Taking business intelligence into account
Phil Dodds explains how accountants can use BI tools to manage clients better and speak the businesses' language.
The increasingly strained economic environment we’ve experienced over the last 18 months has resulted in stakeholders assessing companies’ finances with greater scrutiny. The latest generation of business intelligence technology has been developed with this challenge in mind, enabling accounting firms to dig deeper into their business data, identify cost centres and provide these stakeholders with meaningful analysis in language they understand.
Traditionally BI products have relied on users knowing how they want to analyse their data. They then have to wait while IT builds the relevant queries to run within their BI tool. However we are now seeing products come to market that do not have this reliance upon IT, instead allowing any business executive to follow their train of thought and analyse their data in real-time, in whatever way they want.
Accounting with clarity
This simplicity is helping to drive BI adoption into sectors such as accounting and finance, where the technology has particular relevance. A good BI tool will enable accounting firms to make detailed analysis of historical and future cash flow. Predictive modelling might indicate, for example, what the cash flow position would be if payments are received on time vs. late, payments are made on terms or according to past averages.