ERP – Who needs it anyway?

Below, please find a blog posting from a referral partner of L6S Business Consulting, Josh Szakal of Black River Technologies.

You might remember the days when you first started your company. It was an exciting time for you as a new business owner as you were about to embark on a journey full of new opportunities. You probably even remember issuing your first invoice, which was likely generated from an accounting system (like QuickBooks or Simply Accounting) you purchased from your local office supply store. That system has served you well over the years, as it was inexpensive to buy, easy to use, and offered the basic functionality that was able to get your business off the ground.

Now that your business has matured, you might be noticing some of the limitations of QuickBooks (or whatever entry level software you are using), such as inflexible processes, data accessibility issues, inadequate security, and primitive reporting. You might even be trying to offset some of those limitations by utilizing spreadsheets to handle some of your advanced transaction processing, and then circling back to your accounting package to input a summarized entry.

As reported by TechValidate, a marketing content automation tool which uses satisfied customers’ data to create content, the following are the Top 5 Limitations of QuickBooks:

  1. Over-Reliance on Spreadsheets to Support Financial Processes and Reporting
  2. Excess Manual Data Entry and Re-Entry
  3. Limited Access to Reports and Information to Drive Decision-Making
  4. Difficulty in Adapting to New Business Requirements
  5. Inadequate Controls Around Financial Processes

If you are experiencing even one of the above limitations, it’s probably time for you to start thinking about upgrading to an ERP system.

So what is an ERP system?

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning, and is generally a business process management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to administer the business and automate back office functions.
The early editions of ERP software made their appearance in the early 80’s, and were for the most part, due to cost, only appealing to larger companies. But as ERP packages started to evolve through the 90’s, it made increasingly more sense for organizations in the mid-market, and even companies at the top end of the small business market, to implement a solution that allowed them to streamline their business operations. Today, there are an abundance of ERP systems on the market with varying costs and functionality. To identify which system is right for you requires a lot of due diligence, and many organizations opt to outsource this work as it can be a fairly time consuming task.

How do I know I need ERP software?

The first step in undertaking an ERP software search is to make sure you can see the signs that it’s time to make the move. In addition to identifying that you are experiencing one of the top 5 limitations listed above, you may also find that it’s taking longer for you to provide a certain level of service to your customers, you are noticing the need to be able to access your data outside of the office, and collaboration amongst your team is becoming increasingly more difficult and/or time consuming.

These are the tell-tale signs that it’s time for your organization to invest in a software package that is going to help foster your growth, not hinder it. You may not realize it now, but your entry level software may actually be costing you money. To help you understand the consequences of ‘standing pat’, we’ve put together a whitepaper called ‘Life After QuickBooks.’ It discusses many of the topics outlined above, as well as how to understand the new wave of financial management software. Interested in reading more? Click here to download the whitepaper.

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