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& accounting insights
Product demand forecasting
If you are in the wholesale business, your business model may be all about being able to deliver products at short notice, and in the right format and quantity, to your customers. Perhaps you purchase on long lead times. Competition is tough and margins are always under pressure. Critical to your business model is to forecast product demand by SKU, perhaps 3, 4 or 5 months ahead.
By holding a rolling 2-year sales history in your Power BI model you can project forward your sales by SKU, taking into account underlying sales trends as well as seasonality.
Continuous Sales Reporting
Keeping the momentum up in a sales team can be hard, but with a good sales reporting model in Power BI, you can do a number of things to change this.
Why not publish live sales data to a screen in your salesroom? Let the heroes of the day be recognised. See how each sales rep is performing against a target, as it happens.
Add some objectivity to your sales meetings, not only based on what has happened but also based on some objective forecasting. Identify any change in customer buying patterns as it happens, perhaps to trigger that needed sales call.
If you are in the events or hospitality business, you may want to look at your profit & loss around particular days or events. For example, a hotel running a wedding may want to look at certain profit & loss elements just for the period of the event. What is the overall impact of the event on the hotel profitability for those days?
A well-constructed model in Power BI will let you do this, potentially pulling in information from a number of sources such as your POS system, staff rostering system as well as accounting software.
P&L and variance reports
P&L variance analysis is so much easier to do in Power BI than you are probably used to with other methods.
Firstly, through its tight integration with Excel, Power BI offers you very flexible ways to set your budgets and then track them against actual variance.
Very powerful visualisation options mean that you can pack a wealth of variance analyses onto a single-page report: actual vs budget, actual vs last year or previous month. Flip between a monthly view or year-to-date; between absolute or % variance. Track variance against previous periods, budgets, and forecasts all in one place.
Accounts receivable reporting is a very popular use for Power BI. It is a very simple solution to implement and can deliver a high return on investment very quickly.
The power comes from having all of your receivables data together in a single model that you can then view from a number of different contexts.
See the big picture, the current health of your receivables position. Forecast cash expected this month based on the current receivables profile and customers histories. Identify specific customers and receivables that need action. Examine company and debtor trends. Drive down receivables and improve your cash flow.