Where to start – Power BI in your Accounting Firm

How to effectively start using Power BI in your accounting firm.

Power BI can assist with either Management Reporting OR Custom Client Reporting


Management Reporting – This type of reporting is widely used in accounting firms, previously using tools like Excel. It’s your budget V actual on a quarterly basis report. Account sales and expenditure breakdowns. KPIs, Debtor Days, and Ratio analysis. You are getting all the data from Xero, Quickbooks or MYOB. Smaller business can receive this service because you can scale 1 layout across many clients. The upside in using a tool like Power BI for this is as follows;


  1. Data Integrity – Dumping accounting software data into Excel is dangerous.

  2. Scalability – You can roll out templated reports and push to your entire client base fast.

  3. Flexibility – Design the management reports that you want your clients to view.


Custom Client Reporting – This involves a higher level of sophistication. It is normally where an accounting firm turns to a BI specialist. It can mean multiple data sources (accounting, operational, marketing, CRMs). The level of reporting can be as big as you like. The options in delivering these services are huge. It normally means these clients are larger and with an appetite to pay for this service.


I think you have 3 choices with Power BI in your accounting firm;


  1. Management Reporting – In house. Deliver at scale, templated management reports.

  2. Custom Client Reporting – Work with BI professionals who can deliver BI solutions to a select number of your clients. It gives you peace of mind if you have a good consultant, that your clients are being served well and you can watch with interest.

  3. Both – Run in house management reporting and still have BI Specialists helping you with bigger clients with a more custom need.


The compliance accountant in your firm is very capable of running the management reports inside Power BI for your advisory services. If you are ready to learn the craft in your firm, here are some options to get going.


  1. Sign up to an online Power BI training course – I recommend Enterprise DNA and Avi Singh as great options.

  2. Bring in a BI professional trainer to your firm for in house training

  3. Sign up to a 30 day trial of the Etani platform – We offer online Power BI training and an entire platform of data integrations, templates and infrastructure for your accounting firm.