No entrepreneur running a small or mid-sized business has time or funds to waste on the wrong ERP system.
The problem is that so few of us have the time and funds to thoroughly examine every offering in the enterprise resource planning field. To help solve this problem, the experts at FindAccountingSoftware.com have spent over 15 years monitoring the field. They have assessed the strengths of many software providers and seen many implementations. From this wealth of experience, they offer some great advice on how to find the best ERP software for your SME:
1. Assess your processes – It's hard to decide which way to go until you know where you are. In their roadmap for the selection process, FindAccountingSoftware highlights 12 questions you should answer to get a sense of the lay of the land. They recommend a thorough SWOT evaluation for each point. And this preparation is too important to skimp on. If you think you're in Los Angeles but you're actually in NYC, traveling 20 miles east will have vastly different results.
2. Develop criteria – With a candor you can respect, FindAccountingSoftware acknowledges that the bottom line might be the top priority. High-quality software providers will work with you on financing options, though. This frees up some space to consider the most pressing needs in your company–the places where an ERP suite will give you the best return on your investment. In addition, the roadmap points out 9 other aspects of a software upgrade that you definitely want to bear in mind.
3. Find matches for your needs – This is the tough one. And this is where FindAccountingSoftware makes their strongest value proposition. They have the means to give you some general suggestions after a single, free phonecall. Of course, for more support on finding the best ERP match for your company, you can invest a little more into their services.
4. Have a friendly conversation – The initial contact with the ERP vendor might give you a lot of information about whether you want to pursue things farther. You're not merely purchasing software, you're starting a business relationship with another company, so try to get a sense of their culture and approach.
5. Make a shortlist – Or a spreadsheet. Or a chart. Just something to help you rank each of the current candidates. Comparing what you need (that prep work from steps 1 and 2 is vital here) to what they offer will help you quickly identify the tools that are serious options.
6. Schedule demos – Talking about functionality and features is well and good, but before you make a decision about such an important element in your business, you definitely want a test drive. Whether you or their representatives steer the mouse, you'll get a much better sense of what the system offers. Take time to explore the areas of the software that address your company's current weak spots.
7. Get into the nitty-gritty questions – Investigate the details around the software too. You'll need to find out about implementation processes, training, documentation, support services, updates, and more. FindAccountingSoftware feels this conversation is so important that they have prepared a separate post to help you.
8. Check proposals and references – Ask your top candidates to come forward with the fine print and the track-record. The final decision might come down to what exactly is spelled out in the proposal, but you should always get in touch with the vendor's past customers. Ideally you'll be able to contact a new customer who can speak to how the vendor is working right now, plus an older customer who can tell you how the long-term relationship actually works.
9. Decide with confidence – A pitfall at the end of this process is to start thinking that none of the candidates are "perfect" matches. While that is likely to be the case, you also need to balance the long-term costs of not improving your business processes. As your company grows, are those trouble-spots just going to go away? To quantify these kinds of details, FindAccountingSoftware offers a helpful ROI calculator.
This quick overview can help you get started in finding the right ERP software for your company and a free call to FindAccountingSoftware representatives could help even more. If you already have a sense of what your business needs, we invite you to compare what aACE 5 offers in our comprehensive, yet elegant business software suite.