One word sums up why SMBs need ERP software: growth. As a small to mid-size enterprise, your business is growing, and that’s a good thing. But it can also strain the systems you’ve been using since inception. Excel spreadsheets and QuickBooks may be familiar, but they may also be stopping you from achieving growth. As the economy continues to grow, you’ll want to consider an ERP system to move forward.

Most SMBs have already implemented an ERP system, according to research from Aberdeen Group. Both Leaders (81%) and Followers (75%) are on some sort of ERP system, so if your SMB hasn’t installed one, you’re lagging behind and potentially letting your competitors one-up you.

SMBs need ERP for more than the basics

Unless you’re a very small business, chances are, you need a system that can provide you and your employees with mobile access to data, run business analytics, and utilize social business capabilities. There are a plethora of options available, including NetSuite (recently acquired by Oracle), SAP offerings, and Microsoft Dynamics.

These capabilities do more than a spreadsheet or simplified accounting package. They track inventory, order management, service management and other components of your business’s supply chain. They integrate accounting and allow you to run analytics to make better decisions, whether it’s to put a particular part on auto-order or upsell to a large customer. You can even pull in social data to connect employees regardless of their location, allowing for further collaboration and conversation.

One of the things most SMBs are used to doing with accounting software is running reports. ERP software turbo-charges reports. There is real-time visibility into all processes, drill-down capabilities, self-service reports that are simple enough for anyone in the organization to use, demand planning and forecasting and standardized procedures.

ERP meets SMB needs today and in the future

If you’re hesitating about ERP, keep in mind that these systems are scalable, and a lot of them now are cloud-based, meaning you won’t have to lay out a gigantic capital investment for servers and installation. SMBs need ERP not only for the growth they’re experiencing today but will experience in the future.

Consider the case of a small craft brewery, which illustrates why SMBs need ERP for future growth. The brewery began using an ERP system designed for small businesses. When the owner went for a small business loan, it was able to show the bank that it had repeatable, scalable processes and a “grown-up” system to track materials, inventory and finances. Later, when the brewery was acquired, the ERP system made it attractive to the large corporation that purchased it because it was easy to integrate with its existing systems.

ERP is what will take your business to its next best level. Examine the offerings, and choose something that makes sense for you and your employees to use, something that is user-friendly and can be customized to your business and your processes.