January 18, 2018 Ari Vivekanandarajah

How does Power BI help finance teams with data accuracy?

When I think of finance teams, one of the first things that comes to mind to myself and my colleagues is this image of busy rooms filled with finance professionals and screens loaded with Excel sheet on top of Excel sheet. A visit to any finance office in this day and age would probably illustrate a similar scene, which illustrates two important things. One, the analytics component of finance teams is a critical aspect of any business and, two, Excel still plays a big role in these operations. In a recent piece I wrote, I highlighted how Excel was still very much alive in the world of finance teams and I still stand by this – as do many other players in this field. This especially true when Excel is integrated with powerful applications built on Microsoft Power BI – like our Acterys platform.

However, I did also highlight that one of the challenges with Excel was the ineffective use of the application. By this I meant that either all functionality of the software was not being utilized properly, or, multiple versions of the truth were created in the form of duplicate files, which in turn altered the accuracy of the insights businesses were receiving.

The problem is therefore not with Excel, rather, it has everything to do with misutilization, dependency on disparate systems, and use of static spreadsheets. These three merged together naturally results in a nightmare for finance teams when it comes to ensuring data accuracy.

So how does Power BI help?

Power BI helps foster effective and efficient use of spreadsheets

Like I highlighted earlier, inefficient use of static spreadsheets can often be a source of data inaccuracy, given the existence of human error and duplication. Human error occurs when finance teams depend solely on static spreadsheets and have their staff manually copying and pasting data from one sheet to another. Even with the best database operators in place, the chances of errors occurring are very high – even if only a few, in the world of finance, it matters! Think about it – if you were to accidentally make the simple mistake of copying an annual revenue forecast into a quarterly forecast field, you could dramatically alter your numbers and predictions. Even if the mistake was identified on time, the amount of time and money spent on this manually-intensive task would already be costly.

With a tool like Acterys in place, your data would automatically be pulled from your existing spreadsheets, without duplication, in a seamless manner. Your finance team would no longer be burdened with the taxing task of having to manually pull data – our system would do it for them. All this would happen without any duplication of files, which would assure you the most accurate and insightful single version of the truth.

Greater visibility and reporting functionality

In Adaptive Insights Inc.’s recent CFO Indicator Q4 report, it was highlighted that 1/4 finance teams already spend up to 30{f07a6f3c804bbd895dffcff5ec51214cdb073f853260fed95f3ef441bb0f77b1} of their time on reporting alone, while 3/4 of CFOs said the volume of the reports they prepare has increased compared to three years ago. As the quantity of data and number of data sources being made available to finance teams increases, reporting is only going to be more intensive and taxing for them in the long run. If you depend on manual and disparate systems, you are at a disadvantage. Therefore, finding the right system to fix your data-gathering, consolidating, and analytics processes should be a priority for any business.

By implementing our Power BI-driven Acterys application, our clients have enjoyed tremendous cuts in inefficiency and report creation. With stunning visuals built into the system, combined with easy integration into a plethora of other financial and non-financial (marketing, HR) systems, our clients’ finance teams are enjoying a level of synchronization they never thought possible. The result? Greater efficiency and more time to spend on forecasting and planning – the core function of modern finance teams.

Cloud-based and on-premise solutions

If it was not already clear, static and disparate spreadsheet use is a thing of the past and needs to be stopped immediately! If you want to remain competitive and have any hope of running a finance team that can keep up with the demands and challenges of the future, you need to keep up with the technology.

One of the best advantages of our Acterys application is that you could either choose to run it on the powerful and scalable Microsoft Azure cloud-based solution, or, on your own on-premise Microsoft SQL server. No matter what you pick, you can still integrate all your multi functional systems into Power BI, without having to jeopardize the single source of truth and, thereby, data accuracy.

If you would like more information on how an effective financial planning tool with powerful analytics functionality could benefit your business, please feel to reach out to us at any time!

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