Although the terms ERP system and accounting system are often used interchangeably, they are not one and the same thing. Typically, a basic accounting application consists of what we in the industry call GLAPAR – General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable. ERP on the other hand stands for Enterprise Resource Planning, defined by Wikipedia (an invaluable but sometimes dubious reference tool) as a system which is intended to manage all the information and functions of a business or company; a commercial software package that promotes seamless integration of all the information flowing through a company.
All the information flowing through a company? This means that the accounting system – the GL, AP and AR – is actually a subset of the ERP system. What else is included in an ERP system? Well, it does somewhat depend on the package, but typically there would be modules for manufacturing, wholesale/distribution, inventory management, supply chain management, human resources, payroll and perhaps more. Microsoft Dynamics GP, for example, is an ERP solution that covers all of the above-mentioned bases.
Add dashboards into the equation and you have the best of all worlds. By accessing data from Dynamics GP, individualized dashboards can be created to meet the needs of every end user. Dashboards consolidate KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) in dynamically updated graphical format – easy to read and easy to understand. Reports don’t have to be re-created and re-run every time you want to view a business indicator, say for example, sales by sales rep or by product line or by accounting period. Just refresh the dashboard and the up-to-the-minute data appears (like magic). What a concept!
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