The power of data visualisation for finance leaders: Unleashing insights with analytics, BI tools

Visualising your financial data has never been more crucial for gaining a competitive advantage and making accurate decisions in today's fast-paced global economy.

Johannesburg, 15 Jun 2023
Leandra Webb-Ray, Data Scientist at Decision Inc.
Leandra Webb-Ray, Data Scientist at Decision Inc.

In today's data-driven world, the ability to effectively communicate financial insights is crucial for finance leaders. With the ever-increasing volume and velocity of data, traditional methods of presenting complex financial information often fall short. This is where data visualisation and analytics tools come to the rescue, enabling finance leaders to unlock the power of data and make informed decisions. In this press release, we will explore why data visualisation is essential for finance leaders and how leveraging data and analytics tools can revolutionise their financial analysis processes.

The importance of data visualisation for finance leaders:

Finance leaders deal with vast amounts of financial data, which typically needs to be presented back to business at month-end in the form of reports. However, raw numbers and spreadsheets can be overwhelming and difficult to interpret, leading to missed opportunities and misinformed decisions. This is where data visualisation comes into play.

Simplifying complexity: Data visualisation helps finance leaders simplify complex financial information by presenting it in a visually appealing and intuitive manner. Visual representations, such as charts, graphs and interactive dashboards, enable finance leaders to grasp trends, patterns and anomalies at a glance, facilitating faster and more accurate decision-making. This also assists in making financial information appealing to non-financial users.

Enhancing communication: Visualising financial data helps finance leaders communicate their insights more effectively to stakeholders. By presenting data in a visually engaging format, finance leaders can tell compelling stories, highlight key financial metrics and convey complex concepts with clarity. This improves understanding and alignment among team members, executives and other stakeholders.

Uncovering hidden insights: Data visualisation allows finance leaders to uncover hidden insights and discover meaningful correlations within financial data. By exploring interactive visualisations, they can identify trends, outliers and potential risks or opportunities that may have gone unnoticed in traditional spreadsheets. These insights enable proactive financial planning, risk mitigation and strategic decision-making.

Automating manual reporting: The use of BI tools can automate the reporting process, reducing hours of manual work putting together conventional reports. In the past, these manual processes often resulted in reporting only being available days or weeks after month-end, but with automated reporting these can be available immediately. In addition, e-mail alerts can be set up to ensure that decision-makers have the latest reporting in their inbox at the start of the work day, greatly enhancing their ability to act quickly.

Leveraging data and analytics tools for accelerated insights and informed decision-making:

To harness the full potential of their data, finance leaders can also leverage a range of data and analytics tools. These tools significantly reduce the time to insights, leading to improved decision-making. Here is how:

Speeding up data visualisation: Analytics tools provide finance leaders with intuitive interfaces and drag-and-drop functionality that streamline the data visualisation process. With pre-built templates and customisable dashboards, they can quickly transform raw financial data into visually compelling charts, graphs and interactive visualisations. This saves valuable time that would have otherwise been spent manually creating and updating spreadsheets.

Efficient data processing: Analytics tools offer advanced data processing capabilities that enable finance leaders to handle large volumes of financial data with ease. By automating data extraction, data cleaning and data transformation tasks, these tools eliminate the need for manual data manipulation, reducing the risk of errors and saving significant time in data preparation. As a result, finance leaders can focus more on analysing the data and gaining valuable insights.

Real-time access to insights: With analytics tools, finance leaders can access real-time insights from their financial data. Instead of waiting for periodic reports or relying on outdated information, they can visualise up-to-date financial metrics, track key performance indicators and monitor financial trends in real-time. This agility allows for timely decision-making, as leaders can respond quickly to changing market conditions, identify emerging opportunities and address potential risks promptly.

Advanced analytics capabilities: Data and analytics tools provide finance leaders with advanced analytics capabilities, such as predictive analytics and data modelling. These tools enable them to perform sophisticated analyses, scenario simulations and predictive forecasting. By leveraging these capabilities, finance leaders can gain deeper insights into future financial outcomes, evaluate the impact of different strategies and make informed decisions based on data-driven predictions.

Enabling predictive analytics: By incorporating predictive analytics capabilities, finance leaders can forecast future financial outcomes, identify potential risks and simulate various scenarios. This empowers them to make proactive decisions, optimise resource allocation and anticipate market trends.

