Bare-bones applications and spreadsheets aren’t a scalable management solution for a growing consumer business. Learn how top ERP software systems can help your businesses scale faster and make smarter decisions.

If you find yourself handling a lot of your accounting tasks in spreadsheets, because your current payroll services and business software doesn’t have the capabilities you need, it’s a sign you need to upgrade to an enterprise resourcing planning, or ERP, solution.

Cloud-based ERP software provides real-time data and brings substantial benefits to a small or medium-sized business. Even if you think your incumbent solution is sufficient, the truth is, if you’re running a startup or other fast-growing business, you have no idea where your business is going to be next week, much less six months from now.

A better solution is to have a software application that’s as dynamic as your business. A good ERP enables bold, swift decision-making. It both informs and responds to the rapid shifts in your business. That’s a competitive advantage in pretty much any industry. And it’s something homegrown or off-the-shelf solutions just can’t provide.

Still skeptical? To illustrate the benefits of a cloud-based ERP application, here are three of the many ways leading cloud-based ERP software applications promote better and smarter moves for businesses of all sizes.

1. How ERP Systems Promote Visibility for Growing Businesses

If spreadsheets are your tried-and-true way of tracking records and calculating business expenses, this may be hard to hear. But bloated and unwieldy spreadsheets aren’t just bad for the productivity of the person who has to sort through and manage those spreadsheets — they’re bad for business. Even if you’ve rigged up some functions to update cells automatically, there’s still that inevitable delay between business leaders needing data and the time it takes to generate the reports.

Similarly, piece-meal business management apps for things like payroll or accounting, while usually fast and easy-to-use, they don’t allow for business specific configurations. Worse, they keep your data in silos, making it hard to create a cross-functional view of your business’s health.

A cloud-based ERP platform, by comparison, gives companies a shared a database for most or all of its essential activities, from Human Resources to inventory management to tracking expenses and more. And being cloud-based, the data is truly real-time, meaning you can generate comprehensive reports on the state of your business on-the-fly. That’s a big deal in today’s business environment, where companies are no longer waiting for quarterly closes to generate financial statements.

From motivating sales professionals to identifying anomalies in your supply chain to making business-changing financial decisions, visibility counts. Investing in an ERP gives you the insight you need into your business’ operations to ensure your making the best possible decision for your business in light of the data.

2. Top ERP Software Systems Scale With Your Business

Small business applications can be the right choice for an early stage company, under the right circumstances. For one, the learning curve is low, meaning you can get a lot done with only a little education on the platform. They’re also relatively inexpensive, and being generally web-based, they’re usually easy to deploy from an IT perspective.

But overtime that simplicity starts to look like more and more like a drawback. Since entry level software applications don’t offer customization capabilities your business will be stuck when it outgrows the limited feature-set. Furthermore, these applications are targeted at business owners managing small teams and therefore tend to lack satisfactory collaboration tools, making tasks more tedious for employees.

The point is, small business applications and spreadsheets are not designed to handle the needs of a growing HR department or sales team. They just don’t scale. Cloud-based ERP software, by comparison, is not only customizable, it can easily expand by adding different modules or features. So if your business grows fast, or it decides to pivot, your software will be able to keep up. You won’t need to painstakingly create new spreadsheets, or go through the process of selecting a new slate of applications again. In this way, cloud-based ERP and business management systems enables business leaders to make and execute on decisions without being delayed because IT can’t keep up.

3. Easily Maintain Compliance With Cloud-Based Solutions

From disgruntled employees to tax exposure to data privacy breaches, growing companies face a slew of potential compliance risks — risks that spreadsheets and bare-bones small business apps don’t adequately protect you from. Even with the advent of shared drives and change tracking, spreadsheets in most cases don’t provide the adequate documentation regulatory or tax auditors will require from you.

Small businesses mobile apps aren’t much better, unfortunately, because in the interest of ease of use, they usually don’t retain records (at least, not any records the user can access) of events and details like who logged on when, what data they changed, etc.

Whether it’s industry standards like PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), data privacy laws like CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) or GDPR (the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation), or SCE regulations, like GAAP, top ERP software systems have the data and the tools employees need to comply with your business’s regulatory responsibilities. They’re designed for the needs of a big or growing business that’s increasingly under public scrutiny, so you don’t have to rely on some overworked employee in marketing to manually gather the data that shows you’re suitably preserving customer privacy.

Choosing the Right ERP System for Your Business

Once you’ve made the choice to update your accounting policies and systems, choosing the right ERP system can be daunting. Your business is unique, and you don’t want a cookie cutter software that may not have the functions you want or be able to integrate the internal systems you want to keep. Thankfully, there are Technology Solutions professionals ready to help answer your questions, choose a small business accounting software and customize it to your growing needs.

One of the largest California accounting and consulting firms, BPM has the talent your growing business needs to implement effective ERP systems. The seasoned professionals in our Technology Solutions group bring a productive mix of industry and consulting experience to bear on your projects, so you know you’re getting the exact services and solutions you need. Learn more about our Technology Solutions practice and contact our team today.

Headshot of Bryan Rhody.

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