When it comes to maximising insights and enabling data-driven decision-making, Microsoft Power BI is the best business analytics tools on the market - especially for Xero users.
Xero is one of 350 + third-party platforms that have native connectors with Power BI. Essentially, it has full, automated integration with Power BI, allowing businesses to efficiently and easily consolidate their Xero Financial General Ledger into Power BI’s visually rich dashboards and reports.
The end result? The ability to use the best analytics toolset of Power BI with your financial data, to grow your revenue and reduce costs, based on more accurate decision-making.
In this article, we cover how to integrate Power BI and Xero in 2020, why you should care, and the top 3 reasons to integrate your Xero data into Microsoft’s self-service BI tool.
Power BI and Xero integration: Top benefits and advantages
For accountants and bookmakers, Power BI integration with Xero can help in multiple ways:
- Accounting data in one place: High-level overview of your entire business in a single high-level dashboard that regular users can understand at a glance.
- Accessible and more regular reporting: Shareable data insights with all users across multiple devices in seconds.
- Better data storytelling and presentation: More visually engaging and accessible reports for your accounting data thanks to easy-to-use visualisations.
- Data across on-premises and cloud sources consolidated: Xero data is no longer siloed to just a few people, with sources brought together into one place - Power BI.
- Side-by-side comparison: An easier way to compare and contrast your Xero data across other apps for performance evaluation and insights extraction.
Power BI is ultimately one of the most accessible business analytics tools that companies using Xero can begin taking advantage of immediately to modernise their data reports with rich visualisations.
Below, we sound off on the top 3 reasons you should integrate Xero with Power BI today.
#1. Xero with Power BI: Easy monitoring with rich reporting
Once the Xero and Power BI integration process is complete, your company’s Xero data will be displayed on a new dashboard for a high-level, at-a-glance overview of your business data.
This dashboard is an interactive overview landing page pre-populated with your Xero datasets and 30 insights categories, all created out-of-the-box with no advanced setup. These categories, or tiles, are displayed as lists, numbers, graphs and items, and can be moved around or deleted completely.
When you click on a specific tile, you get a more detailed report which tells you where the information is sourced from, account names and dates, as additional filters grouped into tabs.
You can edit each tile with different types of rich visualisations, and additional or different data-sets for further customisation to display the most relevant and accurate information you require for your users’ monitoring and reporting - in a visually engaging and easy-to-read way.
#2. Xero with Power BI: Valuable decision-making data, in one place
Making data accessible can often be a challenge when it’s dispersed across several on-premises and cloud-based applications, across separate entities, on a national or international scale.
Integrating your Xero datasets with Power BI means you have one strategic end-point (a SaaS BI platform) for all entities using critical business applications to draw data from to drive more data-driven decision-making. Considering our Xero data is primarily financial and sales in nature, accuracy, accessibility and reliability are absolutely necessary to inform our decisions.
With the in-built connector, effective integration of dispersed Xero data into Power BI is easier than it ever has been.
However, it’s a different case for data outside of Xero.
While Xero itself is just as streamlined as Power BI and would most likely contain most of the data your business needs to begin analysing with the default Power BI integration, bringing outside datasets together is a different matter and may need a roadmap and solution to solve.
For more detailed dashboards and reports, as well as integration with datasets outside of Xero that may need to be consolidated, a cloud based solution might be for you. Aggregating data sources is key to analytics success.
#3. Xero with Power BI: Natural Language with Q&A
Having your Xero data in Power BI enables you to interact with it in many neat new ways.
One such feature is Power BI Q&A, which uses natural language processing (NLP), to offer users unique ways to explore datasets and find additional insights and opportunities.
Power BI Q&A works by asking the program specific questions, which it responds to after parsing through datasets and producing results that are most relevant to your query. It visualises answers for additional context, and even shares helpful suggestions to help lead you to the next key question to ask of your report. Visualisations also shift on-the-fly as your question changes.
With Q&A, you can ask Power BI to display monthly sales performance as a graph or pie-chart. Your users can drill down into relevant results instantly, without being experts.
Power BI’s NLP capabilities are effectively a machine learning (ML) model. Your report authors (creators of dashboards and reports) can set company-specific language and phrases for Power BI to adapt to and guarantee users get accurate, relevant results; you can also log every single natural-language query asked to optimise future responses.
Conclusion: Xero and Power BI integration
As streamlined as integrating Xero with Power BI is in 2020, we recognise many organisations would prefer to have the guiding hand of experts and consultancies to ensure a seamless integration with all key business drivers and considerations taken into account.
Before you commence this journey, it is important that you have more information on the best practices for Successful Business Intelligence, so we have created a whitepaper on this topic.