Tag Archives: Dashboard

The importance of [not] being idle – review, sift and react

In the modern era we are bombarded by information, updates, messages, emails, notifications, alerts….the list goes on!

In both our personal and business lives, there is information overload and increasingly we are learning to sift, skim read, delegate or ignore the information presented to us. With Cascade for Sage 50 we provide relevant business intelligence to SMEs which stops the need to sift, create from scratch or even ignore your business information.

How do we make it relevant?

We understand business. We have worked in businesses and understand the day to day challenges, information requirements and the ability to make decisions quickly and reliably. Cascade.bi makes accessing your business information very easy, our quick, click through drill and analyse technology allows you to delve into the deepest areas of your business and find the answers.

Does sifting increase risk?

Sifting data can be dangerous, you can miss key business information, make poor decisions or fail to make critical decisions at all.

Do you feel under pressure to clear all your notifications?

It may be feeling the need to have a clear inbox, (or at least keep it to one page), address all notifications on your phone / tablet, you will find that you are constantly sifting and clearing all of this information. The danger is that we all sift or clear notifications but fail to delve into the detail. It is important not to be idle and just by clearing the notifications, does not mean that you have all the information you need to make reliable and accurate decisions.

We make it easy to sift information from Sage 50

Let’s look at the example of not monitoring closely your profit by customer, something which as a Finance Director and business owner I have always wanted to achieve. The challenge is always preparing this in a timely manner, and once prepared, then having the time available to react to it before it is out of date!

Sage 50 BI

Being able to instantly identify which customers contribute to your gross profit, and those that do not, has a huge benefit as this information guides you to making the right decisions, delivering change and action across your business. If this information was sifted and not reviewed in detail, you may end up selling to customers at a loss without knowing.

What happens if we look at everything?

Whilst writing this blog, I have been bombarded by notifications on all devices including the same emails being received, tweets to @Cascadebi and LinkedIn messages and updates, together with BBC news feeds to my watch and IPad! This massively impacts on our productivity as they either interrupt our thought processes, distract and disrupt our productivity.

So what’s the solution?

It all comes down to “The importance of not being idle” (yes its a take on the Oasis track from 2005). We all need to understand that whilst we have to handle a significant volume of data, it is important to sift quickly, identify the important and crucially respond to, take action on, and resolve issues as they arise.

Whilst we recognise that Cascade.bi for Sage 50 provides yet more information to our customers, the data is very focused, relevant, reliable, comparable and understandable. It is easy to sift and delve into the detail, adding value to SMEs and business owners. We even provide a free email each week, providing a summary of your financial position and key metrics.

We are so confident that our platform will provide you with the information that you need to help run your business, that we offer a free 14 day trial to road test your data.

Please share your experiences of how you have managed data overload in your business in a bid to remain focused and driven.

Sage 50 – using the inactive flag

Sage 50 has the ability to hide those accounts and records which are old and inactive. In this article we will give a few hints and tips on the impact this has on Cascade.bi and a quick ‘how to’.

With the Sage 50 integration for Cascade.bi, your dashboards will use the flag set in Sage and automatically filter out the names of those customers, products and suppliers who have the inactive flag set.

To set the inactive flag manually, you need to go into each customer, supplier or product and tick the box marked in yellow above.

Cascade.bi dashboards will automatically update on the next data synchronisation and will filter out those customers, products and suppliers from the lists held in the Cascade platform.

If you have many records which you need to set as inactive, we would recommend exporting the customer records, manipulating an excel import and mark the records as inactive. Re-import the details to Sage 50 and Cascade will update. Your business analytics tool will be updated to reflect this change quickly and effortlessly.

Please note that only records which have a zero balance, no recurring entries setup or is set as a default setting can be flagged as inactive.

The above routine is for Sage 2015 (v21) and above.

