Drive organizational growth with visual data stories
Data drives today’s business – but only if it provides insights that people can use to make better decisions. This post will explain how deploying visual, data-driven, on-demand storytelling can make financial data more accessible to business stakeholders and transform decision-making.
In this article, we will cover:
- Why you should go deep for digital insights
- How to let your data flow
- How to compile and customize your data for a bigger picture
- Why to choose a communication shakedown, not breakdown
Go digital for deep insights
Digitizing your financial processes will inevitably create the collection of enormous amounts of data about operations and customers. This goldmine of information can be used to provide insights that help your leaders and teams make better decisions.
As a result of more companies going digital, visual reporting is gaining momentum. Foundry’s 2021 Data and Analytics survey found that 69% of organizations are piloting or using visual dashboards and data-visualization tools to consolidate and share information. By 2025, data stories will be the most widespread way for organizations to consume analytics, according to Gartner.
“Portraying financial data in a user-friendly way allows people to discover connections they wouldn’t have seen otherwise,” says Scott Freedman, director of marketing at Sage Intacct. “With that information, they can make decisions that improve the business.”
But at many organizations, this new type of reporting has yet to gain traction. Over half of finance departments struggle to provide reliable data and reports stakeholders can use to inform their decisions, according to Gartner.
Let your data flow
Data is only useful when people can easily find it, understand it, and put it to work. When these numbers are buried in spreadsheets and scattered across departments, it can be hard to know where to look first.
Searching takes valuable time, and when you do find them, they often lack context.
“Data is too often siloed and represented in ways that don’t allow people to slice and dice it the way they need to,” says Freedman.
In addition, spreadsheets can’t keep up with real-time operations. “They are stuck in time,” Freedman says. “They show recent or long-term past performance, but not the real-time reporting you need to predict the future.”
Compile and customize for a bigger picture
If you are frustrated by the inability to use your data effectively, you can adopt new solutions that collect data across the business and present it in customized dashboards.
The dashboards don’t just display facts and figures. Instead, they create a narrative that places the data in context, along with graphical depictions that help bring it to life.
Your teams and their leaders can easily filter the information to learn what works and what doesn’t and use these insights to improve operations or find new revenue opportunities.
For example, Quicksilver Express Courier—a “last mile” delivery service—collected all kinds of data about its fleet, but lacked visibility about individual vehicle profitability.
After adopting Sage Intacct, Quicksilver’s finance executives were able to drill down into the profit and loss for each truck. As a result, the company learned it was overpaying for workers’ compensation insurance, and subsequent adjustments saved $100,000 a year.
Other changes based on insights Quicksilver gained from the platform helped the company increase total profitability at some of its locations by 5% to 25%.
Communication shakedown, not breakdown
In addition to improving business results, sharing information through customizable dashboards will help you better communicate with your teams. Reports don’t necessarily show why results are important but presenting them in a narrative with visual illustrations explains them more effectively and makes recommendations more meaningful and convincing.
Teams can experiment with their dashboards, using real-time information, charts, and graphs to try out ideas for improving processes or services. “You can look backward or forward and use real-time insights to predict future results,” Freedman says.
Presenting your data as a visual story will make your point more compelling, easier to understand and it shows a clear path to tread for future success. Explore your data more easily and efficiently with Sage Intacct, visualize your future in real time, and ditch those fiddly spreadsheets for good.
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