Real-time financial data has become an increasingly vital part of business, for both enterprise-sized corporations and the smallest of start-ups (and every organisation in between). 

Whilst some shops may still rely on cashing up the register at the end of the day to see how well they’ve done, the advent of affordable finance and payments platforms has made real-time data easily accessible to businesses of all shapes and sizes – and the majority are making full use of it. 

But what are the benefits of real-time financial data? Here’s a look at some of the key strategic advantages it can offer. 

Identify errors and potential fraud

Finances that are recorded in real time, both incoming and outgoing in a centralised platform, can make it far easier to spot errors and potentially fraudulent activity too. 

Older, more traditional methods of managing organisational finances can become siloed and it can become harder and take more time to spot areas that are underperforming or experiencing bottlenecks. A centralised, real-time system negates these issues, with head offices being able to oversee and reconcile all business transactions – wherever and whenever they take place. 

Understand sales trends

Real-time finance data makes it easier to understand what consumers are buying from you, and when. With purchase information flowing into your system all the time, you will be able to track what products are flying off the shelves at certain times of the day, or during particular weather conditions, or at certain times of the year. 

Understanding these sales trends leads to better strategic decision making. Business leaders will be able to accurately predict when to place orders and make goods available for sale, as well as plan further ahead with their buying strategies. Digital businesses will be able to more accurately predict cycles of demand and feed that information into sales and marketing plans. 

This real-time data can influence staffing and expansion plans. If you see a busy period in the mornings but quieter in the evenings, you can increase and reduce staff rotas to suit these periods. Soaring demand in one region but not in another? Real-time data can help you to understand why, more quickly and with increased assurance.

Improve forecasting

Without accurate and up-to-date finance information, any forecasts you make will be leaning heavily on assumptions or last year’s data. Accurate forecasting is critical for any business, whether it’s ensuring there’s enough to cover upcoming payroll commitments, or planning a multi-million expansion plan into a new territory. 

Real-time data also helps with setting realistic goals, and also increases the confidence that those goals are achievable.

Access data whenever you need to

Business leaders are expected to make hundreds of decisions, at speed, every week. Relying on outdated financial reporting methods to do so leads to a slowdown of decision making and reduces C-suite efficiency. 

Real-time data, typically hosted in the cloud, can be accessed wherever and whenever by anyone who is given permission to see it. This means real-time reports can be pulled with ease without having to make a request for it and get all the key performance and forecasting metrics needed to make key decisions each day. 

Make better, more strategic decisions

Data-driven business decisions are far more likely to help you achieve long-term goals by making the best possible decisions with the latest information available to you. 

Real-time financial data, that’s accessible from anywhere in just a couple of clicks, helps to take the guesswork out of running a successful organisation. Instead of using last years’ revenues or expenses to plan future expansion or forecast cashflows, you’re using data that is correct right of this second. 

Adopting real-time financial data in your business

Understanding the benefits of real-time, centralised financial data for your business is one thing. Finding and adopting the platform that best suits your organisation’s needs in the here and now, that also has scope to grow and change as your business does, is another. 

Researching finance software can be time-consuming, and you’ll want to ensure you select the right platform the first time to save time and money. 

That’s where Phase 3 comes in. Our team of Payroll, HR and finance systems experts have helped hundreds of businesses to identify, adopt and begin utilising finance systems that are right for them. 

We get to understand your organisation and its requirements and review the entire market based on those needs.

Learn more about our finance system services here, including financial software implementation. Want to take a look at the software available on the market right now? Our free-to-use system selection tool will help you to filter the functionality you need and present some of the best options available on the market right now. 

Try it out here.