Managing Your Business Budget


The answer to this problem comes in the form of technology that enables real-time reporting, for the quickest, most complete picture of the position of your numbers.  

What is real-time reporting?

A business intelligence practice that consists of collating the very latest information in real-time and making it available to stakeholders through a dashboard or console for ease of access. This helps managers make important decisions quickly, and ensure those decisions are driven by the best and most up-to-date data. 

Why use real-time reporting?

Budget reporting annually and monthly financial reports based on static data that may be well out of date by the time they are delivered are no longer good enough.  

Businesses are moving faster than ever, and real-time reporting means you can adjust budgets, expectations, and forecasts quickly, and in minute detail, as your dashboards update. Most crucially, you can react to critical situations quickly before major damage occurs. 

How real-time reporting can fix holes in your budget?

Real time reporting is not only quickly reactive, but also proactive. All organisations will sometimes be at risk of an unexpected gap in their budget, especially in these fast-moving times. 

This might be due to:   

  • Systems or equipment not working in the way they should 
  • Losses that you can’t account for (shrink), for example due to theft or poor stock control  
  • Outdated contracts that are no longer delivering the best ROI (return on investment) 
  • Small supplies that are missed in inventories  
  • Extra focus, resource and cash being required on customer acquisition (which can be 5 times more expensive than retention) 

In all these cases, the speed of numbers delivered by real-time reporting will show an issue much earlier than any other method, as the trend or pattern of results will change instantly when the problem occurs. Anyone monitoring their numbers will be able to pinpoint the issue swiftly and assist rapid troubleshooting and resolution

Real time PowerBI reporting software

To facilitate this, real-time reporting software is designed to process data as quickly as it is received. PowerBI is a particularly useful tool for this purpose. 

PowerBI not only pulls in numbers in real-time but can do so from multiple sources, giving you a holistic picture of numbers from across the whole organisation in one place. It displays them in a user-friendly way through interactive visualisations and therefore works well as a self-service tool for anyone in the business to gather, assess and distribute data and insights. 

Read more in our blog about how PowerBI can improve your month-end. 

wide PowerBI dashboard capability

A new plug-in for PowerBI, Power ON allows end-user stakeholders to enter and save data in PowerBI directly. This allows them to run what-if scenarios and forecasts through their PowerBI visualizations, further improving the speed of delivery of critical decisions.  

Improved planning and forecasting is therefore implemented across the business without the overheads and risks of maintaining another system.  

Then, you can turn defence into attack, by not just assessing the risk or fixing the scenario of a leaky budget, but also using the data to work in a ‘real-time operational mode’ to assess future opportunities. From a deficit to a surplus, quickly and efficiently. 

Holistic budgeting 

Budgeting is always one of the most crucial and challenging scenarios, and each company has unique requirements and processes. 

PowerBI helps bring together a holistic picture, including: 

  • Sales forecasting 
  • CRM numbers  
  • Cost forecasting  
  • Approved headcounts 

Forecasting with PowerBI dashboards

Features of PowerBI reporting you can use to provide the best forecast data include: 

  1. Evaluation of how accurate a prediction is by varying the confidence interval to comprehend expected variance in future results 
  1. Incorporating seasonal trends so you get a more accurate picture at times of the year   
  1. Hindcasting (analysing how accurately your forecast would have calculated past scenarios, using the real-life data) 

Advantages of real-time data PowerBI reporting

Sometimes even the smallest difference between real-time data and static reports can be crucial to your P&L. Advantages of real-time data PowerBI reporting include: 

  • Tracking project progress at all times to pinpoint areas ahead or behind schedule, enabling you to proactively work to ensure the project is still delivered on time and deliver accurate updates to stakeholders.  
  • Improved employee productivity, because managers can easily monitor and manage workload and divide it evenly to their staff 
  • More collaboration and trust: team members can see instantaneously where they can assist each other.  

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