Netsuite vs QuickBooks vs Productive: Which Tool Is Best for You?

Lucija Bakić

December 12, 2023

A screenshot of depicting an agency management software with a resource plan for employee scheduling across projects.

If you can’t make the final decision between Netsuite vs QuickBooks vs Productive, let us help.

All three tools are excellent software solutions, each with its own strengths and benefits. A detailed comparison can help you ensure that you’re making the right decision for your agency’s needs.

This guide to Netsuite, QuickBooks, and Productive will present each solution, explore their key features, and then compare them. We’ll also use user reviews from reputable third-party websites to give you a taste of how industry professionals feel.

Netsuite vs QuickBooks vs Productive: Brief Comparison

Netsuite is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that serves various industries, from manufacturing and retail to professional services. Netsuite features a variety of modules with advanced features, such as CRM for sales, service and marketing automation, and PSA.

QuickBooks is a versatile accounting software for small businesses and accountants. It offers a variety of features that help manage accounts payable and accounts receivable. This includes custom invoicing, income and expense tracking, tax management, and inventory management.

Productive is an all-in-one agency management software solution. It’s a tool designed specifically to service professional services agencies, created by industry veterans for agencies of all shapes and sizes. Productive can streamline and unify your all-encompassing agency processes, from sales and resource management to billing.

The fact that Productive is agency-focused means that the whole ecosystem fits together so that there are fewer tools we have to pull together in order to do what we need to do.

Orion Jensen,
CEO at Clear Launch

Even at first glance, we can see that all three solutions can offer something unique to your agency. But let’s go into a bit more depth to help you make an informed decision on these three popular options for agencies.

Productive – The Best All-in-one Agency Management Software Solution

Productive is a comprehensive software solution for agencies. It’s designed to replace various business tools with one integrated solution that supports your project’s end-to-end lifecycle.

First, Productive helps you track leads down the sales pipeline and convert won deals into projects. Then, organize your project tasks and allocate agency resources. Finally, you can bill your clients and gather valuable project insights to improve your current and future project performance.

The interface of Productive, showing the progress status of tasks ('Not Started', 'Done'), alongside priority tags on each task card.


All of this is combined with a modern, user-friendly interface that helps business leaders with all levels of software aptitude manage their processes. Productive also offers extensive learning materials in the form of videos, articles, and one-on-one support with its highly praised customer support and success team.

Learn more about the importance of project accounting for business success.

Everyone on the team has been helpful and I always feel like we’re supported. You’re very understanding of the requests we have and take time to give context to where something is in terms of your roadmap. I feel like it’s a great partnership.

Amy Nichols,
Director of Operations AT Seven2

Core Features of Productive

  • Project Management: Productive offers a variety of project and task planning features. This includes project templates, customizable project views (Gantt, Kanban, Calendar, and more), automatic notifications, and simple to-dos and dependencies for progress visibility. This also includes a time tracking software for agencies with an integrated timer and desktop widget or manual entry. For simpler collaboration, you can invite clients to your projects free of charge.
  • Resource Planning: Productive helps you get the most out of your resources with responsive resource plans. You can allocate hours with various methods, drag and drop entries, and view how workloads are balanced with heat maps. By switching to the Profitability view, you can check how your scheduling impacts your budget spending and profit margin. Productive also supports customizable time off management.
The interface of Productive with a customizable pipeline for new prospects. Pipeline columns have titles such 'Leads', 'Prospect', and 'Proposal sent'.


  • Financial Management: Productive supports your agency’s finances with three core features: Budgeting, Billing, and Purchase Orders. With Budgeting, you can manage hourly rates and build your project budgets, whether fixed, hourly, retainer, or hybrid. With Billing, you can build professional invoices and send them directly from the platform. Finally, Purchase Orders help you manage your external expenses and payments to suppliers.
  • Reporting: For easier reporting, Productive offers more than 50 agency-focused templates that can be populated with specific data with custom fields. Productive provides reports that cover all areas of your business processes, such as financial reports, human resources reports, time tracking reports, and more. You can organize them on a separate dashboard, or schedule them to be sent to external emails to keep key stakeholders in sync.
  • Sales: Finally, Productive offers a lightweight CRM that helps you optimize your prospect engagement. Customize your sales funnel stages, set reasons for lost deals and manage your communications history in one place. You can also send quotes directly from productive and get key sales process insights, such as total revenue won, the number of closed deals, breakdown of reasons for lost deals, and more.

Additional functionality: Docs and Automations. Docs are your space to collaborate, share project information, and organize all documentation. Automations help you make day-to-day workflows more efficient with custom rules.

Regarding third-party integrations, Productive can connect with popular communication, HR, and accounting tools. This includes Slack, Google Calendar, Hubspot, Zapier, Xero, QuickBooks, Breathe, Personio, and more.

