Cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software has become the ultimate accounting tool for small- and mid-sized businesses. It can handle general ledger tasks, create instant reports, and remove the guesswork from drawing up a financial roadmap. However, the benefits of ERP only surface when organizations take full advantage of the features and capabilities that the software has to offer. With this in mind, consider these tips to bring out the full potential of your ERP system.
Even a best-of-breed solution will fail to deliver the expected return on investment if your data is stored in different software and technologies. ERP systems are effective when there is a single version of data, business processes and format standards. When implementing ERP software, meet with each department and agree upon what system your company will use, migrate files to a single data repository, and standardize record templates to streamline data entry and reduce the need to maintain duplicate files.
Configure and customize software
Most ERP software are designed as one-size-fits-all solutions, which is great for general accounting tasks but won’t do you much good if you have role-specific needs. Your sales department probably doesn’t need HR information, so configure employee dashboards so that sales staff see only information relevant to their day-to-day tasks.
If, however, configuring your ERP setup isn’t enough, there’s always optimization through customization. Ask your managed services provider to assess your company and, if applicable, have them apply software extensions. Most sales-focused organizations will usually request for customer relationship management (CRM) system integrations to supplement their ERP database with sales data and to streamline workflows -- which brings us to our next tip.
Utilize automated workflows
Companies can find notable improvements in paper-based processes, data entry, and employee productivity when they understand the workflow capabilities of their ERP software. Using automated workflow management options in ERP solutions like Sage Intacct and Dynamics GP, you can input predefined rules to minimize routine tasks.
For example, when your company receives an invoice, document management software such as PaperSave captures the image and indexes the metadata -- including customer name, item, dollar amount, and transaction number. From here, you can set your ERP to route transactions below $1000 to a specific user. The appropriate accounts receivable personnel then receives an automated email asking them to approve, reject, or delegate the workflow to someone else.
Aside from accounting, automated workflows can be applied to inventory management, sales, and payrolls, allowing you to schedule, perform, and manage time-consuming tasks without lifting a finger.
Take advantage of mobile compatibility
If your ERP software has a mobile version, use it! Mobile ERP software allows your employees to easily take snapshots of receipts and record relevant data while still fresh in their mind. And when ERP data, materials, and functions can be accessed from virtually anywhere with an internet connection, staff productivity will surely increase.
Update systems regularly
Updates keep your ERP system relevant. For one, new versions contain extra functions that can increase efficiency and open new revenue-building strategies. The second reason is because bugs and glitches can slow down operations, so fixing these right away will help you and your employees make the most out of the ERP software.
Keep in mind that if you have extra software extensions, you’ll need to install updates for those as well.
The most critical elements that dictate the success of your ERP implementation are employees. If under-trained, they often fail to take full advantage of the software, become reluctant to use it, and eventually fall back into old, inefficient habits. Therefore, investing in end-user training tailored to department roles is important.
Demonstrate the basics, from account creation to data collection, then move on to more nuanced accounting features like general ledgers, multi-entity consolidations, payrolls, and inventory tracking. Then, give employees time to navigate their personal dashboards, get acquainted with accounting functions, and learn how to generate reports by themselves.
Once you’ve completed the initial onboarding session, regularly run training seminars when new updates are released. This cements ERP knowledge while ensuring staff are always using the latest productivity-boosting features.
Choose a fully-supported ERP system
It’s not uncommon to rely on an IT services provider for ERP support and guidance. If you want your IT systems to produce business value in the long run, make sure your ERP software is managed and maintained 24/7 by a trusted managed services provider.
Having trouble looking for a top-quality provider? Consider WhiteOwl. Our IT experts are at the forefront of ERP software developments and deliver nothing but exceptional service. Call us today to start seeing a return on your ERP investment.