Are you a restaurant owner looking to maximize efficiency and profit in 2024? If so, you’re in the right place! In today’s fast-paced industry, managing the financial aspect of your business can be a real challenge. But fear not, because we have the solution for you – the top restaurant accounting software of 2024. This powerful tool is designed to streamline your financial operations, enhance accuracy, and ultimately boost your bottom line.
In this comprehensive blog, we’ll explore the benefits of using cutting-edge restaurant accounting software. We’ll dive into the key features and functionalities that make it essential for businesses like yours. From automated bookkeeping and inventory management to detailed financial reporting and analysis, we’ll cover it all.
1. Importance of Accounting Software for Small Business Owners
Running a small business can be a challenging endeavor, especially when it comes to managing finances and maintaining accurate records. This is where accounting software comes in as an essential tool for small business owners. Let’s dive into why accounting software is crucial for the success and growth of small businesses.
1.1 Streamline Financial Management
Accounting software allows small business owners to streamline their financial management processes. With the right software in place, tasks such as invoicing, expense tracking, and budgeting become more efficient and less time-consuming. By automating these processes, small business owners can focus more on core operations and strategic decision-making.
1.2 Accurate and Timely Financial Reports
One of the key benefits of accounting software is its ability to generate accurate and timely financial reports. These reports provide valuable insights into the financial health of the business, including revenue, expenses, profit margins, and cash flow. Access to up-to-date financial information empowers small business owners to make informed decisions and identify areas for improvement.
1.3 Simplify Tax Compliance
Tax compliance is a critical aspect of running a small business. Accounting software helps streamline the tax preparation process by automating tasks such as income categorization, expense tracking, and generating tax-related reports. This simplifies tax compliance and ensures that small business owners are meeting their obligations without the hassle of manual calculations and paperwork.
1.4 Enhanced Data Security
Data security is a top priority for any business, particularly when dealing with sensitive financial information. Reputable accounting software provides robust security measures to protect valuable financial data, including encryption, user authentication, and regular backups. This gives small business owners peace of mind, knowing that their financial information is secure and protected against potential cyber threats.
1.5 Improved Decision-Making
Accounting software offers valuable insights into the financial performance of a small business. By providing real-time data and analytics, small business owners can track key performance indicators, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions. This empowers them to seize opportunities, optimize operational efficiency, and maximize profitability.
💡 key Takeaway: Accounting software is an invaluable tool for small business owners as it streamlines financial management, generates accurate financial reports, simplifies tax compliance, enhances data security, and improves decision-making.
2. Top Features to Look for in Restaurant Accounting Software
When it comes to managing the finances of your restaurant, having the right accounting software is crucial. It can help streamline your operations, improve efficiency, and maximize your profits. But with so many options available, how do you know which features to prioritize? Here are the top features to look for in restaurant accounting software:
1. Inventory Management
Efficiently managing your inventory is essential for any restaurant. Look for software that offers robust inventory management features, such as real-time tracking of stock levels, ingredient costing, and automated alerts for low stock. This will help you keep track of your ingredients, reduce waste, and ensure that you always have the necessary supplies on hand to run your business smoothly.
2. Financial Reporting
Accurate and up-to-date financial reports are vital for making informed business decisions. Choose accounting software that provides comprehensive financial reporting capabilities, including profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow analysis. These reports will give you insights into your business’s financial health and help you identify areas for improvement.
3. Integration with Point of Sale (POS) Systems
Seamless integration between your accounting software and POS system can significantly streamline your operations. It allows you to automatically sync sales data, track revenue, and manage customer orders and payments. This integration eliminates the need for manual data entry and reduces the chances of errors, saving you time and effort.
4. User-Friendly Interface and Ease of Use
When selecting restaurant accounting software, consider its ease of use and user-friendly interface. Look for intuitive navigation, clear instructions, and a well-designed dashboard. A software that is easy to understand and operate will save you precious time and minimize the learning curve for your staff.
5. Data Security
Protecting your financial data should be a top priority. Choose accounting software that places a strong emphasis on data security, such as encryption and password protection. Additionally, ensure that regular data backups are performed to prevent loss or corruption of important information. This will give you peace of mind knowing that your financial data is secure and protected.
