business management software

ERP systems for SME/SMBs – when is it overkill?

Is a full ERP overkill for an SME/SMB (small medium enterprise/small medium business)? Sam Graham, author of several books on the subject of ERP implementations, shares his thoughts.

Katie Griffin, our Director of Business Development at Spire, connected with Sam online. Sam kindly shared his thoughts on affordable ERP systems and how Spire is a great option for businesses to consider. Sam took time out of his busy author and influencer schedule to play around with a free trial of Spire.

“I really enjoyed playing with the software. I’m looking at it through the eyes of the companies that I have worked with before. I have to say that it’s a nice surprise to see just how much functionality there is in Spire.” ~Sam Graham

ERP systems for SME/SMBs – by Sam Graham

Several years ago, I implemented an upper Tier 2 ERP system at a manufacturing company. They were moving up from manual systems running on spreadsheets, backed up by a basic accounting system. Even before they went live, they were excited about the advantages it would give them. Aside from their primary business, they had a tiny offshoot that made products that complemented their main product range. The unit employed about six people and had a similar number of raw materials and end products.

With the primary business ready to go live, someone decided it would be a good idea to implement the system at this tiny company. To be fair, there was some logic behind this decision, as all of their accounting was done for them by the main business. That meant their exposure to the new system would be just inventory control, sales order processing, purchase order processing, work order processing and costing. Stripping out the things they didn’t need would be a challenge, as running the complete system would have suffocated them (the leading company also ran MRP, WIP tracking and Engineering Change Control, for example), but things got worse.

The client decided that, because it was such a small business unit and their manufacturing processes were so simple, implementing the system would be quick and easy. They originally planned for one day to do the necessary training, with another one day for go-live hand-holding. Luckily, they were persuaded that the time needed for training in how to raise a work order for a small quantity of items didn’t differ noticeably from the time required for training in how to submit a work order for a large quantity of items. Therefore, along with a ruthless cull of unneeded functionality, we managed to get them up and running. However, the users probably never thanked us for it because it was still overkill for what they needed.

Implementing an upper Tier 2 ERP system in a 6-person company is going to the extreme. Companies regularly implement systems that are far too big and far too complex for their needs. This happens for many reasons, but 3 in particular stand out:

One is that a senior manager has arrived from a much larger company. They have experienced ‘Megasoft’ working successfully and believe that if it works well for a large company, it must work well for a small one.

A second is that it was what we call a ‘vanity purchase.’ Companies like telling their customers and suppliers that they have bought ‘Supersoftware.’ Perhaps believing that using a system that big organizations use will turn them into a big organization too. A ‘rite of passage’ almost.

The third common reason is that the selection and implementation team wants a big name on their resumes/CVs so that they can then move on to better-paid jobs in larger organizations.

To put this into perspective, a number of years ago, a particular organization doing $5 billion in revenue every year implemented a Tier 2 system. A few years later, having grown, they considered moving to a Tier 1 system. When they reviewed those against their existing Tier 2, they decided to stick with that, and they have continued to grow. One reason it works for them is that, although they are a large outfit, they are a collection of different business units that operate autonomously, and because they share a chart of accounts structure, it’s easy to consolidate financial performance at a General Ledger level.

Consider the following;

When choosing an ERP system, one must be conscious of future requirements. If the plan is for the company to grow considerably over the next 5 to 10 years (doubling in size or more), it will be necessary to choose a system that allows for and supports that growth. However, understanding that there is an actual price to pay when selecting a system that is oversized is important.

The first of these is the procurement cost. Whether you go for a Cloud solution or an on-premise system, a Tier 1 will cost you more than a Tier 2, which will cost you more than a Tier 3. That’s not to say that the more extensive systems aren’t worth the cost; it’s just that if you buy them, you can be paying for functionality you don’t need and will be spending a lot.

Closely allied to procurement cost is the annual maintenance cost. The maintenance fee guarantees you support if you run into problems with the system and ensures that you get regular updates and enhancements to the software. But it’s not cheap: for example, SAP, at the time of writing this blog, is charging 21% per year, and that means that if you keep your system for ten years, you will have paid over three times the purchase price for it. And that must be a good argument for minimizing your system procurement costs.

