Stay on Top of the Numbers with Financial Dashboards
Financial advisors are under tremendous pressure to stay on top of the numbers while also being able to provide timely insights. Modern solutions, fortunately, enable organizations to provide visibility, accountability, and insights as quickly as they can log into the web. The financial dashboard is the home base, go-to, HQ, nerve center, and bread-and-butter tool for many financial professionals, keeping all important financial numbers within reach.
What is a Financial Dashboard?
A financial dashboard gives a visual representation of a company's key indicators, allowing advisors to provide executives with accurate and up-to-date insights. It's a data-management solution that allows financial advisors to track essential financial KPIs and effectively manage cash flow.
Essentially, financial dashboards allow employees from many departments to monitor in real-time how the company is progressing toward its financial objectives. To fulfill and surpass a department's or company's financial goals, a financial dashboard examines spending, sales, and profits in great detail.
Financial dashboards typically place a strong emphasis on visuals such as charts, graphs, and barometer graphics, all while presenting data in an easy-to-understand user interface. These dashboards could potentially be used to enhance static financial analysis tools such as budgets and forecasts.
Although the same data might be manually entered into a spreadsheet, many financial advisors are turning to modern technology that offers more functionalities than a standard spreadsheet.
Why? Because it's best to keep things simple when communicating complex information to decision-makers. Complex tables and graphs might leave decision-makers scratching their heads rather than providing the knowledge they need to confidently steer the organization.
Benefits of a Financial Dashboard
Financial dashboards boost efficiency, enable cross-team collaboration, and improve decision-making. Dashboards increase productivity by allowing financial advisors to respond quickly and focus on supporting the company's overall goals rather than spending all day running specific spreadsheets for different departments.
They can be tailored to allow even individuals without a financial education to swiftly collect information, minimizing the amount of time financial advisors spend answering simple questions. Reducing back-and-forth communication and manual spreadsheet updates boosts productivity and efficiency for everyone in the firm, not just financial advisors.
Financial advisors are frequently bombarded with emails and phone calls from numerous departments, executives, and stakeholders seeking financial information updates. They may instantly discover this information via financial dashboards, or they can enable peers to answer their own inquiries.
Advanced financial platforms automatically update and import data, removing the need for time-consuming spreadsheet revisions. A financial dashboard with APIs to disparate databases allows you rapid, real-time access to crucial data impacting your financials if you have several data sources such as an ERP, CRM, or other platforms.
Financial advisors can keep department leaders accountable by using a dashboard that consolidates cross-functional, organization-wide financials. Monitoring budget owners from a single screen aid in the mitigation of budgetary or financial red flags before they become a major issue. A financial dashboard, as a single point of information, allows all teams to gather their own data whenever they need it and participate in the company's long-term financial goals.
Creating an Effective Financial Dashboard
Financial dashboards are highly configurable, and the setup process will be heavily influenced by your company's KPIs as well as the tool you're using.
You can easily build common reports, such as profit and loss (P&L), cash management, CFO scorecard, accounts payables and receivables, and financial performance dashboards.
The Right Metrics
Begin by collaborating across departments and management levels to determine which data will be beneficial to the organization and which objectives you should track in real-time. Consider the most commonly asked questions and what would be most beneficial to your firm as a starting point when creating your financial dashboard.
Giving the Accounts Payable department access to a dashboard with that information could save them a lot of time and work if they are continually requesting updates on accounts payable and receivable turnover ratios. A good financial dashboard should make the job of the financial advisor easier and serve as the nerve center of the company's finances.
It's also crucial to make sure your dashboard is pleasant to the eye. Make sure the chart or graph you choose is appropriate for the information you want to portray, and that it is easy to understand. Consider your target audience, which could range from managers with little experience in financial services to CFOs. Avoid clutter so you can examine your data at a glance, and if it becomes too busy, try building numerous dashboards.
You may have different dashboards for different departments, such as a sales and marketing dashboard that displays sales targets or an executive dashboard that provides a high-level overview of the organization's most significant financial goals.
Remember that you'll almost certainly be in charge of maintaining the dashboard in some form. While it's fantastic to personalize the dashboard and provide everyone with the information they want, you'll also need to keep it up to date and accurate. To avoid data corruption, you might want to restrict capabilities for people outside your department. Setting a regular cadence for updates, whether daily, weekly, or monthly, is beneficial.
Financial Dashboards Lead the Way to Accurate Data
Financial dashboards are a great way to highlight the hard work that financial advisors do every day while also minimizing the time spent on manual reporting. Financial dashboards should, above all, make complex figures appear and feel simple.