Visual analytics transform individual data points into charts, graphs, and other visuals that make it easy to see hierarchies and relationships. In a moment, data is transformed and presented as a story that’s easy to understand. By using financial analysis software that can transform data into powerful visuals, you empower everyone in your company to make smarter decisions that are better for the organization’s bottom line.
Great financial analysis software helps you grasp trends in financial performance and make decisions based on what you see. Quick data access is just the first step; translating data into understandable, interactive visuals is the key to understanding data and taking the correct actions.
The Power of Visual Analytics
Visual analytics help people identify trends, relationships, and patterns within data. In a world where businesses get overwhelming amounts of data and have shorter time frames in which to derive meaning from data, visual analytics harness the human mind’s pattern recognition capabilities to provide fast, meaningful insights.
Data-Driven Decisions for Executives
Generating reports or forecasts based on historical data is something that accounting and finance departments already do. But today’s executives are asking for more real-time financial data and better forecasting tools. Financial analysis software with native ERP integration can capture real-time data and transform it into visual analytics. Your executive team gets in-the-moment performance analysis presented as easy-to-understand visuals.
Visuals can help break through what Marty Trevino of Red Alpha Consulting calls “cognitive overload.” He says that the amount of data in the world now doubles every three years, and even the brightest executive teams can become overwhelmed by information. Their time is limited, and they need instant reports on their organization’s financial health delivered in fast, easily digestible bites. They also need access to visual analytics whenever and wherever they want through easy-to-use dashboards, highly visual scorecards, and crystal clear charts and graphs.
Driving Decision-Making Down
Executives aren’t the only people who need to make fast, strategic decisions. High-performance organizations democratize data. They make analytics available to people throughout the organization.
Managers and even front-line employees gain more autonomy through visual financial analysis software, which frees up executives’ time and empowers employees to take initiative (when appropriate) based on what they see. Instead of contacting IT to pull data from the ERP and trying to reconcile it with data living in different departments, financial analysis tools pull data from a central repository and represent it visually. Your people can generate predetermined reports in a dashboard or get a response to an ad hoc query.
Instead of generating a report a week or even a month later, employees get instant access to key information. With a login and a few clicks or taps, they’re on their way to really understanding the business.
What Good Financial Analysis Software Looks Like
Software vendors make a lot of promises, but these are sure signs of a high-quality financial analysis solution:
- Native integration with ERP solutions. It should integrate with commonly used tools like Oracle E-Business or JD Edwards, which gives you fast access to up-to-the-minute numbers.
- Intuitive interface. Dashboards should be easy to read, and drilling down into data should be simple and interactive. The software is designed with the end user in mind: the executive or manager who needs to pull up reports quickly.
- Your software should come with built-in reports and dashboard options, but it should also be easy to customize according to the KPIs you want to track.
- Instead of sending someone an email with a static spreadsheet attached when you need to share financial information, you should be able to view the same documents and communicate about them within your financial analysis application.
- Highly visual. Look for plenty of visual analytics options, including line graphs, histograms, bar charts, pie charts, donut charts, and more. You should be able to customize fields and time frames for focused analysis.
- From making the monthly close to comparing actual numbers against budgets to creating long-term business forecasts, your financial software should deliver powerful functionality that drives all aspects of financial performance management.
- Your financial software should alert you to data integrity issues, supporting your internal controls and improving compliance with regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley.
- Ready to launch. Getting your software installed and configured should be a fast and painless process.
- Plenty of support. Even if it’s designed for ease of installation, you should have access to support so you can get the most from your financial analysis software investment.
Better Corporate Performance Management
From financial corporate performance management (FCPM)—the functions of reconciliation and reporting that occupy your accounting department—to strategic corporate performance management (SCPM), which fuels planning and forecasting functions, good visual financial analysis software gives you the power to make data-driven decisions.
Interested in learning more? Request a free demo today.