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!
Sage Intaact and Your Project-Driven Organization
Over the past years more and more organizations have drifted away from single-sale business models toward more contractual and project-driven ones. This transition has been a boon for reasons you might expect—recurring and planned ordering streamlines the business cycle by decreasing the quantity of transactions and putting everything on a schedule that moves succinctly toward an agreed upon completion date. Once an organization has built a framework for the specific project—consulted with clients, set timeliness with vendors and pooled resources, doled out tasks to employees—each project advances toward the execution of its respective goals.
And changes in business practices work much as cultural shifts do in that by the time we are aware of their pervasiveness we understand the expansive modifications more or less represent answers to the unspoken wants of an evolving moment. So with this we conclude that the single-sale model wanted out and the project-driven wanted in and should evolve our practices in the appropriate direction, bidding farewell to the single-sale model and opening our arms to the project-driven one.
While it is convenient to stand outside the mainstream as defiant resister of prevailing trends doing so can endanger business operations. As with any modernization the pitfalls in the development of the project-driven model have to do wholly with applying outdated technologies—like rigid legacy accounting software created— to the types of concerns and approximations that are no longer relevant to the project-based organization. When we muscle an obsolete tool onto new nuanced performances the mismatch between technologies and procedures can disintegrate key aspects of the project. And projects do not forgive mistakes— just one can dislodge the entire endeavor, break timelines, shortchange or needlessly overburden vendors, misuse employees and time, make crucial decisions based on faulty data, ad infinitum.
This is why the move toward project-based operations has been met by the creation of tailored tools fit to help you make the right decisions based on exacting information. Equipped with project tracking, data visibility, full-featured costing and resource management, precise pricing of past projects, and complete integration with the current CRM system, Sage Intaact’s project-specific accounting software offers the metrics, data and automated process that are essential during the preparation and execution of any given project.
Have You Found Your Solution?
It’s likely that your company has become project-based. If you’d like to hear more about how Sage Intaact’s project accounting software can aid in this development contact us today.