From the September 2005 Review of Mid-Range
NetSuite’s primary accounting offering is the self-titled, web-based
NetSuite, which offers modules for all primary accounting functions such as
GL, AP, AR, Inventory, Sales, Payroll, Time & Billing, Purchasing and Order
Fulfillment, as well as advanced CRM and enterprise resource planning (ERP)
capabilities. The program also offers distinct benefits as a result of its being
the only major accounting application to be totally web-based, such as fully
integrated and live e-commerce functionality, simplified remote access and decreased
New features recently added to the program include NetSuite Analytics and
the NetSuite Upsell Manager, which automatically mines customer data to recommend
cross-selling and upselling opportunities. The system can support an unlimited
number of departments, locations, users and administrative levels. A single-user
subscription to the program costs $399 per month, with additional users for
$99 per month each. Hence, a five-user license would cost approximately $9,500
Steve Hackenberg is the IS Manager for INNOVA Disc Golf (www.innovadiscs.com),
a manufacturer and wholesale distributor for professional and recreational disc
golf equipment. Hackenberg has an Oracle Financials background and knew that
an ASP accounting package would be a cost saver. “It was robust enough
back in 2003 to serve our needs, and we picked it out of four packages we were
considering at the time.” INNOVA’s East Coast office, which currently
utilizes NetSuite, has 30 employees, 15 of which are NetSuite users.
EASE OF USE/TRANSACTION ENTRY — 4.5 Stars
Accessed through the user’s web browser, NetSuite’s interface is
built around an array of real-time dashboards that offer at-a-glance summary
information of business indicators like sales orders, fulfillment tasks, AR
and shipping orders, with one-click access to more detailed information and
the system’s modules. In addition to the aforementioned summary data,
these dashboards can be customized to fit the needs of individual users, providing
user-specific calendars, task/reminder notices, report snapshots and the ability
to save searches with results accessible through the dashboard. Customization
is simple, with drag-and-drop ability to move components and change color schemes.
Specific user roles can also be set up by the system administrator, limiting
user access to only specific functions.
All interface screens provide tabbed access to the key functions allowed to
that user, such as customer tasks, vendor tasks, reporting and analytic tools.
Entry of data is performed on tabbed screens that include drop-down selection
lists, with interaction much like a traditional accounting system. Customer,
vendor and third-party lists are easily accessible and in a sortable, filterable
and searchable format.
Overall, the program is friendly, but its wealth of features could overwhelm
users initially, until they’ve set up their dashboards to reflect the
functions they perform most frequently.
NOTABLE FEATURES — 5 Stars
In addition to offering extensive customization capabilities that enable more
streamlined use of the program, the NetSuite system offers a full suite of accounting
functions, including GL, AP and AR, as well as budgeting capabilities and support
for multi-currency transactions and reporting. The system’s automated
currency revaluation function can be set to automatically generate adjusting
journal entries when closing periods for exchange rate fluctuations on open
accounts payable or receivable transactions. Cash and accrual-based reporting
Users can set up allocations based on dollar amounts or percentage bases, whereafter
the system automatically posts appropriate journal entries. Allocations can
also be pre-scheduled. The system’s advanced billing function supports
contract billing for customers billed for a sale over a range of time. NetSuite
includes a full-time audit trail.
NetSuite also includes strong analytical tools that enable analysis across
departments and other company sub-units, and includes extensive customer data
mining and segmentation capabilities. For businesses with significant sales
activities, the program’s sales force automation features streamline management
of customer interaction, sales orders, up-selling and other sales tasks. Additionally,
partner relationship management tools help control campaigns, lead management
and order processing. Job and project-level tracking is also supported.
NetSuite can support an unlimited number of bank accounts per company, with
the ability to print checks or use online bill paying through the system, and
electronic reconciliation through import of bank statements.
INTEGRATION/IMPORT/EXPORT — 4.5 Stars
NetSuite’s modules are totally integrated, sharing a singular database
that automatically makes changes to pertinent files when a change is made elsewhere.
The system supports importing of bank statements for account reconciliation,
as well as import of *.CSV and QuickBooks files, and the export of *.CSV files.
For advanced analytics and planning, programs such as Business Objects, Cognos,
Crystal, FRx and other software that supports ODBC can extract data directly
from NetSuite’s database.
Hackenberg says the two things he’s found most beneficial are the integration
through the whole lifecycle of an order and CRM. “By tying our shipping
department and our order entry and AP groups together through NetSuite, we have
positively affected responsiveness to the customer and overall cash flow.”
REPORTING — 4 Stars
NetSuite compiles a full array of financials, with full drill-down capabilities
to the transaction level. The system also supports financials for holding companies
and other multi-component businesses, allowing them to consolidate financial
data from each of the company’s individual subsidiaries into a single
set of financials that also sports full drill-down capability. Many reports
can be viewed in graphical format, and the system enables the export or e-mailing
SUPPORT/TRAINING/HELP SYSTEM — 4.5 Stars
In addition to the system’s strong built-in help utility that includes
context-specific support, how-tos and user guides, NetSuite offers a variety
of support subscriptions, although most direct support and training options
are likely to be handled by the reseller. The company also offers an online
support center. The online context-sensitive help system is well-written and
comprehensive. Numerous how-to sections are available, complete with screen
shots. Tips, glossary and user guides sections provide quick access to many
items to help with specific terms and program areas.
Because of its online base, NetSuite offers a uniquely flexible business management
system that covers all aspects of business, from inventory management to e-commerce,
payroll and advanced sales management features, along with strong reporting
and analytical tools that add further value. The system offers an excellent
user interface structure centered around a series of dashboards that are highly
customizable, enabling the streamlining of workflow processes. Hackenberg notes
that NetSuite’s version release frequency seems to stay two steps ahead
with features and functionality. “NetSuite takes care of everything version
wise, and we sleep very comfortably at night knowing our financials system is
being taken care of,” he said.
2005 Overall Rating — 4.5 Stars