Financial managers possess crucial information that can heavily impact business strategy.
As traditional reporting methods are so time-consuming, financial managers often just forward information, rather than analyse and discuss it. The right Business Intelligence (BI) tools can change this situation.
Business analytics programmes play a major role in freeing up financial directors, because they make large amounts of data transparent, quickly and simply. Business analytics systems offer a ‘DIY’ analysis of the data with a single click. This allows large amounts of data to be easily translated to organisation-wide, real-time KPIs and trends displayed in orderly dashboards.
These KPIs, in turn, offer insight into processes that can be improved, which leads to increased speed, efficiency, accuracy and, ultimately, higher profits.
In comparison to traditional reporting, the insight offered by business analytics system is completely up to date, which leads to vastly improved decision-making processes. Trends can be recognised earlier to support positive changes and tackle negative ones.
In summary, BI tools help financial managers save time in two ways:
The required information is available immediately: No more waiting for the IT department to process a request.
They can collect much of the information themselves: The financial department no longer has to provide the rest of the organisation with information.
From accountant to analyst
The time saved can be used to analyse and evaluate results. It enables financial professionals to actively advise the management team on matters such as adjusting the strategy or improving business processes.
The availability of real-time financial figures in a single overview enables financial directors to constantly monitor the organisation. Management easily assesses the cash flow, liquidity, turnover, profit, return and equity capital at any given moment. They have direct insight into outstanding payables and receivables of all business units. Discussions can always be substantiated with current total turnover, costs and profit figures, with the option to zoom in to the transaction level to discover specific causes.
When it comes to sales support, with the right BI tools, gathering sales-related information is also extremely simple. It’s possible to quickly see who’s purchasing what, where and when.
With the insights provided by BI financial directors can be involved in subsequent discussions. For instance, what product lines need stronger marketing, and where? How can we tackle projects that don’t generate sufficient revenue? Which customers have problems with payments and what can we do about it?
The information behind these trends is easily accessible, meaning financial experts in the company become both controllers and strategists.
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