What are the best aspects of this product?
I will try to give an objective review.
1) Korean electronic invoice natively integrated. Great if you need it, but pretty niche.
2) Excel integration (excel add-in). The add-in is straight-forward to use, matches the menu you see on ECOUNT-app, makes import/export easily manageable.
3) Cheap, clearly. ~55 USD/month for the entire company. All other premium ERP are billing per user, and usually close to 50 USD/month/user. So it’s a lot cheaper.
Which explain the poor quality you’d say? Sure, but what about Odoo, ERPNext, Bitrix24, Vtiger, etc.? These all offer 0 USD/month downloadable version, and even if it’s not as good as the paid version the offer, even the open-source version cannot compare with ECOUNT. It’s a no-match on architecture design, on possibilities, on technology used, on underlying mechanics, on integration with modern tools.
What aspects are problematic or could work better?
(enjoy the ride!)
1) ECOUNT encourages repetition, and manual typing, without technical or logical reasons
ECOUNT lacks a lot of basic automation.
I’m not talking “AI automated emails answer”-level automation, but basic stuffs like:
• Many fields don’t allow to be auto-populated by previously entered data. Meaning you must re-enter the data you already manually entered previously on other modules.
• Transforming slip A into paper B requires you to create a NEW slip B, to import part of the data from slip A, and manually populate the remaining content on slip B.
• You cannot create “list choice” for your User (or only for specific predefined fields). When you need your User to indicate “yes” or “no” somewhere, best you can do is creating a text field where they can manually write “yes” or “no”. Think about the consequence it has on the data analysis, and the room for error it leaves… Some user will use Caps or not, some will enter a space, some will write “maybe” instead, etc.
Overall, nothing feels like a “process” with different steps where data is carried out from A to B.
Each module is separated and designed to work on its own; the data doesn’t always transit from one module to another.
Expect to spent time to copy/paste data from one module to another, for no real reason.
Best example to support the repetition argument is the “User account” situation.
ECOUNT have x3 separate menus to enter your user’s info: User account, PIC (Person In Charge), and Employee info.
In User account menu you enter the daily User of the software and can set their access rights.
In PIC menu you add your company employees to specify who oversees each module (this Employee handles the Quotations, this employee handles the Purchase, Accounting, etc.)
In Employee menu you specify your company’s employee accounting details to manage payrolls.
It makes no sense to separate these 3 menus. You must re-enter name, email, phone, etc. on each menu for the same Employee. Take me: I’m an user of the software so I need a User account. Then I’m in charge of some Sales so I need to appear in the PIC list. Then I’m an Employee of my company so I. m into the payroll. My user information has been keyed in 3 different menus one by one, for no reason.
I cannot see any technical or logical argument to support this, neither do any developer I’ve shown it to.
Consequence of the repetition and manual typing:
• It opens the rooms for more human errors than necessary
• You loose time to do basic operations when it takes 1 click on any other ERP
2) Customization is extremely limited for what matters the most.
Customization is key to adapt the system to your own company situation.
No ERP is ever perfect, and I know you can’t expect to configure everything in any given system.
Still, ECOUNT customization have noteworthy limitations:
• It let you customize very little about the real processes/mechanics, and offer lots of superficial customization. For example, you can have fun putting each field with a different font style and text size, but you can’t make the field interact with each other.
• On any given page, the number of custom fields you can add is always a fix number. Example: in Customer/Vendor module, ECOUNT gives you x8 customizable text fields and x3 customizable numerical fields. Why 8 and 3? Who knows. What if you need 4 numerical fields? Good luck then. You can add x3 “list fields” for your Items (call “List Group”), 4 or 5 customizable short text field in Quotations, etc.
I understand you need to put technical limits, but any other ERP I’ve used has a “infinite-like” number of customizable fields, here it can be really limiting for any company.
• Field type you can add are really basics. It’s either short text, long text, or pure number. You can’t add dropdown list field, checkbox field, currency field, date field (outside predefined ones), no percentage field, URL, phone, email field, etc.
• On the other hand, you are forced to customize things you don’t want to. For example, adjusting the lengths of each table column because it doesn’t adjust automatically to the content. I’ve spent hours just resizing columns on every page to make the content properly readable.
• Lots of workarounds with more manual typing
• Rely more on Excel import/export to cover for what ECOUNT cannot do
3) Limitations are illogical/counter intuitive
When you set up the ERP you need to forecast what it CAN or CANNOT do and find workarounds.