Improved collaboration and stakeholder alignment: Analytics tools offer collaborative features that allow finance leaders to share visualisations, reports and dashboards with team members and stakeholders. This fosters better alignment and collaboration among departments, enabling a shared understanding of financial data and promoting data-driven decision-making across the organisation. Timely access to visualised data promotes transparency and empowers stakeholders to actively participate in the decision-making process.

By leveraging data and analytics tools, finance leaders can significantly accelerate the data visualisation process and gain timely insights from their financial data. The combination of efficient data processing, real-time access to insights, advanced analytics capabilities and improved collaboration empowers finance leaders to make well-informed decisions that drive organisational success.

Top data and analytics tools for finance leaders

Selecting the right analytics tool is crucial for finance leaders, but with the multitude of options available, it can be overwhelming. That's why seeking guidance from a data and analytics expert advisor can prove highly beneficial.

Among the leading tools in the market, Azure4SAP is ideal for enterprises using SAP. It helps finance leaders tackle the challenge of extracting data from their SAP treasure trove, mitigating challenges and accelerating reporting. With prebuilt dashboards, reports and analytics, this solution will help you get the most value from your SAP ERP.

Microsoft Power BI is a powerful data analytics tool that generates dynamic visualisations from diverse data sources. While it is particularly effective for small to medium organisations, it remains highly effective for larger organisations as well. Power BI simplifies report and dashboard creation, facilitating secure sharing between applications.

Power BI integrates well with the entire Azure stack, making the Azure data management tools a perfect fit. Data ingestion and transformation can be performed in Data Factory, Azure Data Lake can be used to store and consolidate data from multiple source systems and Azure Machine Learning can easily be incorporated for deeper insights. The results can then be seamlessly displayed in Power BI, making a cohesive and holistic solution.

Qlik also offers a competitive tool stack with interactive visuals in Qlik Sense and the Qlik Cloud platform for integration, again creating a seamless solution from data ingestion to data visualisation.

Alteryx offers great strengths as an analytics and data blending tool, with a particular benefit being the ease of use of the platform and the ability to ingest a wide range of different data sources with ease. It also offers advanced analytics and predictive capabilities, making it easy to add another level of analytics. The results can then be fed into any data visualisation tool with ease, making it independent of the reporting choice.

For companies already utilising other Workday solutions, Workday Adaptive Planning is a top choice. It offers explicit flexibility and scalability for financial planning and analytics, catering to the needs of large enterprises.

SAP Analytics Cloud is another notable tool, providing comprehensive analytics capabilities through a cloud-based platform. It empowers users with self-service analytics, enabling them to explore data, uncover patterns and gain insights without requiring extensive technical expertise.

How to get started

For many finance leaders today, the hardest question is often where to start with modernising their reporting and data processing.

This is why Decision Inc. developed Azure4SAP, a platform to fast-track financial reporting from SAP into Power BI. This simplifies the process of extracting data from SAP, and with prebuilt dashboards, reports and analytics, this solution will help you get the most value from your SAP ERP in a short space of time.

In today's data-driven finance landscape, finance leaders must embrace data visualisation and analytics tools to unlock the full potential of their financial data. By simplifying complexity, enhancing communication and uncovering hidden insights, data visualisation empowers finance leaders to make informed decisions and drive organisational success. Leveraging data and analytics tools further amplifies their capabilities, enabling them to process data efficiently, create interactive dashboards, leverage predictive analytics and integrate diverse datasets. Embracing these tools equips finance leaders with the necessary tools to navigate the complexities of financial analysis and lead their organisations towards a prosperous future.


Decision Inc.

Decision Inc. is a global digital partner that enables businesses to reinvent themselves to realise their full potential.

We deliver agility, resilience, and intelligence to any enterprise, enabling them to adapt quickly and thrive through innovation and opportunity. Our teams have engaged with more than 400 clients globally over the past 15 years, providing them with the expertise to build, operate, and optimise their digital businesses.

We achieve this by leveraging the world’s best technology to drive our client’s business ambitions forward into tomorrow’s reality.

Our success is ultimately driven by our entrepreneurial culture, industry exposure, and the passion of our people. We have three key cross-functional teams – Functional and Specialist Consulting, Development, and Engineering teams. Based in four global offices, our exceptional consultants focus on delivering value to clients by keeping them at the centre of our service delivery.