‘Intelligent’ financials can help you avoid decline.
As a mature business, your business would have already experienced its best years of its performance. Competitors are growing in number around you, clamouring for your clients who are reconsidering their loyalty as your competitive advantage fades away. Doing more of the same is bound to lead to decline, or further decline, and the only way forward is for your business to reinvent itself. How can ‘business intelligence’ help you get ready for such an encore?
‘Business Intelligence’ is the process of analysing data and reporting it in a way that can help a business make informed decisions. From Excel to Xero and all the way to Power BI, there are many solutions that offer benefits at every stage of the business lifecycle.
Business Intelligence for the maturity phase
Until you find a new approach, a new tune to recruit and nurture customers, the survival of your business will most likely depend on your ability to harmonise sale price cuts with an increase in overheads to ensure marketability.
When every dollar counts, it is hard to be looking at new technologies. So alternatively, look at better ways of utilising your existing technologies. To do this, the following actions will prove helpful.
Accounting and software – find the right score!
- Reconsider profitability reporting by product, service and/or sector
Most accounting systems allow tracking of income and expenses by categories – use this function! Examine every branch, division or aspect of your orchestra. Are they resonating with the current operation of your business? Explore the ‘administration costs’ of each area. Can you justify these expenses, particularly the higher ones? Which costs drive sales? You may find for instance that your marketing ‘administration costs’ are a more significant element of your profitability than appeared at first glance!
- Keep track of the non-financial value of your resources
Many businesses hasten their demise by cutting out essential elements of their cost structure. These ‘essential elements’ may not be providing an immediate financial return, but they may boost the return from other sectors of your business. A low profitability does not mean a low importance. Remember the lesson taught by Margaret Heffernan in her famous TED Talk about ‘superchicken models’.
- Simplify and automate your administrative processes
A common issue with procedures is that they build on top of each other, and your staff might not even realise why they spend one day a week preparing some documents that now shares little harmony with the rest of your business. Challenge your staff to record their processes, and then share them verbally with their direct supervisor and another person (internal or external) savvy in relevant software. You might find that there are easy and far more efficient alternatives to some of your current processes.
Marketing and finance – sing your anthem high and wide!
- Refine your competitive advantage and promote it
Why do your clients choose your services? Time to dust off these satisfaction surveys and analyse your business performance trends against non-financial data. Make your best-seller the flagship of your marketing strategy and design the appropriate financial strategy to ensure its profitability.
Business intelligence – once more, with feeling
- Make sure you have the necessary tools
It is not uncommon for a business to evolve without solid business intelligence bases. Check our article on strategies to assist growing businesses reach higher skies. These strategies might be hard to implement at this stage, but you need the relevant information in order to make informed decisions.
Do you need Accru’s support?
From startups to multinational enterprises, Accru has helped many businesses grow to the next stage of their development and then onwards to great success. Contact your local office if you’d like to discuss how we can help you implement ‘intelligent financials’ to take you forward.
Should you have any questions regarding business intelligence please contact your local office today.