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.