No matter if you work at a large corporation, a small independent business, or a non-profit, if you have a reasonably functioning finance office, then you will probably be generating (at least) quarterly reports. However, while these reports are standard, actually utilizing these reports is a different matter. This is where dashboards — reports that illustrate key pieces of data, often in a graphical format — help. Dashboards open the door for a more collaborative environment in which easy-to-interpret data is more readily shared and can be accessed by anyone with permission to view the dashboard. This is an essential benefit, considering the challenges CFOs and their finance teams face now and in the near future.
1. Dashboards encourage storytelling.
Thoughtful financial analysis requires as many words as numbers and teams need to be able to explain variances in numbers and then determine appropriate action. Actually being able to visualize numbers prompts questions (such as “Why did we bring in less revenue than projected this quarter?”) that then initiate practical conversations.
2. Dashboards ensure shared financial comprehension and engagement.
Dashboards create a common language between members of a company, allowing those who have less experience with financial vocabulary to communicate with those who are inclined to pore over the financials. The production floor manager will surely have a different perspective than the CFO. When that perspective is informed with accessible data delivered via a dashboard, the stage is set for new efficiencies and improved productivity. Dashboards also work as a reminder of the level of information that everyone is expected to be familiar with.
3. Dashboards provide for those who consume information in different ways.
Different people consume information in a wide range of ways and dashboards offer customized views for different thinkers. Some members of your team may be more comfortable viewing data presented in standard bar, column, gauge, area, and doughnut charts. Yet others in the team may comprehend faster and quicker when data is presented in more engaging or interactive formats.
4. Dashboards are always accessible.
Unlike the dreaded spreadsheets, dashboards never have to be filed away (or attempted to be located years after being filed away!) Dashboards are always accessible via a wide range of devices with data updated in real-time, assuring members of your firm that they are working with the latest available information.
5. Dashboards define measures of success.
The process of developing a dashboard forces leaders of a firm or organization to make choices about what they see as the firm’s priorities and measures of success. After all, you can’t pay attention to everything at every given moment, and developing the dashboard report in a thoughtful and inclusive way is essential, in order for the tool to be accepted and used by decision-makers across the organization. Therefore, working through the process of developing a dashboard ensures that everyone is aware of what the current priorities and measures of success are.
With Kepion Dashboards & Scorecards, your business is able to build rich dashboards and scorecards that everyone in your organization can use. Important in today’s business environment, this system offers complete integration into financial and non-financial data, allowing you to always have a real-time pulse of your company’s complete financial performance. Since Kepion is built on the Microsoft Business Intelligence platform, users can take advantage of drill-down features for deep analysis of their business. In addition, users of Excel PivotTables can also connect easily to Kepion data models for conducting their own analysis.
Want to know if Kepion is right for your business planning needs? Get a demo today to get started on your FP&A journey.