3 reasons why every small business owner should use business intelligence

With the world becoming a smaller, much more tech savvy place and businesses doing almost anything and everything to make strides in growing and developing a larger customer database, it’s only right to employ intelligent business tools. Every business (well hopefully every business) has the goal of being successful. Success can be defined as potential reaching customers, saving time and money, making timely and efficient business decisions or just straight up posting profits. You can (and definitely should, in my opinion) use Business Intelligence (BI) to reach these goals.

The good thing is that BI is not just for big business. What I’ve seen from experience, is that all types of businesses can benefit greatly by using BI, from large data warehouses, midsized grocery stores, enterprise companies, to small coffee shops. My interest and focus is more on small businesses, which is why I’ve written three reasons why small businesses should use BI, in particular, Sage Intelligence Reporting, which you get as a benefit of Sage 50 Accounting U.S. Edition Business Care and Sage Pastel Advantage. My three reasons are:

 1. You can make powerful and efficient business decisions using sales and purchase data:

Sage Intelligence Reporting can be used (and should be used) when analyzing data and making decisions based on everyday sales figures. Not just that, but you can actually custom design a sales dashboard that automatically updates and shows trends based on changing sales data, complete with a dynamically linked chart (of your choice) visually representing the information.

For example, in the image below, after adding some recommended add-ins (in this case a timeline, slicer and PivotChart) to create a simple yet powerful sales dashboard, you can easily toggle the timeline to view changes in data over time with visual representation. You can also view total sales and top sales customers. You can click on a specific inventory item and view every transaction, every customer and every date tied to it. So, when making decisions such as, which customers to offer discounts to (according to the amount of business they’ve brought in) or when to cut inventory purchases (based on which months had the lowest sales) – you know exactly where to look.

3 reasons why small businesses should use BI

2. You can save time and money:

Did you know you could schedule all your Sage Intelligence Reports to be either automatically published and saved to your computer’s hard drive, distributed or uploaded to a specific network location or web server and even emailed directly to your contacts? That’s right – using the scheduling command, you can get Sage Intelligence Reporting to run a specific report and have it waiting right there for you on your desktop the next morning. You can tell Sage Intelligence Reporting when to email a report and what part of the report to email. Pretty cool isn’t it? Now imagine the time (which is money) you could be saving by getting all your updated reports sent to various employees, employers, customers and vendors without even having to be at the office.

3. It’s in the familiar face of Excel:

If you’re using Sage intelligence for the first time and wondering:

  • “What if I don’t understand this program?”
  • “What if it’s in an interface different from what I’m used to seeing?”
  • “Will I be able to send my contacts the reports without issues?”

Fear not! Sage Intelligence Reporting uses the familiar face of Microsoft® Excel® to work with and analyze your data. Excel is the go-to accounting package of accountants and bookkeepers worldwide and hosts a bevy of formats, formulas and add-ins that can (and again, should) be used to make your reports more meaningful. All changes made to your Sage Intelligence reports in Excel can then be linked back into your accounting program for future use in analyzing and reporting. Add a logo, insert a custom formula, and create a dynamic “Power View” map (and so much, much more). These are all options available at your fingertips with a few mouse clicks (options that are missing from everyday accounting programs and ERP’s).

This, is just the tip of the iceberg (more to come later) when it comes to Sage Intelligence Reporting.Small business owners, I strongly suggest using this tool for efficient reporting, data analysis, and important decision making.