Just for a moment, think about your accounting firm over the past 15 years and how critical Microsoft Excel has been to your firm. Microsoft Power BI is going to be just as critical to your firm as Excel has been previously. Power BI is the new Excel.
Here are 5 Reasons why Power BI is going to bring you all the joy that Excel brings, but then remove all the problems that Excel has previously given you.
1. Eradicate Excel Errors – Removes the errors which are made in Microsoft Excel. With cell based excel formulas, it is just so easy to incorrectly sum the column, add the wrong cell in a formula by accident, or whichever mistake it might be. Rolled over year on year, or month on month. Material mistakes are so common. Power BI removes this problem with its variable based DAX formula language, which is very similar to the Excel formula language.
2. Slice & Dice Reports – Dynamic interaction with reports. Power BI is built on Variable Based formulas as discussed above. That means that for example the Profit Margin can be sliced and diced. Find out the Profit Margin of just one product, or for a certain date range or for a different region. Drilling down. Segmenting by all the different filters is INSTANT and so powerful.
3. Data protection – You cannot open Power BI and accidently push a number in the cell which overrides it. Eg. Pretend in Excel that you have a huge column of sales data. A junior accountant opens the Excel file and without realising hits the keyboard inside a cell showing 3500 in sales. Bye bye to that 3500 entry, and no way of knowing this has happened. In Power BI you simply cannot make this mistake. It does not let you edit raw data.
4. Unlimited Data Sources – Power BI is your hub for data. Financial and non-financial data. Consolidate everything in the one place. There is data everywhere on multiple platforms. Enterprise data, cloud based platforms (Xero, Facebook) and Excel spreadsheets to name a few. Power BI lets you bring it all together in the one place to visualise.
5. Auto Refresh – It’s very pleasing when you complete a sales analysis for the financial year for a client which they can use to help grow their business. It’s even more pleasing to know that you build it once and can set and forget. Because each hour the data source (Xero, MYOB, Quickbooks) is refreshed with new data flowing seamlessly into the report you built. Live data.
A Bonus Reason – Machine Learning & Predictive Analytics – Microsoft have seriously got their act together. Predictive analytics, machine learning, automation of processes. In the future you likely will not need to build many insights for your clients, because the machine learning will run over the datasets for you and tell you what is appropriate. Our point is, stay and swim with the winners who are pushing this space.