Council Post: Three Ways To Harness Your Data And Prevent Overload

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Data is arguably one of the most valuable and important assets of any organization. The more you know about your business, the easier it is to run it successfully. Advances in technology have given people access to more data than ever before, but what happens when you have too much information?

Think about your email inbox and other collaboration tools—the flood of information coming from a variety of sources can make it nearly impossible to digest. Every business relies on data to inform decisions, from complex strategic choices to everyday tasks like assessing sales goals. But data overload has become an increasingly common issue, and having too much data can be almost as harmful as having too little. So how can you use the data at your disposal in the most effective way to make decisions?

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Verify Your Instinct Using Data

You may have an intuitive sense of how your organization is progressing financially, or may have a “gut feeling” about the best next step, but if you can, get over your hunch with the data. It is important to confirm or deny.

My first professional assignment was to investigate business cases, analyze their business models and potential growth opportunities and recommend whether they should be eligible for special government allowances. I have carried this business lens throughout my career and will always have an intuitive sense of whether an idea is right for a business or not. The trick is to be flexible when it comes to these “gut feelings.”

If you hold on firmly to your hunch, you run the risk of overlooking important information that will help you make the best decision. A good example of this can be when our team at Xero recommends a strategic investment, such as building a new product. Even if my gut instinct tells me this idea is great, I’ll look at this “hump” with facts or further analysis.

Often I ask business leaders and key stakeholders if they have any objections, are aware of any negative consequences, identify aspects that may have been overlooked and ask them to look at the facts that they have made in their recommendation. used to reach. Making sure your coworkers understand that this is your process is important, as this analytical line of questioning can undermine confidence in their view or even sound negative.

It is important to help all stakeholders understand that making full use of the data at your disposal can be invaluable in validating and fully supporting your trend, and ultimately the business case or idea that is proposed. If the data does not stack up, the approach needs to be adjusted or sent back to the “drawing board” or more likely the Miro board. The important point is that the data can be used to really fire up smart ideas.

Use technology to get the most important information

Estimating all the data at your disposal can be laborious and time-consuming, so to cut down on the effort, you may rely on technology. Using technology like business intelligence and analytical tools will provide invaluable efficiencies and give teams more time to take the action they seek. For example, these tools can help you manage by exception, with automatic alerts that signal when your attention and action are needed. Many businesses face barriers to technology adoption due to the fear of unknown and unclear ROI on time and money spent on implementing new systems and processes.

Make sure your team understands what you are trying to achieve by incorporating new technologies, and if possible involve the team in the selection process. Early team involvement and input often results in a greater sense of ownership and a better understanding and use of the tools at hand.

By harnessing the power of cloud technology, you are able to access real-time information all in one place. Being on the cloud allows you to easily integrate your system into business intelligence tools like a general ledger that will help you better understand important metrics in a more timely manner and with more insights. Advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning have made it possible to further automate repetitive or time-consuming tasks, and cut down on inaccuracies.

Map the data back to your business goals

In finance, data is fundamental to decision making for a number of reasons. It can be used to clearly demonstrate whether the business is on track to meet its goals or to highlight gaps where adjustments are needed. However, it is important to note that just showing the data does not give the complete picture, you need to use this knowledge and provide meaningful insights.

Once you’ve identified the key data points, ask yourself what they mean for the business. Are you on track to achieve your goals, and if not, why? Has anything changed in the market and should your strategy change accordingly? Essentially, it’s important to know the data, why it matters and what to do about it. I explain it as “So what? now what?“Distilling data in this way will bring it to life for others in the business who need to understand why specific actions or changes may be needed.

As technology advances, and the number of accessible data continues to grow, organizations that are able to use and implement tools to analyze it accurately will be most successful financially. Maintaining a competitive advantage means that you will need to source, digest and process business information very quickly. Used properly, data can be a powerful way to understand the best next steps for your business and help you make great decisions with the information you have available.

Businesshala Finance Council is an invitation-only organization for executives in successful accounting, financial planning and wealth management firms. am i eligible?


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