Your business is finally getting off the ground. Everything is running smoothly and all systems are GO!
However, this is where sales can get stagnant or plateau. A company cannot expand without creating ordered channels that work together. The next step for a growing business is to consider enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. It helps to align operations and position your business for growth.
What is an ERP?
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is software that companies use to organize daily operations. It’s a cost-effective solution that enables the flow of transactional data from multiple sources and the management of ongoing business processes like accounting, human resources, sales, marketing, and data security.
ERP software for small businesses was developed in 1992 by IBM engineers looking to refine and automate workflows. Since then, the ERP industry has proved an intensely competitive market with a variety of platforms to choose from.
When it comes to small business management, cloud computing is changing the game. ERPs provide data integrity with a single source of truth and combine business operations into one manageable dashboard.
ERP for Small Business
- Cost: Look at subscription plans, maintenance, implementation, and customizations
- Scalability: Is the system designed to grow with your business? Can it cope and perform under pressure?
- Integrations: Offers several standalone apps that assist with operations
- Usability: Has a short learning curve, easy to train on, and quick to implement
- Mobility: Can you use the system from anywhere at any time? Does it have cloud capabilities?
After taking some of these key points into consideration, check out these top five ERP software solutions and what they can offer your small business today:
SAP Business One
SAP Business One is an affordable solution for a small business or startup. It helps consolidate and manage your entire operations from a single platform. The brand aims to introduce automation to key business functions like finance, human resources, sales, project management, and more. Gain greater control with a system that drives profitable growth based on real-time information.
- Reduce errors, improve margins, and drive profitable decision-making with automated accounting tools
- Oversee the entire sales process and the customer lifecycle, from initial contact to final sale
- Optimize purchasing practices and control costs by managing the complete order-to-pay cycle
- Empower staff to make smarter decisions with critical data, available instantly, company-wide
- Produce timely and accurate reports based on universal data and in-depth analytics tools
- User interface and dashboard are simple and easy to use
- Relationship Maps show the entire customer lifecycle from start to finish
- Easy to pay and bill vendors and customers
- Limited customization and Human Capital Management functionalities
- Add-ons and extra feature costs can add up, making it less affordable
- There can be a sharp learning curve with tough implementation
Odoo is a small business ERP solution that targets a wide range of industries. The open-source ERP and CRM system was designed with smaller businesses in mind.
The Odoo platform offers tools for a variety of business intelligence functions that include apps for operations, sales, marketing, human resources, e-commerce, customization, and more.
The ERP program seamlessly integrates functional business apps that form an ERP solution when combined.
- Sales templates for polished quotes in minutes. Send offers with clear pricing and let the customer take over
- Automate procurement propositions, track purchase orders, and manage supplier invoices and data
- Collaborative and real-time project management that works inside your sales funnel with instant visual data
- E-commerce software with a large catalog of products and content descriptions
- Inventory management to decrease process times, reduce stock levels, and automate transactions
- Highly intuitive ERP at an incredibly affordable price
- Seamless integration between modules with detailed records
- Simple implementation with staff management and scalability
- The default user interface is clunky and requires customization
- Limited resources on support with long customer service wait times
- Development can be a challenge since it’s in multiple languages
Acumatica is one of the top ERPs for small businesses and offers a complete set of modules that run the gamut from reporting to centralized security, an integrated digital document system, and efficient order management. The platform also provides accounting software and cloud ERP.
Leverage powerful customization tools to tailor reports and gain real-time insights into data from anywhere, at any time. The extended ERP functionality helps to manage fixed assets and deferred revenues to deliver top ROI on all your tech investments.
- Manage fixed assets and deferred revenues to deliver top ROI on all tech investments
- Different versions are available based on industry, like Commerce, Manufacturing, and Distribution
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) with real-time data on customer insights, activities, quotes, etc.
- Project accounting to handle complex billing rules on project attributes
- Financial applications that are suited for complex multinationals
- Continuously updated and improved interface with unlimited users
- Reporting with drill-down expense categories and individual claims
- CRM to manage customer information in a single spot
- User interface is difficult to personalize and can’t “hide” features
- Email integration is rough and requires users to share passwords
- Denial of claims require a manual email to correct
Microsoft Dynamics GP
Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains) offers an out-of-the-box solution for comprehensive business management software.
The SaaS platform has universal functionality from finances to operations and human resources. Microsoft Dynamics GP was designed to connect all the moving parts in an organization, allowing for better control, visibility, and supervision.
- Available on-premise, public/private cloud, and hybrid
- Supply chain management with inventory, production, returns, and more
- Payroll, accounting, and financial management with banking, cash, and assets
- Real-time data and analytics to track performance and gain actionable insights
- Manage all sales opportunities, professional services, contracts, and other specific needs
- Simple employee management with a universal database
- Easy and quick to process payables with multiple team members
- End-of-year taxes with health insurance forms and W2 documents
- A simple task can be complicated because there are too many options and buttons on the dashboard
- Modules don’t always communicate well and data is out of sync
- Reporting can be a bit weak and word-templates are not always user-friendly
Microsoft Dynamics is an ERP solution and is similar to Dynamics GP except you must purchase it on a subscription basis. It has recently been rebranded as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and offers full flexibility to deploy in the cloud or on-premises.
The platform handles everything from analytics and invoicing to social media and CRM. It’s similar to Microsoft NAV, but simply on a smaller scale.
- Flexible deployment, security, and reliability for all your business needs
- Connect people, processes, and insights with embedded guidance
- Increased visibility and performance with accelerated close, forecasting, and performance metrics
- Improve customer service and boost sales by managing the entire end-to-end sales process
- Simple and straightforward dashboards that integrate with all MS apps
- Business automation for workflows is extremely helpful with a quick view of data
- Everything is in the cloud which makes it great for a company with remote workers
- Lead scoring with audience segmentation and marketing strategy
- Learning how to retrieve data is not always intuitive. There are hundreds of options
- The more you customize the system, the more it seems to lag
- Does not provide the HTML for forms. Just a DIV that needs authentication
Features offered include everything from accounts payable to warehouse management, taxes, bank reconciliation, and in-depth reporting. In addition, QuickBooks Desktop offers a version specifically designed for CPAs.
- Monitor cost of goods, product levels, and receive notifications when inventory is low
- Capture receipts with a smartphone, run basic reports and automate quarterly tax estimations
- All types of tracking from income and expenses to mileage, invoices, project profitability, and accepting payments
- Manage bills and track status, create recurring payments, and pay multiple suppliers at one time
- Maximize tax deductions and sort business expenses automatically into the right tax categories
- Can create an organizational budget as well as one for each specific program
- Basic customization of invoices and language to match customer needs
- Allows for rules to be set for common, recurring revenue and expenses
- It can be difficult to correct posting errors, modify coding in an invoice, or match unapplied payments
- Budget features leave a lot to be desired, hard to populate, and maintain
- Customer support can be inconsistent and lack knowledge
Which Type of ERP Software is Right for Your Small Business?
88% of organizations consider their ERP implementation a huge part of their success. When looking to purchase the right ERP, it should start with an industry-specific approach. Look for a system that’s tailored to the needs of your specific market.
You may also want to look at how the system is hosted. The best ERP software for smaller companies are cloud-based systems. They’re less complex and easier to set up.
Lastly, consider ERP systems like those on this list, which are designed with a small business in mind. These are the types of programs that will quickly streamline platforms and better position a small business for growth.