The next thing to consider is implementation costs. As systems get bigger, they get more complex. Complex systems need more setup, configuration, and training, which all add to the cost. Complex systems are also more challenging to understand. At the most basic level, that means that if someone drops a pebble in the system, it’s harder to know where the ripples will go. Fewer people will know the potential impact if even a simple change is made. That makes it harder for people to accept the new system because if they need help understanding how it works, they are less likely to trust what it tells them.

A final factor to consider is time. A complex system will take longer to implement. Even if you still need to do an ROI calculation, you probably want to get the system running as soon as possible. That may be because you plan to use it to solve business problems (excessive delivery lead times, high costs, etc) or support for your existing systems is being withdrawn. Regardless, you’ll want to avoid long implementation times. They encourage project scope creep, promote over-dependency on the consultants and can lead to the ERP implementation being seen as a journey rather than a destination, with constantly reset target go-live dates.


So, is a full ERP overkill for an SME/SMB? If you are Boeing, Johnson & Johnson or Volkswagen, you may need a Tier 1 system. But if you are an SME/SMB, there is a good chance you don’t. For most companies, selecting a system that allows for implementation in a timely manner and at an affordable rate is a much better option.

Before you waste time, money, and energy implementing the wrong system, you should discuss your options with an expert and take a look at Spire Systems. Great software at an affordable price. 

Sam Graham

Author of 4 books on the subject of ERP, Implementation of ERP 

ERP Observer & Blogger

**Top ERP Voice on LinkedIn**


Selecting the right accounting software for your business

Investing in the right accounting software for your business is vital to its success. Not only does your software have to be right for you today, but it also has to work for you at least 5 to 10 years from now. Good accounting software can grow with your business as it expands. A new accounting and business management solution can be assessed within 4 sections: Technology, Productivity, Features and Value. With that in mind, here are three key points to remember when considering a new accounting and business management software.

1) The Right Fit

The reality is there is no software solution out there that will fit every aspect of your company’s needs. Most businesses fail to realize that specific internal processes will need to adapt to a new program. However, selecting software that can integrate most of your day-to-day business’s core operations as much as possible is achievable.

The needs of your warehouse and finance teams need to co-exist so you’ll want to have solid functionalities for both. A solution that offers complete and seamless communication between your operations and back-end accounting does exist. However, in some cases, the accounting may be more robust than the operations or vice-versa. Ensure that the solutions you’re considering offer powerful functionality across the entire solution and not just in one area.

New accounting software should also offer the opportunity to improve processes within the different user departments. Situations where the warehouse staff picks from paper orders and manually updates inventory counts, can be modernized and resolved to a smooth, digital process. A good solution allows for fewer human errors and more time saved. Another example would be where client credit card details are still being kept on a spreadsheet or within your software client list and not safely stored in a vaulted and tokenized payment processing system tied into your receivables.

Modern functionalities are essential, and so is process improvement. Understanding your current solution’s limitations while closely examining your internal day-to-day workflow will help narrow down all the new software options out there.

2) Think Ahead

If you are considering a new accounting software, then the chances are that you may be experiencing the pain of outgrowing your current solution. Over time, your business will continue to grow, evolve and change. Even if you stay at a certain size, technology evolves, forcing businesses to consider new solutions. A scalable solution will grow with your company and keep up with technology.

Business growth can look different for different businesses. In a warehouse environment, we often see more inventory added or the need to move to a multi-warehouse model, which requires software with multi-location functionality. Or perhaps where entering one order at a time no longer works because your business has grown to such high volume transitions where entering batches makes more sense.

Features like cloud technology, user-defined fields, paperless options, automation, business intelligence make a big difference when shopping for new software. A scalable software will give you options like these to use today and adapt them for when you’re bigger tomorrow.

3) Calculate the ROI

When shopping for new software, you likely will be asking what is the ROI on this purchase. Several common factors come into play, but even at a high level, the intricacies of your business play a part. At a glance, you can tell whether you are gaining or losing on your investment. An investment in software is no different—you need to be able to measure whether you are getting everything you can out of the solution.

Consider understanding TCO (The Cost of Ownership) better to understand the ROI (Return on Investment).


What is the cost of ownership for your new solution? It would be the cost of the actual software, of course. It is also likely the cost of the services provided to get your new software up and running. Data conversion, implementation, customization, training, annual maintenance, and support are all part of your cost of ownership. The cost of ownership if you stay with the software you’ve outgrown won’t just be the cost of antiquated hardware and software, but also the potential loss of revenue from being stunted and bottlenecked – which will cost you more than your current software.

