Daniel Havey
Forecasting Methods for Banks

This article will focus on Forecasting Methods for Banks.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

 

Have you done this? – According to Nasdaq, the consensus Earnings per Share (EPS) forecast for Bank of America for the years 2017, 2018, and 2019 is $1.73, $2.03, and $2.19 respectively.   How did they come up with these numbers?  If I told you that an analyst for Nasdaq went to the corner fortune teller and asked them to divine the numbers, you would laugh at me.  Or if I told you that they called three different gas stations for their price of gas for their research, you would say that the information was irrelevant. Continue reading

Daniel Havey
Balanced Scorecards for Banks

This article will focus on Balanced Scorecards for Banks.

 

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Definition:  According to TechTarget, a performance scorecard is a graphical representation of the progress over time of some entity, such as an enterprise, an employee or a business unit, toward some specified goal or goals. Performance scorecards are widely used in many industries throughout both the public and private sectors. The performance scorecard is an essential component of the balanced scorecard methodology.

 

The focus of this article will be on balanced scorecards for banks.  Implementation of the balanced scorecard for banks and financial institutions is a very tricky thing, according to BSC Designer, as there is huge temptation to focus on financial indicators only.  We all know that banks work with money to make more money.  So, it is very easy to ignore non-financial indicators that have a direct impact on financial performance of banks.

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Daniel Havey
Dashboards for Banks

This article will focus on the many types of Dashboards for Banks that are being used today to improve bank performance.

dashboardforbanksDefinition:  According to Wikipedia, dashboards often provide at-a-glance views of KPIs (key performance indicators) relevant to a particular objective or business process (e.g. sales, marketing, human resources, or production).  In real-world terms, “dashboard” is another name for “progress report” or “report.”

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Daniel Havey
What should I be looking for in a Performance Management Tool for Banks?

This article will focus on what you will be looking for in a Performance Management Tool for Banks.

 

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

What is Performance Management?  According to the Harvard Business School, performance measurement focuses on four main areas:

-Communicating with external investors to ensure that a firm’s securities are fairly priced and that they are able to access capital

-Measure and evaluate a firm’s economic performance

-Improve resource allocation and strategy implementation within a firm

-Build accountability for performance through effective external and internal governance

 

The emphasis of this article will be on improving resource allocation and strategy implementation, specifically for banks.  Though banks have evolved over time, their basic function is to take in deposits and reinvest those funds back into the community in the form of loans for such things as houses, cars, education, and infrastructure.

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Hanna Kim
Cloud Business Intelligence Solutions for Acumatica

This article explores financial reporting and budgeting options in the cloud for your Acumatica Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

In today’s business world, our processes and technology platforms require accessibility and flexibility, and more solutions are showing up on the cloud market. Since data sources and data in general continues to expand in size and can increasingly be found across cloud and on-premise locations, more executives are looking for the right Business Intelligence (BI) solution to empower business end users to make better and smarter business decisions. In this article, we will discuss several business intelligence options for your Acumatica ERP system that will cover deployment options, sophisticated functionalities, and hopefully, answers to any questions you may have regarding BI add-ons. Continue reading

Hanna Kim
The Importance of Business Intelligence for All Companies and how it Impacts the Beginning of the Year

After the Thanksgiving holiday, I sat down with Solver’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Corey Barak to talk about the importance of business intelligence (BI) for organizations. Corey is our “Chandler” from the television sitcom, Friends. Everybody admires him for his sarcastic humor, intellect, and his sound judgment. Corey manages the day-to-day operations and focuses on maximizing the service quality to our customers and partners.  He has been in the BI industry for 20 years, and started his career at Solver in 1999 as a Senior Business Intelligence Consultant. Outside of Solver, he is a father of two children and a husband. As 2016 is coming to a close, I was pondering on the New Year, and the kind of impact BI may have on companies. As an author of leading BI books, including “Process Improvement for Effective Budgeting and Financial Reporting” and “BI360 Book – The Ultimate How-To Guide,” I thought Corey would be the appropriate person to pick his brain about the importance of BI for any company.

Watch the interview below or read on for the transcript of our conversation.

Kim: “Why is BI important for companies and does the beginning of the year have an impact?”

Barak: “BI is the framework for setting strategy and managing the success and failure of the strategy.  Companies should create a closed-loop process where they set strategy, set the goals for the strategy, put together the budget or the forecast, and constantly review and analyze the actual vs. the budget/forecast of the goals.  If changes need to be made, then the strategy or the goals may need to be modified, which starts the loop over again.  It has an impact on the beginning of the year as the majority of companies are going through their budget process.  If they have a fiscal year that isn’t based on a calendar year, then this would be a chance to do forecasting. They could reforecast based on the strategy. If the strategy has not been set and finalized, then it makes it impossible for managers to put together a budget that should be dependent on the strategy.”

 

Kim: “What are steps to start adding BI for your organization?”

