10 things you should know before buying erp software for small business

Any business either small or big needs automation of operations in order to track their performance and also to increase their productivity. Automation also saves lot of paper work and reduces time. These are some of the reasons why companies buy erp software for small business. Automation can be either hardware or software or can be a combination of both. Here we are going to look at software automation of business. Software automation is generally used for functions like billing, accounting, CRM, point of sale, inventory management, pay roll, and expense management in a business. What this actually means is the entire business operation is dependent on the software. So a business owner you need to look out for the following 10 things before you buy erp software for small business

1. Suitability of erp software for small business: Before automating your business you should think about critical areas of operation which requires automation. Once you are clear on that then start looking out for software companies who are strong in these areas. There are n numbers of software available in the market. But only few who have ready-made software based on the industry. It will be always wise if you go for software which is customized according to your business operations rather than general software.

2. Software Type: Next thing what you have to look out for is the type of erp software. Generally there are Desktop software and online erp software (cloud) available. Desktop erp software is system dependent whereas cloud software is internet dependent. Scalability and integration is difficult in desktop software. In online erp software it does not matter how big you scale up you can keep on adding new branches and new users for a relatively less cost compared to desktop software. So it is advisable for you to go for online.

3. Read reviews about the software: After choosing the software type you need to shortlist some of the companies who are providing this software. Once you have shortlisted the companies then you will have to read reviews about those companies on various websites. If you can get some good reviews from 4-5 websites about a software then that can be one way of deciding your software

4. Know the company existence: Check about the software company”™s existence. Look out for how many years they are in this industry. Go to their website and read about their company history and clientele. This will give you a decent idea about their credibility.

5. Service Capabilities: After sale service is another aspect you need to look in for. If something happens to the data or something happens to the software will they be supporting you? Another aspect which you have to look out for whether that available service is available in your location. If you go for online software your data will be automatically backed up and most issues can be remotely sorted out.

6. Device Compatibility: If you already have systems and other infra, you need to check whether the software you are planning to buy is compatible with the existing system. You should also check its configuration and other things. If it is not compatible, then you need to calculate even the system cost that you have to buy now. Taking all these into consideration you need to decide on your purchase.

7. Look at the Demo: You will have to see the demo of software to understand whether it is practically possible for you to implement the software. Another challenge will be on the training front. Your team of employees should have the willingness to learn the software and embrace it in the system. Otherwise it will be a waste of money in software. Once this is clear then you can implement it much easier.

8. Upgrade option: Next important aspect which you need to see is whether they have options to upgrade for a newer version. In the current scenario, almost every day a new feature or a new process is introduced. If this is the case then it is important to check whether your chosen software can give you the upgrade option. Upgrade option is automatic in most of the cloud based software. Another thing you need to know is the additional cost for the upgrade.

9. Integration of Operations: Integration of operations is one of the critical things in business. There are so many companies who invest lot of money on software without even knowing whether it can actually integrate all its functions. Many a time”™s companies do not realize it and buy software for billing, accounting, CRM, POS separately without any integration between the software. This will not solve your problem. You need to choose single software which can integrate the entire business operations as one.

10. Pricing-implementation cost: Finally, you need to check on the pricing of software. Costing does not stop with software price alone. You need to consider the implementation cost, hardware cost, maintenance cost, up gradation cost and so on. So it is always better to check all these prices and decide on the software which fits your budget.

Of course the above list is not exhaustive in nature; we can keep on adding some more things. But the major aspects are the crucial factors you need to consider before buying a business automation software.

I am a Chartered Accountant with 5 years of experience in both Consulting (KPMG) and Industry (Tapzo).

I am currently assisting various Organizations in understanding the impact of GST on their businesses to help them with a smooth transition.

Key areas of experience include:
– Developing SOPs and Process Implementation
– Identifying and Implementing Internal Controls as required by the ICFR Framework
– Training and Development of staff in various Finance/ Audit functions
– Statutory Audits

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