Technical background necessary in ERP consulting?

Find out what it takes to be a successful ERP consultant and how you can go about determining which domain to pursue.

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Q. Is it critical to have a technical background to have a career as a functional ERP consultant in modules like Distribution and accounts. What are the opportunities and rewards--financial and career-wise?

Career advice from Roger Olofsson, associate director of executive recruitment agency Robert Walters:

There are many highly successful functional ERP consultants with little or no background in software development. More importantly would be to ensure you have a deep knowledge in the functional domain you are planning to specialize in. For example, if you are planning to specialize in financial accounting covering areas such as accounts payable, accounts receivable and general ledger it would be highly advantageous if you have a background in accounting academically or professionally.

I would advise that you focus in one area, either distribution or accounting but not both as you run the risk of becoming a jack of all trades, master of none. Make your choice based on your current exposure and knowledge of these areas and of course take into consideration your interest in each of these areas as you are likelier to become a real expert and successful if you chose a domain you are passionate about. Prospects for functional ERP consultants continue to look good in the future, particularly if you develop expertise in any of the two dominant ERP packages in the market, SAP or Oracle.