Dashboards Provide a Unifying Look at Your Financial Health
I hear the following comments nearly every week as I meet with new companies that are facing common business challenges.
We seem to be working harder each month. My team is very dedicated to our business, so the extra hours each month are not a big problem. Our company team truly believes in what they are doing and wants the company to be successful. However, our biggest problem is with reporting. Everyone creates reporting that will be exactly what the company needs. However, each report is from “their view.” For instance, the operations team gives data about utilization or project performance. That information might be different than what accounting needs, which is more focused on billing and operational performance tied into costs and matching costs to the corresponding revenues.
We get into team meetings and the numbers seem to be different. Accounting is always based on where we were three weeks ago. Operations rely heavily on Excel, so they can input up-to-date information to make real-time decisions. Sales and Marketing rely on the “rainmakers” and don’t forecast as they should. If you are wondering how your business is doing, it’s no wonder we simply rely on bank balances, how busy the team is and our own “gut feel” to really know how the business is doing. We love this business, so we continue forward, but isn’t there a part of you that wonders if this is the best it ever gets when it comes to quality, financial information and running the business?
At One Vision, it always amazes me when our team focuses on an individual problem or issue, how quickly that issue gets addressed. This is why I believe companywide dashboards are truly the key. If we work from the same information, then Sales knows their goals and how they’re performing, which drives the operational backlog – the information needed for accounting to best manage the cash flow of the business.
We can easily see a picture of this in a football setting. A quarterback trying to pass to a receiver in football has a tough time if the linemen decide they are going to take a couple of plays off. However, most football teams are on the same page, because there are common ways to get information. The scoreboard is the ultimate decision-making tool that ties offense, defense, and special teams together. What is it then that ties Marketing/Sales to Operations to Accounting? Dashboards that drive making decisions.
One dashboard with key information will unite your team; identify if everyone is moving in the same direction; truly let you know how your business is doing, and allow you to make changes the minute they are needed:
Performance against plan
Can you imagine the football team that is working to win the game and Offense, Defense, and Special teams all have a different score for the Home and Visiting team? That is what businesses do every day. On the other hand, visible, quick-to-read dashboards, all based on the same information, are the key to conquering this problem. Feel free to call me to discuss how you can get on the same scorecard and start winning more games today with One Vision and Sage Intacct.
Get Home Earlier (with less worry) with Financial Dashboards ThatEnable Quicker, Better Decisions
As the owner of a business-solutionsdelivery company, I have had many discussionswith other executives, project managers, and business owners aboutdashboard reporting, or, as it is often called, “What keeps you up at night?” As the father of four kids, all within four years of each other, I guess discussing “What keeps you up at night” depends on the time of life to which we are referring. When we had four kids under the age of four, kids crying in the middle of the night kept me up at night. As the demands of growing our business increased at the same pace as our family, what kept me up at night kept changing. It became difficult to balance the needs of my family with the challenges of working with more companies that didn’t have a good way to manage their business other than Excel.
It amazes me how many large businesses would really struggle if they couldn’t use Excel. It is not that I don’t like or utilize Excel; however, if you are using it for billing, scheduling, resource planning, and/or reporting, you are in trouble when it comes to avoiding the fears that keep you up at night.
Before my family and business grew, gut feelings and driving energy were great tools to run both. Kids are sick? Okay, just stay up all night with them; no big deal. I don’t need to sleep. The project behind schedule? No problem, just pull an all-nighter and we can be back on track by the weekend. When you are small, you immediately know how things are going. Do kids get hurt? Spend a little one-on-one time with them and they will immediately light up. The client is upset? No problem, you just spend quality time with them, understand the issues, and do the things that make it right. You know whether you are able to fix the issue right then with instant feedback. You can use that information to make changes that will avoid future problems with other clients.
Kids become teenagers, and suddenly you have no idea who they are. What happened to the sweet, little kids that used to wear footy pajamas and think you were the greatest dad in the world? Now you feel like you are living on another planet and aren’t even sure how to talk to them. You still love them; would do anything to make everything right for them and help them avoid any pain, but it’s not as simple as it used to be.
Your business doesn’t seem like the same business you ran earlier, either. You don’t have the energy to pull all-nighters like you used to. Worse yet, you’re not sure even if you stayed up all night what you should work on. So you sit there pondering instead, losing sleep but without the productivity. This is where many discussions with executives owners ultimately come back to; what keeps you up at night?