Why Consider the All-in-One Solution Productive?

According to the 2023 Global Report on Agency Valuations, only around 40% of agencies use an integrated system to support their business operations — as many as 8% don’t use tools or use spreadsheets, 23.5% use a scheduling and reporting tool, while over 25% use disparate tools.

As an agency management tool that provides comprehensive solutions, Productive can be a great asset. It can help you cut down on the number of business apps you’re using daily, which not only speeds up your various processes but can also save you money on IT overhead.

Another lock-in feature that Productive provides is its project budget management and financial forecasting. Productive supports the cash flows and financial processes of various agencies by delivering accurate, real-time data.

What percent are we finished with this project? What is the end margin going to be? I could never get those answers before.

Patric Osburn,
Service Operations Manager at Quintica

Learn how Productive helps businesses increase and manage profitability metrics.

If this is something that you want to focus more on, consider Productive as a serious contender.

Consider Alternatives if…

You’re not part of the professional services industry. While Productive has features that can be helpful for business owners from various companies, it truly shines when applied to complex operations in agencies.

Additionally, if you’re looking for a limited solution, such as basic bookkeeping, you might find that you’re not taking advantage of Productive’s full potential. Productive is best for agencies ready to dig deeper into their business practices and key performance indicators to achieve their full potential.

To learn more about the benefits of Productive vs competitors, check out our comprehensive review of the top alternatives.


  • Plans start with the Essential plan at $9 per user per month, which includes essential features such as budgeting, project & task management, docs, time tracking, expense management, reporting, and time off management.
  • The Professional plan includes custom fields, recurring budgets, advanced reports, billable time approvals, and many more for $24 per user per month.
  • The Ultimate plan has everything that the Essential plan and Professional plan offer, along with the HubSpot integration, advanced forecasting, advanced custom fields, overhead calculations, and more for a custom price.
  • You can also check out the Enterprise Plan with custom pricing for companies that would include more than 50 active users per month.

Check out Productive with a 14-day free trial.

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Netsuite – A Solid Business Process Management System

Netsuite is one of the top enterprise resource planning software solutions for business owners from various industries. It provides customizable enterprise applications that help streamline manual processes and support sustainable rapid growth. Some notable features are human capital management, complex accounting, and financial reporting.

Interface of Netsuite showing the status of various key performance indicators (KPIs), including ‘Sales’, ‘Expenses’, ‘Total Bank Balance’ and ‘Payable’ with green and red lines depicting an overall rise or fall, and associated percentages.

source: NETSUITE

Core Features of Netsuite

  • Accounting: Netsuite’s accounting features allow you to view your cash flow and financial performance. Netsuite streamlines invoice delivery and automates the accounts payable process and account reconciliation. It also provides tax and currency management, as well as electronic payments through the platform.
  • CRM: Netsuite’s CRM provides an integrated sales process, with quote management and sales forecasting. It also provides a knowledge base that streamlines communication and helps automate the case management process. Additionally, Netsuite has built-in reporting and performance management.
  • PSA: As part of its professional services suite, Netsuite offers time off management and access controls. You can also benefit from accounting functions that connect with your activities, project and resource planning, as well as customizable time sheets.

When it comes to third-party apps, there is a potential for integrations with API, though this is a process that requires time and expertise. The pricing of the tool is custom for each agency and is not available on the website.

When to Consider Netsuite

Netsuite can be a good choice for agencies who are interested in more robust financial control and revenue management. The tool also takes a modular approach with a range of features that can be added according to agency needs, which can be a good option for agencies with complex or unusual workflows. Finally, since the software is designed to support various industries, it can also serve industries with business requirements that differ from professional services agencies.

If you want to know more about CRM features, check out our article on the best CRM for agency needs.

What Could Be Better

There are some notable downsides that can make Netsuite a less-than-ideal choice for certain agencies and project teams. For one, because Netsuite is a fairly customizable software, the implementation process can take a longer time than with integrated solutions. Some reviewers on G2 have also noted that training materials could be better:

Poor availability of support and training is primarily reams of dry documentation — very difficult to search and find helpful content.

Additionally, many users note that Netsuite’s license can get expensive, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. The price tends to increase as the organization grows, as larger businesses might want to implement additional features.

Finally, some users have reported notable issues with customer support, especially during the implementation process.

Overall, agencies that want to invest in Netsuite should ensure they have the time and resources necessary to get the most out of the solution. If not, perhaps some of the Netsuite competitors could be a better match.

QuickBooks – A Good Accounting Tool for Small Businesses

QuickBooks Online is an accounting software solution for online bookkeeping and financial health management. Users praise it as a tool for small companies looking for an efficient solution for invoicing, reconciliation, and accounting processes.