 


Contact us for a free no obligation trial:

Cascade.bi packages start from just £45 month, no set up fee, no installation cost or training required. For a free 14 day trial, sign up at www.cascade.bi or contact us on: info@cascade.bi or call 03330 112882

Top 10 hints for Sage 50

Using the Cascade dashboard with Sage 50
Sage 50 integrates with Cascade.bi

We all recognise that data is valuable but it is only as good as the quality of the data. Garbage in, garbage out – for that reason, see below my hints and tips for quick wins with your Sage 50 data.

1. Mark old products, customers and suppliers as inactive

To both stop posting transactions to these areas, mark as inactive and you can stop them being displayed on reports, exports and Cascade.bi dashboards.

2. Ensure contact information /postcodes are complete

This will help with analysing segmental information, enabling the quick filtering of data to spot trends early and take action.

3. Use Web analysis fields to categorise products

If you sell products, setting up analysis fields allows you to report separately on these categories, for example if you sell spanners and sockets, you might want to group the products into the following categories:

  • analysis 1 – spanners or sockets
  • analysis 2 – size of spanner and sockets e.g 13mm
  • analysis 3 – brand name

Doing the above would allow you to just analyse the size of both spanners and sockets combined, also get the split between spanners and sockets and also quickly identify which brand – all valuable in understanding your product mix, sales patterns and trends.

4. Use Customer and Supplier analysis fields

Much the same as analysing products if you use the 3 analysis categories which are available for customers and suppliers you can quickly and easily report on specific segments. For example if you categorise your customers by sales rep, you can report and crucially compare sales by sales rep, at the click of a button, either on paper reporting direct with sage 50 or graphically using Cascade.

Customers could be categorised into:

  • analysis 1  – Sales manager
  • analysis 2 – Type of customer e.g trade, wholesale, direct, cash
  • analysis 3 – Payment method e.g cash, bacs, direct debit, invoice

Suppliers could be categorised into: 

  • analysis 1 – Supplier resident country e.g
    UK, EU, RoW
  • analysis 2 – Department responsible for the purchase e.g logistics, factory, sales, admin
  • analysis 3 – Type of customer e.g trade, wholesale, direct

The above are just examples, it’s important to identify the categories which are important to your business, they are all different but we suggest you make use of all 3 for each area – maximising your ability to slice and dice your data!

5. Review and define departments:

Analyse profit & loss by department or person easily (using cascade) or more difficult within sage, often requiring a custom report to be written.

 

 

6. Ensure the correct stock status on products

Identifying if you wish to use stock in Sage could help reduce your database size, speed up the backup routine and avoid having to manually set all stock items to ensure you do not run negative. Many businesses do not use the stock feature on sage, but set quantity to 999999 but this is unnecessary – simply mark them as non-stock in the product record.

7. Set up product categories

Setting up categories at product level allows you to quickly identify trends in sales and profit. Using Cascade.bi this becomes far faster and visual too.

Similar to the analysis fields mentioned above, you are able to categorise the products into one category.

Where the analysis fields give you 3 separate factors to categorise, this gives you the option to add a product to a single category. We would recommend grouping products e.g into tool equipment, using the spanners example above.

8. Set up appropriate product details

By putting accurate descriptions, units of sale, supplier and cost information, not only will your invoices be accurate, but the reporting impact will be massive. Imagine being able to quickly analyse profit by product, supplier spend, sales by product and category. Getting the data accurate will enhance the value of your data.

9. Frequent bank reconciliations

Whilst we don’t think cash is king (see here), we do recognise the importance of ensuring your cash position is reconciled frequently and at least each week. This depends on the size of the business and the size of the finance function. Ensuring the bank is reconciled means the core data is up to date and reporting accuracy will be improved.

10. Regularly review the quality of information

Over time, the cleanliness of your data becomes less accurate and requires review. We suggest you set time each quarter / 6 months to review and update. Always try and stand back and consider if the information you are receiving is working best for you and don’t be afraid to change or seek advice from your advisor.


Contact us for a free no obligation trial:

Cascade.bi packages start from just £45 month, no set up fee, no installation cost or training required. For a free 14 day trial, sign up at www.cascade.bi or contact us on: info@cascade.bi or call 03330 112882