Best ERP software for SMEs

Enterprise Resource Planning is a suitably nebulous name for the wide variety of business tools that ERP can encompass.

The software integrates applications across all aspects of a business into one powerful multifunctional platform. It can combine invoicing, sales, supply chains, inventory control, development and customer relationship management (CRM) into a single shared database and application.

Although typically the big name vendors target large organisations, there are some great solutions for small to medium-sized businesses as well. These can range from cloud-based to on-premise.

Read on for our rundown of the best ERPs for SMEs.

Additional reporting by Hannah Williams.

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What to look for
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What to look for

Your ERP software should be a good fit with your existing IT systems. If a turnkey product isn't appropriate, find a vendor that can customise its ERP to your specific needs. Look for a scalable solution that will continue to fulfil the organisation's requirements in line with its other IT systems and business plans as they develop.

It's easy to underestimate the price of maintaining an ERP system. The software designed to serve large enterprises can require dedicated teams to support it that smaller companies may consider an unnecessary cost and complication.

Integrating a new ERP strategy can require the redesign of every process in the business, so don't exaggerate your needs. Flexibility is one of the greatest strengths of ERPs, but some of the functionality favoured by global enterprises can be more complex than is helpful for the needs of smaller ones.

Implementation can also be expensive. Add this in with any additional maintenance, upgrades and other hidden costs in order to understand the real price of the software.

Many vendors offer ERP software demonstrations, which give you the chance to experience whether the product is suitable for your organisation's needs and the capacity of its users. Check what training will be provided during the implementation process, and the support available once it's running.

Sage Intacct

Sage Intacct

Sage Intacctprovides cloud-based ERP software to automate accounting processes. It includes core financials, and also allows users to add additional modules or applications.

It also allows integration of third-party software such as Salesforce, SAP Concur and more.

The software includes a range of features to cater to all financial operations such as cash and order management, account payables and receivables.

It is designed to provide accurate financial management automation at lower costs, as well as to increase security and improve productivity.

Sage Intacct offers a free 30-day trial. Pricing is available on request.

Microsoft Dynamics ERP
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Microsoft Dynamics ERP

Microsoft’s Dynamics ERPis best suited for medium-sized organisations, but can scale for larger organisations.

The software includes five primary products for businesses to choose from: Dynamics AX, Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV, Dynamics SL and Dynamics C5.

Microsoft Dynamics AX is designed to support organisations expanding their business across wider locations and countries by standardising processes, while Dynamics NAV is to help organisations streamline specialised and industry-specific processes.

Its Dynamics SL is built to obtain business reports and automate projects across the business and Dynamics C5 offers finance, supply chain, manufacturing and other management support for SMEs.

Microsoft Dynamics GPis the latest release from Microsoft in 2018. It allows organisations to connect processes across business units, helping organisations manage changing markets and be more linked up globally. It is the software best suited for small to medium-sized businesses and also includes account management, HR and payroll services.

Pricing starts from $40 (£30.47) to $170 (£129.49) per user, per month for any application product of your choice with the option to upgrade as the business grows.

NetSuite ERP
© NetSuite

NetSuite ERP

More than 30,000 organisations use NetSuite ERP, and the company offers a host of other business tools that all integrate with its software.

The cloud computing company's product bundles numerous business functions into one integrated system that automates processes. They include managing IT costs, optimising accounting efficiency, improving staff productivity and streamlining orders reporting.

It is designed to track business growth quickly and easy, with support for over 190 currencies, 20 languages and automated tax compliance in over 100 countries.

The addition of its cloud-based solution also enables businesses to track mission-critical processes to reduce IT costs and scale the business as it grows, no matter the size.

Pricing is available upon request.

Epicor small business ERP
© Epicor

Epicor small business ERP

Epicor helps SMEs manage and simplify their business processes by tying them all together in a single database.

The modular solution lets businesses pick and choose functionality as they scale. It connects users with their customers and suppliers in one place, so they can exchange data to streamline communication and automate routine processes.

Customers can choose to deploy the software on-demand or on-premise. Contact Epicor's sales team for details on pricing.

Exact ERP
© Exact

Exact ERP

Exact's ERPprovides a trio of industry-specific solutions: Exact for Project Management, ERP for Wholesale Distribution and Exact for Manufacturing.

Each of them offers control of projects and budgets, extensive reporting options and international support. It also integrates fully with other Exact products, such as the Finance and CRM add-ons.

The software can be used via the private cloud or on-premise and via Exact's mobile apps, which provide complete insight into all your business processes.

SAP Business One

SAP Business One

German enterprise software giant SAP has been designing ERP software since the 1970s and over its long history has developed an extensive range of products currently available.

For medium-sized businesses there's the cloud-based SAP Business ByDesign, which streamlines end-to-end processes on almost any device, while upper-midsize companies may prefer the enhanced ERP solution of SAP S/4HANA for SAP Business All-in-One.

SMEs may be best served by SAP Business One. It covers financial, sales and customer management, purchasing and inventory control, production planning, business intelligence and analytics and reporting.

The products are available as both cloud or on-premise solutions. Prices depend on the modules, the number of users, and the functionality chosen, which can be updated over the course of the subscription if needs change.

Oracle

Oracle

Oracle's best-known ERP offering is the E-Business Suite, which is best-suited to large organisations, but the company also provides a simpler service for midsize companies known as ERP Cloud.

The product includes financial, supply chain and procurement applications in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that combines a simple interface and personalised user experience with enterprise-grade security.

The company claims it can automate transaction processing at speeds which its competitors can’t compete with. Standardised applications, advanced business intelligence, self-service reporting, and support for future growth are among the main strengths. Contact Oracle through their website for pricing details for your specific needs.

Syspro
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Syspro

SysproERP provides control, integration and synchronisation support for businesses. It is mainly suited for companies in the manufacturing and distribution sector.

It offers the flexibility to deploy the software on-premise or in the cloud, with the inclusion of actionable business insights which integrates real-time trends for quicker analysis and execution.

Syspro also includes digital business features, with added APIs and algorithmic business functions like machine learning and AI to make sense of inputted data.

Pricing is available on request.

Acumatica
© Acumatica

Acumatica

Acumatica'sweb-based ERP applications all run in the cloud, ensuring access to its wide range of applications at a reasonable price. It was designed to be scalable and adaptable in order to support any change that occurs in the business.

The cost depends on the number of applications implemented, a useful offer as the selection is extensive. They cover project accounting and management of financial, manufacturing, field service and customer services.

The company's flexible pricing model allows unlimited users of the software, a rare feature in the ERP ecosystem. Customers can watch a demo tour or request a demo prior to purchasing.

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