At the beginning of the year, I wrote about the external forces that will be affecting Australian businesses in 2022 and beyond, and one of my recommendations was to start using an ERP.
As we get closer to the end of the financial year, I'm sure many readers will be looking into what technology investments to make for the coming year - or they may want to take advantage of some handy tax deductions before time runs out (more on this below).
ERPs come in many shapes and sizes, and it can often be difficult to understand which one to choose and which features to take a closer look at. I've worked with small businesses for over two decades and have become very familiar with what technology works and doesn't.
In the article below, I'll be outlining why now is the perfect time to upgrade to a new ERP (or make a first-time purchase of one), why SAP Business One is my top choice of ERP for small businesses, and which features will make it easier for you to grow your profits and customers.
Why you should be looking to upgrade your ERP in 2022
In Australia, we're on the cusp of some headwinds. Interest rates will no doubt be going up, the possibility of a recession for the US is close, and global supply chain issues still plague us. And while there is an argument to be made for battening down the hatches, so to say, there are opportunities for forward-thinking businesses that are keen to take them.
Future uncertainty will be making consumers more reluctant to shop at higher prices, but businesses - of all price points - should be observing the 80/20 rule and making sure that their top 20% of customers stay with them.
And to do this, businesses should be investing in systems that make their consumers want to continually choose them over their competitors.
Additionally, many businesses are still using systems that they've grown out of, whether it's Excel spreadsheets, single purpose accounting apps, or outdated ERPs. The challenge with each of these tools or processes is that they segment the business and create data silos during a time when businesses need clear and up-to-date information to make informed decisions with. An ERP will bring businesses back together in one system and improve efficiency and productivity.
Your ERP investment is tax-deductible
Another reason to look at upgrading is that the federal government is offering a 120% tax deduction via its Small Business Technology Investment book for any relevant IT expenditure for SME’s (aggregated turnover of less than $50 million). This means that every cent you spend until the end of June 2023, you could effectively get 120% tax deduction on that.
With the election of a new government that plans to release an updated budget before the end of the year, business owners should consider whether they should make IT investments before July 2022 to capitalise on current tax breaks that may not be available soon after.
And outside of tax deductions, a new ERP is a valuable tool that will continue to boost and support your business long after purchasing so considerations for long-term ROI should also be made.
5 most beneficial features of SAP Business One for small businesses
SAP Business One provides small businesses with all the features needed to improve their relationships with customers, get more visibility into their business, and understand what's coming on the horizon.
I've found that the features my clients find the most valuable are the:
1. Enterprise search
Enterprise search allows you to search your entire database without having an expert to write a query for you. You can tick what areas of the software you want it to search (for example items, business partners, price lists, or addresses), type in the word you're looking for, and it'll come back with all the records.
Businesses are made up of tonnes of information and searching for the right data can be difficult and time-consuming when you're not sure what you're looking for - but enterprise search takes the difficulties of this away and makes collecting information quick and easy.
Your customers are incredibly valuable to your business, and in the midst of increased competition, supply chain delays, and higher prices, a well-placed email could be what keeps them with you.
SAP B1's CRM will make it easy to keep track of your customers and their interactions with you, predict sales potential, and keep them up to date with stock levels.
3. Customer 360° view
When it's vital to have as much information as possible, the customer 360° view plays a crucial part in helping you understand more about your customers and predict their buying patterns.
You can analyse data about each of your customers and get predictions on their value to you, their probability to churn, the potential to win an opportunity with them, and much more. These insights will be able to guide your interactions and make sure that your customers stay loyal.
4. Cloud offering
Agility is invaluable for businesses, and improving on this means having information available whenever you need it from wherever you are. While having an on-premises system is common for small businesses, there are significant advantages to choosing the cloud version of SAP B1. Greater security, no hardware or maintenance costs, protection against data loss, and the ability to upgrade your software package in an instant all make it a valuable investment.
5. Web client
Another feature that we spoke about recently is the ability to access your ERP from any web browser on any device. This makes B1 much more approachable and accessible in an age where users expect to have access to all their tools from the mobile devices.
Why choose SAP Business One for your small business?
Many clients often wonder why SAP Business One is the best choice of ERP for small businesses, and my answer is that it's simple to use without compromising on functionality. There are many ERPs on the market but not all have an easy-to-understand interface.
When it comes to time to value, there are costs to investing in a product that could take weeks or months to learn to use. Your ERP could have all the latest features and functionality, but you could be missing out on valuable opportunities in the six months it takes you to get your head around it.
SAP has spent time and money researching how a small business operates and making the interface intuitive to somebody who doesn't necessarily have the exposure to a big system - making it all the quicker to learn for time-poor businesses.
Make the right investment for your business
If you're a small business looking to cash in on opportunities in the upcoming chaos, your IT investments should be at the top of your priorities. If you're interested in learning more about how SAP Business One could benefit you, you can read more on why your software should grow with you and another great time-saving feature that saves you hours of manual accounting.
And if you have any questions or want a demo of SAP B1, you can contact our team today to discuss how we can help you.