Once you have a realistic approach to the cost of ownership, you can now better evaluate the ROI.


There are a few ways to calculate an ROI out there, and Google can quickly help you with simple to complex formulas. However, what most business owners fail to include in their ROI calculation is the following:

  • How much employee time is spent on repetitive and manual tasks? What does that translate to in salary or wages?
  • What are the costs of potential penalties and fines, potential costs of data damage
  • How does a decrease in cash flow affect the business– what are the potential costs we associate with that? Vendor remit payment time, how that can affect a business relationship.
  • Credit card transaction fees when it’s taken 60+ days to collect on an invoice – the cost associated with managing that late payment VS payment automation where pre-authorized payments happen on time.
  • Cost savings because they now know what their inventory counts are and no longer are ordering excess resulting in loss of product


The final value of the investment is where you have to be forward-thinking, and either do some math based on the numbers you know or do some estimating. Aside from the hard costs associated, what are some of the not-so-obvious costs that will decrease with a new solution? Essentially, we calculate the benefit of the investment vs. the cost of the investment, but that benefit becomes very specific based on your needs. Click here to download a free Accounting Software Evaluation Checklist to assist you in your search for a new solution.

Quality software will prove its worth in a short time. Along with a certified consultant who will guide you through the proper setup and training, you’ll be thankful that your growing business is in good hands.

Watch our demo and contact us today to learn more about how Spire can be the right software for your business.


Cash flow tips to help your small business

At some point, most businesses will hit cash flow issues, even with the best cash flow tips at hand. Sometimes businesses will delay payment to vendors and discount invoices as an incentive to get customers to pay faster. This may seem like a good solution. However, these temporary “solutions” can set the business up for even more cash flow issues. Improving efficiency in the accounting department is a small project that will take little time and can return great results. With a well-thought-out plan and using the technology your business currently has, you can set up some best practices. Here are some cash flow tips that will help your inflow and outflow of cash – if you apply them!

Tip 1: Frequent Projections for better cash flow reporting 

Make projections frequently. By closely monitoring critical cash flow data, you’ll be able to make better, more accurate and more up-to-date projections. You’ll be more likely to keep your business out of financial trouble. Your projection reports should be easy to create, save and auto-refresh with the most current data when you launch them. A sound accounting system will allow you to easily set up an “at-a-glance” view where you can select the data fields you want to see to make these cash flow projections. Of course, the query criteria will depend on the data that exists already in your system.

Tip 2: Customization for better cash flow management 

Every accounting system can manage debits and credits. However, not all systems allow flexibility to add unique information to your business practices. For example, when managing cash inflow (Accounts Receivables), expected payments can be projected by categorizing them as “Promised Payments.”  Moreover, the ability to create a series of payment statuses along with selecting a date (calendar field) will allow for more accurate cash inflow reports beyond what the traditional age buckets offer. As a result, creating projections based on when your clients say they will pay you versus your payment terms can help avoid cash flow issues.

Tip 3: Increase Payment Methods – Both Ways

AP: Decreasing the time it takes to pay your vendors can impact relationships. The use of paper cheques has been steadily declining in Canada, shrinking by roughly five percent a year, according to the Canadian Bankers Association. Electronic payment has become ubiquitous with advancements in payment technologies that enable services like wire transfers, debit payments, PayPal and Bitcoin. Setting up EFTs and paying vendors with credit cards can help ensure your payments arrive on time or even early, which some vendors even offer discounts for!

AR: If your business doesn’t accept credit card payments, you are lowering your cash inflow and revenue opportunities. For example, taking credit cards and accepting digital forms of payment such as e-transfer and wire/bank transfers will significantly improve your cash flow. Credit card transactions are electronically processed and are likely to be settled quickly and deposited in your business bank account by the processor within days. As a result, providing both your clients and prospective clients with more options other than writing and mailing cheques will likely make them happy, as well as you!

