Every organization has to juggle information. Information and data come from every corner of the enterprise, and can include databases, data warehouses, best-of-breed systems, legacy systems, and specialized systems like ERP, HR, finance, accounting, warehousing and others. Important data is also contained in spreadsheets, email, documents, partner and supplier systems and other sources.
When a finance professional, accountant, CPA, or financial services professional is tasked with planning and predicting results, it can be challenging to pull data from all sources and make sense of the results. It is at this point that the services of an IT staffer or analyst are typically called into play. But, the reports produced in response to these requests can contain out-of-date or incomplete information, and will result in poor decisions.
There is perhaps no more important planning process than the process that supports business financials. Whether a company is planning to invest in a new product, changing a pricing program, building a new structure, expanding to a new location or adding resources, these decisions must be considered within the context of other decisions and the impact to the organization must be weighed against other financial challenges, needs and opportunities.
Today’s accounting, finance and investment professionals must find a way to address and understand an ever-changing business environment. A self-serve business intelligence solution is critical to the success of these professionals, because it integrates data from disparate data sources and allows individuals to see data, drill down, find the root cause of a problem, and create personalized views and reports that satisfy the needs of the day.
BI tools can help financial professionals to optimize investments and budgets and to see and address internal and external factors that create volatility. These tools allow an individual or team to be proactive and can substantively and significantly improve decision-making. There is no time or tolerance in today’s business environs for reactive techniques. In order to succeed, and to gain a competitive advantage, planning and results must be consistently on target.
Business Intelligence solutions can also be very useful in supporting auditing, regulatory compliance and procedures and controls to ensure that legal, financial and regulatory policies and procedures are followed and that compliance is adequate and effective.
BI tools can benefit the organization and its financial teams by employing the available features and functionality to:
- Develop and monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Monitor and analyze financial results and statements on a periodic and ongoing basis
- Audit and report on results
- Monitor and manage pricing, sales, investments
- Extend and personalize analytical and reporting capabilities beyond those provided by accounting and finance software
These are just a few of the areas where Business Intelligence tools can offer benefits and improve decision-making and data analysis. With simple, browser-based, mobile tools, financial teams can bring BI tools to every user and significantly improve planning, problem solving and analytical capability with sophisticated predictive algorithms and tools that are practical and accessible to every business user and finance and accounting professional.
Business Intelligence tools can be easily integrated with, and supportive of, accounting and financial systems and bring together disparate data in a uniform environment for swift, dependable analysis and decision-making.