Real-Time Financial Reporting: Why Wait To See Your Data?
April 12, 2022
Having a traditional business accountant can be great. But no one can deny that analyzing receipts, tracking recurring revenue, and compiling relevant information into meaningful reports is often agonizingly slow.
You may wait 15 to 30 days to receive a report on the previous month’s activities. And for quarterly reporting, the average financial close process is eight days. In the meantime, you’re left totally in the dark as to whether your spending and revenue are on track for the current month. There’s no workaround in this scenario without real-time financial reporting—you just have to wait, often at the expense of business performance.
Thankfully, with the help of modern technology, you can bypass the waiting process and receive daily, intuitive,in-depth updates instead of monthly reports that could take days for you to read and interpret.
Wondering how real-time reporting works? We explain below and share some of the benefits you can expect to see from moving your company’s financial management into the modern digital world.
How Real-Time Financial Reporting Will Change The Way You Think Of Business Accounting
What is real-time accounting?
Put simply, it’s a concept in accounting where you keep your books and records up to date on a daily basis. Zeni, for example, offers a dashboard where our customers can log in and get an accurate, updated picture of their financial situation at any time.
How does it compare to traditional accounting?
Traditional accounting happens much more slowly. Instead of a dedicated team of accountants processing new information continuously and uploading the data into a real-time transaction reporting system, a traditional team processes everything all at once after the month ends. They then compile one massive report containing everything that happened that month. Some firms do this digitally with accounting software, while others still adhere to an archaic reporting process of printing out a 40-page report and handing it directly to management.
One key difference between the two accounting models is the customer’s level of access to their most recent financial data. In traditional accounting, the customer would be able to see February’s data sometime near the middle or end of March; similarly, they wouldn’t be able to view March’s data until the middle or end of April.
On a dashboard like Zeni’s that is updated daily, there is more automation and customers can view changes almost as they happen without waiting a month and a half to see transactions that occur at the beginning of each reporting period.
What are the benefits of real-time finance reports?
Real-time data allows for optimal business intelligence. When you have access to your reports right away, you can stay on top of your cash flow and monthly changes while still having time to affect the outcome.
For example, if you notice on May 15th that you’ve fallen behind on a particular revenue stream or your spending has exploded in a given area, you can act on that information right away. With traditional accounting, you wouldn’t see that trend occurring until you received your May report weeks later in June and took the time to digest and interpret the report.
Why is Zeni’s real-time reporting dashboard updated daily instead of every minute?
It’s important to understand that you can not fully automate real-time reports. Actual human beings work behind the scenes to import your receipts, upload your invoices, and balance your books throughout the day so you can see that info on your dashboard as soon as possible.
So in a real-time model, the customer may not have access to transaction data generated in the previous hour or two (most banks don’t even sync that quickly). But Zeni’s hardworking accountants make every effort to get new items into the system within just a day or two, so you can make educated decisions for your business ahead of schedule.
Zeni is a pioneer of real-time financial reporting.
We’re proud to say there’s no service on the market quite like the one Zeni provides.
Every day, our team is hard at work updating each of our clients’ dashboards with the crucial information they need to make major business decisions without waiting for a monthly summary report. Whether you are a founder deciding if it’s the right time to expand your team or a CFO trying to manage real-time spending across multiple departments, Zeni supports all types of financially related decision-making.
Zeni’s clients have access to financial information organized in numerous helpful categories such as invoices, receipts, revenue, and expenses, all of which are updated daily and displayed in intuitive graphical formats for easy interpretation.
Zeni Inc. provides back-office financial services which include Bookkeeping Services, CFO Services and Controller Services. Zeni Inc. is not a public accounting firm and does not provide public accounting services.