Finagraph CEO James Walter Wrestles Data Collection Complexities Down to Size


By Rob Starr, Content Manager

Like a lot of other game changers in the business world, data has become a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the size and complexity of the ever increasing amounts of it allows business insights never accessed before. The other side of that coin has enterprise struggling to keep those same ever increasing volumes workable and legible.

Fortunately, there are business professionals who are fashioning the answers and Finagraph’s CEO James Walter is one of them. Recently, we talked about several of the issues around data collection, storage and use.

“It’s really hard to collect a ton of data,” he said, “Especially when it’s all over the world and it’s in all kinds of different formats and there’s no common format between them all.”  


Reporting in a cohesive manner is made all the more difficult by these differences and that makes defining billable hours a near impossibility.

“The goal of any accountant in having access to data is to help their business clients,” he said.

Getting actionable, helpful information into the hands of business clients is the end goal that Walter and his firm have achieved.

He went on to say accountants aren’t going to use data if they can’t get “actionable answers” which means in part having data that shows clear trends. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is one of the clear paths that help to narrow and funnel this information into useable packages.

Financial metrics

Walter explained how automated financial metrics are a clear frontrunner in this process generally and how the Finagraph product supplies this much needed financial transparency in a visual format with the click of a button.

“What we do is extremely simple. Just click the button at the online service platform and the product pulls in information about that specific business,” he said. “Then it spreads it into trends over the last five years, the last four quarters and the last four or five months.”

That allows both the business owner and accountant an online overview of the overall health of any business and where adjustments need to be made. His company takes the extra step of explaining where these metrics need be and then compares the findings to other competitors.

Actionable plan

It’s an actionable plan and a simple approach to tackling the big data question. Walter feels that presently accountants aren’t doing enough to wrestle with this issue. He says they need to be more specific and provide more actionable and useful conclusions.

“If you have a new client that walks in the door, you need to stick out,” he said. “Finagraph is providing a solution whereby they can click a button and, in sixty seconds, get a full overview of a business’ financial trends and how it stacks up to others in the same industry.”

It’s a positive step in streamlining the overwhelming process of data collection and interpretation needs.

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