Over the past 18 months, analytics and data-driven decision making have become increasingly important as businesses throughout the UK battled to survive the uncertainty of a global pandemic and Brexit. In an ever-changing business landscape, taking hours, days or weeks to compile data and reports manually will not cut it. Businesses need to be more agile and proactive than ever before. To make the right decisions about the future, leaders need access to real-time data and insights.
The problem: Unlocking the value in your data
AP departments are under pressure to do more with less while at the same time making savings that can be reinvested in the business. With the growing focus on data and analytics, AP software providers are introducing basic analytics functions to unlock the value of financial data. Such insights are critical for AP teams to build a clearer picture of financial obligations and turnover. Analytics dashboards fed by real-time data make it easier to identify how and where businesses are spending their money and where savings can be made.
Analysing AP data provides actionable insights which can inform strategy, budgets and forecasting, improve decision-making and transform supplier relationships. Visibility of cash flow is greatly enhanced using interactive dashboards displaying information including the number of invoices paid on time, current liabilities, B2B payment timing, the value of prompt payment discounts, supplier performance and more.
A recent survey ‘Ardent Partners Accounts Payable Metrics That Matter in 2021‘ found that AP teams want to improve visibility and knowledge – 48% are laser-focused on improving their knowledge and intelligence. The drive to improve overall reporting and analytics is a surefire indication of AP’s intent to become a ‘hub’ of intelligence for the rest of the organisation. Information collected by AP systems and processes can be a valuable foundation for critical, strategic financial activity. Having access to actionable insights can be a game-changer for AP teams, their functional partners, and line-of-business stakeholders.
Seeing the big picture
However, having data-driven insights in just one department of your business is like trying to guess what a puzzle will look like by looking at a single piece – it doesn’t show you the whole picture. By implementing a Business Intelligence platform that integrates into every part of your business, CEOs and CFOs have oversight on the entire operation. They can clearly see how each department is connected to and affects other parts of the organisation, allowing time, money, and resources to be allocated more effectively.
Pets Corner: Using actionable insights to thrive in challenging conditions
Pets Corner, part of the Pet Family group, the second largest pet retailer in the UK, uses Business Intelligence to improve data access throughout the business. CFO Iain Dougal has oversight of the whole business, including accounts, sales, procurement, stores, warehouse, and supply chain. The finance team, in particular, use Business Intelligence to report monthly management information across the group, improve accuracy in accounting, and work closely with management to track live sales with forecasted revenues, an essential KPI for the business. Pets Corner can now act on the insights from data within hours rather than weeks. Using Business Intelligence throughout the company has allowed them to make faster, smarter decisions, inform strategy, and thrive in challenging conditions.
Every company wants to make better decisions driven by data and analysis. Bringing insights and actions together with the people who need them will lead to success for businesses of all kinds. Looking forward, AP teams will focus on how they can best support the whole organisation and positively impact financial operations and performance. Automating processes and utilising new technology will be key. While AP will benefit significantly from analytics, infusing analytics throughout the entire business will unlock the most value and insight from your data.
If you want to see the whole picture of your operations, driven by your real-time data and actionable insights, please contact Jack Wright on 01285 810606 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.