ClickUp vs. ERP vs. Excel w/ Accountant turned Consultant, Asad

So you’re comparing ClickUp vs. ERP vs. Excel.

You may be wondering whether ClickUp can replace a full Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tool like Microsoft Dynamics / D365, NetSuite, SAP, or the like.

And, if ClickUp CAN replace these apps…should it?

We’re sitting down with accountant-turned-consultant Asad from CFO Hire to help us make sense of what Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools really are, how ClickUp can replace an ERP (if at all), and how ClickUp can help any team with project management — whether they have an ERP or not!

Meet our Guest: Asad started CFO Hire with the aim of bringing his experiences in corporate to business owners wanting to grow and succeed using the latest technologies with proven theoretic concepts. He’s an accounting pro and ClickUp Consultant with lots of great content on YouTube and on his website.

What is an ERP?

  • An ERP (or Enterprise Resource Planning) system allows for an organization to keep everything –from operations to financials to communications — all in one place.
    • These systems allow businesses to put in data one time, and that data immediately then goes exactly where it’s supposed to go.

The Downsides to an ERP System

Check out the Video at 01:03 for more information here

  • ERP systems are very rigid and don’t allow for much flexibility.
  • Updating and editing ERP systems are timely and costly, and usually requires a whole team dedicated to just creating and changing that system.
  • One designated person or team is responsible for designing an input structure that is dedicated to an entire organization.
    • And that team often doesn’t interact with customers or clients, and may not TRULY understand what each department needs to flow and operate smoothly.

How ClickUp helps manage teams, alongside ERPs

Watch the video at 04:12 for a deeper dive into ClickUp vs. an ERp system

  • If you’re using an ERP system, and it’s working across all departments – keep it. Don’t go eliminating an entire system, if it’s helping your business run efficiently.
  • The key here is to look for “bottlenecks” in your business’s workflow.
    • Yes, maybe an ERP is great for your day-to-day operations, but what happens when you need to quickly make changes to an ERP? (Those changes can sometimes take months.) Does the ERP software efficiently allow for your team to communicate about expense reports across departments or who’s planning the next team meeting?
  • Even with an ERP system in place, project management tools like ClickUp can help fill gaps that may come about with unexpected changes in workflows, or operational bottlenecks that the rigid ERP systems just simply cannot quickly account for.

ClickUp vs. Excel

head to 12:16 in the video for more comparison here

  • While you can create and customize formulas within Excel that make sense for your business, those formulas may only make sense to you. Meaning, trying to explain how exactly you created this formula to someone completely new to your system, can be difficult.
    • Not to mention, those formulas can be just as easily deleted as they can be customized.
  • While, yes, you can easily share or email an Excel or Google Sheet across departments – there is no way to monitor their activity while inputting data into those sheets.
    • Plus, there’s no way to communicate actively within the sheet. Leaving out the opportunity to ask questions, or give real-time updates on what was changed or manipulated.
  • One person’s mistake in their input of information or small change to the ~golden formula~ can essentially render an entire Excel sheet completely useless in a matter of minutes.

The Value of Keeping ClickUp and Other Software Separate

deeper discussion on the importance of this at 16:56

  • While ClickUp is a great tool for any size business, it does have its limitations.
    • In the example of say, using ClickUp to replace your current financial software – ClickUp is not built for that.
      • Financial-based software is built to handle financials and handle them well. By eliminating that focus, you’re leaving several positive attributes of those niched software on the table. That software does one thing and does it well. Why try and rebuild that, and get that same takeaway from another software that isn’t built to handle financials?
  • ClickUp can replace and/or add to a lot of different department divisions in your business. However, the key is to figure out where your business is struggling – and start there.
    • Don’t try to change everything at once by implementing ClickUp and cramming every aspect of your business inside of it.
    • Is your bottleneck in the operational aspect? The communication between teams and departments? Figure out what exactly the most headache-inducing issue is in your business, and start by replacing how you manage that.

Building an Automation vs. Making a Process Automatic

find out more about why this distinction is important at 25:16

  • It’s important to realize, that an automation is only as good as the consistency of your process.
    • If you’re a small business, with changes in your processes and the lack of consistency that tends to come with growing and evolving businesses – the rigid, lack of flexibility that comes with an ERP and implementing automations – probably isn’t going to work for you. You would essentially be trying to make yourself as rigid as the system.
      • Also consider, if you do not have consistency in your process, automating that process can cause costly mistakes.
  • There is also a difference between building an automation, and making something happen automatically.
    • Most business owners, while they say they want to build automations for their client experience for example, what they actually mean is they want something around the client experience to happen automatically – but with the option to have that human guidance and intervention when necessary.
  • Before building out any automations because “that’s what they say to do”, take a step back and look at your processes as a whole, and figure out where an automatic follow-up, or reply, or next step, would be helpful.

Using ClickUp Templates as a Starting Point

learn more about how we make templates work for us at 31:52

  • ClickUp Templates are great, but they don’t account for the varieties of each business’s unique team culture or workflow or preferences across departments.
    • Templates are not a “one-size-fits-all” solution.
  • The key here is to find ClickUp Templates that are designed for your area of business, then adapt them to make sense for your specific needs as a growing business.

Related Resources

How to Use ClickUp FORMULA Custom Fields (Advanced Examples)

Measuring Business Success | Tracking Data for Small Business Decision-Making ft. Susan Boles

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