How does Business Intelligence help the finance department?

More than ever, the finance department must be able to rely on the appropriate tools to monitor performance, generate reliable KPIs and carry out comprehensive reporting. To address these issues, it is essential to integrate a Business Intelligence tool.

Business Intelligence: a valuable asset for the CFO

On a day-to-day basis, BI is a valuable tool for the chief financial officer so they can exploit the full potential of the data at their disposal.

Utilize data in real time

While the volumes of data to be processed by the finance department are constantly increasing, the company must be very agile to effectively utilize the information at its disposal.

This is where Business Intelligence comes into play. With the appropriate tool, the CFO is able to use the data in real time to establish KPIs and improve performance management. Indeed, BI enables not only data analysis, but also its optimal sorting and structuring.

Reduce risk of error

Traditionally, financial reporting is done manually, most often using a spreadsheet. Unfortunately, this method implies a significant risk of error during data entry, especially when dealing with a large volume of data.

Through BI, financial reporting can be largely automated, limiting human intervention as much as possible. This approach is more reliable and also relieves employees from a particularly time-consuming task.

Easily visualize financial KPIs

One of the essential features of any Business Intelligence solution is data visualization, which enables the viewing of data in a comprehensible and intuitive form. Thus, through dynamic dashboards, the CFO can instantly view financial indicators updated in real time.

‘The main objective is to make the best decisions possible, to operate commands, and to adjust trajectories by integrating each department (sales, manufacturing, supply chain, HR, IT, marketing, etc.) with its own KPIs. All these KPIs interact with each other through a common tool, and not thousands of Excel files, the limitations of which cannot be overemphasized.’

Cédric Fradin, consultant specializing in digital transformation, finance and Business intelligence

// For more information: How does BI simplify the CFO’s daily life?

Consolidated and unified financial data with BI

Business Intelligence is not only a way to better visualize and exploit data, it is also an invaluable tool for data consolidation and activity reporting.

Save time and boost productivity

Companies in today’s world face a double challenge:

  • On the one hand, they have to process increasingly large volumes of data.
  • On the other hand, they have to deal with increasingly complex reporting systems.

As such, the limitations of manual methods are becoming obvious and more than ever, organizations need a unified consolidation and reporting software. With Business Intelligence, these tedious tasks become much more seamless, allowing the organization to improve its productivity and agility.

Get an overview of financial data

Unifying data also means getting a holistic view of the information held by the company. Through BI, the various departments can adopt a common language, allowing them to exchange and share data. This enables them to make more informed decisions, based on detailed and comprehensive data.

‘It should be noted that each department must be asked beforehand to define the overall “road map”, the strategic vision. This is done by means of a Corporate Performance Management (CPM or EPM) solution that organizes the budget process. Data Visualization solutions, just like dashboards, complement the consistency of performance management.’

Cédric Fradin

// For more information: How Business Intelligence consolidates and makes data more reliable

BI at the service of management control

While the role of the management controller is changing, this major function must take advantage of Business Intelligence to modernize and optimize its processes.

Improve data reliability

Data is at the center of the management controller’s job, who spends a significant amount of time collecting, extracting and analyzing it. That is why they must rely on perfectly reliable information.

With its data governance policy, the Business Intelligence software enables better management of the database infrastructure and data quality, to guarantee the relevance of management control analyses.

Exploit external data

The organization’s internal data is of paramount importance to management control, which must constantly govern company performance by monitoring its key indicators. However, data from external sources is increasingly demanded to improve analysis.

Business Intelligence allows you to enrich existing data by exploiting external and multiple sources, be it information on the competition or logistics data.

‘Business Intelligence allows you to streamline all the data from different sources to create a common base (data warehouse) for the entire company. This phase, referred to as Master Data Management (MDM), is crucial and should not be neglected in any way. This is the preliminary stage, the very foundation of a good decision-making project. It aims at providing decision-making managers with essential information, so they can make informed decisions’

Cédric Fradin

Facilitate the decision-making process

The role of the management controller has evolved considerably in recent years. Generally, their mission was mainly to monitor the activities of the company’s various departments in order to prevent budget deviations.

However, they have gradually become an actual partner for decision makers. As a creative force, they must provide support for managers in their decision-making, while assessing the risks. BI is therefore an indispensable tool to accomplish this mission.

// For more information: How is business intelligence changing management control?

BI to modernize financial information systems

Presently, many companies have to deal with outdated financial information systems. This has a particularly negative impact on financial reporting. Business Intelligence is an essential tool to modernize the finance department.

Automate financial KPIs

As we have already pointed out, manual methods are synonymous with time wastage and low productivity. This also applies to financial reporting, which can be largely automated with BI.

Employee working time is a valuable resource. With the automation of financial KPIs, such time can be spent on higher value-added tasks, such as in-depth data analysis.

Centralize information systems

Because of the multiple data sources, whether internal or external, companies often end up dealing with varied systems. This is a difficult situation to manage, which can lead to errors in data processing and interpretation.

With Business Intelligence, it is possible to centralize all information systems to obtain more exploitable data. In addition, essential information can be grouped in a single report, facilitating the follow-up of investment projects or even budget planning.

Improve information transmission

Financial reporting does not concern only the finance department. It is a process that involves all the company’s departments. BI and data visualization make it possible to improve communication between the various stakeholders. In addition, they contribute to harmonizing the rules and requirements of each item as regards financial KPIs and dashboards.

// For more information: Business Intelligence: modernizing financial IS

BI software: an invaluable solution for the finance department

In today’s world, Business Intelligence has become a must-have tool for the finance department. It facilitates data consolidation, visualization and analysis and is, thus, an essential tool for the tasks of the chief financial officer, and the management controller.

But, beyond finance in its strict sense, BI benefits all actors of the company. Through it, everyone can design dashboards, indicators and reports perfectly adapted to their needs.

‘Without a doubt, DigDash is a comprehensive solution for finance departments in their quest to facilitate performance management. If the issue of Business Partners or Performance Managers keeps coming up, it is because finance departments have an increasingly central role in facilitating decision-making, which implies relying on robust and agile solutions such as DigDash.’

Cédric Fradin