Bonus Cash Flow Tip: Credit Card Payments are no longer an option

The benefits of accepting credit card payments extend beyond just improved cash flow. Spire is available with credit card processing throughout partner Payfirma. Accepting credit card payments with Payfima will:

  • Increase sales opportunities: Credit cards offer the freedom to move businesses anywhere the customer goes. Owners are no longer confined to store hours or a brick-and-mortar location. You can accept payments anywhere, anytime with a mobile card reader and/or online.
  • Improve productivity: Processing cash and cheques not only require more money but also takes more time. Time wasted with trips to the bank, managing accounts receivables and chasing cheques. When you accept credit cards, the process is automated.
  • Secures your responsibility as the merchant: Payfirma allows you to ensure that you are PCI DSS-compliant. Vaulting credit card information tokenizing and encrypting transactions, Payfirma makes sure that your business is not in violation of your merchant agreement. This service ensures your responsibility to your clients is intact.

Use the right technology wisely. Thinking outside the box and adopting flexible payment solutions both for your AP and AR are concepts that will help you manage your cash flow. So when we apply these simple yet effective cash flow tips, we can see within 30 days the difference.  Giving us more insight into our systems beyond just the debits and credits.

Click on these links for more information about Spire and Payfirma.


Batch accounting and Real-time accounting the Spire Way

For a long time now, real-time accounting versus batch-based accounting has been a subject of debate. In this blog, we explore the benefits of each. We will also explain how Spire offers batches in some places and real-time accounting in others.


Batch-based processing has several advantages. In classifying entries to ensure accuracy, having better internal controls allowing a review before posting, and  in preserving the audit trail’s integrity. Batch-based accounting also makes sense for organizations processing large numbers of transactions. In some ways, batches are more efficient and easier to perform. Batches make sense when accumulating employee time and processing payroll altogether. This process allows for time saved in payroll. In the AR, depositing one cheque (or payment) at a time can be rather cumbersome. Unless it’s one big cheque, we are not likely to see bookkeepers making one deposit at a time, but rather a batch of many deposits at once. For organizations with no immediate need for information, it is reasonable to delay data processing by using batch-based accounting.


While in some cases, batch-based may allow for a more efficient and audit-tight way of processing accounting data, it also presents some disadvantages.  More and more businesses need the ability to take immediate action on items that are crucial to their business. For example, purchasing managers at the mercy of a batch-based system would find it counter-productive to wait until batches post to provide inventory reports. Knowing that the need for real-time data isn’t just for the finance people, these businesses end up spending more of their budget for add-ons to increase access to their data in real-time. In this scenario, real-time accounting is better suited.

Keeping track of every transaction as they happen gives department heads an instant view of their overall financial status. Thus enabling decision makers to make more accurate projections. Being able to filter and compare using real-time data means companies can keep a close eye on margins and identify areas that need improvement. We see this in adjusting product prices like landed costs (duties, shipping, etc.). This fucntionality ensures accuracy of margins and profits per item, empowering an organization and keeping them one step ahead of the competition.

Which process is right for your business?

Accessing and understanding the data that makes up your debits and credits is critical to growing a business. Data isn’t just a way to analyze numbers; it’s a helpful way to react to growth potential when the opportunity arises. It also potentially prevent risks that have yet to happen.  Mining meaningful data contributes to the company’s success, however when data isn’t processed the best way, it can be destructive. Especially when attempting to achieve your reporting requirements.

To summarize, with batch-based processes we analyze data over time:  weeks, months, quarters, or years; for some, that process works just fine and is preferred.  Real-time data is crucial for those needing to make fast decisions in fiannce and that extend beyond the accounting department.

The Spire Way

Spire offers batches in some places where it makes sense. In Sales Orders, you can choose to batch or live post when invoicing.  With batching, the invoices are held in a closed state until a supervisor reviews, makes any needed changes and then creates a batch.  Next, they would close the batch to post to AR and the GL.  With live posting, the invoices are posted to AR and the GL right away.  If changes are needed then a credit and rebill has to be done. Batch and Live processing in Spire are also available in Accounts Payables and Accounts Receivables and Payroll Timecards.

You can easily manage batch-based vs. live posting in Spire’s company settings. Learn more about Spire’s company and user settings by watching this webinar, where we also many other cool features.

Bottom line: Spire allows you to run your business the way you want – whether that be live posting or batch accounting, we can accommodate your process.

For more information on how Spire offers your choice of batch-based accounting or real-time accounting along with business intelligence reporting, click here. We’ll be happy to provide you with a free demo and help you further discover the power of Spire.

