When should you step up to an ERP?

Not all the big fish in a pond use an ERP platform, but it can be an essential tool for SMEs wanting to scale.


IN BRIEF

The big attraction of ERPs is having a single database for all information; the drawback is that they are expensive and involve a learning curve for staff.

SMEs may find that accounting software and third-party applications can do the job they need, but not always.

A rising volume of inter-entity transactions is one sign that your organisation could benefit from an ERP.

When should you step up to an ERP? – Acuity Magazine

Practical signals that you need an ERP

Mindset aside, there are several practical indicators that an SME has outgrown its accounting software.

The first is a rising volume of inter-entity transactions. ERPs use a single database to handle multiple entities, whereas small business software is designed to manage the finances of a single entity.

A major advantage of an ERP’s single database is that it creates a common list of products, suppliers and customers shared by all entities. This can immediately solve the issue of managing stock on hand held by different entities or locations.

A single platform also makes it easier to see a customer’s full history in one place. An ERP will show how many products or services they have bought, their payment history, how often they open your marketing emails and any outstanding support tickets.

Taking a component approach to software

Sometimes it doesn’t suit a business to move to a single ERP. In trying to do everything, ERPs rarely do any one thing extremely well. As a result, the component approach to system building, often sold as “best of breed”, still exists in enterprise.

Sage, for example, sells Sage Intacct which handles complex, multi-entity accounting and relies on integrations with the Salesforce CRM and other specialised tools for other functions.

Financial management tools can capture data in multiple dimensions and then report on any combination of those dimensions. The tool can map account codes to a custom report for each funder and maintain it for the lifetime of the program.

This means you don’t have to export the information to Excel and manipulate it into the correct format each time you want to view a report. These dimensions include locations, departments, projects, grants and strategic objectives.

Financial management software also has the ability to blend financial data with non-financial data. This is extremely important for management, who typically want the ability to track outcomes.

Extract of When should you step up to an ERP? – Acuity Magazine – May 2021

Choosing an ERP – Acuity Magazine

ERPs are the central nervous system of a business. And in a time of AI and technical innovation, they can be a smart move.


IN BRIEF

ERPs run multiple departments within big businesses, from accounting to supply chain and more

ERPs have the option of different ownership models: on-premise or private cloud.

Choosing an ERP – Acuity Magazine

Paying for an ERP

An ERP is often compared to the central nervous system of a business and switching from one ERP to another is a project that every CFO dreads. Along with software costs, such a massive project inevitably impacts operations, productivity and revenue.

Today’s ERPs have the option of different ownership models. You can still buy an ERP licence to run on your own servers, a model often referred to as on-premise. Or you can run the same licence on servers in an outsourced data centre operated by an ERP consultant, called private cloud.

The biggest news in the past decade has been the rise of cloud-based ERPs, where the software runs on servers operated by the software company itself. This is called public cloud, software as a service (SaaS) or multi-tenanted software.

At first glance, the public cloud ERP is the most attractive. A company no longer needs to worry about the capital expense of buying expensive servers or paying for IT administrators and security experts.

Under the public cloud model, the ERP software company is responsible for upgrades, so all public cloud customers are always on the latest version.

The big dollars are not in the actual cost of the software or even the hardware or infrastructure. It is in the risk and the disruption and the cost of those upgrades.

John Leonard, Oracle

Don’t change the suite – add a component

Changing to a new ERP is a massive project. Instead, why not keep your old ERP and add separate tools for your business processes? (A little like adding new cushions to your lounge suite to support your back, rather than buying a whole new lounge.)

Technology constantly swings between recommending a fully featured suite and building your own stack of components. The argument for the suite is less complexity and fewer headaches; components, however, will give you newer features faster.

Salesforce, which started out selling its highly successful cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software, has now replaced the sales function in many ERPs. In fact, the term ERP today refers more to finance and inventory rather than customer relationship management or human capital management (an industry term for human resources).

The ERP industry is indeed experiencing a swing from suites to best of breed in separate components, says Gary Katzeff, Sage’s General Manager, ERP, Australia & New Zealand.

“There are absolutely pros and cons (to both approaches). But if a vendor can provide, say, 80% of your requirements out of the box in one solution, then you generally will get a better experience as a customer than if you have to pull together multiple solutions.”

ERP software companies are creating more modules designed for specific industries to hit that 80% threshold. For example, Sage’s cloud-based accounting and finance management software Intacct has enjoyed success in the not-for-profit sector by focusing on multidimensional reporting and faster consolidations.

Intacct has a grants module that tracks government grants and funds management. It also integrates with Salesforce to handle directed donations from individual donors.

If the weakness of suites is slower and lumpy innovation across modules, in components the problems are typically in the complexity and cost of integration. Here again, there is good news. Integrations are getting easier thanks to standardised application programming interfaces (APIs) on public cloud applications.

Extract of Choosing an ERP? – Acuity Magazine – Sept 2020

Accsys Consulting adds new cloud finance software to its portfolio

Today we are excited to announce that we are expanding our product offering to include the cloud native product Sage Intacct.

As a Sage Intacct partner, Accsys Consulting will sell, implement, support and develop enhancements for Intacct’s award-winning cloud financial applications. Accsys Consulting is aligning with Sage Intacct in response to increased demand for a cloud native financial management platform from its prospects and clients.

Accsys Consulting selected Sage Intacct after carefully reviewing the cloud financial systems marketed in Australia. Sage Intacct is the first and only native cloud financial management software in Accsys Consulting’s product portfolio.

Sage Intacct addresses your finance team’s needs by empowering them with deep functionality that automates even complex business processes. Reporting and dashboards provide interactive financial and operational analysis to help you to grow your business. Sage Intacct also offers an easy path to extend the solution by seamlessly connecting with payroll, customer payment processors, credit card and employee expense management systems, so that the entire organisation can stay on the fast track to growth. Sage Intacct focuses on delivering a solution that puts client success first, and that commitment has allowed it to earn;

Accsys Consulting’s clients will also benefit from Sage Intacct’s reporting and analytics capabilities. Sage Intacct’s general ledger uses dimensions to capture the business context of transactions, operational measures, and budgets. As a result, companies can quickly create reports that analyse real-time business performance by business drivers without having to manage a chart of accounts with hundreds of segments. Sage Intacct’s financial and operational dashboards convey the big picture at a glance and can be tailored to the specific needs of each stakeholder.

Sage Intacct will improve operational excellence and improve compliance with detailed customisable workflow approvals, to reduce repetitive data entry, ensure the correct person reviews transactions, and allow management to have visibility and insight of the process from Quote to Cash and Procurement to Pay.

To find our more about Sage Intacct, please contact us or call our office on 02 6282 3300.