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The Value of Creating a Financial Dashboard


The monthly financial reports that most companies issue and review are a great way to keep tabs on how the business is doing. However, for most organizations, reviewing financial data once a month is really not frequent enough. If a problem is brewing, you might not see it until it’s too late to change course.

Financial dashboards, which can be created on a project- or company-wide basis, fill in this gap. Usually set for weekly data, they give management a clear, high-level snapshot of current performance.

Your financial dashboard is used to track things that are easily measured and convertible into a key metric. While they’re most useful if you have a budget to which the numbers can be compared, they’re still helpful even if you don’t.

What to Include on a Company-Based Financial Dashboard
For a company-wide financial dashboard you might want to include the following metrics for that week:

A/R collections: actual versus budget
A/R aging: actual versus budget
A/P payments made: actual versus budget
A/P aging: actual versus budget
Payroll expense: actual versus budget
Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees: actual versus last week and versus budget (useful for companies where labor fluctuates weekly)
Cash balances: actual versus last week and versus budget

What to Include on a Project-Based Dashboard

As this will vary greatly based on the industry, I’ll present some possibilities for a construction firm. Here the idea is to track job progress by hours of work completed, and then support that by a measurement of where the project actually stands.

Actual labor hours
% of project completed based on labor hours (i.e. actual labor hours divided by total budgeted hours for the project)
Metric to measure work that was done, actual versus plan. For example, if you’re building a block wall, how many blocks were installed this week? How many blocks will there be in the entire wall?
% of project completed based on work actually done (i.e. the metric that measures the work that was done divided by the metric representing the entire project)
Actual labor costs versus budgeted labor costs for this stage of the project. If the project is 72% done, have you burned through more than 72% of the allotted labor budget?

Need help getting a financial dashboard set up for your company? Give me a call! As your on-call CFO, this is one of the many services I can provide for you.

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