It’s hard work to pull data from disparate systems and have it all tie together in a new system that makes it easy to make decisions. To be a Trusted Advisor, you need to be able to rely on your data.
Are you ready to step it up and truly become a financial data advisor?
If you’re mulling over that question, I’m sure that you’ve faced this fact: Preparing QuickBooks data for detailed analysis is difficult. And it can be extremely time-intensive.
Here’s a look at the workflow between raw financial data and providing financial data advisory services:
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You hear and read all the time about the wealth of data at your fingertips. All you need to do is tap into that data for the secrets to your business growth to be revealed. Heck, we write about that all the time ourselves, because it’s true.
But here’s the rub: Who’s wrangling the data into a form where the secrets are revealing themselves?
The elusive “Trusted Advisor”
As the “data revolution” continues in full-swing, many thought leaders are pushing ProAdvisors to be Trusted Advisors. (We were writing about the “future of analytics as a service” back in 2014.) At the same time, many vendors promise that their Data Tools are so simple that it makes the ProAdvisor an instant financial data advisor. (More on this particular golden goose later.)
In our many years of business intelligence experience, there’s a big gap between the Trusted Advisor and the underlying data they need prepared in order to be a true financial data advisor. People who are good at what they do make it look easy. (See Tom Brady on the fourth quarter touchdown drive. Looks easy, eh?) But that’s down to expertise and loads of experience in data management.
Here’s the truth: Collecting and preparing the necessary data isn’t easy, no matter the tools used. Not even Google, the brains behind any number of time-saving algorithms, have created the magic algorithm that lays all data out perfectly to enable decision support. Nor have any other business intelligence vendors. That golden goose simply doesn’t exist.
Unfortunately, this is where cookie-cutter dashboards and cookie-cutter reports normally fall short. They provide pretty looking P&Ls, Balance Sheets, and Cash Flow Statements. If that’s really all you need, just use QuickBooks reports. But if you need consolidation, or you have a uniquely successful way of looking at your data that helps drive your business growth, you need to venture out of QuickBooks. Because real data analysis happens in customer, item, and transaction based data. Intelligently slicing and dicing the data is where you become a Trusted Advisor, not in preparing the data.To help you determine your needs, we created the Business Intelligence Truth Detector.
From “Data Donkey” to “Financial Data Advisor”
So we’re back to our original question: Who’s going to wrangle the data? Because to be a Trusted Advisor, you need to be able to rely on it in order to make informed decisions. Are you an expert in gathering and preparing data? That’s a data architect’s and data analyst’s role. It’s not something that’s easy to do when it’s not your core service offering.
It’s hard work to pull data from disparate systems and have it all tie together in a new system that makes it easy to make decisions. Let’s look at how it works.
- You begin with your accounting data in the transaction system, and normally another data set from your operational systems. It all needs to be extracted, analyzed, prepared, and loaded into a data tool for review.
- The data tool then needs to be tuned for the Advisor to be able to see the information required in a format that enables data exploration in support of making strong decisions…and getting feedback on prior decisions made.
- Finally, it needs to be presented in a way that tells a story to your stakeholders. The right reports and dashboards get them to the moment where real value is created.
If you aren’t an expert at getting the data into data tools and into a format ready to be used for true advising, that’s ok. Not everyone needs to be a “data donkey.” But you need a partner to get you there. You need someone that will shoulder the burden of getting your QuickBooks data into a database that is useful for reporting, ensure that the data is accurate, and who answers the phone when you have a problem.
For over a decade, Bison Pro Services has been there to help sophisticated QuickBooks users turn their data into an analytics gold mine. We are the strategic partners to savvy financial data advisors.
Remember, there’s a difference between building an airplane and piloting one. I don’t want to fly in a plane a pilot built. I’ll take the aircraft engineer’s work any day. By the same token, I’d rather have the pilot fly the plane, not the aircraft engineer. With the right partner, you spend more time piloting the plane and less time trying to build the plane.