Using ERP for credit management? There’s a better way

Enterprise resource planning – also known as ERP – software: it’s great, right? After all, it helps you manage all your core business processes from a single application. The data can be shared across your organisation, in real-time and it seems like you can do EVERYTHING with it, right? From sales and marketing all the way through the order-to-cash process and on to accounts receivable.

You can even manage inventory and keep track of finances. We haven’t checked, but a good ERP might even be able to get the perfect birthday gift for your mum  – if you know which keys to press.

Basically, ERP software is a great tool for business. We understand why you love it so much. In fact, we love it too.

Using ERP for credit management?
But (of course, there’s always a “but”), there’s this one little issue. And it’s not an unusual problem. The thing is, when one tool is able to do a lot of things, it rarely does any of them really well. Sure, it might get that sparkly jumper your mum’s been dropping hints about for the last three weeks. But, it’ll probably get it in the wrong color.

So close, and yet so far.

Of course, it’s not the ERP’s fault, nor is it the software design team that’s to blame. It’s nobody’s fault, really. They’ve set out to create a single programme that does everything a business requires. And it does – consistently and reliably. But, there’s always going to be things it could do better and features that could be added.

That’s why you can’t beat specialist software for certain business functions – and that’s certainly true for order-to-cash.

Why an ERP just doesn’t cut it

O2C is a complicated process, and to do it successfully, you’re going to need a lot of different tools at your disposal. Dunning, chasing up payments, negotiating terms, reporting, managing data, processing accounts receivables… the list goes on and on.

And, not only do you need a piece of software that can help you manage all these tasks effectively, you’ll also want a programme that can automate the process as much as possible, so you can get payments in as quickly as possible, keeping cash flowing smoothly through the business.

So at this point, we expect you’re probably feeling a little annoyed because we’re saying your ERP system isn’t as great as you might have hoped. Except, we’re not saying that at all. ERPs can do so much – we just think you should be able to do more.

That’s why OnGuard credit management software can be provided for use alongside an existing ERP system. Think of OnGuard as a method to enhance your ERP, enabling it to do even more without having to change the tools that the rest of your organisation uses.

Back to that sparkly jumper analogy: using OnGuard in conjunction with your ERP means you’ll not only get the sparkly jumper for your mum in the right color and size. You’ll also get a matching scarf and a pretty pair of earrings to go with it. Brilliant!

Okay, so combining your ERP with OnGuard credit management software doesn’t actually mean buying birthday gifts for your parents will be any easier. But, then again, you’ll be able to get your work done more efficiently, meaning you’ll feel less stressed and more able to think about the perfect pressie.

Who knows? You might even be able to take a well-deserved lunch break – actually leave the office in the middle of the day! – to do a bit of shopping.

How can OnGuard enhance your ERP?

OnGuard can be used in conjunction with an existing ERP, enabling you to enjoy the benefits of a standardized system, with the added functionality of specialist credit management software.

Here are just some of the features that OnGuard offers:

  • Segmentation – Your customers aren’t all the same, so why treat them like they are? With segmentation, you can tailor your approach for dealing with various groups of customers. Use OnGuard Profiles to track customer habits and then use that information to achieve positive communication and faster payments.
  • Automated Dunning– Preparing dunning letters can be a dull task, and it’s certainly not something you want to do by hand if your business has more than a handful of customers. Traditionally, businesses would process dunning letters once a month, but this can actually lead to delays in payments and other problems. So the solution is to have a system in place that automatically creates dunning letters as soon as payments are overdue. This results in more accurate and quicker dunning, which can also help to reduce DSO.
  • Role-based dashboards – Businesses hold a lot of information, and storing all of that information is something that ERPs and OnGuard credit management software both do very well. However, there’s plenty of data that the credit management team just won’t need – at least not on a regular basis. That’s why we’ve created role-based dashboards, which are designed to put all of the relevant client information on your screen, making it easy to access the right details when you need them.
  • Automated Cash Allocations – For anyone who doesn’t work in AR, this seems like an easy job. Money comes in, you record it in a customer’s file. Done! If only it were that easy. In fact, it can actually be really complicated and monotonous. Payments may come in from a variety of sources, customers may not include the right reference numbers, and payment amounts may not match the outstanding balance. Figuring out what payment goes with what invoice can be like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. OnGuard Cash Allocation functions can help speed up the process immensely, matching invoices to payments received and recording all the useful data automatically.
  • Automatic data capture – Data entry is boring, right? And, humans aren’t very good at it – we’re slow and much more likely to enter incorrect information or add details to the wrong data field. Computers, on the other hand, are really good at data entry. They can automatically collect a significant amount of data, and the entry process is both quick and accurate. OnGuard credit management software offers a variety of ways to collect useful data, so you can focus on other things.
  • Advanced reporting – One of the ways to get the most value from your data is with analysis and reporting features. These can unlock a lot of useful information, providing insight about customer payment habits, the credit management team’s performance and the company’s finances. What’s more, with the OnGuard reporting database, you can incorporate historic data into your reports, giving you a better understanding of long-term trends.

The do’s and don’ts of using an ERP

So, what should you do if you’re planning on implementing an ERP, or already have an enterprise planning system in place? Here are our suggestions to help ensure the Order to Cash – or O2C- process goes smoothly:

Do: Embrace the ERP
ERPs certainly have their place in business. They can be incredibly powerful and useful tools that help a variety of business functions run more smoothly.

Don’t: Rely on an ERP to be your only piece of software
While there’s a lot to be said for a good ERP, these systems are generalized to work for a variety of different companies and departments. This means they may be missing tools that could make your job easier.

Do: Enhance the ERP with complementary software
Programmes like OnGuard can be implemented to work alongside an existing ERP. The two systems can share data and provide a variety of useful features specifically for the credit management team.

Don’t: Get carried away with too much extra software
This is often a problem for businesses that previously used a patchwork collection of legacy software to keep things going. The problem is that these programmes rarely work with each other – meaning duplicate data entry – and keeping them updated can be both costly and time-consuming.

Remember that the whole point of an ERP is to simplify tasks and keep all your data in one place. If you start using a lot of extra software – especially tools that don’t integrate with your ERP, processes will quickly become clunky and complicated and you could start finding errors in your data due to having to enter information multiple times and some data not being updated.

Do: Monitor performance
Once you’ve implemented a new tool, such as ERP or OnGuard credit management software, keep track of how it affects performance. This includes analysing data, as well as talking to customers and your team about the system.

Don’t: Be afraid to adjustment your processes
If something’s not working, think of a way to improve it and then make the necessary changes. Then, see what happens over a period of time. If the change is a success, consider ways to make further improvements. If its outcome isn’t so positive, then take a step back, analyse your data and try something else.

Do: Make sure you’re well trained on using your software
Software such as ERPs and OnGuard are meant to be easy to use, and their intuitive design means that many people can sit down at a computer and use the programmes in a basic way without any training at all. However, these systems also include a huge range of features and tools, so without some initial guidance and training, you may not even realize you’re missing out.

Find out more

If you’re looking for a way to enhance your ERP, making it more suitable for the O2C process, then OnGuard may have the ideal solution.

Our credit management software has been designed to improve accuracy and efficiency across a range of tasks, thereby improving performance, bringing down DSO and improving cash flow. The software can be used in conjunction with ERP software, ensuring you get even more from your IT.

To find out more about implementing OnGuard with your existing ERP, or to discuss other ways to use our credit management software, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by ringing us on +31 (0)294 25 6666 or via email at contact@onguard.com. You can also keep up to date with our latest news and advice by following us on Twitter: @OnGuardHQ.

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