Like many other sectors, the accounting profession is evolving rapidly along with changes in technology. The rise of big data and data analytics is changing how business is done, from record-keeping to reporting. Businesses are used to having up-to-date analytics on everything from their websites to their company vehicles to mentions of their company name on social media. It’s no wonder they want the same real-time insights into their financial state.
If they aren’t using business intelligence to help them direct the future of their company, they soon will be. They know their competitors are, and the edge it gives is clear. While larger companies may handle business intelligence with their own staff, most small and mid-sized businesses look to accounting firms to provide them with insights.
Business Intelligence vs. Business Analytics
You are probably already familiar with these buzzwords that are often used interchangeably. Even professionals argue about what separates business intelligence from business analytics or whether they overlap. But drawing a line between them helps your clients to see where you fit as an accountant in their businesses and the different services you can offer them.
What Is Business Intelligence?
Putting a client’s data to work for them starts with business intelligence. Business intelligence tools like PathQuest BI collect, store, and analyze data from business operations and accounting software like Xero, Sage Intacct, and QuickBooks. Business intelligence is descriptive. It tells you and your clients what is happening with their businesses and why. From these insights, decisions about the future of the business can be made.
What Is Business Analytics?
Business analytics uses the same data as business intelligence but takes it one step further. While business intelligence can help you guide a business to a better future, business analytics attempts to predict that future. This is where AI and machine learning are used to find trends and solve future problems that are over the horizon.
The Accountant’s Role: Trusted Advisor
The traditional role of accountants kept them in the background:
➤ Preparing financial statements
➤ Tax planning
But modern data-driven businesses need more from their accountants. They are looking for a firm that can:
➤ Set up financial software for them and train employees on its use.
➤ Advise them on various business matters like long-term planning and decision-making.
➤ Help them make solid investment decisions.
➤ Communicate important financial information not only to their employees but also to their investors, so everyone is on the same page.
Where To Find The Time To Provide This Advice
Stepping into the role of a trusted advisor doesn’t have to mean a larger workload for you and your team, not if you leave many of the tasks of your traditional role behind. Many of the tasks that were the bread and butter of accountants just a few years ago can now be automated.
Automated accounting can eliminate manual data entry. Accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll can be taken off your hands through workflow automation. Reports can be generated on a schedule and provided to clients via cloud accounting dashboards they can view any time of the day, from anywhere in the world—even from their phones.
The time that accounting automation frees up will allow you to provide the business intelligence and business analytics your clients are asking for. But that is not all automated accounting will do for you and your clients. Automation eliminates human error, which means data will always be accurate. Automation is also fast, which means reports will always be on time.
PathQuest’s accounting automation tool, SCALE, gives you everything you need to provide advisory services for your clients. Not only does it automate mundane accounting tasks to free up your time, but it also comes with PathQuest BI, our world-class cloud-based financial business intelligence software that will make transforming real-time financial data into data-driven insights easy. Also with SCALE, you get an accounting team dedicated to your success.
Connect with us for a free demo to find out how PathQuest can revolutionize your accounting practice.