How not to present your clients’ financial data

Accountant points out details of report and data to client on tablet ipad on wooden desk. #accounting #reporting

Your client’s business will change every day, so your dashboard might need to change too – and that’s why thinking of them in a singular sense won’t work for you or your client. When you have tunnel vision, you’re not equipped to truly advise your client on the best future for their business. There could be errors you need to avoid right now, you just can’t see them.

A beautiful management report is a fantastic tool in your armour, we don’t deny that. But to really advise your clients, you’re going to need dashboards, plural.

It allows you to hone in on the past, present or future, any way you want. Start looking at the big picture, then drill into the detail: that’s up to you.

You have to know your audience

It’s easy to get so excited by a new client, or a new piece of work for an existing client, that you forget what the real objective is and who you are creating it for.
Stop and ask yourself…

  • What are they like as a person?
  • How do they like to learn and interact with their team?
  • Who are they managing?
  • What’s their day like – from work to family? Are they on the move, for example
  • What business are they in?
  • How savvy are they when it comes to technology? Same question when it comes to the business
  • Is this the first time you’ve worked with them in this way?

You cannot create anything of value for their business unless you really know them so make this step one.

Tell a great story

Your first dashboard might introduce the client to a high-level monthly Health Check and include some introductory metrics that they need to keep an eye on – cash flow, the P&L and some core KPIs, for example.
Use the dashboards as a conversation starter and a workflow for your meeting with the client. Therefore, don’t have random KPIs, which have no relevance to one another, plonked on a board.

For example, one of our clients sells chocolate and they export this product globally. The first dashboard focuses on a consolidated view of the business in all markets, but further boards drill into the detail with a focus on ‘Europe’, the other on ‘The USA’ and finally ‘Australia and New Zealand’. This allows them to assess overall business performance and identify trends within each region that require action.

Death by numbers

When you are preparing your dashboards it is important to remember…

  • To balance the information you display – don’t just use tables as shown above
  • Don’t leave plain “white” space in-between your Insights because it looks messy and unfinished
  • To use a mixture of Card (Report) sizes so they are not all the same which is again, boring for the eye
  • Don’t have an entire Board for one Insight and another which is cluttered with 24 Insights
  • Don’t forget presentation mode, which allows you to keep your dashboards neat and tidy because you can enter fullscreen mode for any insight when you need to

No good comes from an all-nighter

If you have a meeting at 08:30 the next morning and you’re pulling together your dashboard at 23:00 then you might struggle to do a great job. You could make life easier by using one of our templates, we have industry examples of gyms, creatives, hospitality and many more. You can also reference our KPI Library which has hundreds of KPIs defined by industry, so you can speak to your clients confidently about the drivers that affect their business.
Relevant and beautiful dashboards allow you and your clients to easily identify what’s good or bad and what action needs to be taken.

Let’s face it, we’re all pretty lazy and who has the time or patience to hunt for an answer. That’s why Futrli is designed the way it is. It’s a new way to run a business, by looking forward, not backwards, and it is focused on how your clients’ are performing against their expectations.

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