Improving Your Financial Reporting To Drive Higher Customer Value
If you work within a creative agency, you will know firsthand the importance that reporting plays in showcasing the exact value you are having for your clients. It matters not if you are the financial controller, the CSD or an Account Director, having data on-hand which shows the impact your campaigns are having is essential. It allows for more accurate decisions to be made and gives you the ability to push your clients when the numbers talk for themselves.
However, consider this, when you marry campaign data with financial analysis, your insight goes to another level, allowing you to see in even more granular detail the impact you are having and even the cost of acquisition. Simply put, it is the concept of Business Intelligence.
The role of Business Intelligence
To be honest, business intelligence is just a fancy way of saying that a set of methodologies, processes and platforms are combined to produce meaningful and useful information that can be reviewed quickly, but which when reviewed by knowledgeable team members, allows them to make the right decisions, quickly.
Whether this information is presented as interactive graphs, static tables or bulleted information, the desired outcome is the same – provide insightful and actionable information that allows better decisions to be made more often. As an agency representing your clients, this is essential. But beyond this, the information gives you the potential to provide your clients with a dashboard showing performance – not for the purposes of them needing to take action, but rather with the view to being transparent and providing relevant and up-to-date insight into the performance of the agency.
Transparency develops trust
In 2018, Forbes reported that “transparency and brand integrity go hand in hand, and that brands have to maintain their integrity with both suppliers and consumers”. Those who fail to reassure their clients will be the ones who lose them. And as we will be covering in a blog next week, the cost of client acquisition greatly outweighs the cost of retaining existing ones.
The inference here is, by providing meaningful data – aka Business Intelligence – to your customers and clients, you are being transparent and open. Furthermore, in communicating these reports to your clients, you are gaining another touchpoint, and were sure, that even more than us, you know the importance of added and meaningful touchpoints in keeping customers happy.
5 Ways to Improve your Reporting
- Identify the requirements of each report: No two clients are the same nor are the requirements of each. As such, it is important that you can easily customise the reports you provide so that they provide insight into that business. By way of example, Pegasus Systems all-in-one management solution provides customizable reporting capabilities, giving you the flexibility to create the specific data-based reporting views you, and your different stakeholders, need.
- Highlight key information: Reporting is beneficial but ensure that what you report is helpful for future decision-making. Investing time in identifying the metrics that matter most to the business will enable information to lead to a successful campaign.
- Visualization: Just because it looks good, doesn’t mean it is accurate, or insightful. In fact, one of the most common mistakes many people make while presenting information is to portray information in the wrong chart or visualization. This can lead to confusion and sometimes convey the wrong message. Choosing the right metrics is as essential as picking the right representation for the visualization.
- Ensure your data integrity: Before you rely on a report, take care to check that your data has been input correctly. Are all timesheets submitted for the period in question? Have all suppliers provided their invoices (allowing for variations)?
- Track only what you need: It can be tempting to think that more is better. But the flip-side to that is if you provide too much data, then what should be a snapshot, can turn into a cramped mess.
Take the time at the start to ensure your reports contain the data needed to make key decisions and if needed, develop a secondary report which acts as an appendix if needed. Similarly, this may mean that you create a single dashboard which combines the key financial data you need with the core campaign insights that need to be measured so that no one must jump back and forward between two different dashboards.
Ultimately, what we’ve learned in our 30 years’ of experience, is that taking the time upfront to ascertain what is important, is the key to good Business Intelligence. With growing ability to measure campaign performance in real-time, you can provide even more value to your customers, by leveraging insights which showcase your true value. We are currently helping over 130 creative agencies around the world to develop accurate, easy to generate and insightful reports and we can help you too. If you are interested, request a Pegasus Systems demo today, or give us a call.