Having access to detailed management accounts gives your business clients the ability to truly understand their financial position. On a regular basis, you can provide the key numbers they need to understand their business – and make better business decisions as a result.
But pulling together this management information for clients can become a time-consuming task if your data sources aren’t well connected. So how do you set up your systems to deliver the kind of fast, clear and insightful reporting that modern 21st century business clients now expect?
We’ve highlighted five key elements to focus on – combining the strengths of software efficiency with your firm’s own skills, experience and commercial insight.
1. Make reporting easier with a cloud platform
Having a cloud accounting platform at the heart of your practice systems brings a number of advantages and efficiencies when it comes to preparing management account packs for clients.
Client’s key numbers can be viewed as real-time data and these numbers then be quickly pulled into detailed management reporting – giving the client the most up-to-date view of their finances, and allowing you to offer more proactive and meaningful advice and financial solutions.
2. Automate your bookkeeping processes
Make it as easy as possible to get clients’ key data into your systems and use software automation and optical character recognition (OCR) technology to streamline bookkeeping.
Using the latest data-management solutions and cloud bookkeeping apps, allows the firm to automate clients’ bookkeeping, expenses and document scanning processes. By integrating an automated bookkeeping solution, such as Receipt Bank, the client’s all-important transactional data gets into the books fast – and with minimal involvement from your staff.
This gives you the raw data needed to produce timely and accurate management accounts.
3. Organise clients’ accounts codes and cost centres
Understanding your client’s business model, and how the company works at a grassroots level, allows you to tailor their Chart of Accounts to drive more insight.
Talk to clients and Identify the important numbers and key metrics that form the drivers in their business. Then tailor the company’s Chart of Accounts to reflect these important business numbers and key drivers using separate accounting codes.
By recording and tracking these key numbers within your practice accounting system, you can deliver management accounts that dive down into truly granular detail.
4. Create dashboard reporting that adds real insight
Complex accounts and spreadsheets may make perfect sense to you, but many business owners and management teams want a more immediate way to gauge their financial health.
The latest fintech tools and cloud reporting apps offer clear KPI dashboards and graphical ways to represent your clients management accounts – using the historic actuals and customised codes from your accounting platform as the foundations for these data visualisations.
Using cloud reporting gives your clients, and your firm’s advisers, the real-time overview needed to monitor financial health and help companies make important business decisions.
5. Focus on offering proactive advice and solution
Delivering your clients’ management reporting packs, or setting up KPI dashboards, isn’t the end of the process – the key value you add as a firm is in offering robust, meaningful advice.
Sit down regularly with clients in person to talk through what their numbers mean, review their KPIs, add your commentary and analysis, and offer proactive advice.
Having a cloud-based accounting platform in place makes it easier to review your whole client portfolio, look for the key issues or ‘red flags’ in real time, and then prioritise which clients need your advice and guidance most urgently.
It’s this support, guidance and commercial experience that will help the company improve its financial position, and it’s the analysis and commentary you glean from real-time reporting that drives these trusted relationships.
Better information, Driving deeper client relationships
Management reports and KPI dashboards are the starting point for deeper conversations, upselling of value-add services and closer working relationship with your business clients. So it’s vital to put high-quality reporting at the centre of your advisory offering.
Silverin is a centralised data hub designed specifically for finance professionals. We help you bring your financial data together into reporting that adds real value for your clients.
Find out more about Silverfin at getsilverfin.com