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Should You Use Power BI for Your Financial Statements?

October 30, 2019
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]Let’s be honest, Microsoft Power BI wasn’t created with the intent to be used to create financial statements. However, a simple glance at discussion boards will show you there's a lot of interest in building cash flow, income statements, balance sheets, and more in the business intelligence tool.So how do you go about using it for your financial statements? Getting the data in place and displaying it so that it is readable is among the biggest challenges.

Using Power BI

Power BI is the data analysis tool from Microsoft that allows for report creation and data visualization. As a cloud-based application, authorized users can access features from nearly anywhere. It offers a real-time 360-degree perspective of your business data and offers interactive reporting. You can also search the connected data and work across a number of devices.Power BI is built to get data from a variety of sources, including Excel. It can be integrated with various databases and web services using visual tools.Having said all of that, it can be challenging when it comes to creating financial statements. Creating easy to read financial reporting formats requires work and manipulating the data will require either an external application or knowledge of Data Analysis Expressions (DAX).

Depending on what you want to do with your statements and their audience, even using something like Power BI Desktop will require time and patience, and no small amount of skill, to get easily understandable reports and dashboards

.Integrating with Power BI for Financial Statements

A better option is to leverage an intelligent financial planning tool along side Power BI. This offers the advantage of using Power BI for its strengths while leveraging a financial planning and reporting solution without the significant overhead or special knowledge associated with configuration, programming or layering on additional tools.With an intelligent planning solution, the capabilities for budget planning, financial forecasting and reporting sit side by side to create well-formatted, clear, and easy to configure reports from cash flow statements to loss statements. The reporting tools are purpose-built for financial statements and offer features for creating dashboards for at-a-glance views and drill-downs for extensive data exploration.Importantly, the integration enhances the business intelligence and reporting built in Power BI with up-to-date financial data. These tools can work well together without requiring significant modification or coding skills to get the financial statements you need.

While Power BI was not built for financial statements, it's possible to use some of the existing features to create these reports from your data. A better solution, however, is to use a purpose-built financial reporting and planning tool that includes business intelligence features and financial statement generation as part of the solution but also integrates with Power BI for a range of reporting options.

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