6 Effective Tips For Multi-Warehouse Inventory Management

Effective inventory management for your growing business is crucial. As your company transitions from a single-warehouse to a multi-warehouse model, you can encounter problems with inventory accuracy. Small problems that are easy to solve before your business growth, have now become big problems. When you have more than one warehouse, you need a multi-warehouse inventory management solution. With that in mind, we have 6 tips for you to consider: 

Tip 1: Optimize Communication Flows Across Warehouse Locations

Making sure that all warehouses are on the same page is harder than it sounds. If you are not using the right inventory management software, each warehouse is going to have its own filing system. Each warehouse will have its own order system, and its own way of maintaining inventory. Thus, the goal of any inventory management system should be smooth, cross-warehouse communications. When you have a streamlined process in place, mainting it becomes easy. There now exists consistent communication flow between and among the different warehouses.

Tip 2: Ensure That All Data Remains Synced Across the Organization

If you are not using an integrated warehouse inventory management solution, you may experience time lags as different warehouses update their systems. Thus, it’s very important that you look for ways to implement real-time data. Real-time processes allow for a flow that covers all the major facets of inventory management. This is especially true if you are regularly transferring products from one location to another. 

The real advantage of a warehouse inventory management software is that it has an integratedaccounting and sales function. This means that as soon as sales orders come in that information flows directly to your operations and logistics team. If there are changes to inventory stock, these changes immediately show within the accounting system.  This transparency is appreciated amognst company managers who regularly run reports giving them the confidence that all data is synced.

Tip 3: Re-Evaluate How You Do Warehouse Inventory Stock Counts

Since there are multiple ways counting inventory, your business needs to re-evaluate its method used in managing one warehoues. For example, what works well with just a handful of high-value items in one location will not work nearly as well for another warehouse location with thousands of lower-value products.

The problem with inaccurate, delayed, or otherwise flawed inventory counts is that it leads to problems for your inventory-centric business. Incorrect counts bring your orders to grinding to a halt. Chief among these problems is the ever-present threat of an inventory stock-out. With just a single warehouse location, it might be possible to detect a depleted stock level of a popular product. However, with multiple warehouse locations, it is easy to assume that “the other warehouse location” must have ample supply of this product. You can’t afford to assume. A multi-warehouse inventory management missing takes the guess work out of the equation, iltimately resulting in your customer’s satisfaction.

Tip 4: Change the Layout of Your Warehouse Locations

There are a few best practices for warehouse inventory management that are commonly shared across all industries. Chief among these is that high-volume and popular products should always be stocked near the loading dock (i.e. the exit). Over time, the time savings from this approach can really add up. When it comes to the overall layout, you also want to make sure that people pulling product off the shelf are not caught in a giant maze.

If you find that executing orders is taking too much time and leading to shipping delays, then it might make sense to create maps of the warehouse that can be shared with employees. And it definitely makes sense to label each shelf, each zone, and each area of the warehouse very clearly. In many ways, warehouse layout is just an optimization problem: your goal should be to reduce the overall path traveled by employees as they fulfill orders, and to make the most popular products easily accessible on the shelf.

Tip 5: Optimize Warehouse Locations For Geography

Geography always plays a role. In the best of all possible worlds, your warehouses would be located as close as possible to the end customer. Ideallt, instead of waiting for a product to travel from one end of the country to the other, your product arrives in the customers hands within 1-2 days. Saving on shipping and transport costs, and creating the best overall customer satisfaction. 

The reality is not all your warehouse locations are located within close proximity of yourcustomer bases. For one, there is the issue of higher labor and rental costs associated when a warehouse in a very densely populated metropolitan area. Moreover, there may be regulatory or tax issues involved with having a warehouse in another state, province or country. For that reason, warehouse location involves a number of factors, including the trade-off between rental costs and transport costs for a certain region. Tracking all these factors and their costs is a crucial part of your multi-warehouse inventory managment solution. You want to make sure that you have the ability and ease to account for everything – regardless of where your warehouses are located.

Tip 6: Look For Cost and Time Savings Based On Inventory Data Flows

As a responsible business manager you are constantly looking to streaml your logistical and operational flows. One way of doing this is by tapping into all the data that your business generates. Information about order transport and shipping times is helpful when you want to expedite shipping processed to move products from one location to another. Or, data entry into the system from accounting and sales teams is crucial in order to anticipate consumer demand for a particular product.

