Does your enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution include employee time and expense tracking? While convenient and efficient at first glance, this “free” ERP function could cost your company in the long run if you aren’t careful.

The fact is, your ERP’s native time tracking functionality may be more outdated or inefficient than you realize. There are advantages of using your ERP’s time and expense tracking solution. However, to ensure your company isn’t falling behind because of a solution that’s supposed to ensure projects are on budget and profitable, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and take an honest look at how your company is tracking your time and expense data.

The Advantage of Using Native ERP Time Tracking

Most ERP systems come with employee time and expense tracking. In a perfect world, you’d have timely and accurate data entered into your system all the time. This data is necessary for measuring the cost of projects, invoicing customers for provided services, and for paying employees on time.

The advantage of using the time tracking functionality within your ERP system is that you’ll have all your data within the same system that is used to process it. This means, you only have one system to manage. It also means, if all data is entered correctly and there are no overlooked inaccuracies, your ERP can help you to run a tight ship – you can ensure projects don’t go over budget, customers are billed with accurate invoices in a timely manner, and employees are reimbursed on time.

The Potential Drawbacks of Using ERP Time and Expense Tracking

The reality is, for most organizations, there are too many moving parts, which can lead to inaccuracies, oversights, and poor user workflows. Which means, ultimately, you could be losing money with native functionality.

Here are some of the reasons your ERP’s “seamless” time and expense tracking solution may not be able to deliver the pure efficiency and cost savings you expect:

Employee friction: If time entry is a hassle for your employees rather than a good user experience, which is often the case with ERP time entry, the data in your ERP is more likely to be inaccurate or late.

Multiple systems for entering time: Your employees may have to track time worked on a project in one system and fill out a timesheet for payroll in another, making time tracking processes more complicated than they need to be. The ability to track time in one place will reduce friction and result in quicker timesheet submission.

Lack of data validation: Your ERP time tracking solution likely doesn’t validate entered data, which means more work for your back-office staff as they’ll have to identify and correct bad data. You need a system with data validation built-in to prevent bad data from being entered in the first place.

Rigid approval workflows: With native time tracking, often there isn’t a multi-level approval workflow. This can slow down the time it takes for someone to review the time and expense data. The data also may not be looked at by the right people.

Lack of mobile functionality: A lot of ERP systems don’t offer mobile functionality. When they do, mobile time tracking is usually cumbersome or an afterthought. However, your employees and managers need an efficient mobile solution so they can enter and approve time and expense data quickly and easily.

Choosing the Best-of-Breed Solution Instead of Settling with the Included Solution

Where companies often run into a problem with their time and expense tracking is they simply opt for the free functionality when they implement a new ERP solution, without looking at how well that native solution will work for them. In practice, the free included ERP solution isn’t necessarily the best for your company’s workflow and processes.

And, if your time tracking solution isn’t optimized for your company’s needs, it’s not going to help reduce costs and drive profitability and growth. Choose a system that fulfills your organization’s needs, and you’ll be able to see the results your time and expense tracking solution should deliver.