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Ernest Cook presents at Scaling New Heights | CLEARIFY

Ernest Cook presents at Scaling New Heights

Ernest Cook presents at Scaling New Heights

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Ernest D. Cook, a renowned expert in utilizing Power BI for financial storytelling, shared valuable insights during a conference session at Scaling New Heights in St Louis.  

Ernest is the founder of Better Idea Group, and a long time successful QQube certified Solution Provider

Ernest's session focused on empowering attendees to revolutionize financial storytelling using the right tools and techniques.  He emphasized the distinction between financial reporting tools like Jirav and Reach vs Business Intelligence Reporting Platforms like Power BI.

He said that while financial reporting tools are primarily focused on financial data they provide limited integration with other business data. Reporting platforms like Power BI however, aim to cater to all information needs, supporting diverse data inputs from various applications and thus being able to integrate all of a company’s data. Something that is especially important in this era where companies operational data is spread over many applications.

Ernest introduced Power BI as an ideal choice for integrating company’s data and transforming financial storytelling due to its user-friendly interface, robust data integration capabilities, market lead, low cost and powerful visualization options.  After an overview of the recent updates from Microsoft related to Fabric and how Power BI fits into the overall Microsoft data strategy, he teased how Microsoft’s implementing AI tools into Power BI. He then explained the step-by-step process of transitioning from raw data to insightful dashboards, emphasizing a phased approach that allows incremental improvements.

Of particular interest in this session was when Ernest provided guidance on getting QuickBooks data into Power BI. He discussed available methods such as Intuit-provided tools, SDK/API integration, spreadsheet sync, custom reporting, and exporting existing reports.

He discussed the pros and cons of different data extraction methods, enabling attendees to make informed decisions while in the end recommending the QQUBE tool because of its rich set of Power BI data models and DAX that are ready to use out of the box. He highlighted that QQUBE’s investment would provide users a launching point for immediate impact while also learning how to make customized versions that included data from other sources.

Next, Ernest showcased major visualizations available in POWER BI, such as matrices, cards, KPIs, and line charts, emphasizing their role in creating engaging dashboards. Highlights of this portion were:


A simple line chart that demonstrated Power BI’s forecasting capability

A Decomposition Tree that was built with drill down capability to show how sales data can be broken down in multiple layers and then go to the transaction level.


To wrap up the session, Ernest emphasized that accountants should not just put a couple of charts up in Power BI but instead leverage all the robust platform has to offer.  To again highlight the story telling aspect, he showed how engaging with their clients inside the data by enabling the comments capability would provide contextual conversations about aspects of the business important to their customers


Finally, he demonstrated how users can combine Power BI’s  analytical capabilities with the book marking capability in Power BI to prepare for a meeting ahead of time and be able to walk business owners through complex financial data, point by point, to bring them to a level of understanding beyond the surface level Profit and Loss Statement.

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