Cloud ERP Starter’s Guide: When QuickBooks Is Not Enough

Cloud ERP Starter’s Guide: When QuickBooks Is Not Enough

Cloud ERP Starter’s Guide: When QuickBooks Is Not EnoughERP_Workstyle

You’ve been running your small business on QuickBooks, or a product like it, to automate your accounting function and produce basic financial reports. So, what’s wrong? Things just don’t seem to be working well. It takes too long to get a “picture” of how your business is performing, and you’re drowning in paper.

Congratulations: You have outgrown your basic accounting software. The good news is that your business is growing. However, so are your transaction volumes, process complexity, and your information reporting needs. Your business can no longer be reduced to a set of ledgers or independent accounting transactions. Your business is comprised of increasingly complicated, end-to-end business processes such as Procure-to-Pay, Order-to-Cash, Forecast-to-Stock, and Record-to-Report. You need enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that supports these end-to-end processes and provides timely, actionable information regarding business performance.

Wait a minute,” you might say. “I’m not a big business. I don’t have a large IT staff or a robust IT infrastructure, and I certainly don’t have the money to sink into an expensive software package, or the small army of consultants needed to implement it.”

Relax. Your business has grown to a point of complexity during a time when cloud computing can provide a robust, cost-effective solution for small and medium-size enterprise (SMEs) like yours. But don’t take my word for it; ask your business.

Are you experiencing sales growth but also stock-outs because you don’t have the right inventory available to meet customer demand? Or, are you meeting demand but with excess inventory because you’re keeping excess safety stock in order to avoid stock-outs? Are your order fill or item fill rates falling and with them your customer satisfaction? Are customers complaining that their invoices don’t match the goods they ordered or received?

Any or all of these conditions can be a symptom of internal systems’ inability to manage increases in business volume or complexity, or both. They may also be indicative of disconnected transaction systems, which require multiple transaction entry for the same business event (a sales order, a shipment, a return, etc.), thereby increasing the risk of errors and leading to “islands of information.”

Business management software treats business events as end-to-end processes. In an ERP system, when a completed order is shipped, inventory balances are immediately updated and an invoice can be produced. In fact, in many ERP systems the invoice can be electronically sent to the customer, thereby improving collection time and reducing paper. The same is true of the procurement cycle. Purchase orders can be automatically generated based on replacement stock rules and be electronically sent to a vendor. In these ways (and others), an ERP system can reduce transaction cycle time as well as the manpower and paper transactions necessary to execute them.

Perhaps just as important as the integration of related transaction processing is the information collected and available for analysis. Data is instantly updated when transactions occur, meaning that decisions made regarding inventories, cash balances, or purchase commitments are based on the most current information and as a result are more accurate. “Islands of information” are eliminated, and everyone is making decisions based on the same data.

Cloud-based ERP solutions are ideal for small but growing businesses. They can provide robust functionality to support transaction processing, as well as sophisticated reporting capabilities to monitor business operations. Additionally, cloud-based ERP can provide external focus to improve customer service and generate new sales leads through applications such as customer relationship management (CRM). Because cloud-based ERP solutions can be deployed in a variety of platforms and configurations, they reduce initial costs and provide reasonable cost of usage. Yet this flexibility in platform configuration also provides a clear path for future evolution of systems support.

As the business grows and becomes capable of supporting an increased IT infrastructure, cloud-based systems can be brought in-house to be internally hosted. Alternatively, they can be configured in a hybrid arrangement, with some systems in a public cloud and others in a private, internal cloud. This flexible growth path means that initial ERP investments continue to provide a positive return.

But which cloud-based ERP system should you choose? The first choice needs to be between “open source” and “proprietary” software solutions. While open source software has advantages in terms of cost and availability, it is also very new and has potential support and security issues. At this point, open source is not a viable alternative on which to run your business.

Among proprietary cloud solutions, look first at a vendor’s track record. How long have they been in business? What has their year-over-year growth rate been? Remember that you are selecting a vendor for a long-term relationship. Your vendor will provide new and enhanced functionality that your business will need as it grows. Select a vendor with a good track record, a solid financial position, and the potential to grow with you.

