How are you using data to benefit your clients?
Do you have access to instantaneous information to be able to help your clients create a better future for their business?
This is what today’s innovative and transformative practices are doing.
Leading firms are using great software to capture relevant data for their clients, auto-process it and then analyse and report on the data to provide meaningful insights. This approach allows you to keep up with the pace of modern business, move from being reactive, and provides a strong foundation for value based services. But, what should you be measuring for your clients?
Guest blog post from our friends at Spotlight Reporting, written by Gayatri Wood
Setting Goals to Know what to Measure for your Clients
Firstly, it’s important to ascertain what the client’s goals are and their relative priority. What you as an accountant and advisor think they may want to achieve business-wise may not be what they feel, additionally they may rank a particular goal higher for themselves than what you do. For example, being able to save more money towards a university fund for their children rather than expanding the business over the next couple of years. These goals form the outcomes to which actual results can be compared to and allows you to gage what data is important to gather and what data to refine; enabling you to provide advice of real value.
Secondly, with each goal, ensure that you articulate what needs to happen to make sure they’re on track to achieve those goals. If they aren’t currently measuring this data themselves, it will become apparent in this process as well. This provides you with another avenue for your advisory services to ensure they are collecting the right data for their goals and are using the right tools to do so. If they are already measuring or asking staff to provide them with numbers on different things aligned with their role, incorporate these into reports and dashboards as well. We want the right data, that will yield that critical insights so as accountants and advisors you can provide those critical advisory services.
It’s also important to consider what industry your client is in as there will be some data that is pertinent to their business and is a good starting point for you to see what they are and aren’t measuring and what contributing factors affect their goals.
Sourcing the Data
There are a variety of data sources available to your clients and your firm also. There are sources that will be useful to a majority of your clients, ones that will be applicable to particular types of clients (due to their industry specialisations), and also ones specifically for your own accounting firm.
The majority of your clients will be familiar with the hassle of collating receipts to support expenses incurred. The data entry involved in capturing this vital information is time-consuming and resource-intensive. Datamolino of course solves this problem.
The beauty of using Datamolino is it extracts all of the relevant data from your receipts and purchase orders, removing the need for them to be manually entered. You can then upload or publish this data into your accounting or bookkeeping software for it to process. This ensures your client has accurate and up to date data, while dramatically reducing invoicing processing costs.
If your accounting firm specialises in dealing with a particular industry or you have clients in a few different industries, you might like to look at solutions that source the particular data relevant to them as well.
Processing the Data
With Datamolino feeding into your cloud accounting software, the financial data can be processed and you can have a real time view of business cash flow. Businesses can control their cash flow and make better decisions, with the right data being processed and you as an accounting professional always seeing up-to-date financial information.
With the collaboration cloud accounting software provides as well between you and your client, a two way dialogue has been opened up and you can more efficiently be of help to your client when needed. With all sourced financial data being fed into and processed in one place, you can ensure there are no nasty surprises. Having the capability to examine the financial position of each one of your clients on a needs basis, rather than at durated intervals, means that you are able to add value and insight to each business and help them perform better today.
Analysing the Data
Analysing not only the financial data that has been fed into the cloud accounting software, but also the non financial data for your client together allows you to provide a holistic overview for the client’s business and advise proactively. With Spotlight Reporting not only can you report on your client’s financial performance, position, and cash, you can measure this against non financial KPI’s and other sourced data that’s pertinent to your client’s business.
Spotlight Reporting has integrations with key accounting platforms, WorkflowMax, EXCEL, and even with Google Analytics. So if you have any clients with websites, you can analyse data on their website performance and leads through their sources, unique visits, locations of those visits, their bounce rate and so on.
With the illustrations of different potential sources above, you can import data from those different solutions and report and analysis those key metrics as well. Take a retail client for example, you could report and analyse their highest sold products, best performing staff member and or store, shop sales vs online sales, highest performing month, staff salaries vs profit, debtor and creditor days and so on. This comprehensive analysis provides you the platform for value based services and moves you to being a proactive advisor for your clients.
Additionally, you can choose, template and narrate the report and analysis so it’s personalised for each client and in a visual format they respond to. If you’re wanting to highlight a few key metrics, you can even create a dashboard for them that visualises their performance on those key metrics. That way you can focus in on metrics for your client to work on.
Through sourcing the right data for your clients, processing it and then analysing it you’re ensuring your client’s data is taking the correct journey and you are providing your client with value and insights for their business.