If you’re shopping for a new accounting and financial management system, there are two main paths to choose from. You can go with a software that is A) a collection of best of breed solutions or B) an all-encompassing suite-based system. The approach that’s right for your company depends entirely on your IT strategy. In this post, we’ll dive deeper into each of these paths to procurement to help you choose the approach that’s best for you.

Best of Breed
Let me guess—you’ve probably seen the term “best of breed” fly across your screen a few times in your hunt for the perfect accounting software. And while this term might conjure images of dogs chosen as the ideal representation of their breed in a dog show (well, it does for me), the definition is a bit more nuanced in the tech world. Best of breed typically refers to a product that is the best of its type. According to our friends at Techopedia, a best of breed system is “the best system developed to address a specific niche or functional area.”

If you choose to take the best of breed approach, your accounting software will become the hub of your entire financial system. All other business needs will likely be covered by publishers and partners who have their own specialized solutions designed to resolve specific problems. In this situation, your financial system will be supported by your accounting software vendor or partner.

Key Advantages

  • Total Flexibility: Best of breed based systems won’t tie your organization down to a one-size-fits-all tool. You’ll have the freedom and flexibility to pursue the best solutions for each of your departments.
  • Independence: If a spoke breaks, the hub can still function. If the hub breaks, the spokes still function.

Key Disadvantages

  • Reporting: Because a best of breed approach uses a selection of point solutions, it’s largely up to organizations to determine how to bring all of their data together for reporting purposes.
  • Separate Vendors: Best of breed systems are developed and sold by separate vendors, which means you’ll have a few more relationships to manage should you go this route.

Best of Suite
In a best of suite approach, you’ll be dealing with one major application provider. While suite-based solutions may provide many of the business process solutions you’re looking for via modules, almost none can take care of all of your business needs. In most cases, third party add-ons will be required. Here are a few of the major advantages and disadvantages this path provides.

Key Advantages

  • One Throat to Choke: Because this type of software provides all of the solution in one place, it’s easy to identify the source of the problem should something go wrong.
  • Consistent User Experience: Rather than switching between different modules, users are always working within the same user interface. This create a simple, enjoyable user interface.

Key Disadvantages

  • Watered Down Features: Add-ons are designed specifically for integration with the main suite and are not typically best of breed.
  • High Stakes: One of the biggest disadvantages with this suite-based approach is that if or when the software breaks, no one can do their jobs. Yep, you’re SOL.
  • Less Flexibility: Best of suite solutions are often a bit more rigid than best of breed solutions, offering less room for specialized functioning.

At ACI Consulting, we are big fans of Sage Intacct’s “best-of-breed” approach. It’s a robust, flexible, and highly customizable solution with the advanced modules you need for project accounting, contract and revenue management, budgeting, and more. Sage Intacct’s flexible API is designed to help you integrate seamlessly with other best of breed platforms, giving your team the freedom to choose the tools that fit best for each unique need and stay up-to-date with any changes in the business landscape.

Have questions about which path is right for your business? We’d love to hop on a quick call to explore these options together. Get in touch with our team of experts today.