by by Gabby Hyman, Author, VendorGuru
Businesses considering financial software solutions should know that enterprise resource planning (ERP) and dedicated accounting software programs are not necessarily the same applications.
While both may have some overlapping features and can help with measuring performance and making projections, one simple answer is not applicable to every business operation.
Let's examine the features of commonly deployed financial management software packages.
About Enterprise Resource Planning Software
An ERP package--depending on the out-of-box features--can support an ambitious range of financial management tasks. Companies often select an ERP solution to plan product rollouts, record interactions with customers and suppliers, track inventories, and keep financial records.
Most companies that choose an ERP solution are looking to integrate their human resource records with their financial data, customer and shipping transactions, inventory, warehouse, and supply chain information--all under a single roof. One database alone allows the ERP to track information for customer relationship, time management, quality control, and financial reporting and projections.
Understanding Accounting Software Feature Sets
While a hosted or in-house accounting software package may not have the bells and whistles of a fully integrated ERP solution, it may be thorough and adequate for a business that requires accurate reporting of financials.
Accounting software can provide data management for accounts payable, accounts receivable, general ledger, credit card processing, sales and work order processing, bar coding, workflow mapping, inventory management, returns, payroll and other tasks.
ERP or Accounting Software--Which Do You Need?
In evaluating ERP and accounting software solutions, managers should appraise not only their current needs, but assess projected company growth. Hosted solutions can offer lower total package costs for medium-sized businesses over complete in-house implementations and training.
You need to know the extent of internal controls for your organization, whether and where it must comply with state and federal financial reporting regulations, and if a customized solution is more appropriate. Above all, it helps to recognize that any ERP software or accounting solution is truly necessary when you need to solve an enterprise-wide problem, rather than one that churns up a single department in your company.About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.