What is an ERP system?
ERP is short for Enterprise Resource Planning – in addition to standard GL, AP and AR accounting functions, ERP systems combine all business functions into one system to handle CRM, MRP, Distribution, E-Commerce, Project Management, Service Dispatch, POS, and others. Not that you have to have all these modules but for your business or enterprise, all the modules you need are in one system and available to everyone in the company, not just the accounting department.
Modern accounting systems run your entire business soup to nuts. A complex example would be; enter lead, add lead to newsletter list, move to prospect, create opportunity, create quote, credit check, convert to customer, convert quote to order, pick/pack inventory items, ship, invoice, e-mail customer that order is on its way, collect payment, release commission to salesperson, and schedule new customer for satisfaction survey call.
The real advantage of these systems is that they codify your business processes into an automated and trackable workflow. At any point in the process, the sales person can check order status and managers can see any hold up in the process. No one needs to call accounting, shipping or the sales person to see if his or her steps are complete. Workflow is a key part of modern ERP systems and workflows can be setup for adding new GL accounts, approving budgets, approving purchasing or vouchers or expenses or timecards.
How to tell if you need a new ERP system.
- How long since you have updated your current system?
- Is the publisher updating, adding new features, and adding value?
- Are upgrades getting more difficult and expensive?
- Do you require multiple software applications to run your business and are they meant to work with each other or are they cobbled together?
- Do you have multiple systems outside of the ERP system to run your business?
- Do you have multiple processes in Excel?
- Has your business changed and your ERP has not changed with you?
- Is your accounting system limited to the accounting department or can anyone view reports and dashboards to self serve?
- Does your CRM system integrate with your accounting system?
- Does your E-commerce site integrate with your ERP system?
- Are licensing costs causing you to limit the number of users in your ERP system?
- Are hardware, licensing costs and upgrade costs dissuading you from upgrading your current ERP system?
- Can your current system support mobile users?
- Can your current system support remote users without expensive terminal servers and license costs?
- Can users access your ERP system with only a browser?
- Does your current system work with Mac, Linux, Chrome, Windows and other devices?
- Do you have an option of locating your ERP system in the Cloud, On Premise or Hosted?
- Does your ERP system support multiple languages, multiple currencies, VAT Tax, and the growing global market?
- Does your ERP system have a built-in workflow that you can configure to route AP, PO, Quotes, bills, etc. for approval? Can you setup alerts on Overdue AR, credit approvals, projects exceeding budget or about anything else, or ad hoc workflows.
- Does your ERP system fit your market?