The introduction of integrated business applications (enterprise resource planning [ERP]) has caused a tectonic shift in how we think about business logic. Some involve fundamental logical principles that can then be applied to individual functions. In the first of a series of articles, the authors lay the groundwork for understanding why implementation of these applications causes significant disruption in how business executives need to look at business improvements. The introduction of cross-functional applications that require a redefinition of business processes integrated across functional boundaries has resulted in more than just relearning how business transactions work. To make optimal use of these business applications, thought processes must change, also. As the financial leaders within a business, financial executives play an instrumental role in creating and executing these designs, not only in finance but also in how other functions design and execute their roles. In the new applications world, understanding these principles is key to providing direction to the business as processes are reengineered. By taking a different view of how integrated business processes affect these design issues, this article lays the foundation for more detailed discussions in the ensuing articles.