The power of business insights
Tax & Accounting28 April, 2021

The power of business insights

There is a clear link between business intelligence and business success. The most successful companies put data at the heart of their business strategy and decision-making process, helping them to stay relevant, innovative and ahead of the competition. Head of Business Intelligence for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK, Ian Elder, explains more.

The source of business intelligence is simply your database. The question is, have you considered how to unlock this data and make use of the information available to you? Do you have the tools to turn the information or insights into business intelligence?

As Head of Business Intelligence, I am responsible for creating and implementing our business intelligence strategy. I work directly with customers to help them realise practice growth through insights and reporting. I believe that many businesses may have a goldmine of data, with untapped insights and opportunities waiting to be exposed by analytics.

Throughout this blog series, I will help demonstrate the power of business insights. For this article, I will focus on business opportunities that could be hidden within your data, the untapped potential for growth, and where you might be over-delivering on your budget.

A growing opportunity within your database

We have all seen the trends showing the amount of data we can access as businesses - it’s a vertical climb. Ask yourself - does that describe your practice over the last few years? Now consider whether your ability to turn that data into strategic or operational insights is growing at the same rate. For many practices, the latter continues at a steadier pace. For those practices, the gap between the two is simply an opportunity to better understand your business.

If you spend your time pulling spreadsheets and using the first quarter of a meeting to figure out which spreadsheet is the right version or when the numbers were last updated, you are in a position to greatly improve your business intelligence capability.

Providing a way to identify the places in a database where management by exception can occur offers a shortcut to the right decisions, with less effort required to retrieve data and information. That’s what we all want out of good business intelligence.

Internally, that’s a business intelligence tool connected to your central practice management databases. For client work, it’s a platform that pulls complex figures and creates eye-opening graphics, making it clearer for you and your clients to make financial decisions.

Profitability and relevance: the aim of the game

Profitability and relevance are two challenges facing practices today. Digitalisation is also disrupting the status quo, with automated tools taking on compliance work that was, until now, the backbone of many practices.

That said, both situations can be an opportunity to stand out with business intelligence tools. This can be difficult when you are consumed with the operational effectiveness of a remote practice, and it’s a double-edged sword without the right tools.

The power of insights for your practice

There has never been a better time to look at your processes. You could be sitting on a goldmine of data that can be tapped into for spotting insights around changing behaviour, identifying cross-sell and upsell opportunities among your clients, and refining your strategy for future business growth. The real trick is having all that data in a suite of internal dashboards which automatically refresh.

In the next instalment of this insights series, I will focus on how these dashboards might look. Consider how you report on your clients and your practice workloads today. Do you spend your time getting spreadsheets in order instead of improving your business? Keep an eye out for the next article.

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