Easy Cloud-based Reporting for Banks


This article will focus on Easy Cloud-based Reporting for Banks.

Have you ever wondered why Do It Yourself (DIY) shows are so popular? According to a Country Living article, “There’s a before, during and after in one TV show—so, you basically get to the happy ending very quickly.”  In other words, your renovations might take weeks or months (or, God forbid, years), while Chip and Joanna’s Gaines home makeover requires less than an hour of your time. And in the end it looks perfect, unlike what you may have experienced.

What is wonderful about these shows is that they take homes that are a total wreck and transform them into beautiful showcases where we wish we could live in them.  In almost all cases, the projects are within budget, finish on time, and result in a very happy customer.

If only someone could come up with a show to make Financial Reporting and Analysis (FP&A) for banks just as exciting.  Let’s take a look at the above Product Profitability Report for Mortgage Loans.  As with any project there is a before and after picture.  The before picture was atrocious while the current version has taken data from many sources and organized it in an easy to read format.

As with any DIY recipe, you need a few ingredients for success.  For Easy Cloud-based Reporting for Banks, there are four main ingredients that will be needed.

  • Excel-based report writer
  • Easy to understand data source
  • Several Banking templates to get started
  • Web-based portal for ease of access

Excel-based report writerMicrosoft Excel is perhaps the most important computer software program used in the workplace today. That’s why so many workers and prospective employees are required to learn Excel to enter or remain in the workplace.  I have told folks for years that my daughter was exposed to Excel as early as the fourth grade.

There are essentially four reasons why Excel is so popular for business.

  • Brings data together – With Excel, you can put as many data points as possible from as many sources as you want.  Using the report above as an example, data came from the general ledger, mortgage loan application, and funds transfer pricing.
  • Help identify trends – Using Excel to show past performance by month helps greatly in preparing rolling forecasts.  “Are revenues, loans originated, expenses, and profits going up or down?” are typical questions that Excel can easily help you answer.
  • Use conditional formatting – With any report, there are many formulas, ratios, and data points that are calling for our attention.  Conditional formatting helps us cut through the clutter and focus on areas calling for our attention.  For example, all various greater than $5,000 or 5% that are favorable can be highlighted as green with unfavorable items being highlighted red.
  • Build great charts – As more and more executives rely on mobile devices and tablets for a greater share of their daily work, an Excel report with a bunch of numbers becomes less helpful.  Using charts and graphs is a great way to help them visualize important trends and key performance indicators (KPI’s) at a glance with needing a magnifying glass.

Easy to understand data source – Taking the profitability report we used earlier, the data came from at least three different sources.  These reports are used to drive pricing and marketing decisions as well as compensation for bankers.  Many more systems will use the data.  Keeping up with all of these sources can be a huge task.

Data warehouses is a great way to organize all of the data in one convenient location.  TechAdvisory.org says there are three main benefits to using a data warehouse for businesses.

  • Better decision-making – Corporate decision makers will no longer have to make important business decisions based on data that is scattered all over the place and hard to get to.  Data warehouses store relevant data and statistics, and allow decision makers the ability to retrieve that information and analyze to help them make business decisions.  In addition to making strategic decisions, a data warehouse can also assist in marketing segmentation, inventory management, financial management, and sales.
  • Quick and easy access to data – Speed is an important factor that sets you above your competitors.  Business users need data that comes from many sources.  Having all that data in one convenient location will drastically cut down on the time needed to process the information and make decisions.
  • Data quality and consistency – Since data warehouses gather information from different sources and convert it into a single and widely used format, all the various decision makers will be working from the same version of the truth.  When data is standardized, you can have confidence in its accuracy, and accurate data is what makes for strong business decisions.

Several Banking templates to get started – How many times have you sat through a sales presentation by a Business Intelligence (BI) vendor where they show you the coolest bubble charts and scatter diagrams of customer buying patterns and talk about the power of predictive analytics?

The problem is that they usually present the examples for a manufacturing company or retailer and have no relevance to you!  When pressed about banking examples, they will say that their tool can be used for anything.  Just tell them what you want and they can build it.  If that were the case, they why don’t they just lead off with banking examples?  Below are some of the templates that should be available so you can quickly adopt and implement.

  • Bank performance reports – These should include an overall KPI report, income statement, balances sheet, yield rate analysis, loan and deposit performance reports.
  • Branch performance reports – These should include balanced scorecards, basic financial reports, loan and deposit production reports.
  • Product performance reports – They should have loan and deposit profitability reports by product, instrument level profitability, funds transfer pricing and activity based costing based reports.
  • Customer performance reports – Included in the list should be customer/household profitability reports, new customer acquisition reports, customer retention/cross-sell information, and ability to track top ten customers by balance and profits.

Web-based portal for ease of access – Publishing dynamic, refreshable reports to a Web Portal is the way to go.  The main benefit is that your executives do not need to mess with software that has to be installed and updated on their machines.  They just login into a URL with their favorite device and pull up their reports on demand.

Who can help – To summarize, the path to Easy Cloud-based Reporting for Banks has four basic ingredients.  There are many vendors out on the market that are pretty good at certain pieces but few that satisfy them all.  When it comes to Excel, Spreadsheet Server by Global Software, GL Wand by Excel4Apps, and BI360 by Solver, Inc. are all very easy to use tools.

It terms of providing Data Warehouses, Cognos by IBM, OBIEE by Oracle, BusinessObjects by SAP, and BI360 by Solver are all excellent solutions.  All of these data warehouse providers also come with web-portals.  As far as coming with pre-built banking templates, Axiom EPM by Axiom Software, BankBI, ProfitStars by Jack Henry, and BI360 by Solver have excellent templates already set up for banks for quick adoption.

As you probably noticed, there is a tool that meets all four criteria called BI360.  BI360 is tool that many companies are using to enable world-class decision making by providing a complete Excel and web-based suite, comprised of Reporting and Budgeting, Dashboards and a pre-configured Data Warehouse.  Stop dealing with messy FP&A and renovate your reporting and analysis processes by doing it yourself with an easy Cloud-based reporting solution for Banks today.

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