It seems almost comforting to be able to neatly organize numbers in tables, spreadsheets, and other commonly used financial reports. Putting data in the right spot is methodical and makes sense. However, accounting departments can also benefit from big data, if they can be brave enough to work with unstructured data and think outside the box.
Most financial data can fit in the long columns of spreadsheets often created for managers to use. This type of data is commonly found in all business offices and used in many financial reports. However, according to “Accounting’s Big Data Problem”, posted on CFO.com by David M. Katz, structured data is only one part of the equation. Katz suggests that the unstructured data or big data that is often collected from impromptu interactions with prospects and customers can be as valuable as structured data.
Unstructured data from social media interactions or other web interactions, as Katz notes, makes up the larger volume of data that has the highest potential for offering insight. The big question that financial professionals are asking is how to capture it. Unstructured data may not fit as neatly into those spreadsheets as traditional data, but that doesn’t mean it should be abandoned. You can collect more data, both structured and unstructured, by using a more powerful business management solution, such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution and customer relationships management (CRM) solution.
Today’s ERP and CRM solutions, such as those offered in the Sage suite of solutions, offer an easy way to enter and access all of your business data – both structured and unstructured. With these integrated solutions, you can manage financial data, in addition to, supply chain and inventory data, manufacturing and distribution operations, sales and marketing data, human resources and payroll activities, and other data important to your business. This type of business software was designed to handle the volume of data your business creates and neatly organize your data in a way that makes it easy to enter, as well as easy to use.
The efficiencies offered in Sage 100 ERP and Sage CRM solutions also offer something you can’t get from spreadsheets – the business intelligence you need to drive growth. You can take comfort in spreadsheets or be brave with big data.