In an increasingly digital world, it may come as a shock to some that spreadsheets and accounting software are still popular tools for businesses looking to document their financial data.
“The reality is that SMME’s continue to underestimate their need for more comprehensive business management software,” says Heinrich de Leeuw, Managing Director, SEIDOR in South Africa..
“Accurate information allows team leaders and executives to make accurate decisions at the right time, without having to wait for some form of back-capturing or reconciliation,” says de Leeuw.
With an integrated, ERP system, SMME’s can easily track real-time information without the need for manual spreadsheets. They can automatically search for relevant, reliable data and share that data with other departments and using customised dashboards, ERP tools provide companies with complete visibility into all their business processes.
“For SMME’s especially, ERP gives business owners the systems they need to drive optimisation and efficiency, and the information they need to unlock business growth,” says de Leeuw
As one example, a Seidor Africa client in the beverage industry requested the implementation of SAP Business One to automate business processes as well as pro-active scheduling after users were constantly having to switch between standalone systems to get their work done.
“Post implementation, the company reported its satisfaction with a number of value-driven results and efficiencies, including task automation, time and energy savings, reduced costs and overall improved business efficiency,” says De Leeuw.
“The customer told us the change was incredible and that they would no longer be able to run the business without an ERP system because of the value add. That’s the result we want our clients to experience.”
ERP software offers SMMEs several advantages over accounting software:
1. Integrated business processes
All business processes and departments, including finance, supply chain, inventory management, human resources, and customer relationship management are integrated. The result is streamlined operations, improved collaboration, and increased efficiency.
2. Real-time notifications
Real-time data and analytics, enables SMMEs to make informed decisions quickly. The software generates reports and dashboards on business metrics, including sales, inventory levels, and cash flow, to provide a comprehensive view of the business.
ERP software is highly scalable and can grow with the business. As an SMME expands, the software can be customised to meet changing business needs and accommodate more users, departments, and locations.
4. Improved customer service and customer loyalty
By providing access to customer data, history, and preferences, the software enables the business to personalise interactions, offer better customer support, and enhance customer satisfaction.
5. Regulatory compliance
An ERP solution easily complies with regulatory requirements, including tax reporting, financial reporting, and labour laws. Automated compliance tasks reduce the risk of errors and penalties.
“SMME’s are still opting for accounting software over an ERP solution because they perceive it to be less expensive, easier to implement, and simpler to use,” De Leeuw says.
“However, ERP provides valuable insights into other areas of the business beyond finance. In addition, as a business grows, its needs become more complex, and it will require an integrated solution that can manage multiple business functions.”
Ultimately, the decision to make the switch from financial software to an ERP system should be based on the specific needs of the business and its future requirements.
“An SMME still relying on spreadsheets for daily tasks runs the risk of falling behind competitors because of inefficient manual processes, high operational costs, greater risk of errors, and limitations to growth potential,” he adds. “Switching to an ERP system such as SAP Business One offers greater control, integration, and reliability.”