This month Intuit and Salesforce announced an alliance.  As a user of Quicken at home, I have to say that it’s easy-which is nice.  The software can be secure also if you are using it at home as well.  In fact Quickbooks is a nice solution for many small firms.

Our firm here in Minneapolis is only 3 million in sales and we would consider using Quickbooks if it weren’t for the fact that we support 225 Microsoft Dynamics GP and Dynamics SL clients and we need to know those programs.  Clients like to know that we use what they are buying.

On the other hand, we have replaced Quickbooks with Microsoft Dynamics solutions often.  Why?  It’s certainly NOT because their accounting firms want us to.  I’ve found often that smaller accounting firms know Quickbooks and don’t want the client using something more sophisticated because it takes them out of the loop.

Clients typically move from Quickbooks to a Dynamics GP or Dynamics SL for a number of reasons.  These are those reasons:

1. No good integration options exist for getting data in and out.

2. Reporting options are limited.

3. When more than a few users use a product such as Quickbooks it can get slow and frustrating.

4. More sophisticated options such as project accounting, collections, and national accounts (parent/child type customers) do not exist.

As for Salesforce, we used it and liked it.  However, we moved off of Salesforce to Microsoft CRM (which we love) for a number of reasons.  This is why we moved:

1. The cost of Salesforce for a small firm was high.  At the time, we needed only 14 people accessing the software and moving from Goldmine (which did not need to be updated for about 5 years) and Salesforce was considerable from a cost standpoint.

2. Salesforce allows every salesperson to configure accounts, opportunities, contacts however they want.  This is great for getting people to use the software and like it, but it also creates a tangled web of unorganized data that can not be reported against.

As for the alliance, I was surprised to see Salesforce come down into the entry-level market, but there are many more small firms than mid-sized firms-so I guess that’s where the new sales are.  As for Intuit, I believe their feature set and integration tools keep them at the entry level, but they have done things over the years to crawl into the middle market and they are obviously a successful firm…so we will see.