6. Customer Support
Inevitably, you may encounter questions, issues, or technical difficulties while using the software. That’s why it’s essential to select a software provider that offers reliable customer support. Look for options that provide multiple channels of support, such as phone, email, and live chat.
3. How Restaurant Accounting Software Helps Streamline Financial Management
In the fast-paced world of the restaurant industry, efficient financial management is crucial for success. Restaurant accounting software has emerged as a powerful tool that can help streamline and optimize the financial processes of any restaurant business. Let’s explore some key ways in which restaurant accounting software can maximize efficiency and profitability.
1. Simplified Bookkeeping and Data Management:
Restaurant accounting software, such as QuickBooks Online and Zoho Books, simplifies the complex task of bookkeeping. With user-friendly interfaces, these software solutions enable small and large business owners to easily manage their financial data. This includes tracking daily transactions, organizing invoices, and automatically reconciling bank accounts. By eliminating manual data entry and reducing the chances of errors, restaurant accounting software ensures accurate financial records without the hassle.
2. Seamless Integration with Restaurant POS Systems:
The best accounting software for restaurants seamlessly integrates with popular POS systems like Clover, providing a comprehensive solution for managing both front-end sales and back-end financials. This integration allows for real-time data synchronization, enabling efficient inventory management and automatic updates of sales transactions. By enabling a direct flow of information, restaurant accounting software eliminates the need for manual data transfer between different systems, saving time and minimizing potential errors.
3. Advanced Reporting and Financial Analysis:
One of the key advantages of using restaurant accounting software is the ability to generate detailed financial reports and perform in-depth analysis. These software solutions provide various industry-specific templates and customization options, allowing business owners to have a clear overview of their financial performance. With just a few clicks, they can access profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow reports, enabling better decision-making and financial planning.
4. Enhanced Data Security:
When it comes to financial data, security is of paramount importance. Restaurant accounting software ensures data security through encrypted connections, secure servers, and regular backups. It also provides user-level access controls, allowing business owners to specify who can view or modify certain financial information. With robust security measures in place, restaurant accounting software protects sensitive financial data from unauthorized access and provides peace of mind.
5. Dedicated Customer Support and Training:
The best accounting software for restaurants often comes with excellent customer support and training resources. Whether it’s through live chat, email, or phone, these software providers offer responsive assistance whenever you need it. Moreover, they provide comprehensive user guides, video tutorials, and webinars to help business owners make the most of their software.
4. Ensuring Accuracy with Restaurant Accounting Software
Managing the financial aspects of a restaurant can be a complex task, with numerous transactions, inventory management, and customer data to consider. To ensure accuracy and efficiency, restaurant owners and managers should leverage the power of restaurant accounting software. This technology allows for streamlined bookkeeping, improved financial management, and enhanced overall operational efficiency. Let’s explore how restaurant accounting software can help you achieve greater accuracy in your financial processes.
1. Automate bookkeeping processes:
With restaurant accounting software, manual data entry becomes a thing of the past. These platforms integrate seamlessly with your restaurant’s point-of-sale (POS) system, automatically recording sales, expenses, and inventory information. This automation eliminates the room for human error and ensures that your financial data is up-to-date and accurate.
2. Generate detailed financial reports:
Restaurant accounting software provides robust reporting capabilities, allowing you to generate detailed financial reports with just a few clicks. These reports provide insights into crucial aspects such as sales trends, expenses, and inventory levels. By having access to accurate and timely financial information, you can make data-driven decisions that optimize profitability and minimize waste.
3. Simplify inventory management:
Keeping track of inventory is essential in the restaurant industry. With the right accounting software, you can streamline this process and avoid costly mistakes. Many platforms offer features like real-time inventory tracking and automatic reordering, ensuring that you have the right ingredients and supplies on hand without overstocking or running out of crucial items.
4. Enhance data security:
Restaurant accounting software prioritizes data security, protecting sensitive financial information from unauthorized access or breaches. Look for platforms that offer encryption, secure cloud storage, and regular backups to ensure the safety and integrity of your financial data. By safeguarding your data, you can have peace of mind knowing that your restaurant’s finances are protected.
