• Alison Folwell

Calling time on legacy system hangovers - the myth of integrated accounting

Best in class performance doesn’t mean a monopoly on expertise – when it comes to tech, it’s better to share the love



The belief that a merchant trading system has to incorporate all functions is something of a hangover from legacy systems. That’s because a few years back, it was incredibly difficult to link server-based systems to external software systems. Business just wasn’t done “in the cloud” back then, and the same opportunities that exist today simply didn’t then – yet the myth that full service integration offers optimum performance persists, often to the detriment of the users.


The truth is, an accounts package needs to be good at one thing, and one thing only: accounts. It doesn’t need industry-specific functionality, so why use use your industry-specific ERP system to do it?


If you’re already using Sage or Xero, then trust us – you’ve got a great accounts package already. They know accounts inside out, just like your ERP provider should know YOUR industry inside out, whether that’s timber, steel, plumbing supplies, building supplies and so on. Getting your ERP provider to write an accounts package is simply unnecessary. It’s far quicker, simpler and more cost-effective to just link your cloud ERP system with your online accounts package.


The area you DO need industry-specific functionality is your ERP system, and an accounts package will not be able to offer you the specific features and operational advantages that a specialist merchant ERP system can.


Technology has moved on

We are all moving with the times, and today’s technology and best practice demands a more flexible approach. Your business deserves the best it can get. It deserves sector-specific expertise for every business function - and there is no need to compromise on quality.


Anyone who has ever designed a website will know that in order to offer people the best choices, functions and experience, you need to integrate a variety of best-in-class features.



You wouldn’t necessarily ask your web hosting platform to write a new analytics programme for you when you can simply plug-in Google Analytics; and many businesses opt to add a PayPal widget rather than invest heavily in their own payment gateway that doesn’t offer the same level of consumer trust and user take-up. Specialist apps, plugins and widgets are in common use – so why should it be any different with your ERP system?


No-one has to have all the answers, all in one place. Modern technology celebrates expertise from so many different areas, gone are the days when we have to have all the glory for ourselves.


A hangover from outdated legacy systems

It’s easy to see why the natural inclination is to opt for a system which offers to do everything. But that just isn’t the way to get the best performance in today’s technological environment; and chances are, you’ll end up spending more money and time to get it done, and the end result won’t be any better than simply using existing solutions.


Just like you’d use a specialist for certain functions rather than a “jack of all trades” approach, so it’s important to use the right tools for the job. And when that job is running a complex business, it stands to reason that seamlessly integrating separate specialist functions will give you better results than trying to reinvent the wheel for the sake of it.


Times and technology are changing rapidly, and it’s hard to know exactly what’s right for you. Always ask whether you really need a particular function if it’s going to cost more and take longer to deliver – because often, the best solution is much closer to hand.

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