PDF Reports or Live Dashboards: How Do You Choose for Your Clients?

Posted on 2nd February 2018 in Advisory

Written by Freya Hughes

Your clients place their faith in you to make them compliant. But these days, this is just one of many crucial aspects of your role in their business. The best accountants seamlessly transition into advisors, bringing the numbers to life and make everyday data meaningful and relevant. Give your clients all the information they need, presented in a way they understand, to make the right decisions when it really matters. In this blog, we tackle the big debate: should you present this online, offline or both?

Some people will resist change. Some clients will be ready to embrace technology and see all the benefits waiting for them. Some, however, will be stuck in their ways and refuse to budge.

Naturally, there are pros and cons to both ways of working, but why should you have to choose?

Your clients will need to present their data to a variety of different people, and for different reasons. Learn their pain points and introduce them to FUTRLI’s presentation mode, a sleek way of showing reports onscreen, and for clients which prefer to work on paper, our new printable reports will show a full report or a takeaway snapshot.

Dynamic working: online dashboards

There are many benefits to working on online dashboards:

  • Real-time business information for relevant decision making
  • Easy collaboration
  • Deeper understanding of data
  • Ability to forecast the future
  • Staff working towards the same goals
  • Make measuring KPIs simple
  • No more filing room

We caught up with Naren King, owner of tourist attraction Crystal Castle in Australia a little while back. He works remotely, from a beach in Bali, yet has constant zen about how his business is ticking over. How? He uses the collaborative functionality FUTRLI provides to make his managers and staff operate in harmony.

Each employee is aware of their personal and team KPIs and is responsible for hitting those goals.

Crystal Castle has three main revenue streams: visitor numbers, cafe revenue and retail sales. Naren can monitor each, remotely.

Board meetings can present their own challenges, but the first thing your clients need to get right is data presentation.

Learn how to be a boardroom hero: how to build the perfect board report pack

It can be a struggle to get started, so we created FUTRLI Advisory Certification. Within our in-depth course, you’ll complete 6 modules, which is CPD accredited. You’ll learn all the way from the basics of forecasting, right up to the implementation of advisory services, both internally and externally. It’s the best way to get yourself and your team up to speed in this ever-evolving industry.

We are, however, aware that some clients just want printed reports to view their figures. It’s a rigid way of working, but sometimes it’s just what people want. As a cloud advisor, it may put you off working with them, or breathe a sigh of despair when it comes to their account. But that’s no longer necessary.

Set up your clients’ data in a real-time dashboard and add alerts to tell you when you should be giving them a call to check in. Not only will clients be impressed with your conscientious attitude, they’ll be grateful when you stop them spending their last few pennies.

Physically backed up data: offline reports

There are also a fair few benefits of offline reports:

  • Some institutions (banks, etc) will only allow this format
  • Some people ‘think’ better on paper
  • Takeaway information
  • Physical data back up
  • Collaborate on paper – write as many notes as you need!
  • Connect to different ways of working
  • Check back on how clients performed from that date
  • Little margin for error

With printed reports, you’re traditionally either a) a bit boxed in with what you can do or b) you don’t have the time to pull together so many data sources to present one, easy view of the business.

FUTRLI’s new printed report builder is designed with this pain in mind: they’re fully flexible and customisable, yet really fast to prepare. All the data is seamlessly connected to Xero or QuickBooks, so you can analyse and present how the business is performing against its budgets and forecasts.

A lot of accounting is repeating the same tasks but for each client individually, so to make this easier, you can update and re-run reports with one click – no re-building required. The whole idea behind producing these reports is to save you time and energy. Create your own advisory template, and easily swap it between client accounts for continuity. Equally, if you want a client to have a monthly or quarterly report for their board meeting – once you have this template, you print and go as the report and data is ready, minus any admin.

On this topic, you’re also able to white label FUTRLI to make it your own. This function automatically projects your branding onto the printed PDFs, so there’s no menial work involved, and everything looks polished, professional and on-point with your firm’s brand.

Making a great case for white labelling FUTRLI are the Owners of Compass EAST, a practice based in Nashville, USA. Having their own branding on FUTRLI means they can leave the ‘heavy lifting’ to us, and focus their attention on their clients’ needs. When spoke to them recently, Dan McCarthy (left) told us:

“There aren’t many firms that can boast that they have their own insights and forecasting app, that’s what white labelling has allowed us to do. It’s already improving client retention and referrals.”

Read the full case study with Compass EAST here

We’ve made the case for both online and offline working methods, though best practice is to use both. Printed reports will be a great reminder for clients as to where they stood at the time and for some, that’s just how they get the job done. Online dashboards, apart from helping you go green, will help your clients run their business. Together, you can diagnose business problems, monitor KPIs and so much more.

They allow you and your client to work collaboratively and deep dive into what’s relevant in the moment. Businesses are changing daily – so planning for different scenarios, keeping your team on-target with their budgets etc helps keep you in a strong position. If you relied on a monthly or quarterly printed report only, you might find out something (good or bad) when it is too late, having both options ensures you are protected from risk and aware of all opportunities.

Whether you want to work online or offline…

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