Is Your Company Ready For ‘Business Intelligence’?

So, you’ve bitten the bullet and invested in a new accounting solution. You feel as if you’ve dragged the company through a traumatic period in time, and are now feeling like you’re out the other end, and are finally on top of everything. You’ve won over the staff in the warehouse, and they are now happily booking in stock.

The accounts office are delighted about the neat new invoices they’re sending out. Even the managing director is enjoying life, as your now linked to your bank account and they can easily see on their computer screen, how much money is coming into the company, and how much is going out!

What else would a progressive company possibly need, to run smoother and more efficient? It’s time for you not to get comfortable and start looking at business intelligence.

Business intelligence takes the useful data that’s collected, but dormant in your accounting software, and provides you with meaningful, accurate information, to help you succeed further. This additional information will give you the confidence you require, to act and make on-the-go decisions, about your business, based on real meaningful facts and figures.

This business intelligence will free you from the burden, of never really knowing how healthy your business is, at any given moment. This is the power of, and effectiveness of, business intelligence and why there are quick wins as soon as you start making use of it. Business intelligence can be an effective weapon in the battle for business growth.

You’ll know when your business is ready for business intelligence. When you want to look at the current reports and graphs, your financial system provides you with, and compare them with the same period last year or the year before. Unless you can immediately identify, and therefore address what is causing a shrinking in your profits, things are likely to get worse.

A good business intelligence dashboard will provide you with information, to show how well your business is performing, by monitoring monthly sales trends, your expenditures, and track your profits margins. By having dynamic information such as this at your fingertips, you’ll be able to determine trends, that will impact on future business decisions.

For smaller businesses and business owners, the way you manage your cash flow is vital. My old MD once said to me after I had joined the company and I’ve never forgotten it – “cash is king”. Money you received today may not be enough to run the day-to-day expenses of your business tomorrow. Hence the reason you need visibility into how much cash is coming in, and how much is going out as accurately as possible. This type of information is “bread and butter” stuff to business intelligence.

It is madness to be buying in goods that you “think” is a good seller for you. Knowing exactly which products, in your portfolio are the best sellers is vital. To know who your best customers for these products, and possibly accompanying services, is power for any successful business owner. Spending time communicating or visiting these top customers and developing the business around these products they purchase from you, builds a healthy firm relationship, rather than just selling to them like their other suppliers are.

Finally, on the other side of the coin, managing suppliers is equally important. To monitor your agreed credit terms, so as not to pay too soon or indeed on time, is vital to maintain a good chain of supply and help again, maintain a good cash flow within your company. As your company set-up and monitor a reliable and predictable payment process to you suppliers, based on your Business Intelligent dashboard of information, you effectively put yourself in a stronger position to negotiate more advantageous terms, that will help your business in the long run.

If you don’t have business intelligence already in place, then every day in business, is a day that you could have taken advantage of all that data at your fingertips, transforming it into business insights, that could help your business further.

:: Trevor Bingham ( is business relationship manager at ItFuel in Craigavon. Follow them on Twitter @itfuel.