Let’s talk about Growth.
Growth can be a doubled-edged sword. Rising revenues and an increasing customer base prove that your company is on the right track. Hurray! But at the same time, sustaining growth requires companies to adopt new tools. The challenge is combining what worked in the past with what is required for the future. Accounting and financial systems are one of the most common pain points for scaling businesses. Accounting workloads swell significantly as companies move into new markets, expand their products/services, and add new locations. Plus, growth-oriented companies depend on financial insights for every aspect of decision making, not just accounting. This leaves accounting departments overworked and under-resourced exactly when companies are kicking into high gear. Basic accounting software like QuickBooks Online works great when you’re a small company sending out a few invoices a month. But a manufacturing company with hundreds of SKUs is quickly going to need a better solution.
The solution is to upgrade accounting capabilities before you absolutely have to. For most businesses, this means upgrading to an ERP system. Generally speaking, the purpose of ERP is to bring financial and operational data together onto one platform. Then to make the data accessible and understandable using a suite of specialized tools. Acumatica, which is our recommended ERP system, is an affordable way to give your entire business technology platform a big boost.
There are a myriad of reasons why an ERP system will benefit your business, but we’ve broken them down into 3 chunks – the most essential reasons to upgrade to an ERP system, and the most immediate benefits you will see.
“Without data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the Web like deer on a freeway.” – Geoffrey Moore, Partner at MDV
- Automated Efficiency – The most successful companies of today are so because they leveraged the power of data early. ERP automates the heavy lifting of data management so that accountants no longer have to manually calculate things like sales margins or profit ratios. The speed and intelligence of AI saves a lot of time and effort while ensuring that key metrics are always honest and accurate. So instead of spending time doing data entry and calculations, you can spend time deriving insights from that data that allow you to grow your business. Examples
- Which items are the most popular with my female customers?
- Which email template was the most successful for generating leads?
- What is my margin on products shipped from Manufacturer A vs. Manufacturer B?
- What products are frequently bought together?
- Cleaner Data – Data that has not been integrated is typically full of redundancies and inaccuracies, which makes effective data management especially difficult. In the process of upgrading to an ERP system, the mistakes in the data get identified and rectified. Having one system of record moving forward means your data overall is going to be cleaner, allowing you to make more accurate decisions.
- Advanced Analytics – AI doesn’t just eliminate manual workloads. It also allows companies to dive into data using advanced analytics. Smart technologies incorporated into ERP are able to comb through vast data sets and run complex calculations. That means accountants have more relevant insights to work with in less time. The kinds of metrics that would have taken hours or days to generate are now available on demand. The amount of reports available in Acumatica’s basic module greatly exceeds what you will get with other types of software.
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie
- Centralized Reference – When data is broken down into silos it makes it hard to share insights and forces decision makers to act with incomplete information. ERP is explicitly designed to break down these silos and bring all relevant information together in one place. It effectively creates a single source of truth that any stakeholder can trust to be complete and current. It also means less time wasted asking other employees or departments for information.
- Integrated Operations – At a certain point accounting becomes less about keeping the books (you may want to hire a bookkeeper for the nitty gritty number crunching and save yourself the headache) and more about guiding the business strategy. An ERP system empowers your company to move past the dollars and cents by integrating accounting with things like inventory, customer relationship management, marketing, human resources, and much more. Companies can address each of these modules separately, but since they are also integrated they provide a top-down view and overarching perspective across the entire enterprise.
- Sharper Strategy – Creating an effective business strategy is a holistic process, drawing on information and expertise from across departments. Strategy is especially important for growing businesses, but the larger companies become the harder it is to incorporate all the necessary resources. ERP provides a platform and tools for doing exactly that. As a result, the right strategy becomes a lot more obvious, and decision makers feel confident about acting boldly and bravely.
“Flexibility is the key to stability.” – John Wooden
- Enhanced Mobility – Who knows where the next opportunity lies? Cloud-based ERP software allows any team member to take all their data and applications with them wherever they go. That could be to a client site, to a sales meeting, to a hotel room, or to an airport terminal. ERP makes true mobility possible and ensures that an on-the-go workforce is always connected.
- Module-Based Implementation – With Acumatica specifically, they sell individual modules separately, and price based on consumption, rather than users. The module approach allows you to scale quickly, or change direction as your business evolves. Maybe you don’t need advanced reporting today, but you will tomorrow. With the click of a button you can purchase additional modules that pull data directly from your existing system.
“We discovered in our research that insider threats are not viewed as seriously as external threats, like a cyberattack. But when companies had an insider threat, in general, they were much more costly than external incidents. This was largely because the insider that is smart has the skills to hide the crime, for months, for years, sometimes forever.” — Dr. Larry Ponemon, Chairman, Ponemon Institute, at SecureWorld Boston
- Superior Cybersecurity – Data is the most valuable asset companies have, and cybersecurity is one of the today’s biggest risks. When all data is in one place it makes it easier to provide governance and oversight. Plus, companies can block access to specific users or specific types of data at their own discretion. Ultimately, ERP gives companies control over their data and empowers them to secure it with certainty.
- User Permissions – ERP systems have a far greater degree of granularity in how you structure account permissions. You can hide data at the field level and set up separate workflows for each account type. This is huge for growing organizations who have a variety of different roles. This keeps your most sensitive data secure from lower level employees, while still giving them everything they need to do their job.
The goal of growth is always more growth. Knowing your customers more deeply, offering smarter pricing, decreasing your follow up time, and other benefits of an ERP system lead to happier, more evangelistic customers.
When a company is firing on all cylinders it’s easy to conclude that change is unnecessary, even unwanted. After all, why fix what does not appear to be broken? What that attitude overlooks, however, is that growing companies aren’t just getting larger, they are becoming fundamentally different organizations. And, as they evolve, their introductory business tools become irrelevant and insufficient. Upgrading to an ERP system ensures that the software of the past does not limit the opportunities of the future.
Are you curious what the benefits of an ERP system would be at your company? Reach out to a team of experts for an in-depth consultation. Contact Fourlane when you’re ready to grow.