5. Improve customer relationship management:
Some restaurant accounting software options include customer relationship management (CRM) features that allow you to keep track of customer data, preferences, and spending habits. This helps you personalize the dining experience, offer targeted promotions, and build long-term relationships with your customers. By leveraging CRM capabilities, you can strengthen customer loyalty and drive repeat business.
💡 key Takeaway: Restaurant accounting software provides automation, accuracy, and enhanced financial management capabilities to streamline your restaurant’s financial processes. By leveraging this technology, you can automate bookkeeping, generate detailed financial reports, simplify inventory management, enhance data security, and improve customer relationship management.
5. The Role of Mobile Apps in Restaurant Accounting Software
Mobile apps have become an integral part of modern restaurant accounting software, providing valuable features and benefits to restaurant owners and managers. With the increasing demand for on-the-go solutions, mobile apps offer convenience, efficiency, and accessibility that can greatly enhance the accounting process for small and large businesses alike.
1. Accessibility and Convenience:
With a mobile app integrated into your restaurant accounting software, you can access important financial data anytime, anywhere. Whether you’re at your restaurant, attending a meeting, or even on vacation, having the ability to view real-time financial reports, track expenses, and manage inventory from your mobile device can significantly improve efficiency and decision-making. It eliminates the need for being tied to a desktop computer, allowing you to stay connected to your business even when you’re on the move.
2. Streamlined Data Entry:
Mobile apps enable restaurant owners and staff to enter financial data directly into the accounting software in real-time. This eliminates the need for manual data entry later, reducing the chances of errors and saving precious time. You can easily record transactions, update customer information, and track expenses using the user-friendly interfaces provided by the mobile app. This streamlined process ensures accurate and up-to-date financial data, enabling better financial management and decision-making.
3. Integration with POS Systems:
Many restaurant accounting software mobile apps are designed to seamlessly integrate with a restaurant’s point-of-sale (POS) system. This integration allows for automatic synchronization of sales data, inventory tracking, and payment processing, ensuring that your accounting records are always in sync with your daily operations. This eliminates the need for manual reconciliation between different systems and reduces the risk of errors or discrepancies in your financial reports.
4. Enhanced Customer Relationship Management:
Some mobile apps included in restaurant accounting software offer customer relationship management (CRM) functionalities. These features allow you to track customer preferences, manage loyalty programs, and provide personalized service. By having these capabilities at your fingertips, you can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, leading to increased sales and repeat business.
5. Data Security:
A reliable mobile app integrated with your restaurant accounting software ensures the security of your financial data. Most apps use encryption technology to protect sensitive information and have robust security measures in place to prevent unauthorized access. This gives you peace of mind knowing that your financial data is safe and secure, even when accessing it from your mobile device.
6. Integrating Accounting Software with Payment Processing
Integrating your restaurant accounting software with a reliable payment processing system can significantly streamline your business operations and boost efficiency. By seamlessly combining these essential tools, you can automate financial transactions, improve data accuracy, and save valuable time and resources. Here’s how integrating accounting software with payment processing can benefit your restaurant:
1. Simplified Financial Management:
Seamlessly sync payment transaction data with your accounting software, eliminating the need for manual data entry and reducing the chance of errors.
Automate the reconciliation process by matching payments received with invoices or sales orders, ensuring accurate financial records.
2. Real-Time Updates:
Enjoy up-to-date and accurate financial information as transactions are automatically recorded in your accounting software in real-time.
Monitor cash flow, sales revenue, and expenses instantaneously, allowing for informed decision-making and proactive financial management.
3. Efficient Payment Processing:
Accept various payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards, and mobile payments, providing convenience to your customers while increasing revenue streams.
Ensure faster payment processing by integrating with a secure payment gateway, enabling swift and reliable transactions.
4. Enhanced Customer Relationship Management:
Capture valuable customer data during transactions, enabling you to build effective customer profiles and personalized marketing campaigns.
Analyze customer spending patterns, identify top patrons, and tailor promotions or loyalty programs to maximize customer satisfaction and loyalty.
5. Streamlined Reporting and Analysis:
Generate comprehensive financial reports effortlessly, consolidating data from payment processing and accounting software.
Gain insights into revenue trends, expense patterns, and profitability, empowering you to make data-driven decisions and optimize your business strategy.
