When it comes to effective #Xero consolidation that an SME will actually use, there are four rules;
- don’t force a particular tool on the SME’s various functions, let them use what they want
- automate the data into all the SME’s reporting tools via a single cloud database
- always include non-financial data, targets, budgets, mappings, adjustments in the cloud database, don’t have multiple copies of things, one source of truth
- Use SQL Views to join data, so both PowerBI & Excel users get the same consolidated views the business wants each department to see
We have done exactly nil projects which replace #Excel with #PowerBI for example. We automate data into both. What an SME really needs is automated & consolidated data easily accessible in the tool of their choice, not one new tool to replace them all.
Quite simply, there are multiple functions within an SME and they all need to use different tools to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.
Finance function – love Excel
Analysts – love Tableau
Management – love PowerBI.com
Marketing – love Google Data Studio
Telling an internal finance function that #Excel needs to be replaced will erupt in a small scale internal civil war. There is modelling, custom cashflow forecasts, familiarity & productivity, ad-hoc reports that all need to be created quickly and flexibly.
It’s change management 101. Find out what people need & deliver what they ask for, not just what a Vendor is #marketing. An example of the thought process to assess the fit for purpose solution goes a little something like this:
So what is the outcome we are trying to reach?
“Producing financial and other reports, quickly, easily and without error.”
What are the problems we need to solve to achieve this?
“Exporting of multiple CSV’s & complex linked workbooks takes time
Separate Budgets, Mappings, Eliminations & Consol adjustments living on harddrives and not changeable and accessible
Adding in non-financial data is difficult”
So question, does #PowerBI solve this problem?
“Simple answer is no, a consolidated dataset does.”
But what does that mean?
- all your PnL data (for eg) needs to be in one table not several with a column discriminating
- Your budget/targets/mappings/FX data needs to be easily linked to your financial data
- It should be easy to reference non-financial data
- Data should be accessible from multiple tools
- Data should be updated automatically
- SQL Views are used at the db layer to join data which means Excel and PowerBI users get ready to use data
So how is this achieved?
By consolidating and formatting data into a single cloud database
What is a cloud database and how do I get one?
For that answer, look out for our next blog post…
What is a cloud database and how do I get one!