How Fishbowl Compares to NetSuite

July 22, 2020
Fishbowl compares well to an ERP like NetSuite, Fishbowl Blog

While NetSuite is a full ERP and Fishbowl is an inventory management solution, Fishbowl nonetheless stacks up surprisingly well compared to NetSuite. You can see that comparison on the Fishbowl vs. NetSuite page. The chart briefly matches up the two solutions based on the following criteria:

  • Order Management
  • Procurement
  • Manufacturing
  • Bill of Materials
  • Warehouse Management
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Product Management
  • Reporting and Business Intelligence
  • Accounting Integration
  • Flexibility
  • Ease of Use
  • Price

Fishbowl and NetSuite are equally capable of accomplishing the first eight criteria, but Fishbowl outshines NetSuite in the final four. Keep in mind that some things are referred to by different names in each solution. For example, Fishbowl calls the assembly of new products manufacturing and NetSuite calls it production. Let’s go more in depth on each of these bullet points to specifically show their similarities and differences.

Order Management

You can use these two solutions to generate purchase orders and sales orders. In addition, you can set up automatic reorder points on all your goods to automatically create purchase orders with the appropriate vendors and quantities to replenish your stock when it gets low. And you can quickly convert sales quotes into sales orders and update the status of orders by marking them as issued, in progress, fulfilled, etc.


Both solutions allow you to work with multiple vendors and track your relationships with them so you know each one’s payment terms and how well they have done in the past supplying you with new parts and products in a timely fashion. As an added benefit, Fishbowl can prompt you as you’re placing an order when you’re close to receiving a discount by hitting a certain quantity on a purchase order. It can also help you make sure you get over minimum thresholds that vendors have before they’ll complete an order. One more thing Fishbowl does is allow you to calculate lead times and compare part costs.


Work orders and manufacture orders in both solutions allow you to organize and standardize your manufacturing process to ensure everything gets done in the right sequence and in the correct quantities. You can even add notes to clarify any potential confusion at any step of a manufacturing job. In Fishbowl, you can automatically generate manufacture orders based on sales orders to replenish your stock. Plus, Fishbowl Time is a plugin that enables labor costs to be added as a line item to work orders so that you are able to measure not only the cost of the materials going into finished goods, but other key ingredients. Fishbowl Time also allows employees to clock in and out of specific projects to help managers track their efficiency and optimize their time use.

Bill of Materials

Bills of materials can be saved and duplicated in Fishbowl as many times as you like to let your workers know exactly what parts and materials go into each product you manufacture. You can create a bill of materials for many types of manufacturing jobs, including assembly, disassembly, maintenance, repair, and custom. Also, Fishbowl gives you the ability to create various stages of production or subassemblies in a bill of materials to make sure complex, multistage manufacturing jobs get completed in the proper order.

Warehouse Management

Both solutions help you manage inventory in multiple locations so that you keep the appropriate number of items in each warehouse to meet demand according to its individual needs. In addition, you can track inventory within each warehouse by separating it into zones and monitoring where each item should be stored by aisle, shelf, and bin number. It’s important to note that NetSuite goes about warehouse management differently than Fishbowl, but they both yield basically the same results.

Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management is different than procurement because the latter refers mainly to the upkeep and oversight of the supply chain while the former refers to the actual actions involved in obtaining goods. Both solutions allow you to track shipments as they move from one location to another and keep everything running smoothly. This gives you the ability to avoid shortages and overstocks, which saves money and keeps your customers happy.

Product Management

You can get detailed information on products in your inventory, including their locations, quantities, primary vendors, and sales over a specified time period with each solution. This helps you plan ahead to maintain the right number of goods in stock, avoid ordering too many, and sell them before they become obsolete or expired.

Reporting and Business Intelligence

Both solutions offer in-depth reports and other business intelligence tools to help customers analyze trends in sales, customer buying habits, and seasonal changes in demand at each location. There are more than 100 such reports in Fishbowl. Plus, Fishbowl has the option to create custom reports for its customers if they want something that will exactly meet their needs.

Accounting Integration

This is where Fishbowl and NetSuite diverge. NetSuite has its own accounting software, so it doesn’t integrate with other accounting solutions. Fishbowl, on the other hand, seamlessly integrates with QuickBooks and Xero. In fact, Fishbowl has been the #1 selling manufacturing and warehouse management software for QuickBooks for more than a decade. It’s an ideal solution for companies looking to stay with their familiar accounting software.


NetSuite is an ERP, which means it has just about every feature under the sun for running a business. For large corporations, that’s great. For small and medium-size businesses, that’s probably overkill. Fishbowl, on the other hand, offers a number of solutions that you can pick and choose from to get different features tailored to your specific needs. This allows for greater flexibility. These solutions include:

Fishbowl Warehouse – Advanced inventory management software.

Fishbowl Manufacturing – Manufacturing and inventory management software.

Fishbowl Canada – Version of Fishbowl Manufacturing and Fishbowl Warehouse that uses the Canadian tax code and formatting.

Fishbowl Checkout – Point of sale solution that automatically updates inventory records when it registers a sale.

Fishbowl for Salesforce – Integration that makes up-to-date inventory quantities available in Salesforce’s CRM.

Fishbowl Go – App used to scan barcodes, move inventory, pick, pack, ship, and perform other warehouse management tasks.

Fishbowl Hosted Services – Server hosting and security to make files available from any location.

Fishbowl ShipExpress – Shipping solution that integrates with numerous shippers to provide pricing and schedules.

Fishbowl Time – Online time clock solution that allows employees to clock in and out, and employers to handle payroll, taxes, and PTO.

In addition, Fishbowl integrates with dozens of other business solutions, including CRMs, EDIs, merchant services, and shopping carts. With these many integrations and solutions, Fishbowl can basically match NetSuite’s functionality for a more affordable price.

Ease of Use

Fishbowl prides itself on having an intuitive interface and useful features that can be learned quickly. To help with this, Fishbowl’s Support team is available to promptly answer customers’ questions when they call in. Our Support team is the best in the business, delighting customers with their in-depth knowledge of the software. Also, Fishbowl offers dozens of training videos, a whole Documentation Wiki packed with information about all of its modules. Fishbowl’s training options help companies get up and running with the software fast, too.


Fishbowl is obviously going to cost much less than NetSuite. As we noted earlier, an ERP is mainly for large corporations with a lot of money and resources while it’s out of the price range of smaller businesses. Inventory management software, which integrates with accounting software and other business solutions, is an inexpensive option that is much more realistic for SMBs.

See for Yourself

If you’d like to gain access to pretty much all the features you would get from an ERP like NetSuite, but at a much lower price point, you should check out Fishbowl. Sign up for a Web demo of Fishbowl today!