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Fiona McGuinness11-Oct-2021 19:49:507 min read

Business, Accounting or ERP Software: What’s the Difference and Which Do I Need?

In 2021, strengthening your operations with a suite of robust management tools has never been simpler. With hundreds of options available at different price points, you can invest in the appropriate solutions for your changing business requirements.

However, while many businesses have been quick to embrace the next generation in business management solutions – such as ERP software – others remain confounded by the options available. And this is a problem, with smaller firms risking losing their competitive edge through the slow adoption of future-aligned management platforms.

To help, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide exploring the differences between three of the main types of operational support software, including accounting, business, and ERP systems. Because while similar, these distinct platforms are by no means cut from the same cloth.

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What is Accounting Software?

Accounting software is any tool or platform used to help manage the financial side of your business. Think of back office functions such as payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable and other monetary-related tasks.

There are hundreds of different types of accounting software available, each offering tools and perks that are designed to make bookkeeping simpler. But that’s it. That’s all accounting software does. And that’s why it’s very different from enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, as well as business management systems.

The Pros and Cons of Accounting Software

The Pros 

  • Streamlined solution for financial management
  • Clear-cut value proposition
  • Simplified management of time-intensive functions, such as payroll
  • Automated tasks and report generation, for simpler day-to-day management
  • Encourages data accuracy and consistency, removing the risk of human error

The Cons 

  • Restricted in terms of its capabilities
  • Basic functionality means it will only benefit finance and HR teams
  • Unlikely to transform your business or promote growth

smiley businesswoman on the phone

What is Business Management Software?

Business management software refers to a suite of tools designed to support an organisation across key operational areas. From finance and marketing to sales and logistics, this type of software provides multifunctional capabilities, often with the option to add optional modules and applications depending on a team’s requirements.

Business management software has emerged as a mid-level option between standalone platforms – like accounting systems – and full ERP interfaces, which may be beyond the reach of some firms. For this reason, such software is typically used by SMEs who want a centralised management solution that supports a range of business functions, without onboarding a full ERP system.

The Pros and Cons of Business Management Software

The Pros

  • A suite of tools and features to support day-to-day operations
  • Different departments can benefit from a centralised management system
  • Can integrate with other systems to unify operations
  • Optional modules and integrations allow the software to scale with your business
  • Modern subscription pricing models mean simplified budgeting

The Cons 

  • Moving your business on to an all-new platform may require an onboarding process and additional staff training
  • A need for pay-extra modules may drive up the initial software cost
  • Some business software vendors may charge upfront fees, meaning additional investment
  • Business management software may not offer the level of functionality you’re looking for, in which case, an ERP system may be the better option

If business management software sounds like the right fit for your organisation, why not take a look at Xline – our innovative, future-aligned management solution for SMEs. With competitive subscription pricing, flexible integrations, and powerful features as standard, it could be the system you’ve been looking for.

What is ERP Software?

ERP – enterprise resource planning – software is a system designed to centralise every aspect of your day-to-day operations. With a wide range of features and a unified database, it facilitates full control and management through a single interface, helping to streamline existing processes and drive efficiencies in all areas of an organisation.

It also encompasses sophisticated workflow functionality to enable businesses to automate numerous processes and native business analytics tool to help aid decision making. The customisation capabilities it offers also ensures end user interfaces are personalised to their roles and requirements providing them with the real-time data and controls they need to work

From an operational standpoint, ERP software can prove a silver bullet, supporting your business in key areas while enabling plans for future growth. From inventory and supply chain management to finance, procurement, CRM, and your trade/retail counter – a full and integrated ERP suite can be a game-changing investment for businesses looking to scale up.

