Financial reporting such as income statements and balance sheets are not only required under GAAP accounting standards but also for running a business effectively. However, that’s not to say those are the only reports that are necessary to help executives of any business make informed decisions. Further, the interpretation and analysis of financial reports can also vary from business to business; thus, the amount of time and effort required to analyze reports to come to reasonable conclusions about your business can be very demanding. This often leads to delays in making decisions or not understanding your profitability and overall financial trajectory until it’s too late. The importance of making data-driven decisions cannot be understated.
Use Technology to Leverage Your Data
Enter data automation and business intelligence. By data automation, we mean the process of moving data from one (or multiple) sources into a single source, processing it, and storing it for analysis. The business intelligence component is the technology used for that analysis – creating different views and visualizations to analyze the past, present, and future.
Using real-time business intelligence reporting has never been easier. With tools like Microsoft PowerBI and Tableau (to name a couple), in addition to other cloud tools on Azure and AWS that are available to move data more effectively than ever, you can analyze your financial health in seconds and get immediate reporting and insights at your fingertips. Shifting from old Excel files to BI may seem daunting at first. However, there are several benefits and reasons you should integrate a BI solution:
- Recognize Data Trends Immediately. Analyzing Excel files and financial statements takes time, and depending on the nature of your business, certain data points might be more important than others. Build and define the metrics and attributes once, let the system work for you. Analyzing trends in BI reporting is extremely easy and takes only seconds once set.
- Forecast Your Growth. Analyze years-worth of data in seconds and visualize your trajectory over any period of time with no effort. From there, you can make informed decisions on the spot.
- Get Real-Time Alerting. If you have KPI’s around revenue, EBITA, or anything else, get real-time alerts when those numbers are hit (or missed).
- Distribute Permission-Based Information. The ability to distribute financial data to stakeholders and decision-makers is vital. Further, the ability to deliver only some of that data vs. all of it might be even more critical. With BI tools, you can create permission-based reporting, which gets the right data to the right people.
- Get New Insights. Once you have the means to analyze your data so easily and effectively, you can gain additional insight into trends that you never previously imagined.
Set Yourself Up For Success
There are seemingly endless benefits to implementing technology to help with your financial analysis. However, some difficulties in understanding will include time and cost. Like everything else, it all comes down to time and money. Defining the critical KPIs, trends, and reports that are good for your business is essential to do upfront to make implementation go smoothly and efficiently. Further, your business may have data in many different areas. These obstacles are common in many companies, and you can overcome them with the right tools and techniques.
Only The Beginning
The ability to gain insights with real-time reporting from multiple different systems and databases across various geographical locations, and distribute those reports within your team(s) and empower your organization to make data-driven decisions can transform your business and give you tactical advantages like never before. Automation and BI are just the beginning. After that, you can create artificial intelligence and use machine learning to create computer systems that analyze your financial data and make decisions for you to maximize your profitability. Leverage technology to bring your data to life and transform your business.
Want help implementing automation and business intelligence into your business? Contact us to get started on automating your business.