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Why small businesses need intelligence in the cloud

Getting accurate and up-to-date financial reports can be complex for small businesses, but it doesn’t have to be.  Cloud-based reporting solutions offer small and large businesses a way to get timely snapshots of information, such as revenue or expenses year-on-year; top customers, products, salespeople; and more.

This helps them to react faster and smarter to opportunities, threats, and trends in their businesses. Cloud-based reporting solutions are accessible, easy to use, and don’t require the support of an in-house IT department. Because they are online, SME managers and owners can simply login from wherever they are, access their information, and start working.

As long as they have an internet connection, they can access reports online, from anywhere, at any time, and from any device. There are Cloud solutions that are available for a low-cost, monthly subscription, and give small business owners access to customised reports to help them make more informed business decisions. One of the advantages of being able to connect to the cloud is mobility. The future is mobile and applications allow to control a business from the palm of your hand.

“Up until now, many small business owners have relied on manual reporting methods, such as exporting, consolidating, cutting, and pasting accounting system data into Microsoft Excel spreadsheets,” says Steven Cohen, Head of Sage One International (Africa, Australia, Middle East, Asia and Brazil). “Now, solutions such as Sage Accounting Intelligence Reporting Cloud give you easy access to ready-to-use reports for immediate insight into your business.”

Whether it’s keeping track of who owes them money, what their best and worst selling items are, how their sales reps are doing in comparison to each other, or keeping their teams abreast of business goals and achievements; Intelligence Reporting helps small businesses keep their finger on the pulse by providing them with reports that mean something to their businesses.

Intelligence Reporting is a tool within Sage One that offers small business owners ready-to-use reports which they can run and use as is or edit to suit their business needs. It also enables them to easily create reports from scratch and enjoy full control in customising reports within Excel®.

Charles Teversham, Managing Director at Sage Intelligence, the company behind the Sage Intelligence software, recommends that small business owners look for the following capabilities from a cloud-based reporting solution:

  • Wide range of reports

Ideally, the solution should offer ready-to-use reports that are already formatted for you. To run a report, all you should need to do is select the information you want to report on. Look for an offering that covers basic reports, such as profit and loss, statement of assets and liabilities, monthly and yearly sales trends, and sales by customer.

  • Familiar Excel environment

Most small businesses depend heavily on Excel for reporting. A good cloud-based reporting platform will leverage this familiar interface, but automate the process of drawing data that is pulled directly out of the accounting package, and into prebuilt reports. It should present the data in visual and interactive graphs and charts to provide insight into business trends.

  • Ease of customisation

With a cloud reporting platform, it should be easy to tweak reports to the needs of the business. You should be able to easily customise a ready-to-use report, or create one from scratch using Excel and Intelligence Reporting tools.

Teversham says: “Cloud-based reporting solutions save you time by automating reporting and ensuring you have access to the latest reports wherever you are. You can view your reports from a mobile device when you’re on the road, and you can make decisions with the confidence that you are acting on accurate and up-to-date information.”

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