I have the answer to your late-night anguish. The answer to your worries if you don’t have the financial dashboards you need (gauges, KPIs, and reports). This information can be a backlog, pipeline, receivables, payables, cash flow, project issues, project risks, or countless other information. With Intacct’s dashboard reporting I have the information I need to know where to spend my limited time, money, and energy. Having these tools don’t take all the challenge out of running an organization, but it does allow me to know when and how to make key decisions. And gets me home much earlier and without worry after a day at work.
And by utilizing Intacct dashboard reporting, I don’t have to stay up at night worrying aboutOne Vision Solutions. The kids may be a different matter though.
Have you ever found your Accounts Receivable Aging or Ledger to be out of balance with your Accounts Receivable GL account in Intacct? I’ve found this is a common problem and extremely frustrating for a client. It seems so simple, but there are several variables that come into play when reconciling your Accounts Receivable subledger to your General Ledger. Below I’ve highlighted a few of the reasons this discrepancy might occur and how to stop this from happening in the future.
The first, and simplest reason these could be out of balance is in how a user pulls the subledger reports. To reconcile these reports to the GL it is important to customize the report in a way that includes all customers, all aging periods and is based on the GL Posting Date. The General Ledger Report (or Balance Sheet) must also be run for the same period to compare. If this solved your discrepancy, great news!
If the amounts are still not tying out, we have a few more places to investigate. Are there any journal entries booked directly to the AR account? Are there any line-items that specify this GL account on an Invoice or Bill? What about an Adjustment or Other Receipt? These would affect the GL balance but are not running through the subledger. If this is the case, I would recommend adding a few SmartRules (after cleanup) to keep this from happening in the future. SmartRules are a great way to add a bit of control to how and when entries can be made in Intacct, and what accounts can be used.
In addition to SmartRules there are also some configuration settings that can be reviewed to make sure your Intacct environment is set up to meet your needs. If overpayments are expected, what GL Account is used to record these? An Overpayment will affect the subledger, and the specified account they are configured to use should be included when attempting to reconcile to General Ledger. The account that is used on Overpayments is defined in the configuration settings.
Recording an Advance also affects the subledger and could create a discrepancy in the balance if a different GL account is chosen. In your configuration, you can set up a default account for Advances, but it is important to note that this can be overwritten at the transaction level. SmartRules are also not available on Advances. Using multiple AR accounts to differentiate each type of transaction is helpful, and it works well, but all accounts must be included in the GL account(s) balance to reconcile.
The final item to address when reconciling Accounts Receivable is the issue of timing. If a payment is received prior to the GL Posting date on the invoice there will be a discrepancy. The payment will lower the AR amount in the GL and the AR Ledger, but will not appear on the aging until the GL posting date. At that time both the invoice and payment amount would be present on the aging and it would once again balance to the ledger and GL Account.
By implementing SmartRules, adjusting your configuration, and performing regular reconciliation of the subledger to the AR General Ledger Accounts, you can prevent the variance in the future. The list below summarizes the areas to review:
Make sure all Accounts Receivable GL Accounts are included when trying to reconcile.
Verify the subledger reports are pulled for the same period, by GL posting date, and include one-time customers.
Confirm there are no journal entries posting to the AR account.
Confirm there are no line-item entries posting to the AR account on other objects (Invoices, Bills, Adjustments, Other Receipts).
Review AR accounts used on Customer Advances and make sure these are included in the AR GL balance to reconcile.
Check payment receipt dates to make sure they are not prior to invoice GL Posting dates.
Another First-Class Business Building Conference was once again held by SAGE Intacct in Grapevine, TX at the sleek Gaylord Texan. One Vision had the pleasure to attend, and the strength in numbers was delightfully noticeable. Strength in Partnerships is a pivotal focus within One Vision’s core mission. It surely is the Time to Thrive in our ever-changing market.
With an array of classes, panels, and guest speakers, each aspect of our business was reviewed and discussed with fresh perspectives. We thoroughly enjoyed connecting with our fellow partnering organizations with such an elite company like SAGE Intacct. There was so much that happened in just 3 short days, that One Vision’s Team sees the need for an annual trip out of this event every year for our full team. We can see the improvements after only a couple of weeks’ time.
As we applaud the SAGE Intacct Corporate Team, we also want to invite you to learn more about why rapid growth companies chose SAGE Intacct Software as their main software solution. Save time, better organize information, cut costs, and speed up month-end reporting.
If you are looking for more information regarding SAGE Intacct and it’s benefits within your growing business, take a short coffee break with us!
Sage Intacct’s Interactive Custom Report Writer gives you the insights needed to streamline day-to-day tasks, rapidly respond to internal and external customers, and manage operational performance. If you didn’t make it to one of the many sold out sessions at Sage Intacct Advantage where we demonstrated the Interactive Custom Report Writer, now’s your chance to see it.