6. Data Security and Compliance:
Ensure the security of financial data with payment processing systems that adhere to stringent industry standards and encryption protocols.
Safeguard sensitive customer information and protect your restaurant’s reputation by following compliance regulations related to data protection.
💡 key Takeaway: Integrating your restaurant accounting software with payment processing can simplify financial management, provide real-time updates, enhance customer relationship management, streamline reporting and analysis, and ensure data security and compliance.
7. Taking Advantage of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Features in Restaurant Accounting Software
When it comes to restaurant accounting software, it’s not just about managing your financials and inventory. It’s also about nurturing and growing your customer relationships. This is where the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) features of these software solutions come into play. Let’s explore the various ways you can take advantage of CRM features in restaurant accounting software to maximize efficiency and profitability in your establishment.
1. Database management and customer profiles:
One of the key features of a CRM system is the ability to create and manage a centralized customer database. This allows you to store valuable information about your customers such as contact details, preferences, order history, and feedback. With this data at your fingertips, you can better understand your customers’ needs and preferences, and customize your offerings accordingly.
2. Targeted marketing campaigns:
By leveraging the CRM features of your restaurant accounting software, you can create targeted marketing campaigns to drive customer engagement and loyalty. Utilize the data from your customer profiles to send personalized promotions, discounts, and offers based on their preferences and past purchases. This not only helps in retaining existing customers but also in attracting new ones.
3. Loyalty programs and reward management:
Implementing a loyalty program is a proven strategy to increase customer retention and strengthen brand loyalty. With CRM features, you can easily set up and manage loyalty programs within your restaurant accounting software. This allows you to track customer loyalty points, issue rewards, and create special incentives to keep your customers coming back for more.
4. Order history and preferences management:
Restaurant accounting software with CRM features provides you with a comprehensive view of each customer’s order history and preferences. This assists you in delivering personalized and customized service. You can easily retrieve previous orders and preferences, ensuring consistency in customer experience and catering to specific dietary restrictions or preferences.
5. Feedback and complaint management:
Efficiently managing customer feedback and complaints is crucial for any restaurant. CRM features allow you to capture and track customer feedback, whether it be positive or negative. By promptly addressing customer complaints and resolving issues, you can strengthen customer satisfaction and overall brand reputation.
6. Integrated communication channels:
Modern restaurant accounting software often includes CRM features that enable seamless communication with your customers. This can be through channels such as email, SMS, or chat. By having these integrated communication channels, you can easily stay connected with your customers, send them updates, and address any queries or concerns they may have.
8. Improving Efficiency with Automation in Restaurant Accounting Software
In the fast-paced world of restaurants, efficiency is crucial for success. Restaurant owners and managers are constantly looking for ways to streamline processes and maximize productivity. One powerful tool for achieving this is automation in restaurant accounting software. By leveraging the capabilities of modern accounting software systems, restaurant owners can significantly improve efficiency and ultimately boost profitability.
Automated Data Entry and Integration:
Restaurant accounting software offers automated data entry features, allowing you to seamlessly integrate transactional data from various sources. With the ability to automatically import data from your point-of-sale (POS) system, payment processing platforms, and even bank accounts, you can eliminate the time-consuming manual entry process. This integration ensures that your financial data is accurate and up-to-date, saving you valuable time and minimizing the risk of human error.
Real-Time Financial Reporting:
One of the key advantages of using restaurant accounting software is the ability to generate real-time financial reports. With just a few clicks, you can access important financial metrics, such as sales, expenses, and profit margins. These reports provide valuable insights into the financial health of your business and enable you to make data-driven decisions quickly. With real-time reporting, you can identify trends, track costs, and spot areas for improvement, all of which are essential for maximizing efficiency.
Inventory Management and Cost Control:
Controlling inventory and managing costs are critical aspects of running a successful restaurant. Restaurant accounting software often includes robust inventory management features that help you track stock levels, monitor ingredient costs, and identify any discrepancies or wastage. By having a clear view of your inventory, you can optimize ordering, reduce food waste, and prevent overstocking. This level of control not only simplifies day-to-day operations but also contributes to a more efficient and cost-effective business.
