Professional Business Intelligence with Xero, Quickbooks, Saasu and MYOB

As a trusted advisor managing finances for your clients you understand that data is one of the absolute key elements of your client’s success.

Cloud based accounting solution are enabling dramatic efficiency improvement with data being available in near real time for financial aspects. The problem is this is just one aspect and even for that the data is typically not available in the format required.

 

Off the shelf web services like Futrli, Spotlight, Fathom etc. can provide you with nice looking reports and slightly improved data interaction. If they fulfil your requirements perfect get your subscription.

What we have learned though from implementing enterprise scale business intelligence solutions for the past 20 years, is that even with the greatest technology solutions (and Power BI for example is one!) enabling comprehensive  data driven decision making takes a bit more than a click. I know this is sounds a bit at odds with our “Insight as a click” theme. Here we are referring to “Getting Started” though. At “a click” you get standard reports and dashboards in Clear Jelly similar to what our friends from the competition offer but this is the only similarity.

 

The Clear Jelly approach is fundamentally different: as opposed to forcing you in a web application corset, Clear Jelly provides the user with a professional data warehouse setting. What does that mean for you?

  1. Optimised for analysis
    You are working with data structures that are optimised for analysis particular focused on minimising query times but also on enabling typical analysis requirements like time intelligence (time aggregations, year to date, variances, handling flow and point in time measures etc)
  2. Open Platform
    Clear Jelly uses a standard, openly accessible and customisable market leading SQL Server platform. This means you have the option (which doesn’t mean that you have to do this – Clear Jelly offers SES) to control details and exactly customise the data to your needs.
  3. Front end tool of choice
    Business intelligence requirements vary dramatically: from complex ad hoc analysis, forecasting and simulation to standardised dashboards as a mobile app. Clear Jelly doesn’t force you into the corset of just a typically inflexible closed web service. In addition to a web browser app Clear Jelly offers a professional Excel integration (with live data connection not dumping in Excel) an interactive dashboards (Power BI)  but also access with any  other front end that works with a relational database (e.g. Tableau).
  4. Easy integration with other sources
    You can easily extend the platform with data from other sources (CRM, web analytics, etc., etc.)
  5. Software Enabled Service
    Despite what glossy marketing materials will tell you: effective business intelligence is not about just subscribing to a technology service. As with legal services, accountants etc. the know-how of a human expert know at your side on an ongoing basis is a key factor to success. Here we offer advisory services provided by the experience and bright analytic minds of our partners that act as outsourced CFO’s ensuring the right strategic direction and commitment to agreed action plans. For specialised business intelligence technology requirements our SES plans will provide you with expert service to assist with all your custom requirements from integrating other required data sources, specialised ad hoc analyses and others.

That sounds interesting? Arrange your free 15min consultation here: Arrange Consultation

Better Integration of Multiple Data Sources

Demos are deliberately built to thrill. Often they focus on the speed at which a system can spit out reports. But that speed counts for zero if you don’t have confidence in your data’s integrity or if you can’t isolate data sources or make a change without introducing risk and error potential. Report production time savings are equally meaningless if your team ends up spending more time on development processes and activities.

Ultimately EPM should accelerate business, therefore speed should always be a consideration in any selection process. But we urge our clients to focus on average speed, not the processing time for any one particular function. We also recommend giving equal focus to two other key criteria key to an effective EPM solution: data governance and what we call “flexibility with control.”

Many features contribute to comprehensive data governance. The first, and most important, is that the solution must provide a single source of truth, no matter how many data sources you may be pulling from. You should look for features that provide auditability and tracking for data inputs and changes, as well as workflow management that not only shows process status and governs access but also offers complete transparency throughout all steps.

The more complex your business, the more important stringent data governance becomes. Without it, confidence in data is compromised and error potential is significant. Our conversations with finance executives reveal that inconsistent data was one of their biggest headaches; along with inadequate control over workflow processes.

Flexibility is another important selection criteria. Today, all companies need solutions that offer flexibility in order to accommodate business change, to support business growth, and to handle evolving regulations and internal reporting requirements. But, flexibility without control means chaos. You want the ability to easily make changes to reflect new entities or new organisational structures, for instance. But, these changes need to be managed in such a way that they are automatically carried through in all “touching” processes and reports.

This is why spreadsheets can never be a primary tool for EPM. Certainly, it’s a valuable tool for data input and for reporting. Since most business users love spreadsheets, solutions that use spreadsheets as an interface can have a significant adoption advantage. But those companies that try to rely on spreadsheets for handling major processes – such as budgeting, planning and closing – are not only putting themselves at risk but they’re likely incurring many hidden expenses (such as professional time spent on manual entry, updating for changes, or reconciling conflicting data). Astoundingly, most organisations still rely heavily on spreadsheets for financial reporting.

We certainly believe a EPM selection process should lead you to a solution that significantly compresses your process cycles and gives you the ability to produce reports much faster. BUT, a comprehensive solution should also instil absolute confidence in results; provide the type of information, analysis, and insights that lead to making better decisions; and lower the average time to perform all activities and tasks within any financial process.

Don’t let the speed of a sales demo blind you to other more important considerations! Make your selection based on those features that will yield the intelligence and insights for sound business decisions, risk-free compliance, and across-the-board time savings for all processes and activities.

If you are interested in exploring how modern BI & CPM tools can grow your Advisory business, register for our Webinar on the 12th of October at 2pm. We will be speaking to globally renowned BI expert Martin Kratky about Clear Jelly and how it was developed with SME Business Advisor’s needs in mind.