Executive Dashboard – A Complete Overview
Key features of an effective Executive Dashboard?
Most successful entrepreneurs are good at thinking strategically, they can adapt to rapid changes and improvise to solve problems through innovative but realistic measures. The one thing that these entrepreneurs value the most over everything else is time, in order to save as much time as possible they hunt for business tools that can help them become more efficient and highly productive.
The one tool that all entrepreneurs utilize during their business journey is an executive dashboard. When data and processes get too much to digest, dashboards are what come in handy to present quick visuals in bite-sized chunks, making data easier to use for effective decision making. An executive dashboard provides a visual representation that gives entrepreneurs a condensed view of their company’s performance in real-time.
Why do I need an Executive Dashboard?
An executive dashboard helps you gather data from different sources so you can interpret and analyze it to make better business decisions. An executive dashboard provides users with a visual interface that presents vasts amounts of data in a condensed meaningful way. The extracted data allows entrepreneurs to see a holistic picture of their business processes, identify growth opportunities, highlight weaknesses and see the robust performing aspects of a business.
Related: Marketing ROI is a major KPI used to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and is a key part of many marketing dashboards. Learn all about it in our guide about marketing spend.
Strategic dashboards include KPIs that are relevant to the company’s performance. KPIs allow companies to track their performance. To learn more about how you can choose the most relevant KPIs you can view our guide curated by our specialist startup accountants.
Entrepreneurs use executive dashboards that can provide them with real-time updates along with crucial business intelligence on a single platform. Executive dashboards help to tackle business problems effectively by highlighting the most important KPIs. These dashboards also help employees keep their business practices aligned with the company’s long term goals and objectives, and improve the overall productivity of your firm.
What are the Characteristics of a Highly Effective Dashboard?
Our business advisors using their experience listed down the details of the essential characteristics that your dashboard should have to be effective:
|Customization: The dashboard should have a simple easy to use interface. Users should be able to customize which key features they want prominently featured.
|Drag and drop: The dashboard should allow users to easily shift any element of the dashboard as they see fit.The drag and drop feature can also help integrate more dashboard widgets.
|Colour and Font customization: An executive dashboard should allow users to change the colour and font for aesthetic purposes and to highlight different information.
|Data Blending: Data blending allows users to extract information from various data sources. This can then be used to filter and present the most relevant business data to the users.
|Link to Several Data Sources: Users should integrate data from other platforms to their dashboard, to support their data.
|Data Drill-Down: Data drill-down lets the users view any information by just clicking on it. Such features allow users to understand and investigate the information comprehensively.
|Multiple access: Effective Dashboards allow access from multiple users. If you are using software, you need to make sure what the pricing for multiple users is, and if multiple users can use the dashboard simultaneously.
|Collaboration features: The dashboard should have features that allow users to comment, create presentations and share essential business metrics. Moreover, your dashboard software must have automation tools that send out notifications and schedule key financial reports on a regular basis.
|Restricted sharing feature: The dashboard should give its main user the option to control access to the company’s sensitive information.
What are the three main styles of Dashboards?
There are three main types of executive dashboard styles- strategic dashboard, analytical dashboard and operation dashboard.
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- Strategic Dashboards
Strategic dashboards, provide a complete picture of your company’s performance based on the KPIs you select. These dashboards are connected via various strategic and management methodologies that ensure alignment of business practices with the longterm strategy of the firm. These dashboards also allow executives to improve overall communication and track organizational performance in light of the company’s short and long-term targets.
- Analytical Dashboards
Analytical dashboards can help executives analyze their data with a granular approach by offering drill-down features. This is an analytical dashboard as it can be used to analyze vast amounts of data which lets the users predict outcomes, uncover insights and examine trends. Analytical dashboards can help senior management engage in more informed decision making.
- Operational Dashboards
Operational dashboards serve as a management tool for day-to-day business operations. These dashboards are widely used across the organization, especially by employees who are in charge of identifying opportunities and problems. This dashboard is especially useful if your business requires you to take swift actions to manage daily business processes and introduce quick innovations.
