Business technology continues to evolve at lightning speed. As more applications transition to the cloud, information has never been easier to gather. Data is becoming more and more essential to remaining competitive and succeeding in any industry.
However, despite the growing importance of data, many CFOs and Finance Leaders feel they’re underusing it in their roles as business leaders and advisors. Why is this disconnect happening? What barriers still exist when it comes to gathering data, and understanding and using it? As a financial leader, how can you make the best use of data to help your company grow?
1. Use the right technology
When it comes to gathering, understanding, and sharing information, your accounting solution forms the foundation for success. Your solution should have the ability to collect and use both financial and operational data from across multiple departments and systems. For the purposes of sharing data across your business (not to mention understanding it in the first place), your financial solution should have excellent reporting capabilities. If your current system involves manually exporting information to create spreadsheets, it’s time for an upgrade.
2. Focus on the big picture
With modern technology making it possible to automate more and more financial processes, it’s time to shift your role to managing the bigger picture of your business. Automation allows you to worry less about daily accounting tasks or maintaining your accounting systems. Once you’ve freed yourself and your team from some of the more repetitive duties, you can think more about using data to help every aspect of your organization operate more effectively.
3. Use your data to create realistic goals
As you gather data and accurately identify where your business is at right now, you can use that information to gain a better view of the future. Are your business goals realistic? How do your benchmarks compare to the performance of similar organizations? Continued monitoring of your progress towards goals can reveal spikes or dips in performance and help you revise strategies as needed.
4. Drive proactive change
A data-driven financial leader focuses on the future success of the business and works to make those goals come true. Real-time monitoring of success metrics and detailed analysis of your operations will reveal trends over time. You can then use what you know to advise and inform other decision-makers, and form plans based on the facts.