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Outgrowing QuickBooks: 8 Questions to Ask If You Are Ready for ERP

Outgrowing QuickBooks: 8 Questions to Ask If You Are Ready for ERP

Outgrowing QuickBooksAs ERP consultants, we help many customers who are outgrowing QuickBooks, Sage 50 and other business software like Xero. You may have noticed many signs that you are outgrowing your entry level software. You have grown to the point where you are ready to graduate to the next level of tools necessary to help your business grow called Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. To see if you are ready for ERP software, first, ask yourself if you can relate to the following signs you are outgrowing QuickBooks or outgrowing another entry level software.

Outgrowing QuickBooks or Another Entry Level Software: Ask Yourself These Questions

  1. Has data become unmanageable? Do you have access to information you need in real time?
  2. Is performance suffering?
  3. Is data corrupting?
  4. Are you supplementing your entry level software with Excel?
  5. Do you need to import or integrate data from outside systems?
  6. Do you need more users?
  7. Is your system a glorified check writer?
  8. Does it take too long to bill clients and close the books?

If you’ve answered “yes” to many of these questions, it’s time to consider new ERP software system. The first thing to know about this process is that, change is hard. As you investigate the numerous available options, you will need to define the long-term functionality of your system. Choosing a system that can grow with you means you won’t be going through this process again in the near future.

ERP software is an integrated solution which includes much more functionality and flexibility than an entry level system like QuickBooks. Most entry level software focuses on accounting and basic inventory management functions, where ERP typically includes the sales, distribution, manufacturing and other processes in a single system. Choosing an ERP system means investing a lot of time and money, so making sure you have the right vendor with the right system is very important.

Choosing an ERP System

There are several things to consider when you choose your ERP system. Defining the company goals first will help you define the features of your ERP system. First ask yourself, “What are my business goals?” Then ask, “What are the “must have” features? Do I need industry-specific capabilities? Knowing your goals helps to define the type of system you need and how much scalability you are likely to need in the future.

When looking at new systems it is also important to have a budget in mind. The budget should be set based upon the potential value you can derive from having a completely integrated system. For example, how much time or money can we save by having orders flow directly from our eCommerce site into our ERP system? Or, “How much could we increase sales with integrated customer relationship management software?” The budget should be set in perspective to the value to be derived over a reasonably short time frame.

Best practices tell us that defining the functionality of your system is the primary concern during the selection process. Getting input from a team of individuals ensures that the focus is on full functionality. Creating a team including those who will be working in it on a daily basis, those who will help to maintain the system, and peripheral users throughout the company is advisable. Each of these individuals will:

  • be able to contribute to the value/budget definition,
  • have different needs to meet, and
  • will use the system in different ways.

Now that you have defined the features, industry criteria and budget, it is time to ensure the goals of the company are supported by the ERP system. Can the system perform as promised and meet the criteria of functionality of your business? Can your employees intuitively use the system?

Choosing an ERP Vendor

It is important to point out that all vendors are not the same. Defining the capabilities of your vendor can make a big difference when you really need it. Some questions to keep in mind while looking for the right vendor:

  • Can your vendor provide real world advice on your software?
  • Can they provide quality customer support?
  • Do they understand your industry-specific needs? 
  • Do they know the needs of small businesses?
  • Are they well-informed on the scalability and integration capabilities for your ERP?
  • What do they know about working in or with the cloud?
  • Do they have any references?

We know that the above is a lot to consider and we want you to have all of the tools necessary to make this journey pain free. Remember to create a plan and work your way through it. Get advice from others in your industry. Call industry professionals like us. I-BN offers a ½ day workshop to help you determine whether you should consider upgrading and outline your value/budget definition!

CONTACT US, CALL US 678-627-0646 or EMAIL US at ibn@i-bn.net and a member of our ERP consultant team will help evaluate your ERP options whether you are outgrowing QuickBooks, another entry level accounting software, or if you need to enhance your exisitng ERP software.

I-Business Network (I-BN) is an ERP and cloud solutions provider since 1999. Established by professionals in the accounting and software industry, I-BN has provided cloud hosting and business solutions including industry-specific solutions for distribution, light manufacturing and professional services. I-BN specializes in sales, implementation and cloud hosting for ERP software. We have deep experience and knowledge of Sage 100 ERP and SAP Business One software and understand its unique requirements and the support that you will need. Our national network of business software solution providers enables us to provide a local presence for training, implementation and support.

Another version of this blog was previously posted on the I-BN Blog website on June 19, 2014: Outgrowing Entry Level Software

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