Learn how to look for the symptoms
At DWD Technology Group, we’ve seen it time and again. Companies that were just fine running entry level software when they first started, have grown and are struggling now that they’ve got more data, more employees, more inventory, and more complexity than their small business system was built for.
Every company experiences the limitations of small business software in different ways. But here are some symptoms that we’ve found to be the most common and problematic.
1. The Software Becomes Too Slow or Locks Up
Sometimes small business software ain’t so quick. Especially after you hit that tipping point where you’ve added more data, users, and transactions than it was designed to handle.
While it’s different for every company, businesses that manage volumes of work orders or inventory are going to run up against limitations sooner than a company using their software system for basic accounting and payroll.
But the symptoms are almost always the same. The software starts to slow to a crawl and on some occasions, will freeze up completely.
- Transactions take longer to process
- Reports are slower to generate
- Operations come to a halt because your small business software has to be reset
- Your system becomes unstable and you risk losing valuable company data
It’s not hard to see that at some point, your slow and unstable accounting software is hurting productivity and putting your data at risk.
2. Duplicate Data Entry and Errors
As your business operations become more complex, people begin to manage data outside of your software system. For example, you might be tracking customers or inventory in spreadsheets or maybe processing orders and shipments in an external software application.
Whatever the case, you’re probably doing more work outside of your original entry level software than in it.
At some point, employees typically re-enter all that external data into your software system so it’s available in the accounting system for invoicing and reporting. But this process of managing multiple databases and duplicate data entry leads to a mountain of problems:
- Hours of tedious, manual data entry in multiple systems becomes very costly
- Duplicate data entry leads to errors like missed shipments or lost invoices
- Reports are often inaccurate, unreliable, and take days to cobble together from multiple spreadsheets and software applications.
3. Lack of Accounting Controls and Security
When only a few people are using your software system, restricting access to functions and data isn’t a huge challenge. But with more people using your accounting software, you need better control over who gets access to certain screens, functions, and data. And while entry level software generally provides some level of control, there are still many “holes” and circumstances where critical financial data can be changed (or even deleted) without proper compliance or audit trails.
4. The Standard Reports Don’t Cut It
The standard reports found in entry level software might have been adequate in the beginning. But as your company grows and there are more moving parts to manage, you tend to need more detailed and sophisticated reports.
If you’ve tried to modify or customize one of your small business software reports, you already know it isn’t simple.
Compare that with the experience of our customers running Sage 100, for example. They have access to the industry-standard and customizable Crystal Reports, in addition to sophisticated business intelligence dashboards and the drag-and-drop report building capabilities of Sage Intelligence.
In short, a more capable ERP system allows you to slice, dice, and analyze your data and operations without the help of an IT guy or paying a fortune to customize the proprietary reports in your entry level software system.
5. The Software Doesn’t Play Well with Others
Whether it’s a separate time entry system, online web store, or external application built specifically for your industry, there are going to be times when you need some other system to connect with your core accounting software. Unfortunately, integrating with an entry level system or getting data in and out isn’t all that easy.
It’s almost unavoidable that as your business grows, the number of systems you use will expand. To be effective and efficient, you need all of your technology systems and software communicating with each other. Otherwise, you end up with the costly challenges mentioned earlier like duplicate data entry, errors, and unreliable reports.
Do These Symptoms Sound Familiar?
If your company is at a pivotal growth stage or suffering from any of these symptoms, you’ll need a knowledgeable technology consultant and business software provider to find a solution that fits your business.
At DWD, we specialize in helping companies move up from entry level software systems such as QuickBooks, Sage 50 and BusinessWorks and move on with their business. Get in touch and find out how we can help.