Interface of QuickBooks Online showing a Reports dashboard with a visual indication of income and expenses, as well as report templates such as 'Profit and Loss', 'Balance Sheet', and more.


Core Features of QuickBooks

  • Invoicing: QuickBooks Online lets you create professional, brand-friendly invoices with company logo and colors. Track payments in real time and turn estimates into invoices in just a click. You can also send automatic reminders to follow up on overdue invoices more quickly and streamline your agency’s cash flow.
  • Expense management: Connect QuickBooks to your bank and credit card accounts to manage your expenses. Use the mobile app to keep track of your receipts and attach them to bank transactions. You can also get project budget tracking with smart dashboards that provide expense and income oversight and forecasting.
  • Reporting: Get insights into your finances with advanced reporting on your business income, profit and loss, cash flow statements, and more. View all of your outstanding invoices in one place, create custom balance sheets, and filter your agency’s data by various metrics.

QuickBooks Online offers integrations with various productivity apps and other additional solutions, some of which include OnePageCRM, Birdview PSA, Power BI, and more. QuickBooks Online also offers multiple pricing tiers with an annual and monthly subscription and a 30-day free trial.

When to Consider QuickBooks

QuickBooks Online can provide a strong foundation for your agency’s accounting and financial processes. The tool offers all of the essential features that smaller businesses need to manage their payments and expenses online. Additionally, it offers a lengthy free trial that can help you get firsthand experience to make an educated decision on whether it’s the right tool for you.

We also covered QuickBooks in our list of Time Doctor alternatives, so check that article out to learn more.

What Could Be Better

While QuickBooks Online is one of the best accounting solutions available, it’s not a suitable option for agencies looking for a comprehensive platform for their agency project management. For a more cost-effective option, you can consider implementing an all-in-one option with a QuickBooks integration, such as Productive.

Additionally, some users have reported issues with QuickBooks customer support regarding responsiveness and accessibility. Other users have added that the tool’s pricing points might not be affordable for all smaller businesses.

Netsuite vs QuickBooks vs Productive: Financial Management

Netsuite, QuickBooks, and Productive all offer essential financial management features, including budgeting, forecasting, and invoicing. However, as more specialized tools for accounting, Netsuite and QuickBooks offer some additional solutions, such as electronic payments and tax management. If this is something that you’re looking for, both Netsuite and QuickBooks can be a good pick.

Productive is a good choice for integrated project management and professional services billing software solutions. Therefore, all three tools can be a good pick.

Learn more about financial forecasting in Productive:

Netsuite vs QuickBooks vs Productive: Resource Planning

As a tool for accounting, QuickBooks doesn’t offer resource planning features. Netsuite, on the other hand, does have certain features for optimized staff management, such as skill assigning, utilization tracking, and availability forecasting. Productive also offers extensive human resources management with time off scheduling, billable hours tracking, easy allocation, and budget and utilization forecasting.

In the end, it depends on whether you’re looking for an integrated agency platform or an all-purpose ERP. If you’re part of the professional services industry, Productive is your top choice.

The interface of Productive, showing the difference between Netsuite vs QuickBooks vs Productive. It depicts a heat map which shows when resources are overbooked (in red) or well scheduled (green). It also features percentages of overutilization.

Balance your team’s workloads

Netsuite vs QuickBooks vs Productive: Reporting

QuickBooks, Netsuite, and Productive all offer real-time insights, customizable templates, and specific dashboards for monitoring financial insights. All three tools can be a good choice, depending on which kinds of insights you’re looking for. Productive can be a particularly good pick, as it offers a consolidated platform, which means that your insights are built from all platform activities — sales, time tracking, resource planning, budgeting, and salaries. It also supports standardized and accurate data.

Additionally, some users have stated that report building in Netsuite can be complicated. For these reasons, our vote for the reporting category goes Productive.

The interface of Productive, used to depicted the difference between Netsuite vs QuickBooks vs Productive. It depicts a budgeting report with bar charts for revenue and margins grouped across different companies.

get key agency insights in real time

Takeaway: Exploring the Best Business Management Solutions 

When it comes down to making the final decision between Netsuite, QuickBooks, and Productive, go back to the essentials. What do you want to achieve with your tool?

If you’re looking for a solution that can fit neatly into your current processes and fill a specific niche, QuickBooks can be a good pick. Its basic accounting features make it a good option for smaller agency workflows.

If you’re ready to invest in a more comprehensive solution that covers all business processes but also requires a significant upfront investment and implementation process, you can consider Netsuite. It’s a complex solution, but it can be rewarding, especially for larger businesses with specific operations.

Finally, if you’re interested in an integrated solution for agency management, consider booking a demo with Productive. It’s the only tool on this list tailored specifically to support the daily workflows of professional services agencies.

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Lucija Bakić

Content Specialist

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