Can ERP Software Effectively Satisfy Project Controls’ Requirements?



This white paper explores whether ERP Software is an effective tool for managing projects. It analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of using an ERP software, and offers alternatives for successful project management.

“On the majority of occasions, the finance group is seen as the “owner” of the ERP system and so the functionality developed usually meets their requirements to the detriment of the other departments.”


Project controls professionals know that project accounting is a discrete and separate discipline to project cost management. There is a degree of overlap between project accounting and project cost management. Similar to Janus, a two-faced god from an Ancient Roman myth who simultaneously looks towards the future and the past, project accounting looks backwards to see what was spent against what was planned and cost management looks forward trying to use project performance to forecast where the project is going. Project cost management is also concerned with more than just monetary value; cost engineers worry about hours and quantities too. Enterprise Resource Planning Systems are often used in an attempt to manage all aspects of a project. However, there is a debate in the project management community about their true capacity to manage more than just the financial details of a project. This paper will ask the question, is it possible to use a mainstream Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software system to successfully manage the financial and other aspects of a project?