Accountants can improve the way they do business

Accountants can improve the way they do business
Mr Allen explaining how the Business Intelligence module works
Published: 10 June 2013

Many accountants could be wasting time and compromising the accuracy of their financial reports by spending too much time collecting data and not enough time analysing the information, according to Sage Pastel Business Intelligence Centre specialist Les Allen.

Addressing a seminar hosted by Pastel Software Zimbabwe on Wednesday, Mr Allen, who is based in South Africa, said the way in which accountants do their financials could be improved by making use of Pastel's Business Intelligence Centre (BIC) module, an effective reporting tool for small,  medium-sized and large businesses.

The module can be added on to Pastel Partner and Pastel Evolution accounting software packages, both of which are used by a large numbe of Zimbabwean businesses.

He said there were three steps involved in utilising financial data for decision making. The first was collecting data, followed by analysing the data for trends, patterns and meaning. The third step was making a decision.

"Most accountants spend 70 percent of their time on step one when more time should actually be spent on steps two and three," Mr Allen said.

A quick survey, by a show of hands, of accountants in the room carried out by Mr Allen, showed that most accountants spent between two and five days collecting financials at the end of each month.

"It does not make sense for you to spend five of your 20 working days in a month collecting financials. Wouldn't you rather spend those days analysing and seeing what the financials mean?" he asked.

He said the BIC module had a dashboard that allowed one to see and measure the business key performance indicators at a glance.

Emphasising the importance of being able to produce financial reports quickly, he gave the example of a company that, having decided to go into liquidation, finds there is a competitor that wants to buy shares in the company and requests the financials from the accountant, only to be told a report on the financials would be ready in five days.

"Agility and the ability to quickly adapt is important. In this case a decision would need to be made instantly.

"BIC gives you the ability to obtain information quickly, analyse it and make a decision quickly," he said.

He said the dashboard made it possible to see the profit and loss account, top five customers, bottom five items, top five items and top five expenses in a single report.

"How many reports would you have to run to get this information? Five right?" he asked rhetorically, adding this would include a lot of manual work.

"We don't want you to be wasting time. For some of these you can run a sales report but it will not tell you who your top five customers are.

"You can save money and time by only running one report," he said.

Mr Allen said consolidation was a major challenge for those with multiple companies. However, BIC made it possible to compile information from different companies within the same group. It was also possible to have multiple databases and choose to link them at the same time.

Although BIC gives users access to many reports, it also gives them the option of creating their own reports with their own colours and designs and the option of incorporating a company logo, if they so wish.

Users can also select categories that they want to appear on the report and leave out those that they do not want. For example, one might only want to see customer name, product name, period and quantity only.

"BIC is a simple and easy to use reporting solution. It is user friendly and has a centralised interface," said Mr Allen

"In addition it has customisable and flexible reporting and analysis capabilities," he said.

- Chips Computing Services
Tags: Sage, Pastel,

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