The more that your business can become proactive, and not just reactive, the more successful that it is going to be. By leveraging these top tips for multi-warehouse inventory management, you can ensure that your business stays one step ahead of the competition.

Contact us today for a free trial of Spire and expeience how we handle multi-warehouse invetory management. 

Business Growth with the Right ERP Solution

In the business world, rapid growth is a strategy that needs to be well thought out and fast. For some small to medium-sized businesses the dream of eventually becoming an industry giant is more than just a dream. The ultimate goal is to have significant pricing power, strong brand awareness, and a nearly unlimited supply of new orders. However, that growth comes at a cost – literally. All the extra finance and labor resources are a need to manage that kind of growth. That’s why many fast-growing SMBs are now embracing business management software to help them manage that boost.

Prepare the Foundation for Future Growth

Is your business unprepared for a rapid sales maturation? When you have a bestselling product, you might find it hard to keep that product in stock. If every time you receive a new shipment it sells out quickly the result can be devastating. Or, you might not be ready for all the extra resources you need to deal with calls, inquiries, and requests. Working overtime  might be necessary, but can your SMB afford to live in a perpetual state of overtime? Would you want your employees to work nights, weekends, and holidays to keep up with customer orders? The consequences of such a scenario would hit your payroll pretty hard. Implementing a business management software provides better processes that secure a strong foundation for the future of your bussiness.

Business management software can have an impact in several different ways. First, the process of automating much of your inventory or logistics will free up essential resources, like employee hours. Secondly, you gain the ability to change production planning and delivery schedules regularly. The results will make your company much more proactive rather than just reactive to changing market conditions.


The very best business management software will help scale your business. What this means, in practical terms, is that you won’t “outgrow” your business software as soon as you install it. As the complexities of your business increase, features in your business software that help you manage this evolution are needed. Many software packages are  “one-size-fits-all” and don’t allow you to scale up as your business become more complex.

You need a solution that you can use three months from now and three years from now. Making sure that you aren’t installing, uninstalling, and re-installing new software every time you hit a milestone is integral to your growth strategy.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Right now, would your SMB be able to adjust if a supplier suddenly could not meet its obligations? Could you manage the situation if consumer demand for a product suddenly takes off overnight? What if external market factors (such as broader changes, local or national economic changes) suddenly turn for (or against) you?

If you are still managing your business with paperwork, spreadsheets, and calculators, you would have a tough time adjusting to market-changing factors. The good news is a reliable business management software helps you to respond and adapt to these changes. A robust solution will have business intelligence reporting capabilities that can help you spot new trends in advance. For example, when a supplier gradually cuts back on the volume of product, you can spot this trend and be proactive instead of reactive. 

In another example, powerful business management software can help you develop intelligent solutions to common problems. Like, re-routing deliveries and supplies. The result is you might be able to avoid more considerable bottlenecks within your organization.

Productivity Gains

One component in business growth is the overseeing of productivity. Examining the past two decades, one of the biggest drivers of business growth throughout North America has been technology implementation. The pace of technological change is only increasing due to the demand in expanding the company’s overall production.

The first step in leveraging these gains is to extend a business software solution that allows more efficiency in your productivity. The result is more flexibility with things like departments and multi-location. Or functionalities like knitting units together or margin price adjustments on the fly. 

Finding the Right Growth Opportunities

Not all growth opportunities are created alike. Some growth opportunities – such as distributing a product via new channels and platforms – might make sense for your business. However, other growth opportunities might lead to many problems for your business if you lack the resources or the ability to allocate them appropriately. For that reason, many SMB owners are now turning to ERPs. Quickly, business owners see the ROI from a well implemented solution.

With a bit of scenario testing, you can stress-test various business strategies and find out which method is optimal. For example, is it better to sell a higher volume of a low-margin product or a lower volume of a high-margin product? With business management software, you have the data, insights, and information to answer these questions in a way that makes sense for your business.

Key Growth Considerations to Keep in Mind

If you are preparing for rapid growth and significant changes in volume, you will want an integrated business solution to help you quickly include new functions and departments; deal with sudden or fluctuating demand, and provide transparency into crucial business processes. Of course, you will need a business management software solution that provides accurate, real-time data for optimal decision-making.

