Why Should You Use A Reporting Solution?
Coming from the perspective of a business owner and project manager, the simplest answer is, “To see what’s going on with my business in a format I can understand”. We’ve all heard the comparisons, right-brain or left-brain, creative, intuitive or analytical. People see things differently and we all want to see the information, numbers, trends and alerts in the media that gives us the clearest picture of what’s going on.
Using software as a service, the CPA, CFO or CEO will be able to access pertinent data wherever they have an internet connection. I like to say, “The CFO’s job is to analyze threats and risks and make the CEO feel safe and protected”. A CPA, using a reliable reporting solution, having given the decision maker a comprehensive dashboard, has taken a huge step forward in providing that feeling of confidence. Everyone has stories of the 11:00 PM call from the owner who’s leaving on vacation the next day, “Where am I on AP, AR and Cash flow? Am I going to be OK?”
You can couple a quality reporting solution with a robust business intelligence process. This demands three major attributes. It has to be timely. If the information isn’t updated regularly, the desired level of assuredness will never exist. It has to be accurate. Properly set up QuickBooks files can give transaction level detail so if a problem does exist it can be remedied. That brings us to actionable. Actionable intelligence is what gives that decision maker the ability to achieve a competitive advantage over their competition. The goal here is success, not just good looking charts and graphs.
What does success look like? It should provide the client with the best possible reporting solution that can be had at a price they’re comfortable with. There should be a measure of success for the CPA too. Perhaps the ability to charge a fee for service in lieu of billing for hours spent generating Excel spreadsheets. Maybe this comes in the form of a customized or personalized dashboard, reports of the CEOs choosing.
Gaining the visibility over the financial position can do more than catching small problems before they become big ones, they can save the organization lots of money. How? Changing ERPs is expensive. No one ever changed to a different accounting system because the AP clerk thought it was too cumbersome. They change systems because they can’t see the data they need to provide strategic decisions about the company. Simply stated, the proper reporting solution extends the life of the current system. What about the CPA? Where is the value for them? Ideally the report and dashboards created become their intellectual property. We’re talking client retention here. Remember the 11:00 PM call? Fewer of those could be considered a blessing.
Have a look around. Just as there is no one dashboard that meets every company’s needs, neither is there one reporting solution that’s perfect for every accounting firm. Whether you choose a “plug and play” solution or a “highly customizable dashboard designer”; a system exists that provides the appropriate ratio of cost to benefit for you and you client.
Kev Christgen is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Essential CFO. Essential CFO offers a software as a service model that fundamentally changes the world of financial planning and reporting for small to mid-sized organizations, entrepreneurs, and outsourced CFO's. The highly flexible and user-friendly interactive reporting software allows management and finance teams to obtain real-time visibility into performance metrics, streamline financial planning and reporting, and drive better business decisions.