A growing cohort of local and regional rental businesses are taking advantage of ERP software once used exclusively by major chains. We've looked at what ERP is and who it's for, and also explored common operations-related features. In this post, we'll look at how accounting works in an ERP.
In an ERP system, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and the general ledger are all unified. This fully integrated accounting package is what differentiates ERP and non-ERP rental software, because it means all of your data is in one place. Non-ERP rental software commonly handles the operational side but does not feature a built in accounting system. Even if you integrate with third party accounting software such as QuickBooks, this means your data is likely updated only once a day, which makes it more difficult to investigate an issue or compare reports. Without a fully integrated ERP system, it can be difficult to get a complete picture of your business at any given time.
Let’s take a closer look at some accounting features.
With receivables, cash receipts are posted in the same system used for billing, so you don’t have to look in different places to see when an invoice was paid. If you post a customer payment and that customer wants a copy of their statement, you don’t have to wait for another process to run to find out what they owe you, since balances are live. Other common features:
As an example, with an ERP, if a customer wants to know what they have on rent and what their outstanding invoices are, that information can be supplied instantaneously — there’s no waiting for multiple systems to update.
In a true ERP, accounts payable is tied to purchase order receipts. You can see what POs have been received but for which AP has not yet been paid. In a single system, you can see what the check number was and when the check cleared for a specific PO. Your vendor order information and payment history is all in one place. Other common features:
“What makes ERP special is that these things are all a part of your rental system. When I write a purchase order and then receive it, and I run my accounts payable against it, being able to validate whether or not that purchase order has already been used or not, or whether it’s the same amount — these are things that are harder to do when your systems are separate.” Hernan del Aguila, Owner, Partner Rentals
With an ERP, as soon as a transaction occurs, it’s posted to the ledger. There’s no waiting until the night or the end of the month for your data to refresh. You can drill down from the GL inquiry to look at the customer or vendor invoice that generated each transaction, one of the many benefits of having all of your data in one place. Common features:
“I don’t have time to wait once a night for my data to refresh. When I need to look at something, I need to look at it now. With an ERP system, I can have everything in one system, and have it available in real time. A non-ERP would have accounting in one system and operations in another. This can cause delays and make it harder to do reporting. As one example, when I write a purchase order and then receive the item, I run my accounts payable against it. The system validates whether or not the purchase order has already been used, whether it’s the same amount — things that would be difficult when your systems are separate. Another example is if you’re looking at a certain accounting transaction in the journal, you can toggle over to the source invoice that created it, and vice versa.” Hernan del Aguila, Owner, Partner Rentals
In our next post, we'll zoom out and look at concrete benefits of an ERP to an organization using real-world examples. Stay tuned!