header was addressed to Mark (me)
The body addressed to some Douglas
The body was undersigned by David Probyn

So here's the million dollar question: Can I trust an accounting system, which cannot even send the right email to the right name? The answer is no.

So its back to Quickbooks, a software that everyone owns, and loves to hate. Myself included.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm QuickBooks Vs. Netsuite....
Your argument is based the wrong set of facts. Both products are clearly the best in their classes. 'Going back to QB' because of a screwed up e-mail is not too logical. Does that truly imply that Netsuite can't get the job done?

mark mian said...

Its customer psychology 101. Passengers feel uncomfortable about engine maintenance of the plane if the food tray is dirty.

I think of myself as a smart consumer. But will I use an accounting system which cannot even match the right name to the right email address? No. not for myself.

Would you?

Would you buy a best of class calculator which does the math right but mixes up alpha [non math] characters?

Anonymous said...

Hahaha... I got a real giggle out of this. Our comapny changed to Net Suite & it was a MASSIVE costly project as they did not follow through with what they promised. The AUS division then changed owners & nothing got finished.

Their support division was questionable too, many times (myself in accounts & our IT guru) had to work out our own solutions as support did not know how to do it.

All that being said, I'm sure it works well for some people as we all have different needs but in the end it was all to costly for us & wasnt delivering what we needed. Were moving to use MS Dynamics CRM, Premium Web Cart & Quickbooks. All at a fraction of the price.

Good luck to one & all, it can be tricky finding the right product for your individual needs. ;o)