Growth is a good thing.
It is a sign of health in nature and business. Like with trees or plants, unstructured or unsupported growth can lead to a variety of problems and eventually even the end of a once-thriving species or organisation. As everything grows, so should your business systems. Consider moving from your old accounting systems to an ERP system.
“Small businesses often get an accounting system as one of the first tools to help them manage the finances of their growing business. Over time they may add more functionality or adopt new programmes and processes for managing different branches or departments in the expanding business. However, as the size and complexity of their operations increase, they inevitably start wondering how they can improve their way of working, says Lionel De Oliveira of Seidor. “It can be very risky if they get so stuck in their ways with a cobbled-together system that they accept accounting errors, inefficient management and unnecessary time-consuming checks and balances which all lead to unsatisfactory business results.”
Using technology effectively
In an increasingly connected and competitive business landscape, an inability to harness the power of technology can have devastating results for any type of business, from manufacturing to warehousing, transport and retail, according to De Oliveira. “A technology-enabled solution that fits the business and the industry it operates in enables you to have greater control over your entire business, support all departments and leverage the power of data to position your business for success.”
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems bring together accounting, project management, business operations and customer service actions and data for more effective management. The right system can help to not only meet current business demands but also support an SME’s business objectives and future growth. “To future-proof your business you have to take a close look at the entire business and identify the key issues that can make or break it and then implement a system that will help you to address these issues effectively, De Oliveira says.
Critical issues an ERP system can help to address
A need to streamline and integrate processes
“When the operational performance of a business is suffering because it is cumbersome, not user-friendly and time-consuming this not only suggests that processes and systems can be improved but also may be symptomatic of other bigger underlying problems in the business.” De Oliveira says.
An ERP system combines data about everything from stock levels to accounts receivable and the company’s entire accounting infrastructure. Having a real-time overview of current stock levels, orders in process and outstanding payments will help growing businesses to better manage their cash flow and operations. A more efficient system will cut down on operating costs and ultimately improve bottom-line performance.
The need for mobility and flexibility
To stay ahead in the faced-paced business world, you need to know what is going on and be able to respond as quickly as possible. Growing modern businesses require mobility and flexibility.
Mobile app integration allows users to add details and gain access to relevant up to date information at the click of a button on virtually any device at any time from any place. This is one of the key benefits of using an ERP system such as SAP Business One, which caters for small to medium-sized businesses in a wide range of industries, such as manufacturing, logistics, project management and retail.
A good ERP system gives users the ability to:
- view reports with the flexibility to give different users access to different types of information, more in-depth reports or customized alerts depending on the business’s needs,
- monitor inventory levels and access detailed information about your products, including sales price, available quantity, product specifications and pictures, and
- track staff members’ activities such as project or sales activities
From inefficiency to increased productivity and staff morale
Automating tasks and sharing information entered once across the entire business can significantly reduce time spent on repetitive tasks. This will help to increase productivity and free up your staff members to focus on growing their skills in other areas. “Competitors cannot copy your people and their passion. If you empower your people with the tools to do their work better and faster, they are more likely to put the time they have available on other meaningful activities that will help to build your brand and the teams that will take it to the next level,” he explains.
What if you’re convinced that it is time to move to an ERP system, but concerned about migrating all your accounting data across? De Oliveira says that while the process of transferring your accounting data into an ERP system such as SAP Business One is relatively straight-forward, it demands a well-planned and executed migration. That is not just to ensure a seamless transition but also to preserve the integrity of all your data.
Written by Lionel De Oliveira