Reach Your True Growth Potential

In conclusion, business management software is all about helping your SMB reach its true growth potential. Instead of giving up new opportunities, you can quickly scale into future growth. You can do so in a natural, organic manner that leaves your company plenty of ability to navigate new market twists and turns.

Try Spire FREE for 30 days and start growing your business.


Essentials of Finding the Right Business Management Software

There are four key factors to keep in mind when choosing which business management software solution is right for your business. In most cases, it’s not just the case of picking the lowest price solution or going with a vendor with the best name recognition.

Instead, you should be thinking of which accounting software can transform your company into a well-run and profitable business by providing the best tools and interface for keeping track of expenses, revenues, invoices and data. With that in mind, here are four factors to consider before committing to a business management software solution.


The problem with low-cost (or free) solutions is that they are not designed to grow along with your business. If your company is experiencing a wave of growth, you may need to upgrade to a more powerful offering, so you want to make sure that your business management software solution is robust enough for your needs and your growing customer base. A great accounting software system will integrate all your accounting, reporting, resourcing, purchasing and scheduled tasks into one reliable solution.

Technical Support

Even if you have the most talented and proactive employees, there will always be a moment when even they will need to call up technical support to help them through a difficult issue. You want to make sure that there’s someone on the other end of the line, when you need them, for those types of emergencies.

At the very least, you should ensure that there is sufficient support during the installation process. Typically, most software vendors will offer support packages so it’s best to take advantage of this.


You want to be able to have the full ability to limit which employees have access to your company’s data. As a result, a system with security features and user restrictions is a must-have for any business management solution. Moreover, keep in mind that security is not a one-time event, especially now that most software vendors have so much data stored in the “cloud.” Security needs to be part of a continuous effort to keep your company safe from malware and viruses, as well as the prying eyes of a competitor or other outsiders (e.g., hackers).


If you’re like the majority of small business owners, you may have multiple software installed on your computers. The key, then, is for all of that software to be able to talk to each other. The obvious answer for many small business owners is just to bundle all the software together. With Spire, all modules are fully integrated into one solution, from accounting, purchasing, inventory and customer/vendor management.

Are You Taking Full Advantage of Your Business Software?

One of the most important concepts in the business world is return on investment (ROI), and that concept can be applied to business software as well. In short, there are costs and benefits to any business software package, and it’s up to the organization to prove that the benefits far outweigh the negatives over the long term.

ROI is one simple number that expresses just how much of a boost you are getting from your new business software. Some of these results may be tangible,such as increased sales, and some of them may be intangible—such as increased productivity or improved worker satisfaction. So how do you go about taking full advantage of your business software and maximizing ROI?

Make Sure You Are Updating Old Processes in Addition to Old Software

There’s one big problem with old legacy software that doesn’t work—it also leads to a lot of convoluted workarounds that no longer make sense. These workaround have often become so ingrained in how we do business that employees will cling to them, even when there’s a new business software that has been implemented. The easiest cure for this problem is a comprehensive training program that teaches employees how to use the software properly, and that also helps to educate them how it can make their lives easier.

Make Sure Employees are Using the Software Efficiently

There’s something about physical paper that makes employees feel more comfortable than trusting a digital stream of 1’s and 0’s on the computer screen. But that leads to a lot of bad habits, like using printed reports and handwritten notes in lieu of software. Software can run optimally when all the necessary information is available. In addition, make sure that employees are entering information to the system as efficiently as possible. Sometimes, the manual keying in of data may not be required.

Make Sure All Software is Fully Integrated

Within any organization, it’s common to think of silos—where data may languish without being shared throughout the organization. That’s one problem that modern business software is meant to address. And that’s also one reason why Spire offers a fully integrated set of features—everything from accounting to inventory management.

Whenever possible, try to avoid using external, non-integrated solutions. Often, your new business management software has a lot of functionality that just hasn’t been tapped yet. The goal is seamless integration.

The best advice, when it comes to maximizing the value of your new business management software, is to figure out all the triggers and pain points for the organization. That’s where you’ll want to focus as you search for a new business software solution. And then, two to three months after you go live, you can follow up again. The key is to schedule regular check-ups and follow-ups so that the software is always performing at its peak capabilities. When that happens, you’ll have found out a way to maximize your software’s ROI, and that’s a rewarding win that you can share with all the stakeholders of the organization!

