Feb 26, 2014
For many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), when it comes to mining financial data in search of actionable information, any old ERP system — regardless of how it’s deployed — simply won’t cut it.
While it’s true that on-premises ERP platforms are a HUGE step up from using spreadsheets and QuickBooks to organize financial information, they’re just not guaranteed to produce the data you need — easily, anyway.
The best way to increase your overall visibility into your financial data — without having to shell out thousands of dollars for these “extra” services — is to use cloud ERP. Many cloud ERP offerings allow you to deploy and maintain the most recent release of the most sophisticated platforms on the market.
Here are six reasons why SMBs should use cloud ERP to improve visibility into their financial data.
You can afford it: Smaller companies usually fall to the mercy of what they can afford, which often isn’t much. Unfortunately, the cliché of “you get what you pay for” often comes into effect for ERP solutions. Less powerful systems don’t provide the visibility into financial data that you need. For these kinds of advanced capabilities, SMBs often have to spend more money for someone to deploy the upgrades. Or, they have to hire someone with a more technical background to build the reports they’re looking for, and that also gets very costly. With cloud ERP, you get the benefit of the subscription model, which means a powerful solution is available out-of-the-box and at a more affordable cost.
Subscription models allow your IT budget to be predictable: Rather than spending thousands for a new server and software, then paying nothing for a few months before again spending more for upgrades or service, subscription plans keep these numbers constant month to month. Plus, your system stays on the most recent version of the software, so you get the latest features without having to pay extra.
It’s fast: Many ERP platforms offer built-in dashboard capabilities, reports and the ability to create ad-hoc reports in real time. These platforms span across several databases. Cloud-based platforms also enable companies to access this data from a mobile device.
No more tracking down versions of documents: Think about how much time you spend finding out who has the most recent version of a template, document or any content related to the company. How often have the words “when I get back into the office” come out of your mouth when action items had to be put on hold temporarily because you did not have remote access to the files you needed. With cloud technology, companies have the ability to access and share real-time data in a single repository.
It’s safer: Some SMBs use online repositories such as Dropbox for a shared drive hosted online, but a lot of them are still managing files by saving them on spreadsheets. Heaven forbid someone breaks into that person’s car and steals their machine. Just like that, all of their financial data is gone. A lot of companies are running that risk. If they simply used a cloud solution, they’d be so much safer.
Better audit trails: Having a complete audit trail up to the transaction level helps streamline decision-making for SMBs. These systems allow managers to see who checked out the files, when they did it and what changes they made. Did someone make a critical error? Find out who made the error and simply recover a previous version before the changes were made.
Mining financial data for actionable information is easier than you think with cloud ERP. These programs allow SMBs to become more productive because they spend less time performing administrative tasks, sharing documents and fighting with spreadsheets.