Next, look at functionality. Select a vendor whose product has the core modules you need to run your business. Do you need manufacturing support? Do you need lot traceability? Next look for features such as multi-currency support, multi-warehouse support, and varied pricing capabilities. These are features your business may not need today, but you probably will someday as your business grows in terms of size and new markets.

Finally, look for a vendor that has a global reach, with overseas offices and partners who are prepared to help you succeed wherever your business goes.

For more information on Acumatica and its services, please click here.

By Jon Roskill

About Jon Roskill

Jon is the CEO of Acumatica. He has more than 25 years of leadership experience in the software business, including a 20-year career at Microsoft where he led efforts in product development, business operations, strategy, and marketing. As the former Microsoft Channel Chief, Jon led a global sales and marketing team of more than 5,000 employees.

Find out more
View All Articles

One Response to Cloud ERP Starter’s Guide: When QuickBooks Is Not Enough

  1. Acumatica is a great bit of software which is full of useful functionality! With the recent decision from Intuit to stop with QuickBooks Enterprise UK it really is the most logical next step.

The Collision of Cloud and Data Privacy

The Collision of Cloud and Data Privacy

Cloud and Data Privacy The “cloudification” of everything from data storage to applications to security services has increased the availability of free-flowing data, allowing business to access anything from anywhere. However, it’s raised serious concerns about the security of personally identifiable information (PII) collected and shared by businesses and government agencies across international borders, and…

What Forecasts Of Data Breaches Should Spell To Cloud Security Practitioners

What Forecasts Of Data Breaches Should Spell To Cloud Security Practitioners

Cloud Security Practitioners And Auditors Today we have seen relatively few data breaches in the cloud despite its growing use for mission-critical workloads. However, as cloud increasingly becomes the backend for our mobile devices, for the Internet of Things (IoT) and for other daily life functions, we can safely predict that hackers will set their…

Three Factors for Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Three Factors for Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy A few weeks ago I visited the global headquarters of a large multi-national company to discuss cloud strategy with the CIO. I arrived 30 minutes early and took a tour of the area where the marketing team showcased their award winning brands. I was impressed by the digital marketing strategy…

Where Is The Tipping Point For The Flying Drone Market?

Where Is The Tipping Point For The Flying Drone Market?

The Flying Drone Market In the past year I have written a number of articles here on CloudTweaks about Drones. I enjoy flying drones. One thing I’ve used my drone for is proving I didn’t need to do the worst fall maintenance job ever. Cleaning the gutters of the house by flying the drone around…

AWS re:Invent: Billions & Billions of Dollars

AWS re:Invent: Billions & Billions of Dollars

AWS re:Invent The massive AWS re:Invent show this week in Las Vegas is a celebration of cloud computing. What was formerly debatable is now inevitable: the world is moving to cloud. Amazon’s annual cloud revenues of about $7 billion, combined with an estimated $5 billion annual run rate by competitor Microsoft Azure, and the odd…

How Successful Businesses Ensure Quality Team Communication

How Successful Businesses Ensure Quality Team Communication

Quality Team Communication  (Sponsored post courtesy of Hubgets) Successful team communication and collaboration are as vital to project and overall business success as the quality of products and services an organization develops. We rely on a host of business tools to ensure appropriate customer interactions, sound product manufacturing, and smooth back-end operations. However, the interpersonal relationships…

Featured Sponsored Articles
How To Develop A Business Continuity Plan Using Internet Performance Management

How To Develop A Business Continuity Plan Using Internet Performance Management

Internet Performance Management Planning CDN Performance Series Provided By Dyn In our previous post, we laid out the problems of business continuity and Internet Performance Management in today’s online environment.  In this article, we will take a look at some of the ways you can use traffic steering capabilities to execute business continuity planning and…

Featured Sponsored Articles
Optimizing Digital Marketing Through Accessibility & Aesthetics

Optimizing Digital Marketing Through Accessibility & Aesthetics

Optimizing Digital Marketing In The Cloud Marketers are constantly looking for better ways to tantalize and engage customers, and there’s no space more competitive than the digital universe. Deliberating over pleasing layouts, effective calls to action, site responsiveness, and much more, digital marketers have more than enough to keep themselves busy without understanding the intricacies…

Featured Sponsored Articles

CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading influencers in cloud computing, infosec, big data and the internet of things (IoT) information. Our goal is to continue to build our growing information portal by providing the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more.

Sponsor