Barak: “The first step is to determine what impacts your business – the revenue growth and profitability -and determine how to measure that. Some manufacturing companies may have areas around manufacturing speeds or getting things out to the market quicker. Find those Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that drive your revenue growth. If you company doesn’t know what they are, the company needs to find out what they are. If they don’t have the data to determine their KPIs, then it is time to look into a BI tool that can bring in data from disparate systems and display them in structured reports and dashboards that are quick and easy to view. Make sure you’re making progress and improving. If you’re not improving and you’re actually declining, this is where you can start reviewing your strategy as things aren’t going the way you planned. Once it is finalized, then determine if this data is easy to access or it takes time to put this together.  Bring that data in, calculate the KPIs, and compare it to your budget or your forecast every month.

 

Kim: “What are some tips that you can share with organizations that are looking into investing in BI?”

Barak: “Find a tool that can bring your financial data and operational data together. Generally, a KPI is not going to be based on just financial data or just operational data, but a combination of the two. Determine the company’s KPIs and then determine the departmental KPIs, and create dashboards for them as well. Concentrate on the company’s KPIs, what really impacts the entire business and then start moving to each department. Find out how to get the data and what the calculation would be for the KPIs. Next step is try to build those, practice them before you put it into the dashboards. Go manually calculate them, make sure it’s trending properly. The next step is building a dashboard. Start early in the process of implementing a BI Tool and if you have a BI Tool, then start the process of strategy and planning early. There should be regular forecasts based on potential changes to the strategy and initiatives.”

*Side note – A KPI stands for a key performance indicator, which is a business metric used to evaluate factors that are important to the success of a company. For example a KPI can be gross margin, turnover, net income, sales by salesperson, and more. There are thousands of KPIs you can use. The key is to find what is important to your company and industry.

 

Kim: “How does Solver use dashboards that other companies may not?”

Barak: “Solver has completely revamped our financial process.  End of 2015, we decided to change the way we report our financials. In 2015 and prior, we would literally get an email with our financials and everyone looked at different values, but there was no determination of what the most important KPIs are to the executives and to managers that will grow the business to drive profitability.  We rebuilt our allocation model in January 2016, so that it would take into account what was truly important and impacts our decision making.  We brought in more data sources.  We finally built KPI’s and dashboards for executives and then we built them for department managers.  This is how we start meetings rather than looking at a financial statement.  Our financial statements are backups now and used mainly if we have a question or need to drill down.  Our KPI’s show comparisons to the budget/forecast and to prior years.  We show 24 and 36-month trends so we know if we are trending up or trending down. We now are able to make decisions immediately because we have the data and analysis at our fingertips.”

Hopefully, this conversation is helpful for your BI needs and for your organization, no matter the size.

Solver enables world-class decisions with BI360, a leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.

Tina Lee
The Importance of BI360 Training

IMG_0960The importance of training is more than just the obvious. BI360 users will often say, “I don’t know how to use BI360, so let me take a training class.” Structured training is about the best way to learn how to use and become more efficient with BI360.  As Solver’s Training Manager with over 15 years of training experience (two of those with our tool), I say this to everyone – never stop learning!

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Vanessa Sierra
Planning Your Thanksgiving Dinner with Business Intelligence!

The week is finally here where we gather around the table and share a delicious Thanksgiving meal with our loved ones. As much as we enjoy the good food, family time, and days off from work, organizing and hosting this special dinner can be a daunting task. Similar to the process of creating effective reports and dashboards that help your business, planning a Thanksgiving dinner requires thorough research and specific BI features that make the process easy and enjoyable for everyone.

This blog will explore the parallels between the process used to plan a Thanksgiving meal in the modern age and the latest in BI tools for Corporate Performance Management (CPM), (i.e. financial reporting, budgeting, dashboards, and data management).

Feast on The BenefitsLet’s start at the beginning. A few weeks ago, like many of you, I decided to start planning out my Thanksgiving dinner. Knowing that my younger brother has a sweet tooth, but my dad prefers savory entrees and side dishes, I sent out a Google spreadsheet to find out what everyone wanted to eat. Given that we live in different cities, I asked each family member to fill in his or her favorite dishes into the spreadsheet. The results were a little messy to say the least.

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Hanna Kim
Things to be Thankful for in Today’s Business Intelligence Solutions for Not-For-Profit Organizations

In this article, we discuss how business Intelligence (BI) tools have helped not-for-profit organizations focus more on their mission and less on budgeting and reporting.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and we thought it would be appropriate to dedicate this article to not-for-profit organizations – organizations with the purpose of something other than making a profit and often focused on furthering a particular social cause – and focus on how business intelligence (BI) tools have made the jobs in their industry easier. In this article, we are going to zoom in on the tools that not-for-profit organizations have expressed they are thankful for, and hopefully, this will give you an idea of what modern BI tools can do for your not-for-profit organization.

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Hanna Kim
How to Prepare for Your First Data Warehouse Implementation

This article will focus on the process of preparing for a successful data warehouse implementation.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Data warehousing is an analyst’s dream. Why? All the metrics about the company’s activities is gathered in one place. Well, how do you make that dream a reality? First, you have to prepare for your data warehouse implementation. Many software implementations can be challenging, and only a few organizations today achieve successful software implementations on their first try. In this article, we will discuss preparing for a successful DW implementation. Continue reading