Customer Relationship Management:
Some restaurant accounting software solutions incorporate customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities. This means you can efficiently manage customer data, track spending patterns, and gain insights into consumer preferences. By understanding your customers better, you can tailor your marketing efforts, offer personalized promotions, and ultimately enhance customer satisfaction. These CRM features provide an avenue for strengthening relationships with your patrons, leading to increased loyalty and repeat business.
9. Evaluating the Best Restaurant Accounting Software for Your Specific Needs
When it comes to running a restaurant, efficient financial management is key to maximizing profitability. The right accounting software can streamline your processes and provide valuable insights into your business’s financial health. However, with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the best software for your specific needs. In this section, we will explore the key factors to consider when evaluating restaurant accounting software.
1. Ease of Use: Restaurant owners, especially small business owners, value user-friendly software that is easy to navigate. Look for software that offers a clean and intuitive interface, allowing you to manage your finances without a steep learning curve. QuickBooks Online and Zoho Books are examples of accounting software known for their user-friendly interfaces.
2. Features and Functionality: Consider the specific features you require for your restaurant. Does the software offer inventory management capability to help you keep track of ingredient costs and stock levels? Does it have a built-in restaurant POS system or integrate seamlessly with popular POS systems like Clover? Assess your needs and choose software that offers the functionality to meet them.
3. Customer Support: Reliable customer support is crucial when it comes to accounting software. Look for software providers that offer responsive customer service, whether it’s through live chat, email, or phone support. Some software options even provide dedicated account managers to assist you with any issues or questions you may have.
4. Data Security: Since restaurant accounting involves handling sensitive financial data, it’s essential to choose software that prioritizes data security. Look for software providers that employ strong encryption protocols and regularly update their security measures to protect your financial information. Choose software that offers features like bank account integration and secure data entry to keep your information safe.
5. Financial Reporting: Effective financial reporting is essential for tracking your restaurant’s performance and making informed business decisions. Choose software that offers comprehensive financial reporting capabilities, including profit and loss statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets. Having access to detailed financial data will enable you to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions.
💡 key Takeaway: When evaluating restaurant accounting software, consider factors such as ease of use, features and functionality, customer support, data security, and financial reporting capabilities. By choosing software that meets your specific needs, you can streamline your accounting processes and maximize efficiency and profit for your restaurant.
10. The Future of Restaurant Accounting Software: Emerging Trends and Innovations
As the restaurant industry continues to evolve, so does the need for efficient and effective accounting software. To stay competitive in the ever-changing landscape of the food service business, restaurant owners must keep up with emerging trends and innovations in accounting technology. In this section, we will explore the future of restaurant accounting software and highlight the key trends that are shaping the industry.
1. Integration with Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems:
One of the emerging trends in restaurant accounting software is the integration with POS systems. This integration allows for seamless data transfer between the front-end operations and back-end accounting processes. By connecting these two crucial aspects of running a restaurant, owners can streamline their financial management, track sales and inventory in real-time, and obtain accurate financial reports effortlessly.
2. Advanced Inventory Management:
Effective inventory management is essential for any restaurant to control costs and ensure smooth operations. Future restaurant accounting software solutions are expected to offer advanced inventory management features, such as automated stock tracking, real-time updates, and predictive analytics. These features will not only enable better inventory control but also assist in reducing waste and optimizing purchasing decisions.
3. Enhanced Data Security:
Restaurant owners deal with sensitive financial information, including customer payment data, employee payroll details, and business expenses. With the increasing threat of cybercrime, data security is becoming a primary concern for businesses in every industry. The future of restaurant accounting software lies in offering robust security measures, such as encryption, secure data storage, and regular backups, to protect sensitive financial information.
4. Mobile Accessibility:
Restaurant owners are often on the move, managing multiple locations or attending off-site meetings. Having mobile accessibility to their accounting software is crucial for on-the-go financial management. Future accounting software will offer mobile apps that enable small business owners to access their financial data, track expenses, generate reports, and make informed decisions conveniently from their mobile devices.
5. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Integration:
AI technology is revolutionizing various industries, and the restaurant business is no exception. In the future, restaurant accounting software is likely to incorporate AI capabilities, such as automated data entry, intelligent expense categorization, and smart financial reporting. With AI integration, restaurant owners can save time on manual data entry tasks, reduce human error, and gain valuable insights from their financial data.
