Finance teams manage huge volumes of data, and is one of their biggest challenges. Company wide, most other departments also create startling amounts of data. Many businesses often seek ways to handle this with big scale BI installations, capturing and placing company information into a data lake or data warehouse. These projects however, come with a hefty price tag, and so it’s of paramount importance that the benefits expected, are achieved. So, what are the pro’s and con’s of implementing a BI solution?
The Merits of Business Intelligence Software
Business intelligence software can provide great visibility and control over huge volumes of data, for all aspects of an organisation. Business intelligence software tackles the problem of dealing with enormous amounts of structured and unstructured data by providing valuable insights into operational performance that can be managed centrally. The purpose of a successful business intelligence unit is to take relevant and fact-based data from across the business and analyse it. KPIs and Trends can be produced, and presented in dashboards, charts and reports, helping businesses drive efficiencies and improvements.
Advantages of having BI in Finance:
- Handles large amounts of structured and unstructured data
- Centrally managed insights into operational performance
- Improved decision making through review of KPI and Trends
- Operational reporting drives efficiencies and improvements
The Demerits of Integrating BI for Financial Reporting
Whilst BI implementations are very good at solving the problem of handling large amounts of data, and they do provide reports reflective of the operations of a business, financial reporting requirements are unique and are much more specialised. Often the information required for Financial reports is located in data that resides in numerous different systems and is frequently stored in many proprietary formats for schemas.
The following are the limitations with integrating BI:
- Analyzing data from specific finances sources is difficult
- The cost of business intelligence software varies
- Inability to report accurately for finance
- Errors in financial reports are difficult to track
How to Overcome the Limitations of BI Installations
It’s clear, BI tools have their place in the data analytics landscape and can provide powerful insights into operational performance from otherwise incomprehensible volumes of data. Their main advantage is the presentation of KPIs and trends using visualisation techniques like dashboards.
The requirements for Finance departments are different. Their data cannot simply be collected and aggregated into KPIs or smoothed over and presented in charts or dashboards. Finance data needs to be selectively extracted from source systems to separate out those transactions which apply to the period under consideration from data that needs to go into other periods. Then the data must be cleansed to remove errors, get the signage and coding correct, and align the dimensions with the reporting structure.
Every item of finance data must be accurate as the resulting outputs (Income Statements, Cash Flow, Balance Sheet) need to be carefully constructed. Errors can be very difficult to detect yet wreak havoc on business decisions and shareholder confidence.
ORYX is a finance process automation and analytics solution created to tackle these types of financial issues from beginning to end.
Read our whitepaper to learn about the choices that allow finance to be confidence in the data they report, while also complementing existing BI applications.
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As Head of Marketing, Tanya is passionate about maintaining the high brand of Accountagility and has taken the company through major transitions since joining in 2016. Working closely with the business, marketing is at the forefront of supporting the sales team, to ensure the company fulfils its mantra of ensuring finance customers are confident that, with Accountagility solutions, they can report on numbers they can trust.