Money doesn’t move by itself. Outside the P&L and the balance sheet, there’s a host of reasons that a business’ numbers look the way they do. Traditional reporting can take the temperature of a business and help clients ensure they can make payroll and stay profitable. But traditional reports don’t necessarily tell the whole story. Including non-financial data in your data analysis allows you to provide your clients with reports that give them a clear idea of what they are doing right, what needs work, and what can boost growth in the future.
Clients who want their business to thrive are looking for answers. Beyond financial growth, business owners rely on factors like customer loyalty, innovation, and product diversity to gauge success.
An understanding of financial data ultimately affects non-financial actions like offering a new product or responding to customer feedback. Of course, the end goal of these decisions is to increase financial return. Clients need to understand how non-financial factors interact with their finances, so they can make impactful changes in the future.
Here are 4 kinds of non-financial data that can give both you and your clients insight into what’s working in the business and what needs improvement for optimized financial performance.
#1 Customer Reviews
Customers are the foundation of every business’ financial success. The quality of customer relationships can make or break a business. Customer satisfaction can be inferred from the numbers to an extent (a busy week versus a slow one for a retail client). Customer review data is readily available for hospitality clients on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Many businesses have a portal for customer feedback.
When you include data from customer reviews and compare that information with sales patterns, you have a powerful way to generate insights that help businesses invest in what customers love in a financially responsible way. Instead of just guessing what products, services, employees, or offerings are worth taking risks on, clients can clearly understand how customer satisfaction affects their bottom line.
We think this kind of information is a vital part of operational reporting. With that in mind, one of our next projects is making it possible for chata.ai users to see their customer review data right next to their financials, without switching applications!
#2 Weather Data
Seasonal businesses like landscaping or construction companies are the most obvious examples of clients that can benefit from the inclusion of weather data. But retail and hospitality clients can use this kind of data, too. Sunny summer days may be busier for street-level cafes with outdoor seating, but how much busier? Does your client need to order more lemons for lemonade? And if so, how much can they afford to spend on that kind of seasonal drink offering?
With chata.ai’s weather integration, you can track business performance as it correlates with temperature and weather conditions. Incorporating this data can help you let your clients know what kind of financial hills and valleys to expect when the weather changes.
While inventory is very closely linked to financial information, clients may make choices about their inventory based on non-financial factors. More of a certain product may be ordered to keep up with perceived customer demand rather than actual profit. It’s important to align inventory decisions with the true story data can tell. To provide a more reliable vantage point, you should analyze inventory trends alongside financial data.
A plumbing and HVAC company may want to stock up on air conditioner replacement parts before high season in mid-July. To optimize the spend on buying this inventory, it’s important to base the investment on past trends. Looking at historical inventory movement of a seasonal product can help predict future patterns. It’s easy to create a Dashboard in chata.ai that pulls historical inventory trends alongside a business’ current numbers, so you can see the full picture in one place.
#4 Values & Personal Goals
These non-financial factors exist squarely in the qualitative arena. There’s no way to track or measure your clients’ values and the goals they have for their personal life. Your clients likely envision a lifestyle, a feeling of achievement, or a sense of meaningful impact that can’t be represented by money in the bank. Knowing more about these details can give each point of data you assess valuable context. While all businesses want to grow and thrive financially, there may be key performance indicators that aren’t financial.
You can think about this within your own practice. Is it important for you to work with clients in a particular industry you’re passionate about? Is it more important for you to have clients who you get along with, regardless of industry? Feeling successful might include being choosy about which clients you take on because you can afford to. Therefore, you want to make financial decisions that allow you that freedom. This context gives you a foundation on which to build your feelings of success and abundance. Your clients are no different. Knowing what their core “whys” are can help you give them clarity around choices that are both financially sound and deeply rewarding.
Financial professionals have the opportunity to tie measurables to their clients’ qualitative markers of achievement. In chata.ai you can generate reports that include comments regarding these qualitative markers of success without missing a beat. You can also easily customize reports that reflect personal goals alongside business metrics. Seeing whether new hires are hitting the mark using numbers and noticing trends is straightforward data analysis. If a client has a larger goal to attract exceptional talent, those numbers are part of a bigger picture they care about on a deeper level.
Add More to Your Deliverables with Non-Financial Data
The types of non-financial data we’ve explored here are just the tip of the iceberg. As more data becomes available to us via apps, software, and the internet itself, more opportunities present themselves that empower you to help your clients feel confident making profitable choices for their business. Integrating non-financial data into your reports increases your value to your clients as they see your insights creating powerful impact on their success.