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Business Central vs. QuickBooks: A Comparative Analysis

Updated: Oct 14, 2023

Every business, whether big or small, knows the true value of a solid accounting system.


It’s not just about numbers; it’s about understanding where your money is going and how best to manage it.


In today’s digital world, the good news is businesses have more options than ever when it comes to accounting software.


Two standout choices in this arena are Business Central and QuickBooks.


Both are leaders in the world of business management software, catering to a wide range of organization sizes.


But with so many features, pros, and cons between them - how do you pick the right one for your needs?


Dive in as we dissect these two giants, comparing everything from features to pricing, to help you make an informed decision.


Transform your business with the advanced capabilities of Business Central – Get in touch now to streamline and improve your operational performance.


Brief Overview of Both Systems - Business Central Vs. QuickBooks


QuickBooks


Introduced to the business world in the late 1980s by Intuit Inc., QuickBooks rapidly emerged as a leading accounting software, especially renowned in North America.


With its user-friendly interface and a vast array of features tailored to cater to the accounting needs of businesses, it has established a substantial market presence over the years.


Primarily, QuickBooks has garnered immense popularity among small to mid-sized businesses.


Their offerings have always been oriented towards simplifying complex accounting tasks, ensuring that even those without an accounting background can navigate the system with ease.


quickbooks screenshot

Business Central (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central)


Hailing from the tech giant, Microsoft, Business Central is a part of the Dynamics 365 suite.


It was designed to be more than just an accounting tool - it's an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, integrating various business operations from finance to sales to customer service.


Microsoft's powerful presence and trust in the software market give Business Central a distinct edge, especially when it comes to innovation and integration with other Microsoft products.


While Business Central caters to a broad audience, its capabilities are comprehensive enough to serve small businesses and robust enough to meet the intricate needs of mid to large-sized enterprises.


business central screenshot


Key Features Comparison - Business Central Vs. QuickBooks


Having the right tools can be the difference between thriving and merely surviving.


One of the most critical tools for any business is its management software, which aids in numerous operations, from accounting to inventory management.


Let's delve into the key features of two prominent players in this domain: QuickBooks and Business Central, and understand what each brings to the table.


1. Accounting and Financial Management


QuickBooks


QuickBooks offers a user-centric approach to accounting, focusing on ease of use. Allowing businesses to effortlessly handle invoices, track expenses, and pull up financial reports.


Its intuitive dashboard gives a quick overview of business finances, catering especially to those without a deep accounting background.


Business Central


As a component of Microsoft's Dynamics 365 suite, Business Central goes beyond basic accounting.


It provides an expansive view of financial management, complete with advanced forecasting tools, cash flow models, and intricate analytics.


Designed for businesses looking for detailed financial insights.


2. Inventory Management


QuickBooks


QuickBooks provides straightforward tools for inventory management.


Businesses can track their products, oversee orders, and set reorder points with ease.


Making it ideal for smaller businesses venturing into inventory management.


Business Central


Business Central offers a sophisticated inventory management system that provides insights into your supply chain management (SCM).


By integrating with manufacturing processes and offering real-time inventory data, BC assists businesses in optimizing stock levels and reducing waste.


3. Sales and Customer Relationship Management (CRM)


QuickBooks


While QuickBooks is fundamentally an accounting software, its strength lies in integration capabilities.


It can seamlessly connect with popular CRM tools, ensuring consolidated customer data.


Business Central


Business Central boasts built-in CRM features.


These features, combined with its integration with Dynamics 365 for Sales, offer businesses a comprehensive view of the customer journey, making it a powerhouse for sales and customer relations.


4. Human Resources and Payroll


QuickBooks


QuickBooks provides a streamlined payroll system.


It automates salary computations, tax deductions, and other payroll-related tasks, making it a go-to for businesses, especially smaller ones without a full-fledged HR department.


Business Central


Business Central adopts a holistic approach to human resources.


Beyond payroll, its features encompass employee profiling, benefits administration, and performance tracking, catering to mid to large-sized businesses requiring extensive HR functionalities.


5. Project Management


QuickBooks


QuickBooks offers essential but limited project-tracking tools.


These tools allow businesses to allocate expenses, time, and other resources to particular projects, ensuring organized management on a smaller scale.


Business Central


BC stands out with its project management suite that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Project.


It facilitates businesses in planning resources, tracking project progression, and monitoring costs in real time.


This integration ensures projects remain profitable and well-organized.


The selection between QuickBooks and Business Central largely depends on the specific needs and size of a business, with each offering unique strengths in various areas.



Key Considerations for Platform Evaluation - Business Central Vs. QuickBooks


1. Usability and User Experience


Choosing the right management software isn't just about the features it offers but also how easy and intuitive it is for users.


The interface, learning curve, and customization options play significant roles in ensuring businesses can make the most of the tools at their disposal.


QuickBooks

  • User Interface: Known for its clear and intuitive design, QuickBooks is easy to navigate, even for non-tech-savvy users.

  • Learning Curve: With its simple design, users can quickly become proficient with basic features.

  • Customizability: QuickBooks has essential customization for reports and invoices, enhanced by various third-party integrations.

Business Central (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central)

  • User Interface: Mirroring the look of Microsoft Office, Business Central offers a familiar yet comprehensive interface.

  • Learning Curve: Its breadth of features means a steeper learning curve, requiring more extensive training for new users.

