For businesses to survive and thrive in an environment that is still plagued by many unknowns, it’s more important than ever to be able to quickly understand how your organization is performing. However, pouring over spreadsheets and validating data from different sources are time-consuming tasks and don’t give the up-to-the minute visibility into performance that today’s dynamic businesses need.
So, what’s the answer? At the top of the list: Dashboards. Dashboards offer businesses the ability to quickly and easily view and understand performance metrics in order to plan intelligently and predict future performance.
And with that said, we recently shared some exciting news: our new intelligent dashboard capabilities within Planning Maestro designed to help our customers streamline their decision-making processes, grounding them in accurate, up-to-date data to optimize the health of their businesses. Our new web-based dashboards provide simple, easy-to-digest views of business performance that users across the organization can explore in unique and meaningful ways to take action in their business.
Let’s discuss just how powerful dashboards are – and the value they can bring to your organization.
Understanding the Power of Financial Dashboards
The Shift to Visualizations
For those that use spreadsheets, switching to a financial dashboard where there may be a large number of options for the UI and no formulas that can obviously be adjusted can feel bare, or worse it can even seem incomplete. The shift from Excel, a medium that involves long, hard hours, to a new intuitive format that can provide you with massive amounts of information distilled into a few select data points is as much a mental and emotional shift as a physical shift in how your company is run.
Selecting Your KPIs
One of the fundamental problems with using spreadsheets is that you can get lost in the numbers. While this can be psychologically comforting, as this has been the state of so many businesses for so many years, this comfort can be a trap. With a financial dashboard, you have the power to select a variety of different KPI variables that can come from an almost unlimited number of data sources across your business. The largest challenge for many CFOs is to accept that their direct input and “number crunching” is no longer necessary, as the numbers are processed in the cloud.
However, there is another challenge that can be just as daunting. This involves determining whether the KPIs that were most important when you used spreadsheets are actually the most important ones now that a financial dashboard is available. This is where your judgment as a finance professional comes into play, as well as where you may end up having to defend your decision to the CEO and the Board. You may even find that your initial changes may not be for the best under conditions you may not have been able to identify before.
Modify KPI Variables within the Financial Dashboard
You have two primary concerns when you are adjusting which performance metrics are your KPIs: the purely financial and the psychological. When it comes to finance, this is your company and your domain. Often your decisions will be based around telling the story of your company in a way that is both pleasant and legally compliant. This has less to do with finance itself and far more to do with psychology. Presenting your company’s numbers to the CEO and the Board of Directors may be more effective by selecting equally accurate but more positively-influencing variables.
Financial Dashboards – Consolidate Your Data
Data consolidation is among the most important parts of using a financial dashboard. The sources of data and potentially thousands of spreadsheets from across the company that many businesses use to inform their numbers can quickly become unwieldy, even in the hands of dedicated professionals. The consolidation that happens within the dashboard allows you to easily read the results of numbers from across the company without having to rely on any formulas, giving you more time to focus on the financial health of the company.
Use Your Time Most Efficiently
As an executive, every moment of your time is precious. Traditionally, the model was to work harder and longer hours if the numbers did not immediately tell the story and provide all of the information you needed, but there simply are not enough hours in the day to do that with today’s businesses. The complexity is too great, and there are too many important decisions to make to become bogged down in documenting the details instead of acting on them. The documentation can be handled easily by your financial dashboard with nearly zero use of your time and with absolutely no “busy work” on your part in reviewing the vital numbers.
Planning Maestro’s Intelligent Financial Dashboards
The customizable financial dashboards use easy-to-understand visualizations highlighting key financial data and metrics such as variance comparisons allowing users to discover and drill in for deeper insights. Planning Workflow status can also be added to the Dashboard allowing finance teams to track progress of budget and forecast tasks. Intelligent Dashboards empowers both finance and non-finance users to collaborate on the key metrics and planning tasks that matter most to them, so they can better understand their business and make strategic decisions. Learn more about our Intelligent Dashboards here.
Centage Corporation’s Planning Maestro is a cloud-native planning & analytics platform that delivers year-round financial intelligence. With Planning Maestro, Centage offers the sophisticated features needed by small and mid-market organizations to integrate budgeting, forecasting, and deep data analysis within one easy-to-use, scalable SaaS solution. For more information on how to modernize your office of finance with intelligent planning, view our product demonstration video, or call 800-366-5111.