What is Microsoft Power BI and how can it improve accounting?
Business intelligence (BI) solutions are changing the way companies do everything from sales to operations to finance and even executive management. In fact, a report from the International Data Group last year predicted that 69% of businesses are planning or in the process of implementing a BI solution. So, if you’re not planning to use these innovative tools to drive growth for your company, you may be at a competitive disadvantage. Many smaller companies may feel that business intelligence solutions are too expensive or only designed for enterprise level businesses. But thankfully, users of Gravity Software® (Gravity) have access to one of the most powerful business intelligence systems out there: Microsoft Power BI. Let’s look at what Power BI is, how it works and how it can make a difference for your growing business.
The power in business intelligence
Microsoft Power BI is “a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn your unrelated sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights,” according to the company itself. The system essentially takes your data — form or other cloud-based or on-premises applications— and helps you analyze and visualize that data so you can uncover key business insights. The solution shows you information in simple graphs and tables that let you quickly find the issues and trends that you would not see if you were looking at large, complex reports. It is a picture worth 1000 words type of presentation. The system uses real-time data so you can feel confident you are making the best decisions for your company and responding as quickly as possible to the changing business landscape. Power BI is available as a desktop application, online SaaS (software as a service) or as a mobile app.
Complex financial data
Traditionally, there have been too many issues with using BI applications to make them useful for small to mid-sized businesses. First, they were hard to set up. You needed technical resources to get your accounting database to connect to the BI software. Secondly, you needed to be very technically savvy to model your information in a way that actually made sense. Most small business owners and accounting professionals know the issues and how they want their dashboards presented, but you would often need the skills of an experienced programmer to actually set up the BI models. Lastly, it would take a long time and a lot of money to set up a BI application. Many BI systems get abandoned because by the time they’re set up, your requirements have changed.
But Microsoft Power BI is different. The solution makes it easy to start making sense of your complex financial data. Setting up your first dashboard can take less than an hour for a power technical user as Power BI takes all the technical aspects away so all you need to do is model your information in an easy-to-learn interface. Power BI allows you to “find and share meaningful insights with hundreds of data visualizations, built-in AI capabilities, tight Excel integration, and prebuilt and custom data connectors.” The platform is scalable and provides industry-leading data security with “sensitivity classification and data loss prevention capabilities to help keep your data secure and compliant — even when it’s exported.” In total, the solution allows you to dive in to your complex data and come out the other side with actionable insights that move your business forward.
Power BI connection
Both Gravity and Power BI are built on the Microsoft Power Platform, the two integrate seamlessly. This means that all the financial data stored within Gravity that you want to analyze can flow freely into the Power BI app. This eliminates time spent migrating data from one database to the next and allows your accounting team to focus on developing better insights for your business.
The real benefit in using these two solutions in tandem comes from the fact that Gravity is more than just accounting software. It also lets you track inventory across multiple locations, manage multiple entities in a single database, create a bill of materials for light manufacturing, calculate value-added tax (VAT), integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM and more. So, when you combine all of those capabilities with the power of Microsoft Power BI, you can unpack key insights and drive operation efficiency across your entire business. By taking the wide-ranging capabilities of Gravity and pairing them with a unique business intelligence tool like Power BI, you can gain an edge on your competition and position your company for sustained growth.
Want to see how Microsoft Power BI and powerful accounting software can improve results for your business? Schedule a demo of Gravity today to learn how our innovative accounting solution can help spur growth for your company.
Better. Smarter. Accounting.