Why Employees Complain About Implementing New Business Software

For many employees in an organization, the decision by upper management to implement new business management software often comes with trepidation. Instead of seeing this move as a positive signal that the organization is experiencing a new wave of growth, they see it as a rude awakening from a status quo in which everything seemed to run smoothly enough.

Management needs to remind employees that, within any organization, there are ways of doing things that can be improved using technology. By doing that, they can address three common complaints that employees make about implementing new business management software.

It Doesn’t Fit into Their Schedules

Make no mistake about it—it does take some training and practice in order to be able to harness the true power of new business management software. There’s time needed to train employees, and there’s time needed to practice using the new software in a real-time environment. All that time takes away from what employees typically do throughout the way. That leads to longer hours. No wonder many of them say that it doesn’t fit into their schedules. What they don’t recognize, though, is that a few hours learning the software in the beginning can lead to many, many hours saved later.

It’s Too Hard to Figure out and Use

Yes, business management software comes with a bit of a reputation. Unlike other software, which may only tackle a single department or business unit of an organization, business management software is so powerful for the very reason that it attempts to unite and streamline the entire organization.

In many ways, there is a lot of inertia that needs to be overcome. As a result, top management should attempt to sell any business management software implementation as a competitive measure that will streamline the organization, get rid of unnecessary paperwork and save employees from a lot of time-consuming manual processes.

It Takes Too Long to See Results

There are no quick fixes when it comes to business management software. Not only does the implementation often take quite a bit of time, there is also a lag before real results can be seen. In some cases, it may take a quarter or longer before results start to filter down to the bottom line of the organization. Until it’s possible to see a spike in sales or a real boost in productivity, employees may be skeptical. In some cases, they may feel overwhelmed and actually think that the software is leading to a loss of productivity.

The big takeaway lesson here is that any business management software implementation can lead to really improved business results for an organization. Employees should view it as a difficult but worthwhile process that deserves to be embraced for what it means for the future of the organization.

Once the business management software implementation finally goes “live,” they will be surprised at how much easier everything becomes. There will be fewer routine tasks, less paperwork, and fewer manual workarounds. Everything will work as the heads of the company always hoped it would—and that’s good news for all employees.

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Start Planning Your Business Software Upgrade Now

Upgrading your company’s business software doesn’t have to be a stressful, last-minute scramble. By taking a few steps earlier in the year, you can make the process of upgrading your software as seamless and worry-free as possible.

The first step in planning your business software upgrade is to create an action plan. This may sound obvious, but the fact is that most businesses don’t have any type of written action plan for how to proceed with the upgrade. They typically wait until the last minute and then frantically attempt an upgrade at the exact moment when both suppliers and vendors are on vacation and when support staff are already at maximum capacity, trying to answer customer’s technical questions about managing year-end processes.

The fact is that upgrading your business management software takes a lot of time in planning, research, training and transferring data. That means you should be creating an action plan at least several months ahead of time. Such an action plan should outline who will participate in the upgrade process as well as what will be the time frame for each person’s role in the upgrade. And don’t forget — any software upgrade may also require a hardware upgrade as well as serious thinking about how to import and export data. However, if you’re currently using BusinessVision, switching to Spire is quite easy as their built-in import tool will allow you to convert all of your BV data.

The second step in planning your business software upgrade is to start researching vendors as soon as possible. There are a number of software vendors, so you have plenty of options when making a choice. Before committing your business to a specific vendor, you should do live demos of every system you are considering, just so that you and the vendor are on the same page about functionality and capabilities. If possible, you should make your finance team also part of this process, since it is they who will be responsible for making all the software and hardware work well together.

The third and final step is to make sure that you sign up employees for training. No matter how intuitive and easy-to-use a business software package claims to be, the fact is that hands-on training for employees always makes the transition as seamless as possible, especially if you have been using your current system for a relatively long time. Getting hands-on training well before the transition really helps employees feel comfortable with the system and gives them the confidence they need to begin using the system. You can also build momentum for the new software internally if everyone is onboard at the start.

Don’t forget, the end of the year is also the time of the year when other companies are also thinking about upgrading their business software. Why not get a jump on the competition and make the process of upgrading your company’s business software as seamless and worry-free as possible? By following the simple three-step plan above, you can start the planning process early and make sure that your company’s embrace of a new business software upgrade goes as smoothly as possible.

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