Grid(un)locked: The Leading Accounting Software Based on G2 Crowd User Reviews
Did you happen to see the real-time grid we featured earlier this week for The Sleeter Group’s 2014 Accounting Solutions Conference in Las Vegas?
The grid was built exclusively for AccountingWEB by Highland Park, Illinois-based G2 Crowd, a Yelp-like website that compiles user reviews and recommendations on business software and releases product rankings based on customer satisfaction scores, as well as publicly available data on software vendors.
The grid for Solutions14 featured 14 business and accounting software products from vendors that attended the conference. They appeared on the grid because G2 Crowd received 10 or more user reviews for each platform.
Users must log in to G2 Crowd via their LinkedIn account to post a review so their identity can be verified and their review can be validated. Reviews from vendor employees, competitors, business editors, and consultants also appear on the site, but are not factored into G2 Crowd’s algorithm.
Based on a combination of customer satisfaction scores and market presence data, each software product on the grid is categorized as either a “Leader” (high customer satisfaction score and substantial market presence), “High Performer” (high customer satisfaction score but smaller market presence), “Contender,” or “Niche.”
Because the grid is in real time, products could change quadrants – or new products could be added – as more user reviews come in to G2 Crowd.
Since its inception in February 2013, G2 Crowd has collected more than 18,000 reviews of business software products across several hundred categories. Based on this crowdsourced data, G2 Crowd has published reports that rank the top enterprise software platforms in such categories as customer relationship management, business intelligence, file storage and sharing, and electronic signature. You can now add accounting to that list.
G2 Crowd released its inaugural Fall 2014 Grid report for accounting software on Oct. 30. The report is based on more than 300 accounting software product reviews and ratings from business professionals. Based on the report’s scoring, the three accounting software platforms that earned “Leader” status were QuickBooks Desktop, Xero, and NetSuite ERP. (Since the report was released, Intacct has moved from the “High Performers” category to the “Leaders” category on the real-time accounting software product grid.)
“Once we had a certain number of products with 10 or more reviews that would appear on the grid, we had enough data to publish an accounting software report,” Daniel Honigman, marketing manager for G2 Crowd, told AccountingWEB. “This first accounting software report is based on a very robust data set, with hundreds of reviews in the mix.”
How to Submit a Review
Anyone who has experience using an accounting software product can share their feedback on G2 Crowd; however, users are asked not to review their own product or a competitor’s product.
“We have a quality assurance team that goes through each and every review that comes in,” Honigman said. “We had nine products for our first accounting software report, and we have about 70 accounting products listed on the site. Those nine products got 10 or more reviews that were validated. A product could have 20 reviews, all by consultants, but they wouldn’t be included on the grid. Our grids are in real time, which makes them powerful tools. Anyone can come to our site and see what the latest and greatest software is, and read the new or more recent reviews.”
After registering for G2 Crowd via a LinkedIn account, you can search for an accounting product to review and are then brought to a page with an online review form. The first step is to write a title for your review, then you are asked to put a number on how likely you would recommend the product to a friend or colleague – with zero being “not likely” and 10 being “very likely.”
Next, you are required to answer the following questions about the product:
- What do you like best?
- What do you dislike?
- What business problems are you solving? What benefits have you realized?
- What is your primary role when using the product?
You could then submit the product review with the required elements, or you could answer some additional questions, such as:
- Does the product meet your requirements?
- Is it easy to use?
- Is the quality of support good?
As you complete these additional questions, you will see your current review grade on the right side of the page.
“The review process is pretty straightforward,” Honigman said. “Some people get really in-depth, but other times people just share that they liked or disliked the product. They don’t want to get into all of the details.”
Reviewers who don’t want their name or LinkedIn photo to accompany their review can remain anonymous by checking the “unattributed” box underneath the online review form.
Once a review is submitted, it is verified by members of the G2 Crowd team. “What that authentication allows us to do is segment the review data based on the size of the company and the industry,” Honigman said.
Software products with 10 or more user reviews get placed on their category grids. The level of reviewer satisfaction is on the X axis while the Y axis measures market presence. The market presence rating is based on data from 10 different social sources that indicate the market share, vendor size, and social impact.
Visitors to G2 Crowd can click on the product’s logo on the category page to read the reviews that were submitted by users. You can filter reviews by company size, industry, and user role. You also have the ability to filter review ratings, with “five stars” being the highest and “one star” being the lowest.
Another feature offered by G2 Crowd enables users to see if any of their LinkedIn connections have written product reviews for the site.
One Surprise Finding
In its first accounting software product report, G2 Crowd found that the platforms with the highest customer satisfaction were usually cloud-based applications, while those with the lowest satisfaction were hosted solutions – with one exception: QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online.
Intuit’s QuickBooks Desktop currently has a customer satisfaction score of 81, while Intuit’s online accounting software product has a satisfaction score of only 46, placing it on the grid in the “Contenders” category.
QuickBooks Online has a review rating of two-and-a-half stars out of five, and out of 51 total reviews, 31 users gave it either two stars or less. One reviewer wrote that “the only nice thing I can say about the new QuickBooks Online UI [user interface] is that the design team did a decent job.” She also said, “The navigation is not intuitive at all especially if you are a seasoned QuickBooks user.” On the flipside, one user called QuickBooks Online “a fantastic business source.”
“Sometimes you have to see where the chips fall when the reviews start rolling in,” Honigman said.
As the reviews for accounting software products keep gaining steam, G2 Crowd will keep cranking out grid reports in the future.
“Some people just want to be heard; they want an outlet to share their opinion on the tools they use,” Honigman said. “The fact is, if you go on the Internet, you can find more information on a hotel or a restaurant than you can about a $100,000 piece of software. A lot of the information you get is from the vendors. We think this report is something that both accounting professionals and people just learning about the field can use to discover the best platforms that are right for them.”
Jason Bramwell is a staff writer and editor for AccountingWEB. He has nearly 20 years of experience in print and online media as a journalist and editor.