Have you ever wondered why some organizations are more successful than others? Or why some companies seem leaps-and-bounds ahead in revenue, technology and customer base? It all comes down to effective strategy building. However, strategy without data is like studying without notes – it’ll work for a little while, but eventually, it’ll render itself ineffective.
Many businesses make decisions on the fly (something we’re all guilty of), but they do it without sparing a glance at their data. If you’re a CFO, Controller, Accounting Executive, or the like, you’re well aware of the repercussions of not utilizing your data. Many financial leaders probably fall into one or more of these categories:
You focus on some key reports but wish you had more time to analyze data; OR
You have a plethora of data, but don’t have time to further organize it; OR
You take a backward-looking approach, checking the data after the strategy has already been put in place.
The problem with any of these situations is that the way you may be looking at those figures is ultimately hamstringing your business.
So what does it mean to build an effective strategy with data? And what strategies are vital to implement going forward in your day-to-day operations? Read on to explore what effective strategy building looks like and the four steps you can take to build those tactics long-term.
The Effective Secrets To Successful Strategy Execution
Your data is your most valuable finance and accounting asset. As Ryan Passe, VP of Operations at Sands Investment Group, once said, “The numbers aren’t the only way to gauge the success of things, but they need to be part of the story no matter what.”
OK so you want to execute a strategy that will further the growth of your company. But where do you even begin? And how does data play a part in executing that strategy?
Step Number One: Set Defined Goals
A recent Harvard Business Review article showed that 69 percent of organizations said they needed a comprehensive data strategy in order to meet their strategic goals over the next three years. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you jump in:
What am I trying to accomplish?
What problem am I trying to solve?
What data is needed to meet those objectives?
At the end of the day, your data should help you achieve your overall business goals. When thinking about goals, think SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely).
Step Number Two: Create a Roadmap
The key at this step is to take your defined goals and write out an action plan. This step helps bridge the gap between what the current strategy is and what the future strategy will be. Factors to include in the roadmap are:
Budget – How much money will it cost to implement this strategy?
Role and responsibilities – Which team members need to be involved and why?
Timeline – Is there a launch date?
Resources – What tools are required to achieve the aforementioned goals?
Creating a roadmap gives you a better opportunity to move forward with decision making around the strategy.
Step Number Three: Get Buy-In
Once you’ve created a plan, it’s time to start the process of conveying that plan to your organization. Without leadership support, your strategy will fail. Earning buy-in takes time (it’s not an overnight process). However, not everyone in your company is going to be eager to jump aboard the new idea train. In order to speed up the process, you’ll need to show how the strategy will benefit the business (by using data, of course).
Furthermore, creating a ‘data-driven’ culture amongst your employees and executive team can cultivate a work environment that’s geared towards utilizing data to guide decisions.
One way to secure a data-driven culture is by finding, hiring, and retaining talent that prioritizes decision making based on numbers and facts over ‘gut-instincts’.
Watch the Webinar: Data Driven Decision-Making Webinar: A Blueprint & Case Study
Step Number Four: Putting Your Plan Into Action
You’ve set goals, you’ve created a plan, you’ve gotten the support from your leadership team – now what do you do? Roll out the new objectives, of course! If you want to see your plan come to fruition and your new strategy implemented across the board, you’ve got to take that final step – execution. Here are a few ways to stay on top of your plan after implementation:
Review your plan monthly – Are you on track to complete your goals?
Adjust your plan as needed – If something is not working, it might be time to rethink your plan and make modifications as needed.
Don’t trash your plan – It’s easy to get discouraged when things seem to take a turn for the worse; however, not all plans are written in stone (as mentioned in the previous two action items).
Using An Outsourced Accounting Partner To Build An Effective Data Strategy
If you want to be more purposeful and effective with your decisions, make data a part of your strategy. The accounting landscape is continuously evolving and in order to make the best strategic decisions to further the growth of a company, executives are having to utilize numbers, stats, and figures to formulate their plans.
Moreover, leaders don’t have time to sit there and analyze data when they’re too focused on transactional work. That’s where virtual accounting comes into play. Here at Personiv, we understand that you want to see your company succeed to its fullest potential. We get that numbers are the driving force behind whether or not a company will boost their bottom line or become unsuccessful. When you’re ready to take a stab at effective strategy building, get in touch. We can help you design a unique solution that puts data at the forefront of your strategies.
Are you ready to outsource but looking for that buy-in of your leadership team? Don’t miss our comprehensive workbook: Ready To Outsource? Presenting Outsourcing To Your Leadership Team to see how it’s done.