Financial data is important for many business decisions. However, often data is stored in different places, which makes it easy to analyze different data points for complex decisions. Using an accounting dashboard is a great way to combine metrics and see the relationship between those metrics, even though they may be stored in different places.
In today’s episode, Bernard Roesch explains how to decide what information to include in an accounting dashboard.
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What is An Accounting Dashboard?
An accounting dashboard easily shows financial data or other metrics from multiple sources. For example, some information may be stored within your accounting system, while other information may be stored in your inventory system or CRM. A dashboard can be used to access data in all of those systems and display it in an actionable way. This can be very helpful for decision making in your business.
What to Include in an Accounting Dashboard
A simple rule is that all information within the dashboard should be simple, useful, and actionable. Think of your dashboard as a display of warning signs in your business. If the dashboard indicates that there may be a problem in a certain part of your business, you can always dig into more data within the source system to make tough decisions.
Including too much data in your dashboard is a mistake. It makes it difficult to make decisions. Below are potential metrics to include in an accounting dashboard: Cash balance, inventory, measurements of profitability such as gross margin, net income, and operating expense as a percentage of sales.
When you display metrics, you should usually display them in relation to another metric. For example, you may display comparables of that same metric for a previous time period to see the change, or you may display a ratio of two different metrics together, such as operating expense as a percentage of sales. Again, make sure to keep your dashboard metrics simple, useful and actionable.
How to Get Started with Dashboards
When you first start using dashboards within your business, it is usually best to not use complicated dashboard software. Instead, keep it simple and do it as a manual process at first. You can have somebody on your team gather the data that you need and input it into a spreadsheet dashboard. Use that data over time to make decisions, determine what’s useful and what needs to be changed, and then once you know the dashboard is structured correctly, consider dashboard software to enhance the dashboard.
Need help configuring your dashboard?
If you need help configuring a dashboard for your business, contact Bernard today.
You can also visit MissionBusinessPodcast.com for more insights that Bernard has been sharing with us in the previous episodes.