I get it, no ERP is perfect and you no system let you re-build everything from scratch.
The problem with ECOUNT is it leads you to think a mechanic works a certain way, and then put random exceptions to it without warning or explanations on a specific module.
Also, there are some basic limitations that you’d expect no to exist for an ERP in 2020’s.
Here are some example:
• Each page type (like the “list view” pages) all look the same, which is good to find your marks and to maintain a coherent interface throughout the system. But each time you go into the details you discover that 1 key-field is missing in this particular module, or that you cannot call this specific field here (whereas you can call it on similar page from other modules).
• You can only have 1-line of content for your item specifications. What about when you need more than one line to details the specs of your item?
• You can rename any field in Quotation, S/O, Sales, Purchase, RFQ, P/O, etc. But you cannot rename any field in Customer/Vendor module, in Item module, in Location module, etc. Why? These are the same kind of module, it’s under the same “Inventory I” menu.
• You can only add numbers, “-“ and “#” symbol in Phone fields. It can make sense, but then if you authorize some special characters, why not authorizing the “+” (international numbers all have them). And moreover, how can you justify putting restrictions on the phone fields, but 0 restrictions on the Email fields just under it? (at least preventing from adding string without “@” in it).
• Customer and Vendor are not separated, they are regrouped into 1 module without possibility to distinguish them natively. Why? How do you do when you need a slip to display both the Vendor of an item AND the Customer you sold the item to? It’s a pretty common situation for any company, especially resellers. You simply can’t have both. So when you need both, you need to create a custom field to re-type manually one of the 2, which create another parallel database of Vendor/Customer with possible typing mistakes from your users.
• Currency exchange rate field is limited to 4 decimals. I honestly don’t get it... ECOUNT is Korean-based and has moved its headquarters to the US in Los Angeles. You would expect their software to at least manage properly conversion from Korean to US currency, right? Then you discover that ECOUNT limit you to 4 decimals in all exchange rate field.
KRW to USD conversion requires to be precise to at least 5 decimals. Being precise at 4 decimal means you are rounding prices in USD with ~10% margin of error.
I could also hear that this is a purely technical limitation. Then you check the global settings and realize that all other numerical fields (price, formulas) can be precise to 6 decimals. WTF.
• Conditional display of content is practically always limited to 1 factor: “is the user on mobile or PC?”. When you look to show/hide content based on conditions, you’d expect to have available at least a small variety of options (display if this field is match a certain value, display if this amount has been reached, don’t display if blank, etc.).
• Painfull integration time to your company specificities
• User needs lots of support since they regularly face illogical situation
4) ECOUNT interface discourage focus
ERP deals with lots of information to displays, I get it. But ERP really doesn’t care about flooding your screen with purposeless content.
• Unused features still show on screen and stay clickable.
Example: you de-activate the Quotation menu. It stops showing in the menu list. BUT, in all pages related to “Quotations” the button stays available. If you go on the Sales Order page, the button to import a Quotation still shows in the middle of the page and is clickable (opens a pop-up to select a Quotation, with empty table). No warning message to tell the user that the Quotation feature has been removed/de-activated.
• Other example: the big “Send Fax” button shows on every major module. No way to remove it, while most companies don’t use fax anymore.
You don’t use Barcode? Enjoy the barcode printer button on every slips. Etc.
• Some features are unlocked by paying for extensions (ex: sending email through ECOUNT, adding e-approval steps for processes). I don’t mind having the possibility to unlock additional features by paying. However, all button related to these features shows by default on screen, even if you haven’t unlocked them, and you can’t remove them all.
Which means you’ re stuck with a big EMAIL button on most pages and can’ t remove it even though you have no intention to ever send email through ECOUNT.
In the end, if you don’t use the full extent of ECOUNT you’re left with half your pages filled with empty buttons, which complexify the interface for no reason. It means you always loose time to find where you need to click between all the un-used features.
• Pop-up windows everywhere. Fields are never changed dynamically on screen. You always open a pop-up, save, then often reload the page to see your change.
In some situation you consecutively open 4, 5, 6 pop-ups (pop-up in a pop-up in a pop-up, etc.). Anyone designing software knows this is a bad architecture design.
• User take time to get used to the system
• User constantly loose time searching the information
• User are led to enter data in unintended ways
5) UI and general architecture can be misleading.
• Some menus and configuration are really hidden.
