Seeking a holistic, wide-angle view of a company’s mission, culture, health, and progress leads to better insight for business decisions aligned with your mission. ERP dramatically influences the one resource that affects all the others: time.
We all get the same 1440 minutes every day. No matter what we do, we can never get more than that. The only chance we have at maximizing our productive hours is to manage those minutes better, and not with just a “produce-or-die” mindset. Planning the time resource in a way that minimizes stress respects time as the tremendous asset that it is. Well-managed resources make for a flourishing company culture. And nothing brings your desired business outcomes to fruition better and faster than a dedicated culture excited to be a part of your mission.
The Problem Is More Than Money
Legacy accounting systems typically don’t have the functionality to close the books on a timely basis. Mistimed transactions, a lack of supporting information, insufficient reports, and out-of-sync subledgers delay reconciling accounts—placing an undue burden on financial team members.
Waiting for information is not just inefficient, but maddening. Using external tools to calculate and reconcile may feel like progress because at least you’re coming up with data, but it’s a seriously ineffective use of time. Each step of that time-consuming process introduces the potential for errors, leading to less accurate data or outright misinformation. This in turn reduces trust in the data coming out of finance across the organization, which makes everyone less effective.
How Did We Get Here?
Being without optimized ERP solutions is a surprisingly easy position for companies to find themselves in—more common than you may realize. Organizations may delay a system upgrade because of cost or defer making a decision because they don’t know what the best solution is. The next thing they know, they’re several versions behind in software releases. Or a company may have a current software version of an older solution missing critical functionality to create a more effective close process. All of these degrade the time resource further in addition to eating away at data integrity.
When Bad System Limitations Happen to Good Employees
When a legacy system doesn’t have the range of capabilities to accurately automate processes, resourceful team members get good at creating workarounds. Disparate, segregated, time-consuming workarounds.
Many keep working harder. As accountants, we’ve been raised to roll up our sleeves, do the work, put in the hours, and get the job done. This response compounds the problem, with organizations challenging themselves to be more productive without adding additional staff. Team members work late nights and weekends in order to meet closing deadlines.
The primary result is employee burnout. Every manager knows this is no way to go about retaining exceptional talent. Everyone has a breaking point. Having to work to the point of frustration or exhaustion day after day will have even your most reliable team members finding theirs.
From Employee Burnout to Data Inconsistency
Your entire organization, its culture, and its mission depend to no small degree upon accuracy from the financial department. Resource allocation must be prompt, correct, and in line with the stated business outcomes you’re all working towards. Think on this: your financial team works themselves into a frenzy to close the books and create needed reports for other departments. But nobody trusts the accuracy of that data because of system limitations. Where does that leave the company? In a state of anxiety and wariness. Other departments second-guess and try to come up with their own information—moving along the same employee burnout trajectory, further eroding data integrity, and degrading their own time resource.
The Wisdom of Youth
We’ve also seen a trend toward younger employees making employment decisions based on the tools and systems available to them. The youngest working generation knows only the cloud—connected systems that look and feel like Facebook and LinkedIn. They recognize the problems with location-limited systems, see the issues disconnected data creates, and know the advantages of state-of-the-art ERPs.
Legacy systems portray a corporate attitude of being behind the times and being wary of innovation. This generation is perceptive enough to (rightly) know that an employer investing in technology will also invest in employees. We all want to feel valued, and these impressions in the interview process speak volumes.
ERP Solutions Break the Employee Burnout Cycle
Investing in modern ERP software can yield significant results: Increased efficiency, faster access to better data, improved employee morale and retention, and ultimately, better business decisions come from forward-thinking time and resource management.
A finance team that knows the data within the system is accurate doesn’t have to spend an inordinate portion of their time resource getting data outside of system parameters. They can generate timely, accurate reports and reconcile accounts quickly. Other departments can trust these reports and make solid decisions based on that information, rather than second-guessing and trying to generate their own data. One up-to-date ERP system will enable an organization to do more and do it better with way less stress and employee burnout.
Turn Your Liability Into an Asset
You can kick the can down the road in an effort to avoid making a decision. The only thing it gets you is older, with the same legacy system doing even less of what you want it to do. Remember that choosing not to decide is still a choice. Modern ERP solutions can and do deliver strong returns for time and resource management. You don’t need to wait a year or two before system integration. Leading ERP solutions are delivering workable systems in three to six months, so why wait?