11. Ensuring Data Security in Restaurant Accounting Software
Data Security Importance:
Data security is of utmost importance when it comes to restaurant accounting software. As a small or large business owner in the restaurant industry, you are dealing with sensitive financial data, customer information, bank account details, and other confidential information. Protecting this data is crucial to avoid financial loss, legal complications, and damage to your reputation. Therefore, it is essential to choose accounting software that ensures robust data security measures.
Encryption and Secure Data Transmission:
One key aspect of data security in restaurant accounting software is encryption. Look for software that uses advanced encryption algorithms to safeguard your financial data. This ensures that your data is scrambled and unreadable to unauthorized users. Additionally, the software should employ secure data transmission protocols, such as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), when transferring data between your devices and the software’s servers. This prevents interception or unauthorized access during data transmission.
Permission-Based Access Control:
Another vital feature to consider is permission-based access control. This allows you to define different user roles and restrict access to sensitive data based on those roles. For example, you can grant your accountant full access to financial reports and data, while limiting the access of other employees to only their relevant tasks. This helps prevent unauthorized access and protects against internal threats.
Backup and Disaster Recovery:
Data loss can occur due to various reasons, such as system failures, human errors, or natural disasters. It is crucial to select accounting software that provides regular data backups and offers disaster recovery options. This ensures that your data is always recoverable in case of any unforeseen events.
Frequent Software Updates:
Software vulnerabilities can pose a significant risk to data security. Therefore, choose restaurant accounting software that is regularly updated by the provider. These updates often include security patches and enhancements to protect against the latest threats. Regular updates help you stay one step ahead of potential security breaches.
Audiit and Logging:
When evaluating accounting software options, consider systems that offer audit and logging capabilities. These features keep a record of all actions performed within the software, including who accessed the data and when. This audit trail can be crucial in identifying any suspicious activities and detecting potential security breaches.
12. Comparing the Top Restaurant Accounting Software of 2024
Whether you own a small or large restaurant, finding the right accounting software can significantly impact your efficiency and ultimately your bottom line. In today’s competitive market, having powerful tools at your disposal is essential for streamlining your accounting processes, managing inventory, and providing top-notch customer service. In this section, we will compare the top restaurant accounting software options for 2024, taking into account their features, ease of use, customer support, and more.
1. QuickBooks Online:
QuickBooks Online is a popular choice for small business owners due to its user-friendly interface and robust features.
It offers a mobile app, allowing you to manage your financial data on the go.
With its inventory management capabilities, you can keep track of your stock levels and streamline your ordering process.
QuickBooks Online also provides excellent customer support through live chat, making it easy to get assistance whenever you need it.
Financial reports generated by QuickBooks Online are comprehensive and easy to understand, helping you make informed decisions.
2. Zoho Books:
Zoho Books is a versatile accounting software that caters to both small and large businesses.
It offers a range of features, including bank account integration, expense management, and bookkeeping functionalities.
Zoho Books provides strong data security measures, ensuring your financial data remains protected.
Their customer service team is responsive and offers assistance through various channels, including email and phone support.
With Zoho Books’ mobile app, you can conveniently access your financial information from anywhere.
3. Wave Accounting:
Wave Accounting is a free online accounting software that provides essential features for small business owners.
It is easy to use, making it suitable for those who are new to accounting software.
Wave Accounting offers financial management capabilities, including invoicing, expense tracking, and bank account integration.
While it may lack some advanced features, Wave Accounting is a cost-effective solution for restaurant owners with specific needs.
4. Clover Account:
Clover Account is a popular point-of-sale (POS) system that includes robust accounting functionalities.
It seamlessly integrates with other Clover devices and allows for efficient payment processing.
With Clover Account, you can manage your inventory, track sales, and generate financial reports all in one place.
This powerful tool also includes customer relationship management features, enabling you to provide personalized service to your patrons.
In conclusion, maximizing efficiency and profit in your restaurant business is pivotal to long-term success. By implementing the top restaurant accounting software of 2024, you can streamline your financial processes and gain valuable insights into your operations. From automating bookkeeping tasks to generating comprehensive financial reports, these software options offer a wide range of features tailored to the restaurant industry. Investing in restaurant accounting software not only saves time and reduces human error but also empowers you to make data-driven decisions.