Benefits of ERP software: Risks, rewards, and realities of alternative software systems

Balancing risk and reward is core to any business. As a company grows, maintaining a comfortable balance between the two becomes progressively more challenging. Why? Because growth can demand substantial change—such as refining technology infrastructure or new technology implementation. And when there is big change, the potential for greater risk (and rewards) will follow.

When a company expands, the number of data points increases, demand for real-time reporting increases, and new workflows emerge. These changes require full transparency across departments and roles, custom reporting, and deeper insights into business functions—often leading businesses down the path to consider new systems for management, like enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation.

ERP software has been around for years—long viewed as a silver bullet for managing multiple business functions and data points. And while ERP vendors design their ERP systems to bolster efficiencies via a centralized database, they also come with their fair share of risk and headaches, including a hefty price tag and a highly complex and time-consuming implementation process.

So, before you take your business down the ERP route, it’s best to understand the risks, rewards, and reality of alternative software solutions. Read on to learn how QuickBooks Online Advanced can serve as the hub for business operations and why it’s the best cloud ERP-styled choice for your growing business.

ERP implementation: Not always what it seems

Risks

While enterprise resource management systems are designed to bring all business functions under one integrated suite of solutions, the complexity of integration and the project management lifecycle can cripple a business. It’s also important to understand that ERPs were designed with large-scale enterprises in mind—offering more solutions than growing mid-sized or small businesses may need or want to handle.

Integration alone can be a massive undertaking. Take a moment to consider just a few major requirements:

  • Full buy-in from upper management.
  • Training and re-skilling of your entire workforce, which often requires hiring an ERP specialist to lead.
  • Development of a change management roadmap, which typically takes 18 to 24 months.
  • Strong project and business management throughout the company and several dedicated champions to ensure that implementation progresses and is completed.

When you factor in the human resource hours required to accomplish ERP implementation, both cost and risk grow bigger. The truth is that major changes need to be made companywide to properly implement an ERP that fits the specific needs of your business.

Rewards

The rewards of implementing the right ERP system can certainly be worth the initial time and cost investment. The ability to stitch together workflows across departments via an ERP can increase operational efficiencies, improve team productivity and scalability, and provide the transparency into data that business leaders need to make informed decisions.

Further, with custom views and reporting capabilities, inventory management and real-time data access from across the company, ERPs can help fortify the bottom line and set a company up for long-term, sustainable growth.

Reality

The reality is that, historically, ERP solutions have been a highly effective way to automate and integrate functions in growing businesses. However, most ERP solutions come with a steep cost and significant time investment. But recent technology innovations offer better alternatives that are more intuitive, timesaving, and cost effective. These solutions have the key functionality of an ERP for a fraction of the pricing.

QuickBooks Online Advanced offers ERP functionality and can serve as the “nerve center” of your enterprise. Starting with your accounting department, you can leverage the system’s advanced features to build out more efficient and more streamlined business processes as your company grows—an accounting-first operational approach.

Essentially, Advanced represents the launchpad for better, more efficient planning and management. From custom reporting to powerful workflow automation capabilities, there’s much more to QuickBooks Online Advanced than many business owners realize.

Just consider the system’s Custom Report Builder feature, which allows users to select the data they want to see and create the reports that are most impactful to their business. Reports can be filtered, grouped, and summarized to highlight the KPIs and data that are essential and unique to each customer’s operation. With custom reports in hand, business owners can easily identify and showcase critical information that provides deeper insights and supports informed, data-driven decisions. – Read more

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