Background

Dynamics 365 Business Central

In 1984, three young entrepreneurs in Denmark released the precursor application to Navision (which would later become Dynamics NAV) under the name PC&C (Personal Computing and Consulting). In 1987, the developers released Navigator 1.00, which took PC&C’s single-user application and turned it into a client/server-based accounting program which allowed multi-user access. The first version of Navision for Windows was released in 1993.

In 2000, Navision Software merged with Danish firm Damgaard, making it a 1000+ employee company with partners in 25 (primarily European) countries. A mere 2 years later, Microsoft acquired Navision and brought it under the Microsoft Business Solutions umbrella managed by Doug Burgum. Microsoft rebranded Navision (along with Microsoft CRM, Great Plains, Axapta, and Solomon) in 2005 as Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

Dynamics 365 Business Central was released in April 2018 as an “all-in-one business management solution.” Built on the functionality, code, and development experience of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Business Central is a native-cloud solution that delivers a modern, browser-based ERP experience. Designed to integrate directly with Office 365, Business Central features extensive customizability and extendibility options via PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, and Power BI.

QuickBooks

The founding company of QuickBooks, Intuit, was founded in California in 1983 by Scott Cook and Tim Proulx. Their first product was Quicken, but QuickBooks was released in 1992 for the IBM PC, Microsoft DOS, and Apple Macintosh. It quickly became the most popular accounting software on the market for small businesses because of its simplicity and ease of use. QuickBooks Enterprise, launched in 2002, increased the capacity 6x, made it more scalable, and allowed for integrations with nearly 200 apps to meet the needs of enterprise organizations. An updated version of QuickBooks Enterprise is released every year, but a 30-user max is still enforced. QuickBooks is still the most widely used accounting system in the world today.


Pricing and Considerations

Business Central

Licensing: $90/user/month for licenses with standard support plan included

Billing Frequency: Monthly

Implementation: Financial Accounting Implementations begin at $15,995 USD. Manufacturing implementations, because they are more complex, begin at $30,995 USD.

Other Considerations: Dynamics 365 Business Central contracts are managed through Microsoft Partners. Business Central licenses can be added removed on a monthly basis limiting cost of a changing business. All major updates are applied automatically by Microsoft at no additional cost to the end user.

QuickBooks

Licensing: QuickBooks Enterprise Gold with Hosting, their most popular plan, starts at $169/user/month for a single user and decreases in per-month cost with each new user. For example, 3 users cost $353 and 10 users cost $88, instead of the $507 and $1690 they would cost at $169/user/month.

Billing Frequency: Monthly or annual. Annual payments are incentivized with a small price decrease.

Implementation: Instruction guides for installing and configuring your QuickBooks deployment are provided for free by Intuit.

Other Considerations: Because an updated version of QuickBooks is released every September, users must purchase and install the new versions to get the added features that come with each release. Older releases are still fully supported but do not get updated.


Customer Reviews

Dynamics NAV (Now Business Central)

Common Pros:Advanced financial management functionality, user friendly, integration with Office 365, affordable, cloud-based

Common Cons: Occasional glitches, lacks true CRM capabilities,

Dynamics 365 Business Central provides a robust financial management application that is easily scalable. End users will find the cloud-based web application easy to use and enjoy the comprehensive integration with Office 365. 

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QuickBooks

Common Pros: Easy to learn and use, consistent, affordable for very small businesses, user friendly

Common Cons: Limited in inventory, payroll, and reporting functionality, few customization options, price increases with updates and advanced features

QuickBooks is a comprehensive ERP solution for small businesses, solo accountants, and entrepreneurs but is not ideal beyond that. It excels at simplicity and ease of use, two important features for very small businesses and lacks in some enterprise-level areas like employee management and payroll.


Trial Options

Business Central

Dynamics 365 Business Central 30-day free trials are available through Microsoft at trials.dynamics.com. The free trial includes access to sample data to use while getting accustomed to the system and you have the option to import your own too.

QuickBooks

Free 30-day trials of QuickBooks Enterprise can be downloaded here. Trials are only available for Desktop versions of QuickBooks and not the cloud-hosted application.


Release Schedule

Business Central

Microsoft releases two major updates to Dynamics 365 Business Central per year – in April and October. These updates will include new capabilities, performance improvements, and better support experiences. All releases are automatically updated however, any major changes to the user experience will be turned off automatically giving administrators time to test and enable these features as they see fit.

QuickBooks

A new QuickBooks version is released every year in mid-September and users must purchase the new version to get the added features and fixes as they are not applied to existing versions. Several updates are made to the latest version throughout the year containing system improvements, bug fixes, and occasional new features. 9 updates were released for the 2018 version, 11 to 2017, and 15 to the 2016 version of QuickBooks.


Customize & Extend

Business Central

A major strength of Business Central is its flexibility and ability to integrate with Microsoft and other 3rd party applications. This is done by creating custom apps, installing 3rd party apps from Microsoft AppSource, or working with 3rd party services. Business Central is built to maximize customization, so the majority of app development requires little to no coding.

In addition to the wide range of apps that extend the functionality of Business Central, much can be done to personalize and enhance the interface each user will have. Using the Designer, users can easily drag-and-drop fact boxes, data fields, tables and grids, and other data that was previously hidden. Beyond basic changes, complex enhancements can be made to the UI using Visual Studio.

