Unlocking better business decisions with Power BI

Operating cost increases, supply chain problems, changing weather patterns… no matter what industry you are in, there is a lot of uncertainty currently, and the variables that affect your business are changing all the time. That is why it has never been more important to be able to access accurate information in near real time to help you respond to challenges and make the best business decisions.  

During these uncertain times, a tool like Power BI, that displays data from multiple sources in near real time, is indispensable.  

Displaying information in an easy-to-understand way 

Power BI is a reporting tool that displays information in an easy-to-understand and visually appealing way. It moves beyond an annual or quarterly spreadsheet, enabling anyone in your business to see the up-to-date information they need to improve efficiency and save time and money by allowing you to focus on the critical issues and make better business decisions.  

“Spreadsheets and financial statements may make perfect sense to accountants and business advisers, however our clients, the people using the data, have benefited from viewing it through a different lens” says Kimberley Symon, BDO Advisory Partner. “The insights gained from Power BI dashboards is invaluable in understanding the data and using it to make informed decisions in their businesses.” 

This is particularly important for businesses being hit by inflation in materials. “We know in construction for example that project margins are being impacted by the rising cost of building materials,” explains Will Parker, BDO Technology Advisory Partner. “We have worked with construction clients to create a dashboard that helps them understand their margins at every project milestone, so they know exactly what billings and payments are going out and can see their cash flow in near real time. This has been invaluable in project management, especially as inflation continues to impact this industry.” 

Power BI is being used in the construction industry to help businesses keep better track of project margins as materials inflation soars. 

Using data to improve your bottom line  

Power BI has helped numerous businesses save money and improve their bottom line. “We have worked with one retail client who has stores across the North and South Islands,” says Kimberley. “We have used Power BI to help them have a much more detailed understanding of when in the year their seasonal products sell across each store. They can then transfer products from their North Island store to their South Island store to or vice versa as the seasons change, instead of simply selling them for cheaper on sale when the season in that area comes to an end.” 

“We’ve also helped a dairy operation save $45,000 in holding costs on their overdraft simply by helping them understand their costs and improve their processes,” continues Will. “They realised they were paying to have a large overdraft for the whole year, but they actually only needed it for six months of each year.” 

Streamlining the decision-making process 

Not only does Power BI help create efficiencies and savings when it comes to running a business, it also helps streamline the decision-making process itself. Power BI can be used in real-time during meetings to help people drill down into figures – helping people understand exactly which transactions, overheads and other costs are making up the final reported financials.  

Power BI can also be used in retail to help businesses better manage their stock. 

Power BI can be used with both structured and unstructured data, and can be used for any type of information you need to see. “We used Power BI to carry out a network analysis for a firm to understand how much referral work they were getting from various sources, including LinkedIn and other referrers,” says Will. “They could see how much money they were making from some referrers versus how much they were sending to them, and that enabled the firm to make some strategic changes and focus their attention on the parts of their network that they were getting the most work from.” 

Our BDO advisers have strong analysis skills and expertise across multiple industries, so no matter what sector you operate in, we can create a custom Power BI dashboard that ensures you can see all the data you need to help your business thrive. We also understand that a reporting tool is only as good as the data going into it - BDO’s specialist Focus tool cuts through your data to ensure anything going into your reports is correct. If you want an even deeper understanding of your financials, we also have a fully scalable Virtual CFO service to help you unpack your financial data in detail without having to go through the expense of an in-house Chief Financial Officer.  

Reach out to your local office today to find out how Power BI can unlock better decisions for your business.