An experienced business accountant fluent in the use of the dashboards should be able to help you develop a useful hybrid dashboard according to your business needs, so it’s advisable to seek assistance as quickly as possible.
What are the Benefits of Developing an Executive Dashboard?
There are several benefits of developing an executive dashboard.
- Provides Complete Visibility
Executive dashboards give users all the relevant information to their business in real-time. Companies will never be able to improve their business processes if they don’t have the means to measure the performance of individual processes in quantifiable terms. A strategic dashboard consolidates real-time data against the relevant KPIs you have included to help you estimate the overall performance of your business in real-time. This information lets the organization focus on weak performing aspects and introduce innovations accordingly.
- Saves Time
Executives spend a great deal of time tracking the performance of different aspects of their business. With an effective strategic dashboard in place, executives can save a significant amount of time, as these dashboards can provide real-time updates and the latest results from all the data sources to a single interface.
- Improves Tracking
An executive dashboard can increase your visibility and can provide insights into every aspect of your business. Such information enables you to track every function of the company in a succinct manner.
- Boosts Productivity
A strategic dashboard also enables executives to get a track of the performance of their employees. Thus, as performance is being tracked quantitatively, it will motivate employees to increase productivity and allow management to identify opportunities to boost productivity.
Related: Read tips to boost your startup here.
What are the Potential Challenges of Making an Executive Dashboard?
Executive dashboards can provide a myriad of benefits and value additions for a company, however, executives can face some significant challenges during its developments.
- Dashboard Development
To develop an effective executive dashboard for your company, you need to ensure that it’s designed with an application programming interface (API). An API is an intermediary software that allows two applications to communicate. An optimal executive dashboard will automatically and safely integrate your data in real-time. IT will also automatically update itself in real-time. Moreover, the strategic dashboard should be easily accessible to relevant users through a web browser or application instead of a single desktop.
Another solution is to allow your employees to manually enter data in the dashboard. However, this might result in human error and can be very time-consuming which will result in out of date data.
- Choosing Relevant Indicators
In order to determine which indicators to put on your executive dashboard, you need to first decide what is the most important metric you want to track for your company. Once you have decided this, you can choose correlated KPIs that impact your key metric for a better understanding of the underlying factors which affect your key indicator. For instance, if sales are your most critical KPI, then you need to also track other factors that directly or indirectly affect sales. You will need to track the underlying KPIs for sales such as the number of leads generated, the number of proposals you sent out, your average sale price, time spent to convert a lead, etc.
The effectiveness of your dashboard is subject to which KPIs are included. It’s imperative to choose the most relevant KPIs for your business to track your business performance accurately. Some companies fail to develop a useful dashboard just because they wanted the wrong KPIs in the first place.
How can an Accountant Help you Develop an Executive Dashboard?
When you outsource the tedious task of developing an executive dashboard to an accountant or a specialist, not only do you save time and effort for yourself but also introduce higher value addition. A qualified accountant is an experienced individual who understands the needs of a business, the data it produces and how it impacts the financial performance of a business.l. They can help you select the most relevant type of dashboard for your business. They can assist your IT staff during the stages of dashboard development by guiding them on what features to add, what sources to link and how the overall interface should be made to make it understandable for the business people.
Related: If you are a startup owner struggling to get past your startup stages then learn how an accountant can help you grow by reading our blog.
Clear House Accountants are expert Accountants in London who provide tailored solutions to businesses of all sizes. Our accountants provide top-notch financial advice along with useful tax tips to ensure client businesses grow while saving money.
Anam has a degree in accounting from the Prestigious St John’s University, and works as a senior director in Clear House.
Before working in Clear House, Anam worked in various commercial roles, the last one being the VP Operations for a prestigious business organisation,working on improving the organisation’s operational efficiency, growth and high level client management.
Anam manages clients ranging from software companies to large property developers and managers. Notably, she recently worked with a large property development company building large scale developments in London and the surrounding area.