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!