When you started your businesses, it’s likely you wanted to get up and running as quickly and affordably as possible. You probably had no idea how quickly you’d grow, the decisions you’d need to make in the future, the operational complexities you’d be facing, or even your ultimate direction. 

So, you may well have opted for basic accounting software such as QuickBooks, Xero, or MYOB. 

While it's tempting to stick with what's familiar and is ‘doing the trick’, doing so can limit your business's potential for growth and success. As the volume of invoices and the number of suppliers increases, it only gets harder. And you’re probably wondering how you are going to cope, without overextending your resources. 

So, how do you know when it’s time to make the move to a more advanced system like NetSuite or Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Warning sign 1: You’re slow to make decisions because you can’t access your data

The ability to make smart, fast, well-informed decisions is critical to running a business. If you can’t get access to the real-time and historical data that you need to make decisions - it’s likely that you’ve outgrown your basic accounting software. 

While your current software provides you with standard financial reports like profit and loss, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, it’s likely you have no ability to customise your reporting. And if the data it does use comes from other ‘taped together’ systems, it may not even be accurate. Getting what you need probably requires a few workarounds. For example, exporting data from multiple sources, cleaning it up in a spreadsheet, and then bringing it into yet another tool for visualisation. And you guessed it. These manual processes are time-consuming and often result in outdated data by the time your reports are ready to use. 

Solution: You’ll have discovered that as your business grows, you need more advanced reporting capabilities to better understand the financial health of your business and make data-driven decisions. 

An ERP offers powerful reporting and analytics capabilities, allowing you to generate customised reports and analyse your financial data in near-real-time. For example, you could merge inventory and past sales data to support demand planning and forecast revenue. 

With an ERP, you have a centralised data hub which allows you to easily generate accurate and timely reports using real-time data to help guide your business decisions. 

Warning sign 2: You’re spending a lot of time manually updating systems and spreadsheets

Are you losing more and more time from your day, or adding hours to your admin budget (and some unhappy person is having to stay late or fall behind), because you’re having to manually update systems and spreadsheets to manage your finances? That’s a clear warning that your business is outgrowing its accounting software. 

As your business grows and the number of customers increases, the amount of data that needs to be processed eventually becomes too much for your accounting software to handle. Time that could be spent more profitably on other tasks gets dedicated to a tedious data entry and extraction process. And as with any repetitive job, errors creep in – so the integrity of your data becomes questionable. 

Solution: The good news is that implementing an ERP can help you automate these everyday tasks, streamline your workflows, and reduce errors, while freeing up your team to focus on those strategic tasks that drive business innovation and growth. 

With an ERP, you can integrate data from various departments and systems to get a more holistic view of your business. Best of all, you’ll get a more efficient and accurate financial management system that can support your business's continued growth. 

On a short leash with QuickBooks

After implementing an ERP, Natural Pet Food Group grew well over 30% without having to add more hours or people to their accounts function!

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Warning sign 3: Your business growth is stymied

Times have been exciting, and your business has expanded into new warehouses, locations, or even separate entities. Go you!  

But your accounting software simply isn’t equipped to handle the increased complexity of your operations. It may help you organise your financial transactions, but it’s not designed to support the needs of your multi-entity business. 

Solution: ERPs like NetSuite or Microsoft Dynamics 365 are designed to support multi-entity, multi-currency, and multi-language, enabling you to manage your operations as you take on new territories. On top of that, many ERPs can provide support for more advanced operations, such as intercompany transactions. They offer a unified view of your operations, providing you with greater visibility into the financial health of your business. 

Warning sign 4: Your left hand doesn’t know what your right hand is doing

You’re not alone. Small businesses often start out with multiple software solutions to help them manage specific functions and tasks. But as your business grows, all these different solutions may be holding your business back because your information is siloed across teams and various systems. In other words, it’s hard to see or get at, so you are unable to work as ‘one’ business.  

Working with accounting software that doesn’t integrate with your other systems, such as your CRM or inventory management software, means that you’re managing multiple data sources, which can lead to duplications and error-prone manual work. 

So - if your systems don’t integrate with each other, how can you get a comprehensive view of your business? 

Solution: With all your core business functions and their data in one place (i.e., an ERP) you have a 360° view of the entire business.  

Having your data at your fingertips empowers you to make informed decisions, improve collaboration between departments, and support your business's continued growth. 

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Warning sign 5: It takes FOREVER to reconcile month-end close

If month-end requires pizzas and a few energy drinks to help you get through the days (if not weeks!) to close out the books, then the writing is on the wall for your current accounting system. 

The long and arduous process of month-end is often a resource-intensive process that involves reviewing, documenting, and reconciling all financial transactions across the entire business. 

And guess what? It happens all over again the following month! 

As your business grows, each of your new offices is likely to create their own accounts. It doesn’t take long to reach a tipping point where this level of complexity becomes too difficult to manage. 

All these repetitive manual processes are exhausting for your finance team, who could be better utilised on more strategic work like identifying new revenue opportunities – or even reducing the number of admin hours required to pull it all off. 

Solution: Automating account reconciliation with ERP significantly improves the accuracy and efficiency of the accounting process, allowing for faster and more reliable financial reporting at the end of each month – or whenever you need it! 

An ERP reduces your reliance on spreadsheets and automates financial processes, pulling your data into one place. This makes it easier for your finance team to access it, generate the necessary reports, and close the books faster at month-end. You can still enjoy pizzas together, but they no longer need an incentive to work late.  


If you're experiencing any of the early warning signs outlined above, it’s time to consider investing in a more advanced system like an ERP.  

An ERP like NetSuite or Microsoft Dynamics 365 can equip your business with the tools it needs to manage finances more efficiently, improve decision-making, and support continued growth and success. And if any of the above warning signs sound familiar, then it’s not a moment too soon. 

Great outcomes start with great conversations


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