How Can Power BI Improve Your Month End Review?


Data issues with traditional month-end reporting

Many organisations undertaking month-end reporting do not have the necessary data available from a single source. Manual extraction, checks and combination of data, even before any analysis, is labour-intensive and prone to user error, involving processes such as:

  • Gathering data individually from different sources
  • Importing the information into Excel
  • Modifying and merging data as necessary to match formatting and requirements
  • Adding formulae and pivot tables for calculations, then using the subsequent data to produce informative tables, graphics
  • Pulling all information into a final reporting worksheet and reformatting worksheets yet again.

The biggest issue is the lack of readily available and automatically updated data from a single source, and Power BI can fill that gap.

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a Microsoft business analytics platform for various cloud-based apps and services, designed for both simple and complex data input and analysis.

A user-friendly interface can help businesses gain the best data-driven information from a variety of sources, through interactive visualisations and business intelligence capabilities to creating reports and dashboards.

Its greatest advantage as a business intelligence platform is that it is designed for non-technical business users. As it is relatively similar in look and feel to Excel, training is minimised. It can work well as a self-service tool for anyone in the business to gather, assess and distribute data and insights. However, it is far more powerful than its spreadsheet counterpart.

What is Power BI used for?

Power BI pulls data together from your specified range of database and cloud-based data sources – from Excel to apps – and processes this data into clear and valuable insights into a business’ position and progress. Features and advantages include:

  • Machine learning capabilities to identify data patterns, make predictions and demonstrate ‘what if’ scenarios for financial modelling and forecasts
  • Real-time updating dashboards, identifying issues and opportunities quickly
  • Ability to customise navigation to help viewers find their relevant content quickly
  • Ability to customise access filters to ensure viewers see only data relevant to them
  • Integrates with Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana – particularly useful for users on the move or on mobile
  • AI and machine learning models, including image recognition and text analytics
  • Built-in connectors for Microsoft, Salesforce an
    d other data sources

Power BI for end of month reviews

Power BI is known as an extract, transform, load (ETL) tool:

  • Extract – pulls data automatically from other data sources.
  • Transform – modifies this information into the required format (without damaging the original data)
  • Load – populates the target database or data repository with the correctly-formatted information

This makes it perfect for month end reporting, as it allows you to build a complete set of financial statements (including P&L, balance sheet and cashflow) and fully automate your month end reporting process.

Best of all, once set up, the automatically updated data means, pulling subsequent reports will be far quicker and more efficient than previously, as you can start populating the report straight away with just a few ‘drag and drops’ or ‘point and clicks’.

Furthermore, these saved processes can be shared with co-workers to improve flexibility and advance best practice across the organisation.

Other advantages include:

  • Update data in real-time or 8 times a day
  • The ability to easily review the month-end dashboard with finance business partners before books are closed for the month
  • Free desktop version available for road testing
  • No coding knowledge needed
  • Customisation — This feature allows developers to change the appearance of default visualisation and reporting tools and import new tools into the platform.
  • APIs for integration — This feature provides developers with sample code and application performance interfaces (APIs) for embedding the Power BI dashboard in other software products.

Using Power BI to review your month-end dashboard

Power BI can produce high-quality reports that display financial information of your company in dynamic executive dashboards for administrators or managers. This will give management additional insight into how departments are doing.

As a cloud-based application, authorised users can access features from nearly anywhere. It offers a real-time 360-degree perspective of your business data and offers interactive reporting.

Improve your month-end review process

With Power BI, you can transform both the efficiency and scope of your month-end reporting, including:

  • Building dynamic income statements and balance sheets
  • Creating data-driven insight from your income and expenses
  • Modelling future financial data
  • Calculating gross profit, net profit and subtotals
  • Calculating assets and liabilities separately
  • Calculating total assets and liabilities
  • Creating financial ratios summary
  • Building dynamic cash flow statements
  • Building aged trial balances for receivables
  • Calculating dynamic account receivables ageing reports
  • Creating dynamic receivable calculations

Transform your finance function today

Having an expert help you ensure your finance function is optimised, enabling you to focus on supping the leadership teams and drive strategic success.

Talk to us today about our range of services to help you build and deliver a more cohesive, value-added strategy for your finance function, at the very centre of your organisation.

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