Love or hate it, QuickBooks is the de facto standard accounting and operational system for small businesses. If you use QuickBooks, its database is one of your company’s most valuable assets, period. Just think how much time you, your executives, and your business administrator spend creating and updating the data contained in QuickBooks. It has a treasure-trove of valuable information. Sure, you can run payroll, do billing, and pay taxes out of QuickBooks. But there’s a lot more you can do with all that information, too.

The good news is that this isn’t the amorphous, elusive Big Data that is making all the headlines these days. Big Data is large, unstructured and requires a data scientist to make heads or tails of. Besides, most companies do not have Big Data, let alone a need for Big Data solutions. They have Small Data, which is far easier to access, drill into and learn from. That is the type of data held in your QuickBooks database, and by tapping into it, your organization can begin to make sophisticated business analytics decisions just like large enterprise companies. As we’ve read in Information Management, analytics can be the best friend business leaders need, but few are taking advantage of.

Here are 7 Reasons QuickBooks Analytics is a Small Data Goldmine:

  • You own the data. You have free access to it once it’s created. And it’s all 100% customized to your business. As a growing business, this is one of the few datasets that matches that description.
  • It has all the key pieces of information about your customers, products, employees, productivity, sales, etc., all rolled into one pretty little package. You just need to be able to access it easily. There are three key ingredients to doing this:
    • You need to get the data out of QuickBooks into a database made for analysis.
    • You need a reporting & analysis tool that is tightly integrated with the data that permits you to see any cut of the data you desire.
    • You need to create QuickBooks reports and dashboards that allow you to visualize and analyze the data regularly.
  • When you save and share your QuickBooks reporting, you will make better decisions about the future of your company. You should also review your company’s history and project it into the future. This is the practice of Planning.
  • Your QuickBooks data provides the ultimate feedback loop. Once you’ve made a key decision, review your data weekly or daily to see if the last decision you made provided the results you expected. If not, tweak the decision and keep coming to your QuickBooks dashboard to see when you’ve made the right decision. The dashboard closes the feedback loop for every decision you make. This puts you in control of your destiny.
  • When combined with relevant external data, your QuickBooks data is suddenly put on steroids. Mash your QuickBooks data up against the census. It might tell you some really interesting things about how to attain customers similar to your best customers. Mash your QuickBooks data up against your CRM data and get a 360 degree view of your customers.
  • When you correlate historical trends in your data, it will reveal things to you that are just too difficult to deduce on your own. As you track the last 12 months of your cash balances versus sales, you might be able to see a trend and fix future cash crunches by planning to have the correct cash on-hand during expeted troughs, based on historical trends.
  • QuickBooks data is so critical to your company, that sometimes the mere lack of data in QuickBooks is a key indicator. If one of your best customers didn’t place an order last month, the lack of that order data should be on your dashboard. You need to know about it before it’s too late and the customers is gone.

Smart and leading companies are already using QuickBooks business intelligence to beat you. Fortunately, there are tools out there which will allow you to easily use it, too. QuickBooks has the data you need to win. Ignore it at your peril.

Kurt is CEO of Bison Analytics. He is the most experienced business intelligence practitioner to tackle QuickBooks. His work has enabled rapidly growing and successful business CFOs to extend the life of QuickBooks in their financial and performance operations, saving these companies valuable dollars and time.


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