In a business landscape where speed and transparency have become key competitive differentiators, real-time, centralised reporting is set to take the reins from the manual processes of days past.
Moving on from spreadsheets may seem a daunting task to many. However, when it comes to riding the wave of digital transformation that so many practices embraced during the pandemic, real-time reporting is a natural next step for practices that are looking to steadily grow their services – while keeping them streamlined and manageable.
Our strategy at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK involves continuous innovation and enhancing our expert solutions suite for professionals. In this post, we’ll explain the rewards practices may reap from real-time reporting – giving back precious time to allow them to focus on higher-value services, and achieve new levels of efficiency and productivity.
From the value of dashboards to the simplification of centralised data, we’ll also discuss how real-time reporting can help you to provide practical advice to your clients. This will include using graphs and bespoke key performance indicators (KPIs), tailored to the metrics of success defined by your practice today and in the future.
Dashboards: your one-stop-shop for full client transparency
It’s certainly understandable that businesses may worry about the potential negative impact of disruptive events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. However, what we’re seeing is that many practices have identified new business opportunities amid this time of unforeseen change.
The advisory conversation is changing. Practices are also seeing an increased demand from clients for higher-value compliance and advisory services. These services may include advice around long-term business planning, guidance around significant developments in the world of business and finance, and specific advice tailored to the vertical industries in which clients operate.
Increased advisory responsibility is undeniably a business-changing opportunity. However, capitalising on it successfully relies completely on good client communication and reporting practices. Today, clients expect answers and advice faster than ever before. Advisors need data at their fingertips, and this accounting data can be easily be centralised into one single trusted source.
Many modern practices have integrated their consolidated databases with digital tax and accountancy platforms. These platforms feature self-service dashboards with graphic user interfaces available to advisors 24x7. Dashboards enable advisors to view and update client information in real-time. Many dashboards also feature tools to transform data and produce value-added analysis. In addition, they are being used to produce a staggering array of custom reports – read on to hear more.
Centralised digital accounting data: simplified reporting in seconds
With centralised data and a dashboard full of tools at their disposal, today’s modern advisors can really make demonstrable improvements in the speed, efficiency and personalisation of their client reporting.
Reporting technology has moved on leaps and bounds from the manual, time-intensive processes of days passed. Digital tax and accounting platforms can be used to aggregate and categorise data in real-time, so that advisors can analyse it to give the best possible advice.
‘Real-time’ is the key phrase here. When data is centralised, reporting can be done dynamically against information that is updated in – you guessed it – real-time. It means advisors can run reports to answer questions even while clients are present, or on the phone.
It also gives practices and clients alike the peace of mind that the advice they are getting is based on the most up to date numbers and information – with turnaround time as streamlined as possible. Advisors can use their dashboards to analyse data in any scenario they wish. This means they can easily deal with higher volumes of client requests without having to process data manually.
Real-time, personalised and visual: reporting in a modern-day practice
Real-time reporting has been transformative for many practices. The real differentiators come in the form of highly personalised reports representing custom KPIs, and visual charts and graphs that tell a client’s story.
In today’s competitive landscape, clients have become more specific in the KPIs they want to measure. While net and gross profit have always been basic KPIs, clients may now want to measure wages as a percentage of turnover, or gross markup on actual sales. Being able to run custom KPI reports – as well as other business overview and trend reports – has become hugely valuable during a time where businesses are having to think differently to compete and grow.
Being visual is also a big competitive differentiator for today’s modern practice. Until a few years ago, traditional numerical reporting may have been adequate. With the rise of graphical reporting tools, many clients now want to see their story told visually with charts and graphs.
Numbers on their own may not generate a great deal of engagement from clients. Graphic representation is proving to be a great alternative way of showing clients – at a high level of detail – the profit they made, a what-if scenario, or any representation of a given KPI that is important to them.
Custom KPIs and graphic reporting may sound complex and intensive to learn and integrate operationally. However, rest assured that many digital tax and accounting platforms offer these tools integrated into standard platform dashboards, with user-friendly workflows that don’t require extensive training.
There’s more to come
At Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK, we believe and invest in technology that makes a difference –technology for the real world. These are just a few of the facets of real-time reporting which are transforming today’s digital accountancy practice. Modern practices are leading the way amongst professional services organisations with their innovative technology use. In subsequent blogs, we’ll be discussing more ways in which practices are using digital solutions to fast-track their way to competitive differentiation in today’s tax and accountancy landscape.