The Top Five Limitations of QuickBooks

The blog that follows is an extract of a whitepaper titled “Life After QuickBooks” produced by Sage Intacct.

For many small and mid-sized businesses, Intuit QuickBooks is the preferred choice for financial software in the organization’s early days—and for solid reasons. QuickBooks is well-known and easy to use, and it offers the basic functionality that almost any business can use to get off the ground.

Let’s look at the Top Five Limitations of QuickBooks according to a TechValidate study where QuickBooks users identify bottlenecks they encounter as they push the limits of the functionality built into QuickBooks. 

1.  Over-Reliance on Spreadsheets to Support Financial Processes and Reporting

Sound familiar? Hopefully not—but many organizations naturally and gradually develop sophisticated accounting requirements (such as revenue recognition and multi-entity consolidation). And if QuickBooks is the financial foundation, that often means cumbersome workarounds because QuickBooks doesn’t provide the built-in capabilities for these complex processes.

Are you exporting data to multiple spreadsheets? Setting up dummy accounts? Creating additional journal entries each month? Or have you created home-grown applications for recording revenue or expenses outside of QuickBooks? These workarounds lead to entry errors, incorrect or outdated data, process inefficiencies, wasted time and resources, and a lack control and compliance.

“After spending over one week sifting through massive spreadsheets, we discovered that we had a calculation error in how we had been recognizing revenue for the past three years.”

2.  Excess Manual Data Entry and Re-Entry

Most companies don’t integrate QuickBooks with other key business applications, opting instead to just manually integrate the systems (think: flat files, CSV dumps, and rekeying). That might suffice when volumes are small. But ask anyone who’s endured these workarounds and you’ll see it’s a real productivity killer as the business grows. Who has time to manually research, re-enter, and verify data that’s already captured elsewhere? Instead of automating your business, these manual integrations are invitations to errors and wasted time.

“How do I import customer order data into QuickBooks? I currently spend many hours manually creating invoices in QuickBooks, and there should be a better way.”

3.  Limited Access to Reports and Information to Drive Decision-Making

Real-time visibility into business metrics is essential for timely decisions that boost performance. QuickBooks offers canned reports—and no dashboards—so your visibility is limited and you’re often forced to make decisions based on outdated data. By leveraging a financial system that incorporates both a multi-dimensional general ledger and report writer, you can transform your analyses and become a strategic partner who generates insights that answer the bigger questions facing management.

“Rather than constantly struggling to keep up with incoming requests for data and specific reports, Sage Intacct lets us consistently report financials in a timely manner and feel confident that we can easily respond to any new request.” 

4.  Difficulty in Adapting to New Business Requirements

Maybe you’ve seen a couple of the classic signs that you’ve outgrown QuickBooks. Those menus and screens—that used to be so quick and responsive—now have lengthy delays as the system struggles to keep up with data volume and calculation intensity. Report-printing takes forever. And queries seem to dim the lights. 

This critical limitation is risky at best. It can force you to periodically shut down QuickBooks—just to maintain data files. In a worst-case scenario, you’re looking at potentially disastrous results: system crashes and the loss of crucial data. That’s no way to run a business.

“QuickBooks continues to crash, and I lose all our payroll data. I don’t have time to re-enter data for 350 hourly employees….” 

5.  Inadequate Controls Around Financial Processes

Manual processes are a fact of life with QuickBooks. Unfortunately, they increase the probability of data duplication and data entry errors, making it difficult to gain an integrated, real-time financial view of a company’s end-to-end operations.

Despite its popularity as a business application for small business, QuickBooks simply wasn’t designed for growing organizations that need advanced functionality to manage sophisticated processes.  

To accurately forecast your business opportunities and plan proactively, you need an overarching view of operations and the ability to identify process gaps and areas of strength. You can’t do that with a financial solution that limits collaboration, doesn’t provide adequate data controls, and can’t integrate with your other data sources, systems, and applications.

“Errors caused by manual processes and a lack of control resulted in $180,000 of improper expense reimbursements within a six-month period.” 

Read the complete whitepaper “Life After QuickBooks” here.

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