Why It’s Time to Leave Quickbooks and Graduate to ERP

Many businesses begin life with Quickbooks by their side. Between a strong brand presence and recommendations from peer startups, it’s no wonder its use is as common as it is. For some, Quickbooks is a natural progression for those starting out juggling spreadsheets and, with relatively inexpensive subscription levels, it appears to have a reasonable cost of entry.

As your business grows, you’ll likely add tools alongside Quickbooks.

While your accounting department is keying away in Quickbooks, your marketing team may need a way to manage campaigns or implement automation. To satisfy their needs, you may subscribe to a CRM platform like Salesforce or HubSpot.

Your sales folks need a way to manage their contacts and contracts. For this, you may discover each salesperson developed their own system using Microsoft Outlook or Apple Contacts for contact management and, perhaps, storing contract files in their DropBox, Google Drive or—heaven forbid—locally on their laptops.

The field service team finds themselves using their smartphone’s phonebook app to store important client information while using SMS to text updates back to someone at HQ.

Your manufacturing and operations team is more than happy to use the Microsoft Access database they’ve been relying on for the past ten years to manage their discreet product parts and final inventory.

As each department is focused on their areas of responsibility, your executive team finds themselves requesting exported data from each group to aggregate into an actionable view of your business.

While your business appears to be humming along, it’s easy to see there’s trouble on the horizon.

Getting on the same page

While each of your departments seem to be operating efficiently individually, there are interdepartmental disconnects that mean your business as a whole is not.

With this silo effect, data is often entered more than once. This data may also be inaccurate and out-of-sync from one department to the next.

A customer interaction with one department is not automatically shared with another. If a customer request comes into the sales department, for example, this scenario doesn’t provide the data share or automation needed for, say, the operations team to act. Or, if the sales team modifies an existing order, the accounting folks may not know to adjust the billing accordingly.

This has a tendency to result in dissatisfied customers. And, dissatisfied customers translate into lost revenue.

How can an ERP help your organization?

Your data on a single platform

An ERP (enterprise resource planning) plays a pivotal role in centralizing your business data. More importantly, it pulls your teams together to create efficient workflows and institutes vital checks and balances.

As demonstrated above, Quickbooks can help the bean counters track invoices along with inbound/outbound dollars and cents but does so within its own silo. Behind every invoice is a customer and with every customer comes a story.

A specific customer’s story needs to be shared with all team members as no single team has exclusive interactions with your customers.

While your billing team is sending invoices to a customer, the marketing team is tracking what their next purchase intent might be; the sales folks are managing the relationship with the customer; the operations team is adjusting the product output accordingly.

Keeping an eye on your business

With your data stored on a single platform, the executive team can more easily and quickly cull vital information to gauge your business’ health. When they see everything is running great, they can pop champagne sooner. More realistically, if they see an area of concern, they can get ahead of the problem faster.

It’s also more efficient [and accurate] to compare one department against another when the data is standardized. Reading from the same hymn book, areas of improvement can be more quickly identified and rectified.

Compliance and Quality Control

If compliance is a requirement for your business, mining standardized data makes adhering to corporate or governmental policies and audit submissions more exact and expeditious.

Regardless of compliance needs, quality control is fundamental to your company’s success. Whatever your widget, putting out the best possible product will be a top priority. Tracking issues in the supply chain early on, logging manufacturing speed bumps, or changes in material costs all contribute to your ability to produce a quality product.

The ability to stay on top of QC and compliance is inherent in a high quality ERP solution.

Staff Attrition

While this topic can often be a grim one, it’s a reality of running a business. Sometimes staff moves on, whether by their choice or yours, and your business needs to continue following their departure.

In a decentralized model, where individuals are maintaining their data in non-uniform, non-standardized ways, the exit of a team member can often lead to downtime with a client, lost orders, and more.

Leveraging a powerful ERP & CRM solution, a client contact no longer belongs to an individual and is, rather, shared among the team. Notes, interactions, contact details, orders, inquiries, and more exist with everyone on your team, reducing lost productivity and lost connection with your customer.

Scaling with your business

ERP solutions are known for [nearly] limitless scalability. They are built from the ground up with the understanding that they need to be as elastic as your business and grow with you. Whether adding future users, inputting massive amounts of data, or crunching numbers to produce reports quickly, an ERP platform will keep up with you.

Choosing the right ERP solution

While we covered some of the key distinctions between Quickbooks and an ERP solution, there are many more features that your business can benefit from.

Certain ERP products are industry-specific or designed to support a handful of like industries. To avoid jamming a square peg into a round hole, it’s wise to review ERP solutions already designed for what your business does rather than over-customizing a generic solution. This focus will save you time, money, and headaches.

If field service is a part of your business, be sure to implement an ERP solution that has mobile device support. Keeping your remote workers on the same platform in real-time adds even more value.

Be sure to understand what other platforms your ERP can work with and, most importantly, what platform they’re built upon. Understanding the need to combine a top-notch CRM solution, e-commerce integration, marketing and sales tools, and the like make this a powerful distinction between one ERP solution and another.

Avoid looking for workarounds to sync two or more incompatible platforms when there are available solutions already integrating them.

Just as when you’re building a home, a quality foundation is essential. Aligning your teams, your data, and your business insights into a single platform is a necessity for your company’s growth.

To learn more about how GoldFinch ERP can help you with these solutions and more, Contact Us today.

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