When the words “big data” are mentioned, people generally associate it with larger corporations instead of small businesses. This is no longer the case and using big data is becoming increasingly relevant and more common in small business.
In a nutshell big data refers to large sets of data that can be analysed to reveal patterns and trends. An example of using big data is looking at the transaction data from your customers and analysing for trends such as how many people ordered a sandwich without a drink. This is just one example of the sort of analysis that can be done. As they say knowledge is power and obtaining this sort of intelligence in your business can make you a lot of money.
On the surface this looks like a very complicated and time-consuming process. With the rapid advances of cloud technology in recent years, this process isn’t as costly or difficult as it once was.
The next question to ask is how would you go about getting your data analysed to give you meaningful information? If you wanted to obtain this data in-house the best way to do it is to use a cloud accounting package such as Xero. There are various cloud reporting programs that are linked directly to Xero such as Spotlight. The data from Xero can be exported directly into Spotlight and reports can be produced at the push of a button. Xero monthly plans start from $25 and Spotlight monthly plans start from $15 for a one-page dashboard report. If you are in the consultancy field or manage projects in your business, a good tool (this links to both Xero and Spotlight) to help you to understand how you spend your time is Workflow Max. You would likely need your Accountant or Bookkeeper to interpret the reports for you and to do the initial set up.
Doing it all in-house is not the best option and it is best to leave it to the experts such as your Accountant. It certainly pays to meet with your Accountant on a regular basis instead of once a year to do your taxes. They can really help you to grow your business by providing relevant insights. A lot of Bookkeepers can also help you to understand your data. If your Accountant is not prepared to invest the time to provide you with regular business advice then you really need to find an Accountant who will.
With the massive benefits to be had by understanding what really goes on in your business it is certainly worthwhile making the effort to understand what your business data is telling you.
Do you analyse the data in your business? What sort of information do you look at and how has understanding this benefited your business?