This article is targeted at US-based mid-size and large companies, planning the expansion and opening branches in Europe. It is for IT director, who is nowadays responsible for ERP/MRP platform selection and following implementation. The format of the article doesn’t allow us to come up with detail specs comparison, we will be rather giving you highlights for further research and checklist of things that you should not miss at the consideration. We will begin with the specific of the market and then point out to the solutions available.
• Multiple Languages. Continental Europe doesn’t speak on English language natively – documentation is in German, French, Italian or whichever country you consider. It is not just a question of finding English speaking and writing accounting personnel – as you will see, reading further
• Taxation. Now it is becoming more standardized, however you should now that in Europe you have to deal with VAT (Value Added Tax), in comparison to Sales Tax in the US. VAT should be paid not only by end consumer, but also by resellers, distributors, etc. Also it is common practice when Services are taxable in European countries.
• Government Reporting. In the USA you report on the federal and state levels and usually IRS and the states don’t care about the accounting system you use. In Europe, again depending on the country and probably this tendency is more applicable when you move Eastward, the government might have more involvement in the ERP brands selection, recommending several systems as approved, certified, localized, etc.
• Accounting Procedures. In some countries (France, Russia) you may encounter with the situation, when government wants you to use recommended chart of accounts, usually generalized and geared toward manufacturing accounting, which might be a nightmare in the case if you are service-oriented business. Considering innovative nature of US businesses in expansion mode – this issue should be addressed
Now we will give you solutions highlights
• Local ERP. The specific legislation and conditions of the country you chose for your European penetration probably produced several locally originated ERPs. As a tendency – these systems typically deal with government reporting and available in local language only. If you decide to implement such a solution, please understand the trade-ins – you can not find US/international managers who could efficiently take the control over when needed.
• Microsoft Dynamics. Microsoft Business Solutions these systems for continental Europe: Navision, Axapta – Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics AX (Microsoft Great Plains/Microsoft Dynamics GP will be pulled out from France, Germany and Holland, where it currently has some market presence). Navision & Axapta are both localized and “approved”
• SAP Business One. Assuming that you represent mid-size business – this system has all-in-one and the named user license includes all the modules (you can have CRM-only client for your sales people at ½ of the price). SAP Business One was designed with the ideas of the Multilanguage, flexible reporting and object-oriented tax engine. Plus SAP Business One has transaction integration to mySAP.
• Oracle Financials/E-Business Suite. This solution, coming from Oracle, also referred as Oracle Applications should be considered as very efficient and reliable. It is also localized and has very long market presence history in Europe. Oracle comes with J2EE/EJB/Java customization & development
• IBM Lotus Notes/Domino. It is not an ERP – it is rather the platform, Lotus is very popular in Europe and you should consider and respect it if you purchase existing company, using Lotus for document workflow
• Integration, Customization & Reporting. You should consider European branch ERP integration ability to your corporate ERP in the USA and management reporting compliance.
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