Example 1: when entering a new Customer/Vendor, if you want to enter more than x1 representative contact, you need to click on the “email” field (why this particular field?), then a little “Fn” button appears at the right-side of the field, which you can click to open a drop-down list, which you can click to open a pop-up when you can key in additional Contacts name/phone/email, and specify in which module they should be the main receiver (Quotations, Invoice, P/O, etc.).
This is mentioned nowhere in the documentation, or during the tutorial videos in English, no-where on the internal wiki, and even when I asked the support on how to add more than 1 contact they instead advised me to use the x8 Custom fields.
This kind of little “Fn” buttons are disseminated throughout the ERP, you need to know which field to click on to make the Fn button appear. Good, I love playing hide and seek!
Example 2: to add your item to a Quotation, ECOUNT tells you manually enter the item code to display your item. This is obviously not a viable option for a lot of companies: someone else can enter the item (so you don’t know the item code), or your company may regularly add new item (good luck memorizing all these codes!).
So when you don’t want to add item like this, the only way is to double click on the item code cell of the table, which opens a pop-up to search to find your items.
There’s no “Add new item” button, you just need to know that you should double-click here on the first blank cell of the item code in order to add new items.
It gets worse: you can even remove the “item code” column when you customize the interface for your users. Which… makes them unable to add an item into your Quotation/Invoice/etc. No warning message when customizing, nothing.
Think about it: some company don’t actually need an item code classification. They could legitimately try to remove this field or hide it. So ECOUNT forces you to use unnecessary mechanics.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need for the software to attach an item record to a unique ID, but this ID can be invisible to the user (which is already a possibility for other code within ECOUNT: Quotation number exist but is not displayed by default for example).
• Interface’s “spaces” (margin, padding, alignment) have not been thought through for English writing. ECOUNT has been made by Korean for Korean, and it shows. Latin character writing takes a lot more horizontal space than Korean Hangeul letters. “Content” takes more horizontal space than “??”. Koreans use a lot of “Hanja” in software which allows to abbreviate words to have even less characters. In short, Korean use very little space for most commands in their interfaces. But this is not always the case for foreign writing.
Every field or table where you’re supposed to enter content is always shorter than it should for normal English writing. Each time you enter a text, part of it goes hidden behind the field’s size limit, or the words are split in half over 2 lines because they reach the column size length.
Then you need to re-size the interface for non-Korean user each time because of it.
• Not intuitive for English users
• Loosing focus = loosing productivity
6) English translation issues.
• You can sometimes feel the “lost in translation” effect. It’s obviously hard to explain. To put it simple there are some translations which are not precise enough.
For example, they often translated “Tax” where they meant “VAT”. But “tax” is a broader term, it includes other things than just the VAT. Most of the time you don’t really care, you understand. But when you’re dealing with various types of taxes in the accounting menus, then it becomes problematic to not know precisely what Tax they were referring to from the Korean translation.
And keep in mind I’m really tolerant on translation. English is not my first language and I’ve never lived in an English-speaking country.
• Missing translations.
This is pure negligence. You sometimes come across table header by default in Korean even though your interface is set to English language. It can be fixed by renaming the field but still…
The “Order management” module is only partially translated (all steps to choose from are only in Korean without possibility to rename them).
x2 or 3 sides modules are not translated at all from Korean, but they still show up in English interface (???).
• English documentation and tutorial are basic in English, while very detailed in Korean.
You often find yourself searching how to use this module or what is this feature’s purpose. The English documentation exist but is short. For example, video tutorials in English are all ~4minutes, and x1 video per submenu only, whereas video tutorial in Korean are plenty with additional 1hour videos explaining specific processes or feature, giving user case, etc.
• Hope you have a Korean friend to help you on complex mechanics
That’s all for the Cons.
Keep in mind that each time I only gave 1 or 2 examples between dozen to illustrate.
Also, keep in mind than most Open-Source ERP don’t have these flaws.
My company was using VtigerCRM before (open-source version, so free of charges), and sure it was far from perfect, but not even remotely close to ECOUNT non-sense design.
(FYI we made the move to ECOUNT because it’s one of the only ERP which natively integrate Korean e-tax invoice system for affordable price).
What features/services would you like to see in future versions of this product?
At this point, I'd be easier to restart from scratch than try to fix.
What specific problems in your company were solved by this product?
Integration of Korean e-tax invoice system.
Are you a current user of this product?