Really Killer Dashboards

Really Killer Dashboards

 

One Vision Service Team

Really Killer Dashboards

by: Sydney Hayslett, Senior Consultant

 

Creating Really Killer Dashboards in Intacct takes some technical skill and a lot of design skill. There are so many considerations to think about before you begin: Who is the user? Are there multiple users? How often will someone access this? And, most importantly, what is the Vantage Point this Dashboard needs to address?

Each user/role will have a slightly different vantage point that needs to be addressed in the design. For instance, an AR/AP clerk only needs information about their specific role, and they need very detailed data. An AP Processor’s dashboard might show a list of bills for the current month (or week depending on volume). They might also have a Vendor record list on their dashboard with all the contact info for Vendors, and a link to their external bill pay website. This user/role type dashboard shows day-over-day information for a narrow scope.

For a Controller/CFO role dashboard, the scope would be wider and show financial data across all books. The time scale would be month-over-month, or year-to-date data. This dashboard should show less detail, but instead compile information thus fostering quick and easy understanding. There could also be condensed widgets to quickly access the details if further review is needed.

The widest vantage point would be a CEO level user or Owner. This user would need to see a wide breadth of information, at a high level instead of the detailed data. A CEO would need to know how their company has grown over the prior 3 years, what attrition has looked like for the company this year, and how efficiently cash is being used. An Owner needs to review overall operational performance on a large scale.

 

An alternative design approach would be to create a dashboard to encapsulate an entire workflow. A Dashboard for month-end close might include a list of close journal entries, a report that shows cash availability, one that shows cash items in transit, a calendar widget, and a trial-balance. This dashboard would serve as a 1-stop shop for everything needed in the close process.

Financial Reports/Graphs, Memorized Standard Reports/Graphs, Custom Reports, Performance Cards, SmartLinks, Collaborate, and Help Links are all great items to include on dashboards. Adding visual interest with Charts, Color Formatting, and Sparklines all help improve the user’s ability to quickly process the data. If successful, dashboards allow the user to consume this data in the least amount of time possible.

As a side-note, an important thing to remember is to review which items are available to filter. Not all reports/graphs are available to be filtered within a dashboard, but those that can, have a filter icon in the top right corner for easy reference. To create less confusion for the user you can change the individual titles to denote which reports are not able to filtered. For instance, you might name a report AR Aging as of TODAY. Alternatively, you could leave off the filter options from the entire dashboard.

A few samples of dashboards are included below for ideas. Building Killer Dashboards can be a powerful tool to give visibility into the real-time data Intacct provides. Through thoughtful design and solid technical application, dashboards are an incredible resource in the system. Good luck with your next dashboard, or 10!

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Elephants and Helicopters

Elephants and Helicopters

One thing that marks the transition from one generation of business leaders to the next is the younger generation announcing with terrific and unshakeable assurance that the world— its customs and behaviors and interests, its trends and ideas for the acceptable and unacceptable, its protocols and politics, so on and so forth—is not like the world that preceded it. They display the problems and begin to make improvements (Sears to Amazon, for example), designing a framework that will help actualize their moment.

This requires the end of deference, which historically has upset their forbearers who, for comfort’s sake, still have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. It is much more agreeable, much less taxing, than trying to relearn everything. Some elders mock the developments with great humor and poignancy; sometimes they shout, or bemusedly watch the glittery but foreign present roll past with the yawning apathy of an elephant surveying a passing helicopter. Some retire—but many do not, and this division makes for a temporary discontinuity between the old and young, who are hard at work resolving the kinds of problems their predecessors tolerated.

Here is a video on recent Customer Experiences with Sage Intacct.

In our industry this would mean the graduation from QuickBooks and Excel to the kinds of integrated ERP software offered from Sage Intacct and created for the institutional demands of our epoch, with cloud-based architecture, precise reporting and metrics through customizable dashboards, project-based specifics, and automated processes that have eliminated perilous tasks like duplicate data entry. Sage Intacct has been outfitted with solutions for the kinds of challenges that face the common non-profit or project service firm, to name a few. Preceding generations of accountants, who didn’t have access to such vanguard technologies, deserve thunderous applause for getting through nightly meals without spasmodic sobbing and routine collapse, clinical exhaustion.

The new ways are entrenched. We cannot look back on the old accounting solutions of our grandparents any more than we would want to exchange the conveniences of Amazon for those of Sears. We must adapt accordingly, understand that our situation is vastly different from theirs. And if the older generation gets too depressed they can take solace in knowing that soon there will be another shakeup that will produce similar confusion. What goes around comes around, after all.

Contact us today for more information on how Sage Intacct can help modernize your organization.

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