QuickBooks

QuickBooks Enterprise offers native integrations to over 180 free and paid business apps that can improve and extend a QuickBooks environment. These apps range in category from AR/AP to data sync, point of sale, time tracking, invoicing, and more. It’s clear that the integrations offered for QuickBooks focus on the accounting sector and only enhance what a user already does in the system, rather than add functionality that didn’t exist beforehand. 

QuickBooks allows for some, but not as much customization as Business Central does. Entities that are open to modification in QuickBooks include forms, invoices, estimates, and sales receipts. These can be customized with colors, company logos, fonts, headers/footers, and a few more options. Enterprise users can build custom reports but are limited in their ability to customize them. In all, QuickBooks is considerably less flexible than Business Central.


Business Central Features

Financials

  • General Ledger

  • Receivables Management

  • Collections

  • Predict Late Payments

  • Automatic Payments

  • Payment Tolerances

  • Reconcile Vendor Payments

  • Prepayments

  • Transfer Bank Funds

  • Multiple Companies

  • Intercompany Transactions

  • Cost Accounting

  • Transfer Cost Entries

  • Cost Budgets

  • Reverse Posting

  • Employee Expenses

  • Defer Revenues & Expenses

  • Import Payroll Transactions

  • Closing Periods

  • Preparing Closing Statements

  • Report VAT

Inventory

  • Register New Items

  • Bill of Materials

  • Categorize Items

  • Item Attributes

  • Catalog Items

  • Reclassify Inventory

  • View Item Availability

  • Transfer Inventory Between Locations

  • Reserve Items

  • Serial & Lot Numbers

  • Block Items

  • Inventory Costing

  • Revalue Inventory

  • Adjust Item Costs

  • Physical Inventory

  • Calculate Expected Inventory

Purchasing

  • Purchase Inventories

  • Purchase Orders

  • Purchase Quotes

  • One-click Convert Quote to Order

  • Purchase Items

  • Correct/Cancel Invoices

  • Combine Receipts

  • Returns & Cancellations

  • Date Calculation for Purchases

Fixed Assets, Project Management

  • Job Cards/Tasks

  • Assign Resources to Job

  • Define Work Types

  • Use Timesheets for Jobs

  • Estimate Job Costs

  • Manage Job Budgets

  • Manage Job Supplies

  • Monitor Progress

  • Acquire & Maintain Fixed Assets

  • Transfer, Split, Combine Fixed Assets

  • Revalue Fixed Assets

  • Depreciate/Amortize Fixed Assets

  • Dispose/Retire Fixed Assets

Warehouse & Assembly

  • Move Items

  • Plan Movements

  • Quote an Assemble-to-Order

  • Production Orders

  • Subcontracting

  • Batch Post Consumption

  • Batch Post Output

  • Batch Post Run Times

  • Post Scrap

  • Post Capacities

  • View Work Centers

  • Receive Items

  • Cross-Dock Items

  • Split Activity Lines

General

  • Add Comments

  • Track Document Lines

  • Send Documents by Email

  • Define User Tasks

  • Make System Suggestions

  • Integrate & Manage Workflows

  • Data Exchange

  • Fully Customizable

  • Classify Sensitive Data

  • Create New Companies

  • Job Queues

  • Publish a Web Service


Inventory

  • Disallow negative quantities\

  • Assemblies

  • Automatic PO’s

  • Inventory Center

  • Enhanced receiving

  • Track thousands of items

  • Inventory/stock status

  • Change quantity and/or components on the fly

  • Add/edit multiple items

  • Track unique info with custom fields

  • Process returns & non-standard goods

  • Backorder tracking

  • Sales order fulfillment

  • Available to Promise

  • Convert UOM

  • Create bill of materials

Financial Management & Reporting

  • Income tracker

  • Shortage reports for assemblies

  • Bank feeds

  • Excel integration refresh

  • Industry report templates

  • Company data snapshot

  • 138+ reports

  • Combine reports

  • Statement Writer

  • Custom reports

  • Collections center

  • Automatically rack deductible expenses

  • Download bank/CC transactions into QuickBooks

  • Automatic bill pay

Sales & Customers

  • Job costing

  • Default classes

  • Disallow selling to those with overdue payments

  • Lead center

  • Automatic price adjustments

  • 750 price levels

  • Customer Center

  • Customer Snapshot

  • Send estimates, invoices, sales orders

  • Batch invoicing

  • Foreign currencies

  • Modifiable sales forms

  • Custom pricing/billing levels

  • Apply payments & calculate sales tax

  • Manage multiple addresses

Purchasing

  • Automatic PO’s

  • Batch invoicing for time & expenses

  • Track part numbers

  • TrueCommerce EDI integration

  • Receive items & pay vendors

  • Foreign currencies

  • Create and send purchase orders

  • Track unique info with custom fields

  • Vendor Center

  • Add/edit multiple vendors

Security & Productivity

  • Business insights on homepage

  • Email enhancements

  • Client/accountant collaboration

  • Calendar view

  • Document Center

  • Memorized transactions

  • Always-on Audit Trail

  • Predefined user roles

  • Remote workers & locations

  • Instant Messenger

Employee Management

  • Batched time sheets

  • Employee Center

  • Payroll processing

  • Secure employee info tracking

  • Employee management reports


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