Wasting Your Time With Accounting and ERP

I find the way clients (and some CPAs, for that matter) view ERP and accounting very frustrating.

“Let’s install a new accounting / ERP / warehouse management / business software program! It will fix all of our problems.”


Here’s what I mean:

  • Perfectly accurate job costing information for a company that is losing thousands of dollars in operational inefficiencies will tell you exactly that: “You are losing thousands of dollars in operational inefficiencies.”
  • Perfect warehouse management software in a warehouse that can’t put product in the right bin will confuse the situation, not fix it.
  • Perfect MRP software in a manufacturing firm with bad bills of materials will–with accelerated computer-enhanced speed–mess things up.

Time management books tell us we often spend time doing things that are less important than others. We focus on the urgent and not the important.

To make that a little more psychological, we choose the things that we are comfortable with. The salesperson that doesn’t want to cold call rearranges the paperclips on the desk, the pencils in the drawer, and rewrites the telephone script. Net result: Perfectly arranged pencils, paperclips, and a fresh script AND NO SALES!

Accounting in a business with messed up processes is arranging the paperclips: perfect symmetry that accomplishes exactly nothing. Worse yet, it distracts from the real task at hand. Stop rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic! Fix the process. Then automate it. That is all.