  • Customizability: Highly adaptable, Business Central can be tailored extensively to fit industry-specific needs.

While QuickBooks prioritizes simplicity and ease of use, BC focuses on providing a comprehensive and customizable experience.


The choice between the two would depend on the specific needs of a business and the importance placed on adaptability and depth versus simplicity and straightforwardness.


2. Integration and Add-ons


The ability to integrate with other platforms and tools can amplify the power of business software.


Here's how QuickBooks and Business Central fare in this regard:


QuickBooks

  • Ecosystem: QuickBooks enjoys widespread use, leading to a plethora of integrations from third-party providers.

  • Integration Capabilities: It smoothly connects with platforms like Shopify and Salesforce, ensuring diverse business functionality.

  • Third-party Add-ons: QuickBooks offers a range of add-ons, from advanced invoicing to time tracking, meeting varied business needs.


Business Central (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central)

  • Ecosystem: As a Microsoft product, Business Central seamlessly integrates with the broader Microsoft suite.

  • Integration Capabilities: Beyond Microsoft products, it can connect with third-party platforms, enhancing its capabilities.

  • Third-party Add-ons: The Dynamics 365 marketplace is abundant, offering extensions for niche industries and specific needs.

3. Pricing


Every business keeps an eye on its bottom line, making pricing a crucial factor when choosing management software.


Here's a concise comparison of the pricing structures for QuickBooks and Business Central:


QuickBooks

  • Basic Pricing: QuickBooks typically offers tiered subscription plans, with costs varying based on features and the number of users.

  • Additional Costs: While the base package is affordable, integrating advanced features or third-party tools can incur additional expenses.

  • Value for Money: Given its robust core features and widespread use, many small to mid-sized businesses find QuickBooks to offer good value for its cost.

Business Central (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central)

  • Basic Pricing: Business Central employs a two-tier pricing system: $70 per user per month excluding manufacturing, and $100 per user per month with manufacturing included. Get in touch for more information.

  • Additional Costs: The core modules of Business Central adequately address most business processes. However, for specialized functionalities or integrations, there could be additional expenses.

  • Value for Money: Business Central, with its broad feature set and adaptability, is generally regarded as a worthwhile investment for businesses in search of an extensive and scalable ERP solution.

QuickBooks might appeal to those seeking affordability and core functionalities.


While Business Central offers depth, justifying its potentially higher price point.


4. Scalability


Choosing software that grows with a business is essential to avoid future disruptions.


Here's a brief look at the scalability of QuickBooks and Business Central:


QuickBooks


Initially tailored for small businesses, QuickBooks can handle the needs of mid-sized enterprises but may face challenges with larger operations.


While it offers higher-tier plans and cloud accessibility, complexities of significant growth may require a more robust solution.


Business Central (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central)


Designed with expansion in mind, Business Central provides a modular approach catering to businesses of all sizes.


Its extensive ERP features and seamless integration with the Microsoft ecosystem make it a prime choice for businesses anticipating substantial growth.


5. Security and Compliance


QuickBooks


QuickBooks places a high emphasis on data protection. Its cloud versions use encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular backups.


In terms of compliance, QuickBooks often undergoes third-party audits and has certifications like SOC 1 and SOC 2, ensuring that financial data is handled responsibly.


Business Central (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central)


As part of the Microsoft suite, Business Central benefits from Microsoft's rigorous security infrastructure, including advanced threat protection, encrypted data transmission, and secure data centres.


Microsoft Dynamics 365 suite adheres to global standards, boasting certifications such as ISO 27001 and GDPR compliance, indicating a strong commitment to data privacy and protection.


Both platforms prioritize the safety of user data, but their parent companies' sizes and resources might influence the breadth and depth of security and compliance tools available.


6. Cloud vs. On-Premise Options


The choice between cloud and on-premise can significantly impact a business's operations and costs:


QuickBooks


While originally a desktop solution, QuickBooks now offers QuickBooks Online for cloud enthusiasts.


The cloud version ensures easy access, while the desktop caters to those seeking extensive features.


Business Central (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central)


Once primarily on-premise, Business Central has a cloud presence within Microsoft Dynamics 365.


The cloud version boasts easy integrations and updates, but the on-premise version remains for businesses desiring more data control.


The optimal choice varies based on business needs, existing infrastructure, and growth plans.


7. Customer Support and Resources


QuickBooks


QuickBooks provides a variety of support channels, including live chat, phone support, and an extensive online community.


Their website is rich with tutorials, webinars, and articles, making it easier for users to self-navigate issues or learn new features.


Business Central (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central)

Backed by Microsoft, Business Central offers dedicated support teams and a vast knowledge base.


Users can benefit from training modules, forums, and a network of Dynamics 365 users and experts to guide them through challenges or system optimizations.



Conclusion: Business Central Vs. QuickBooks


QuickBooks shines with its user-centric design, ideal for smaller enterprises.


While Business Central, backed by Microsoft, provides a comprehensive solution for businesses of all sizes, especially those aiming for robust growth.


Yet, selecting the right platform isn't solely about features; it's about aligning with business needs.


Given the significance of this decision, we advise partnering with a professional consultant experienced in these systems.


Their guidance can help pinpoint the platform that truly resonates with your business's current operations and future aspirations.


Maximize your business potential with the capabilities of Business Central to fuel and streamline your expansion.

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