Accountants have long been the backbone of any healthy company, providing financial updates, monitoring cash flow, ensuring payroll and taxes are up to date, and more. They are undoubtedly one of the most critical departments in an organization. Over the years, they’ve gained an even larger and more senior role in many organizations by analyzing and reporting on financial data and participating in decision-making processes.
This amplified value only continues to increase with the advent of Business Intelligence (BI) tools. These tools provide value, structure, and clarity to the plethora of data available within disparate company systems. The beauty of these tools is their ability to pull in information from multiple sources and automatically consolidate it into a logical, understandable format from which users can make educated decisions, often resulting in direct improvements to the business.
With Business Intelligence implementation now simpler and less expensive than in previous years, accounting firms are especially well-positioned to take advantage of the benefits. BI can create a huge competitive advantage by enabling firms to provide additional insights to their clients and establish new service offerings. Using this new method of collecting usable data, they will also be able to improve their own practices by identifying new ways to grow revenue and manage risk. BI software further enables accounting firms to position themselves as high-value, trusted advisors to their clientele.
There are numerous reporting dashboards available to track financial data, such as financial performance and controls, among others. While these are the most obvious dashboards an accounting firm will want to track, Business Intelligence provides an opportunity to gather information on other more unexpected areas of the business that may not normally receive much focus, such as project status (note: nearly anything can be managed as a ‘project’), productivity by billable accountant and overall, and your Google Analytics. More on each of these below.
Firms can determine the critical indicators that matter most to them and set up customized dashboards to reflect that information at a moment’s notice. Take, for example, the following three dashboards which provide a significant level of detail on operations that may not be currently tracked. You’ll be surprised at how much you learn.
3 Key Business Dashboards to Track:
- Project Status Dashboard – Identify project cost to performance, project phase completed, and timeline vs. resource capacity. This information can quickly tell you whether you’re on track and on budget with your commitments or whether you need to adjust.
- Productivity KPIs Dashboard – View the hours worked by each employee, how their actual hours compared to their goals, billable time vs. goal, and productivity actual vs. goal. Easily determine the productivity of your employees on a regular basis to uncover imbalances in workloads.
- Google Analytics Dashboard – Clearly understand website metrics like unique page views, time on page, bounce rates, and more. You can also track trends over time, and better understand where your web traffic is coming from and what keywords they use to find your firm. This data helps you test different messages and offers so you gain a better understanding of what your clientele is most interested in, and can improve your sales hunting process when looking for new business.
Tracking company information and using it to improve business operations and increase revenue has become much easier with today’s modern BI tools. They provide incredible insights that are otherwise difficult to access.
These examples are just the beginning! Once you realize the value of the information you can harness right from within your own accounting firm, you will likely choose to build more and more accounting dashboards in various departments across your business.