An ERP system, or an Enterprise Resource Planning system, is a type of financial management and accounting software that integrates information concerning financial, manufacturing, sales, service, customer relations management, and other business activities that impact revenue or liabilities into a single package.
Usually, these applications rely heavily upon databases in order to store and retrieve large amounts of data. Initially, this kind of software was very popular with manufacturers, who relied on manufacturing resource planning, or MRP software.
Today, those software suites have evolved in order to encompass business activities outside of the manufacturing sector, and generally seek to address all core financial functions of a business. ERP systems are used by government agencies, companies, and non profit organizations in order to manage their accounting needs.
Most ERP systems focus heavily on business processes that take place in “back office” departments – those departments that are essential to managing the organization, but do not interface with the public. Today, ERP systems are increasingly accounting for outward-facing processes, however.