Brighton Chamber: Getting the most from your financial data

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You probably have a tonne of financial information about your business, but do you really understand what it’s telling you?

Understanding your business’ financial data can help you make better business decisions. Here is my five-step process to get the most out of your business’ financial data.

1) Define your data needs

Think about what information you need to make better decisions and set up your system to collect, process and report on that information.

2) Get in the cloud

Cloud systems have some key advantages over alternative systems: you will have access to your financial information at any time, wherever you are; information can be updated in real-time; and systems can interact with each other, automating data processing.

3) Get the right apps

Accounting packages such as QuickBooks Online integrate with many apps that automate the flow of data. Using automated expense processing applications like Receipt Bank, Auto-Entry and Expensify can take away the need for manual data input. Using automated credit-control applications like Satago or Chaser can save thousands in payroll costs for credit controllers and bring down your debtors. There is an app for everything, but you need to make sure it is the right fit for your business.

4) Get the bookkeeping right

To get the most out of being in the cloud you need to make sure your data is accurate and real-time. Automated expense capture systems will ensure a high level of data accuracy. But it is important the systems are set up properly initially and checks are completed. If you want to make better businesses decisions you need more relevant data. This means it has to be up to date as often as you need it to act on.

5) Get the right advice

Your data is now ready to be interpreted to help you make better decisions. However, you may still want some help in understanding what it means for your business. Seek out sound business advice from trusted and qualified accountants. They’re trained to help you make sense of your information and use it to advise you on what you could do better.

Rowan Van Tromp is a QuickBooks expert and Cloud Services Manager at PJCO Chartered Accountants. He is leading a Brighton Chamber Bite-sized Learning: Making bookkeeping simple with QuickBooks Online on June 12. For more information, visit: www.businessinbrighton.org.uk