A growing business tends to find itself outstripping the capabilities of its first accounting software package—which is almost always QuickBooks. QuickBooks is great for small companies. It just doesn’t do well as a business matures and develops more complex accounting software requirements. Upgrading from QuickBooks is, or should be, an inevitable consequence of growth. The question facing business managers, though, is “when should I do it?”
As your business grows, you may find your organization struggling with the limitations of its accounting package. There comes an inevitable moment when an upgrade off of QuickBooks becomes a wise choice. Your business processes get more complex, stretching QuickBooks beyond what it was designed to do. At that moment, it’s time to move toward accounting and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that suits the needs of a bigger business.
How will you know when you’re ready? For one thing, you might start to see that you need ERP functions, not just bookkeeping. If you need to keep better track of suppliers and orders than you can manage with Excel, your brain cells, and QuickBooks’ relatively limited features in this department, you’re ready for ERP. A proper ERP solution lets you manage vendors, orders, logistics and finance in a single application.
Another clue emerges from your needs for hosting and scale. Do you know how big your business will be next year? You probably don’t, but chances are you’re planning on it being bigger than it is today. Financial software for a growing business should provide multiple options for deployment and scalability, e.g. having the ability to run accounting/ERP completely in the cloud or on-premises. The choice should be yours, without having to accept tradeoffs in terms of performance or features.
Mobility matters. Employees are on the move as never before. You still have to keep your business running even when they’re not in the office, though. What’s needed is a fully-functioning accounting/ERP solution in mobile form.
At the same time, your business is likely generating more data than it ever has. Some of that data will help you get better at operational management. Other data will contribute insights useful for growth. Some data is worthless—but do you know what is what? Customized workflows and reports give your people the tools they need to conduct processes efficiently and leverage the right data to take your business to the next level.
Getting bigger usually also means needing to be compliant with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). QuickBooks cannot help you here because it lets you delete transactions and restate results in a given accounting period without leaving an audit trail. (GAAP forbids these practices, and for good reason. Both moves allow for material misstatements of financial condition.) If your business requires audits and financial disclosure to lenders, you’re going to need GAAP-compliant books.
Do you need flexible access controls? That’s a sign that you’re ready to move beyond QuickBooks. After all, not every employee needs to see every system element and bit of data in your company. With access controls, you can build customized User Experience (UX) and dashboards, with data access restrictions based on role.
Integrations, beyond what QuickBooks can do, demonstrate the value of upgrading. For instance, customer service can improve with the integration of Customer Resource Management (CRM) software with ERP. That way, when customers call about an order, customer support people get a complete view of the customer, including their current order status and purchasing history. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and a Software Developer Kits (SDKs) facilitate integration. ERP systems built for big business have APIs and SDKs.
While QuickBooks has some of the features described above, they tend to be limited in scope. If your business needs these features, it may be time to think about moving to a more advanced accounting/ERP software. This could require some external guidance and internal change management. Contact us and let iPro help you make the right decision for your business!