Without the right data, making sound business decisions is going to be a challenge. In such a competitive environment, where pressure is mounting on businesses to be more competitive and resourceful, it’s also ill-advised.
Accurate data is essential. The approximation and going-with-your-gut hunches of yesterday no longer suffice. Your business needs number-driven insights if you’re to keep track of transactions, know what’s working, what needs work and, ultimately, make better decisions.
Real-time reporting provides you with instant access to this very data. By leaning on up-to-date information, you can benefit from a slew of financial plus points, all of which can improve your business in the long run.
Below, we’ll take a look at real-time financial reporting in more detail to see how the latest accounting software can help you out from a finance perspective.
What is real-time data?
Real-time data is data that’s available the second it’s created and acquired. Whereas in the past, businesses may have accrued and then reviewed data at monthly or quarterly intervals, real-time data is forwarded to the right people in an instant, without delay.
So, let’s say someone purchases one of your products. That purchase would go straight to your company’s accounting software, where it would be tagged as sales revenue.
You can click on this purchase and view all the relevant transaction details. And crucially, the purchase shows up in your revenue numbers. What’s more, all this information is available to you exactly as it happens.
What are the benefits of real-time financial reporting?
Greater visibility into performance
The real-time data provided by a modern accounting or ERP platform lifts the lid on performance metrics. Through this enhanced visibility, you’ll be able to view the bigger picture of your business’s performance, in one place and at any time. You will also be able to easily set triggers to ensure key real-time data points are sent directly to certain users in the form of a pop up, email or SMS alert.
Metrics like sales and revenue come into focus, making it far easier to ensure KPIs and business goals are being met. And since you can view and compare historical data, it’s possible to identify the areas you want to work on improving going forward.
Your profit and loss, for instance, is a big area that can benefit from real-time reporting. Wherever you are, you can view how you’re currently doing and what your overall profitability is like, giving you crucial insights into the choices you may need to make with regard to business direction and performance.
Quicker detection of errors and issues
Since transactional information is available at the click of a button, identifying errors and anomalies – such as account balance issues or incorrect payments – becomes a much easier process. And that means you can take action and rectify these issues in a speedier, more timely manner too.
Because of this, your business can instantly stop problems from escalating, which saves you huge amounts of time and money as a result. With quicker responses, you’ll benefit from clearer, more straightforward processes, which come in useful when the need to create formal processes for dealing with the problems you’ve identified arises.
Faster report retrieval
There’s a strong chance that a variety of different teams and individuals will want to access vital report information. From investors and executives to sales teams and stakeholders, being able to pull up the relevant reports and details makes catering to their needs a much more straightforward process.
Certain reporting software can even let you create custom dashboards so you can tailor information on key metrics to specific individuals across your business that is constantly being updated in real-time.
More accurate business predictions
With accurate, up-to-date information at your fingertips, you can make predictions and set goals based on historical facts. Whether it’s increasing revenue, improving product delivery, improving weak-performing revenue sources or any number of finance-related goals, grounding them in hard facts means you can more readily pursue your strategy.
And it eliminates guesswork and gut instincts too. Instead, you can look at previous company performance, identify trends and create achievable plans for growth. What’s more, you can easily make the necessary adjustments using the real-time information that’s constantly flowing into your business.
Improved strategic decision making
As we said earlier, making decisions with data is a struggle. Rapidly growing businesses need to make quick decisions, and without the data to back them up, things can go awry very quickly.
But with up-to-date financial information to back them up, you can be more confident in your ability to make the right decisions. The data you receive tells you a lot about your business. With it close to hand, you’ll know the changes you may need to make, the things you can keep doing more of, and the issues that are standing in your way towards greater financial success.
Once you know these things, making better decisions becomes far easier.
Speed up the closing process
Issuing monthly financials can put pressure on your finance team. Through real-time reporting and automating your credit control functions, however, you can greatly reduce the amount of time needed to complete them.
Rather than spending weeks on the closing process every month, using up-to-date information speeds things up considerably. All of which gives them more time to spend on bigger, more valuable projects.
Want tighter control over your business finances? Intact iQ Financials gives you greater insights into your margins, profitability, reporting and more. To see how else it can future-proof your business, head here or get in touch with us today.