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Darren Talley

ERP 101 : What is an ERP system?

ERP 101 : What is an ERP system?

(Updated and republished in 2023 from a 3/16/17 blog post.)

ERP AKA Enterprise Resource Planning AKA Accounting Software AKA Business Management Software. Whatever you call it, this blog talks about the basics.

What is an ERP system?

An ERP system is a shared database software that serves as the backbone software you use to run your business. Your guy in the warehouse will use the ERP to receive pick lists for fulfillment; your customer service reps use your ERP system to enter orders and track support tickets; accounting uses ERP for receiving and paying invoices. And so much more.

A good, end-to-end connected ERP will be equally beneficial for your employees in the office, as the ones in the field and in the warehouse. 


What are the primary modules of an ERP?

The primary modules of an ERP system are essential components that work together to streamline and optimize various aspects of your business operations. The day-to-day functions of your team will determine which modules you will need. 

1. Accounting/Financial Management

The financial management module allows you to manage your financials effectively. It provides features for tracking cash flow, generating financial reports, managing invoices, and handling fixed assets. With this module, you can gain better control over your organization's financial health.

2. Distribution/Supply Chain Management

The distribution and supply chain management module enables you to streamline and enhance your logistics and supply chain processes. It includes features for inventory control, purchasing, sales order processing, and purchase order processing. This module helps you optimize your supply chain, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction.

3. Manufacturing Management

The manufacturing management module is designed for businesses involved in production or manufacturing processes. It helps you plan and manage production schedules, track work orders, monitor inventory levels, and optimize resource utilization. This module ensures efficient production processes and helps you meet customer demands effectively.

4. Project Accounting

The project accounting module is essential for businesses that handle projects. It allows you to track project costs, budgeting, and profitability. With this module, you can monitor project expenses, allocate resources, and generate accurate financial reports for each project.

5. CRM/Customer Management

The CRM or customer management module focuses on managing customer relationships and improving customer satisfaction. It provides features for tracking leads, managing customer interactions, and analyzing customer data. This module helps you enhance customer service, identify upselling and cross-selling opportunities, and build stronger customer relationships.

6. Field Service Management

The field service management module is crucial for businesses that provide on-site services or have a mobile workforce. It enables you to schedule and dispatch field technicians, track service requests, and manage work orders. This module ensures efficient field operations, timely service delivery, and improved customer support.

What can I do with ERP?

  • Manage your financials, and gain control over accounting, cash flow, and fixed assets
  • Take operations out of your head, and into the system. Manage your organization, and supply chain. Streamline purchasing, inventory control, sales order and purchase order processing
  • Get real time access to intelligent reporting so you can make smarter decisions faster with up to the minute information about your business.
  • Eliminate miscommunication. Who spoke to your top customer last?  Who took the call for the new lead?  Customer relationship management (CRM) lets you move email and other communication to a single platform for tracking leads, servicing, cross selling and up-selling every customer and prospect you engage with. Put systems in place so client and prospect relationships are maintained and no one is falling through the cracks.

​What about a cloud ERP system?

Cloud ERP enables your company's entire ERP system, and all of its modules to run in the cloud for easy access anywhere, from any device. So no matter what's happening at headquarters, your ERP system is safely stored offsite. ​What is the cloud? The cloud refers to hardware and servers that you rent from another company instead of being on site.

How does ERP software differ from QuickBooks, FreshBooks, etc.?

ERP software is a complete business management system made up of a variety of integrating applications. All those individual components talk and share data together through all the departments within your organization.

Compare this to a standalone applications you use to meet individual needs. QuickBooks for accounting, separate software for shipping, another platform for product tracking, outside CRM for leads… getting all of those individual programs to "talk" can be costly and error prone, leaving you with corrupted data, inaccurate reporting, or the need to duplicate work for tracking.


By having a modern, cloud-based ERP system, you can achieve seamless data flow and collaboration across different departments. This eliminates the need for multiple standalone applications and ensures accurate and real-time information sharing. With a comprehensive ERP system, you can optimize your business processes, enhance productivity, and make more informed decisions for today and for future growth.