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Wading Through the Software Biz Acronyms

As if the task of purchasing Accounting software wasn't daunting enough, the buyer needs to have a dictionary nearby to easily translate the mountains of acronyms used by Software companies, the media and even other users. Perhaps its a way from dividing up the experienced pros from the newbies, but it can also be very confusing and keep some users away from finding the right software that better that matches its business needs.

So, for the sake of convenience, here is a partial list of keywords and acronyms in the business and what they commonly mean. Warning: sometimes the definitions themselves are kind of fuzzy.


BI - Business Intelligence. The term Business Intelligence (BI) refers to technologies, applications and practices for the collection, integration, analysis, and presentation of business information. Examples: Report writers. For examples, Infor's F9 program lets users import Accounting GL data inside an Excel cell element.

CRM - Customer Relationship Management software. A broad set of software applications designed to increase sales through closer customer integration, contacts, contact history and other uses. Features usually include but not limited to marketing automation campaigns, contact management, customer services cases, sales force automation tools, calendaring, task management and opportunity management.

ERP - This definition has more to do with price tag than functionality, since ERP systems tend to be Accounting packages geared towards larger businesses with a higher price tag. a large-scale software program designed for modern businesses, both large and small. A simple definition is that ERP systems aid the flow of internal business processes and allow for communication between a business's departments and its internal functions and data. Typically ERP systems will include management and reporting of the manufacturing process, and give up to date info on production and inventory. ERP systems will not typically include Dashboard screens to give management key up to date metrics of company financial stats, such as Receivables, Cash, etc.

GAAP - Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, as set by the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants). Commonly followed accounting rules and standards.

GUI, or UI - Graphical User Interface. The design of the screen and way the fields are arranged, typically done to make performing operations intuitive and easy for the user.

ISP - Internet Service Provider. Where you get your Internet service.

KPI - Key Performance Indicators. Usually used in Accounting Dashboard screens to show you key company metrics in a graphical form how the company is achieving its performance objectives.

MRP - Materials Requirements Planning. A production planning, scheduling, and inventory control system used to manage manufacturing processes. Used when a company needs to know if it has enough raw materials to meet the production requirements of an order.

SaaS - Software as a Service. Rather than buying an Accounting, CRM or ERP package up front, you instead pay a monthly service fee for the life term you use the product. Typically these are web browser products that you access through the cloud.

SMB/SME - Small to Medium Business or Small to Enterprise Businesses. The range of businesses that would be appropriate for a software package. A small business typically would have 100 employees or yes, and a medium sized business 100-200 users. SME business may have up to 250 users.

SQL - Stuctured Query Language. A standardized way of requesting information from databases, originally designed by IBM around 1974. Pronounced "sequel," today it generally refers to a client-server database architecture that can usually be connected to 3rd party programs.

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