Life story – A Financial Analyst Amongst Accountants
It was in August 2018, after obtaining my B.A.A in finance that I started my professional career at Cofinia. My mandate was to participate in the development of financial models and to prepare financial projections to accompany SMEs in their financing requests required for their projects.
While running these reports on a daily basis, I found that entrepreneurs who were using them also needed guidance in their analysis. Especially since these reports were key tools in making day-to-day management decisions.
Business owners may be the most knowledgeable about their product and sales in their company, but not everyone is comfortable with financial data. The entrepreneur’s business intuition can make the business grow, but at the same time, if management decisions are supported by data and analysis, it is more reassuring to move forward and proceed.
Adaptable and Effective Financial Dashboards
As an entrepreneur herself, Marie-Andrée was aware of this issue. Although she has the advantage of having the financial knowledge necessary to analyze her company’s financial performance, she wanted to develop a financial dashboard that would allow her to quickly visualize her data in order to optimize her business decisions. She wanted this dashboard to be customizable to the reality of each client in order to give them this valuable tool to help them make decisions.
Prior to my arrival at Cofinia, Marie-Andrée had started designing the dashboard with popular tools such as Power BI and Tableau. However, these tools had several limitations, such as the distinction between the fiscal year period versus the calendar year. While it is convenient to have the actual data up to date, it can sometimes be biased by the accounting process. It is therefore necessary to have the ability to align with the results of the fiscal year or a given period.
Driven by the opportunity to create a new product that would be useful to entrepreneurs and having a background in programming, I got involved in this new project.
Discovering Zoho Analytics helped us solve many of our challenges, including the accounting periods. Since this application is connected to the accounting software Zoho Books, it automatically recognizes the company’s fiscal year. In addition to connecting with Zoho Books, Zoho Analytics can also connect with Quickbooks online and Xero.
Another important feature of Zoho Analytics is that when setting up the application for an organization, a significant amount of reports and graphs are available immediately, allowing for quick visualizations.
This first level of visualization is interesting and helps in decision making, but remains limited. The more you explore and discover the app, the more the possibilities widen; customize visualizations, group them, create very precise dashboards, create SQL queries, etc.
Curious and want to go a little further? Watch our introductory video on Zoho Analytics. https://www.cofinia.ca/outils/
By using an app like Zoho Analytics, the time and energy invested in updating management reports is significantly reduced. It is now possible to link different data tables and have all relevant financial information in one presentation. No need to extract several files from your accounting software, to manually copy them into your Excel sheet and to validate the different links of your formulas. Once the queries and visualizations are completed, the data will automatically update itself every day. It is also possible to automate the sending of reports by email or to consult them on your smartphone or tablet.
Zoho Analytics is part of Zoho One integrated software suite. This suite includes more than 50 diverse apps that help manage all facets of a business; finance, sales, marketing, communications, HR, project management, etc.
From a financial analysis perspective, all of these apps produce relevant financial information. It is thus possible to have a single platform for apps such as Zoho CRM, Zoho Project and Zoho People. By doing so, it is possible to cross-reference data from your CRM and Zoho Books to know, for example, the profitability of your customers.
Zoho Analytics is a great find. If you are already subscribed to ZohoOne, the app is part of the suite at no additional cost. Otherwise, contact us for a free needs assessment.