There is a growing market for fast and breezy accounting software in the world of small business. Makes sense, right? From the outside, the accounting department can seem straightforward; invoice the customer, receive payment, profit, repeat, right? Unfortunately, no.

While the process of billing is a big part of the finance department, it is but a portion of the tasks faced by your team. Take monthly reports as an example; they can be time-consuming and labour intensive. By automating projects, such as reports, your finance department can save a ton of time on data-driven tasks.

With a finance platform based on an ERP system, you benefit from integration that frees your financial department of much of the time-consuming manual input work they face with a non-integrated platform. With an ERP platform in place, your business can make smarter decisions and respond to changes quicker. Furthermore, with the visibility afforded to your accounting department in an ERP platform, your company benefits from the ability to make more effective decisions and spot inefficiencies in the finance department. Using an ERP platform for finance, your system will automatically gather financial data, using it to generate reports like periodical financial statements, balance sheets, and ledgers.

Stay on top of your bottom line every step of the way

By making use of a feature-rich platform for your finance needs, your company reaps the benefits of increased efficiency, visibility, and accuracy. First among these features should be competent accounts receivable and accounts payable capabilities.Your software’s billing management should integrate with sales and fulfillment to maximize accuracy, moving data and tasks through the workflow quickly and efficiently. Through this integration, your billing department benefits from fewer billing errors, increased revenue visibility, and better forecasting. The accounts capabilities of your system should also support multiple currencies, making it easy to convert between them to reduce delays.

Thesystem should also boast strong financial reporting capabilitiesto support tasks like yearly and monthly reports. Unfortunately for many manually operated finance departments, the process of month-end financial data consolidation and report building can take weeks. During this time, little to no productive work can be completed, and by the time it’s finally done, it’s nearly time to begin next months’ reports. By consolidating this information, an automated ERP system frees up the time of your finance staff, allowing them to get back to more productive tasks.

The software platform should also help your company abide by tax law and automatically complete the forms for local tax requirement. By making use an ERP platform, automatically calculated tax and built-in local tax tables provide your business with an increased capacity for meeting governmental requirements. In the same sense, the finance system should also be able to generate tax returns, should your company end up needing it. Ultimately, by determining tax burdens in your ERP solution you can get an accurate picture of your company’s tax obligations, leading to a strict tax code compliance.

Finally, the financial system should make the processing of payments easy for both you and the customer. By making use of a feature-rich ERP platform for your small business finance department, your business will benefit from the ability to process pre-payments, and generate batch invoices. With the ability to process prepayments that allow customers to make payments easily, customer satisfaction will increase. The generation of batch invoices also benefits your company by easily creating and sending off invoices to a selection of customers, making selling to a group of customers at the same time a breeze.

Making the move to an ERP

So, it's time to face the facts; while QuickBooks and single purpose business software like it can often be a good start for a small business, its limitations are inevitably going to hinder your company’s ability to grow and prosper. And with ERP platforms more accessible to small businesses than ever before, what excuse does your small business have for not realizing your full potential with an ERP system?