Do you know what drives your revenue? If you think it is time to take a deep dive into your data and discover what is driving your business, a solution like Biztools Analytics may be what you are looking for.
Recently the CEO of BizTools, John Power, conducted a webinar for Reckon customers showing how they can get the most benefit out of BizTools Analytics.
When used in conjunction with Reckon Accounts, BizTools provides Reckon users with powerful business intelligence and performance management solutions to analyze the data your SME is sitting on.
We sat down with John after the webinar to find out more about BizTools.
RECKON: What sort of data insights can BizTools Analytics offer users?
JOHN POWER: Our current solutions focus on delivering deep financial and sales analytics. We think that’s where SMBs or accountants get the most value for most business types. BizTools’ intelligent, multi-dimensional analytical models cover the balance sheet, income statement, financial ratios and sales. You can monitor rolling trends across over 25 financial ratios, see at a glance how the business is performing over time, track actual vs. budget performance and even consolidate multiple company data files with different charts of accounts.
The drag & drop ease with which business users can “slice & dice” their sales data by customers, items, class, sales reps, locations and accounts or any combination of these over time in an ad-hoc manner is fundamental to being able to understand what’s driving revenue.
Knowing the “Who, What, Where & When” about how a business is making money, what the trends are around that and being able to track your expenses is invaluable if you want to improve the bottom line.
R: What prevents SMB’s from using business intelligence and analytics tools to achieve better results?
J: Historically, Business Intelligence solutions have been out of reach for most SMBs (or their Accountants) because of cost and complexity. Software costs, long implementation cycles and related consulting fees would typically run well over $50K for a small project and take months to deliver. On top of that, whilst traditional offerings were powerful, they were quite hard to use, required lots of training and most SMBs lacked the internal IT skills to get the most out of their investment.
We’ve solved that problem by leveraging core Microsoft technologies, focusing on ease of use for regular “non-technical” end users and building intelligent, adaptive models that work with Reckon Accounts data files regardless of how they are setup. BizTools can be up and running in less than 4 hours for around the cost of a decent cup of coffee per day per user. SMBs can gain insights around what’s driving their business, make more informed decisions and get a return on their investment from day one.
R: How technical an understanding do you need to use BizTools effectively?
J: We’ve automated all the hard technical aspects of the solution and seamlessly integrate “out of the box” with Reckon Accounts so if you can browse a website (BizTools includes a local intranet site to manage your content) and use Excel, you’re good to go.
Much of our R&D is focused on making things simpler for business users so they don’t get bogged down in the “plumbing” and can just cut to the chase to see what’s driving the business.
R: Do you need to be an accountant to get value from BizTools?
J: No, but you do need to be able to read a P&L and a balance sheet and understand the basics. We provide some educational type content around financial ratios to help users who may be unfamiliar in that area and want to learn more to get up to speed quickly.
Many of our users are business owners or managers without any formal accounting or bookkeeping qualifications. They usually have a pretty good idea around what information they need to gain insight into their business but in most cases it’s been too hard or time consuming without a solution like BizTools.
Obviously, Accountants can easily use BizTools to be more proactive as a trusted advisor to their clients offering more than just compliance services but many of our customers are bookkeepers who want to move beyond data entry and expand their service offerings.
R: How much support or training is available to users after they buy BizTools?
J: Support starts right at the time of purchase. We offer installation & training services as an option for any new customers who want help to get started faster. Free technical support via email is included for the first 12 months along with any updates or product upgrades that may be released. After the first 12 months, ongoing support plans ensure customers always have access to the latest software.
We can also provide direct online training for individuals or small groups at any time upon request. Most customers use this for advanced training after they’ve been using the built in content and building their own custom reports for a while and are ready to take things to the next level. Occasionally, we provide advanced training webinars at no cost to customers on active support plans.
R: Can I load external data from sources beyond Reckon Accounts into BizTools Analytics?
J: You can’t directly bring in other external data and merge that with our analytical models (OLAP cubes) but the technical stack is open so you could use the built in report builder or Excel and effectively connect to and merge that data with our data models in your own custom report.
R: What industries does BizTools Analytics suit best?
J: All industries, there’s no specific vertical that we target. Our SMB customers span across retailers, manufacturers, distributors and service providers. SMBs with lots of customers and products of different types and/or classes would probably benefit the most.
R: How is Analytics any different from Reporting or Dashboard type solutions?
J: Categorizing solutions can be tough due to functional overlap as well as different interpretations around terminology. As a generalization, traditional reporting tools connect to a backend database and let a developer create custom transactional style reports. Those same developers might then use a dashboard tool to provide high level “at a glance” visualizations to upper management.
Multi-dimensional, OLAP based analytics fills the huge gap in between and enables “non-technical” business users to quickly & easily slice & dice their data at different levels across key dimensions like accounts, time, customers, items, classes, locations etc. in minutes and know that the results will be accurate.
BizTools Analytics is really a business intelligence solution that spans the categories of dashboards, KPI monitoring and ad-hoc summary level custom reporting.
End users need to choose a solution that best fits their needs and skill sets. So long as they focus on their actual requirements and find solutions that deliver the information they need in the right format, presented in the right way, quickly and easily, they are on the path to better, more informed decision making to improve their business results and that’s what really matters.
R: Are there any independent, 3rd party reviews of BizTools Analytics available?
J: Yes, in addition to some case studies on our website, the Sleeter Group published a comprehensive independent review that you can read here – http://www.sleeter.com/blog/2014/02/quickbooks-business-analytics-biztools/
R: How can SMBs buy BizTools and how does the licensing work?
J: They can buy directly online at www.biztoolsanalytics.com or through one of our listed Solution Provider Partners. Partners can often provide a broader range of consulting services than what we normally offer customers directly.
The licensing is by user and includes the SQL Server licensing as well, so there’s no extra costs there for customers. Each installation is essentially one server and one or more users.