The Pros and Cons of ERP Software

The Pros

  • Real-time visibility and control of your business from a single, centralised system
  • Enjoy the consistency, accuracy, accessibility, and security of a unified database
  • Front and back office systems look and feel the same, for multi-departmental consistency of infrastructure
  • User workspaces can be personalised to optimise job roles
  • Automate your tasks, processes and business rules
  • Enhance decision making with embedded business analytics
  • Reduced risk thanks to a secure database and advanced compliance controls
  • Impressive cross-team collaboration
  • Can be scaled with ease facilitating the addition of new warehouse, branches, subsidiaries etc.
  • Ability to seamless integrate with 3rd party software providers and ecommerce platforms

The Cons

  • Cost may take it beyond the reach of some smaller organisations
  • Transformative change management project which will require internal resources to be dedicated to the implementation project alongside the ERP provider
  • Requires some level of in-house IT or system administrator resource to implement and manage

If you’re considering investing in ERP software for your business, why not take a closer look at Intact iQ, our flagship ERP solution. Offering next-generation features with a wide range of customisable modules, our future-aligned ERP system provides everything you need to elevate your business.

laughing businesswoman

Can Your Business Extract Value from ERP or Business Management Software?

If you’re in the market for a new suite of accountancy tools, it’s well worth holding fire until you’ve considered all your options. Because even for small start-ups and growing SMEs, ERP and business management solutions present a practical and potentially transformative solution – and for much less cash than you might expect.

Why would any forward-thinking business want to choose a limited accounts package when they can futureproof the need for further investment in business management software by investing in an ERP or business management system from the outset? It just wouldn’t make sense.


The increasing demand for business management and ERP software is due in part to the critical need for all companies to make intelligent business decisions, and it’s for this reason traditional accounting software packages are no longer as popular as they once were. Larger, more robust, software is seen as the smarter business decision.

The great thing about business management and ERP software is that they’re scalable. That means, if you’re budget-conscious, you can start small and scale up the software over time – with flexible modular enhancements allowing you to grow and develop the capabilities of your system.

This scalability is ideal for businesses currently in the market for new accounting software. With an ERP or business management investment, you can start with a basic accountancy package and go from there, adding extra applications and functions to your system as your business grows.

At Intact, we talk to business leaders all the time who are in the market for a particular type of software, but who perhaps don’t realise the bases that ERP or business management software covers. Those who decide to invest in these forms of software often see the value in having access to a modern platform that not only offers business-wide operational support but also connects any 3rd party software and  delivers real-time business intelligence, automation and control capabilities that enables them  to operate more efficiently from the get go and also expand and scale with ease.

The term accounting software will never disappear. But what is clear is that it’s now taking its rightful place as part of a tiered bundle of functional modules that can be integrated and sold as an actual business management software solution, rather than as an unintegrated, stand-alone product.

businesswoman using tablet

Whatever the goals of your business, we’re confident a modern ERP or business management platform will accommodate your requirements both now and in the future. Even if you’re only looking for accountancy software right now, the modular scalability of ERP and other business software solutions, such as Intact Xline, offer a future-proof foundation on which to grow and enhance your operations.

We hope this guide has cleared up some of the misconceptions you may have about how ERP, business management and accountancy software differ. If you’d like to learn more about what a new business management solution can bring to your business, click here to learn more about our next-generation solutions or visit our contact page to talk to our specialists and set up a free software demonstration.


Fiona McGuinness

I've been part of the Intact family for 16 rewarding years. After completing my Business Studies degree, I knew Marketing was a field I wanted to pursue. Prior to joining Intact, I primarily worked in the financial sector, focusing on marketing for credit unions. When I started at Intact, I handled all the marketing tasks by myself. Over time, as our team expanded, so did my role. Now, I specialise in crafting compelling content across various platforms, from blogs to video scripts. No two days are the same, and I thrive on the dynamic nature of my role. Whether it's diving into customer case studies or lead campaigns, I'm driven by the positive impact our solutions bring to businesses. In an age where AI plays a significant role, I remain a firm believer in the power of authentic content. When I'm not working, you'll find me enjoying quality time with my family, sewing, or watercolor paintings.