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How to make data-driven financial decisions using Xero and Tableau

Organisations are increasingly turning to business intelligence tools to help make their financial decisions. Check out how and why they utilise Xero and Tableau.

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The goal of modern financial analysis is to provide organisations with data-driven insights so that they can make better, more informed business decisions. By taking financial data and turning it into valuable metrics, a business can use data to shape its future strategy. 

Understanding how to take raw financial data, analyse it, and communicate your findings is an integral part of a financial analyst’s skill set. 

These are also skills that are in increasingly high demand. In the US financial sector, job postings that requested data skills increased by almost 60% in the 12-month period ending in July, according to Bloomberg, referencing data from LinkedIn. It’s a similar story in the UK, with both the UK finance and insurance sectors reporting a skills shortage in 2019. 

That’s why we’ve created a Financial Analysis and Decision Making microcredential, accredited by Coventry University, that will provide you with the analytical skills to turn financial data into business action. 

You’ll discover Xero, a world-leading accounting platform, and learn how to use it to conduct a variety of financial tasks, from analysing performance to budgeting and forecasting.

You’ll also explore data visualisation techniques, and learn how to use one of the leading business intelligence tools, Tableau. Job postings in the data visualisation market have grown by 540% over the last five years, as industries, including the financial sector, increasingly look for those with the skills to analyse and evaluate big data. 

What is Xero?

To conduct rigorous financial analysis you need an in-depth understanding of the fundamentals of accounting. Enter Xero, a cloud-based software, and one the best accounting softwares for financial analysis on the market. 

Xero accounting comes with a variety of financial reporting tools that allow you to make better decisions with the numbers at your disposal. You can construct balance sheets and cash flow statements, measure specific KPIs, and publish reports among many other business optimising processes.

Xero allows you to drill down into your numbers and carry out insightful financial analysis that can be vital to your organisation. Already in use by over 2 million customers, and 16,000 accountancy firms, Xero is one of the fastest-growing accounting platforms in the world and understanding its capabilities is a valuable asset for any financial analyst. 

As part of our financial analysis microcredential, you’ll learn how to use Xero and explore its financial reporting features. 

What is Tableau?

Recently cited by Forbes as one of the best data visualisation tools, demand for Tableau skills is soaring, with a 1,165% increase in job postings looking for expertise in the software.

For financial analysts specifically, Tableau is an effective tool in areas such as profitability and growth analysis, cash flow management, efficiency reporting and revenue forecasting. 

However, Tableau’s biggest strength lies in its graphical representations of data. It provides financial analysts with easy-to-use tools to extricate and present data in ways that are easy for everyone in the team to understand. 

By learning how to use Tableau,  you’ll build your confidence in visualising financial data which will increase your ability to add strategic value to your organisation. 

What financial analysis skills will you learn? 

The microcredential is designed to increase your ability to engage strategically with financial data and gain an understanding of two world-leading softwares, Xero and Tableau. 

To succeed in the fast-paced and constantly evolving world of financial analytics, you need to possess a combination of abilities, from detailed analytical skills to clear communication. 

The microcredential will teach you how to apply the fundamentals of financial accounting techniques, from constructing balance sheets and income statements, to learning how to plan a budget and how to forecast. You’ll discover the latest data visualisation techniques and how to present your work in a way that leads to strategic action. 

You’ll also learn to solve complex problems and communicate your findings using Xero and Tableau.

What qualifications will you receive? 

You’ll earn 15 UK academic credits at Postgraduate level from Coventry University, along with official certification of completion from FutureLearn. You can learn more about how credits work in our FAQs. You’ll also receive an electronic transcript from Coventry University.

Our microcredentials are designed to provide you with the skills to advance in rapidly growing industries and can be used as stand-alone credentials, or the credits earned can be put towards further education. 

What jobs and industries is this course useful for?

The skills you’ll learn on this course are most common to the financial sector, but will also be of value to anyone looking to make better data-driven decisions, such as marketing managers, business analysts and product managers. 

It will be of particular value to junior finance professionals looking to grow their skills and advance their careers, business owners who want to better understand fundamental accounting techniques like forecasting and P&L performance, and established finance professionals looking to sharpen their analytical skills and discover new software. 

We’ve put together a selection of some of the roles that would benefit from this course. 

Financial analyst

What is a financial analyst? 

A financial analyst helps their organisation make sense of financial data. They work through the raw numbers and uncover insights that offer real strategic value. 

They are an integral part of any finance team because their work helps an organisation to better under their financial position and make smarter, data-driven decisions.

How much does a finance analyst earn?

£41,000 / $51,000 / AUD 75,000

Product manager

What is a product manager? 

A product manager’s primary responsibility is making sure their product is produced and works as effectively as possible. This could relate to technical products, like apps or software, or financial products like mortgages and insurance. 

A product manager might be required to conduct a profit and loss (P&L) analysis or forecast potential costs on a specific product, so an understanding of financial analysis is a valuable asset. 

How much does a product manager earn?

£53,000 / $66,000 / AUD 96,000

Business analyst 

What is a business analyst? 

Business analysts use data to help companies make better decisions. They help bridge the gap between complex computing and management through a deep understanding of data analysis and an ability to communicate this clearly. 

Data visualisation tools like Tableau are incredibly valuable to business analysts because they enable them to present data in diverse and accessible ways to the rest of their teams. 

How much does a business analyst earn?

£42,000 / $53,000 / AUD 77,000

Financial controller 

What is a financial controller? 

A financial controller is responsible for the effective running of an organisation’s accounting team. They produce financial reports, set budgets and targets, and ensure that an organisation’s finances are healthy. 

This pivotal role involves substantial financial analysis and decision-making with the wider leadership team.

How much does a financial controller earn?

£64,000 / $80,000 / AUD 116,000

Find out more about this microcredential

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